“Believer” (and why I sobbed through the entire thing).

I watched “Believer” tonight. Bad move. Long week. Lots of Queer clients. Then I watch a documentary about Queer people killing themselves. I mean not technically about them killing themselves, well sort of, mostly. It’s about the lead singer of Imagine Dragons and his journey toward activism for the Mormon church to be accepting of LGBTQ members.

I actually was very aware of the Mormon stance on Queers. Because generally all churches don’t like us. They are one of them. Through the course of my career I have encountered Queer youth who are Mormons whose parents don’t know they are Queer because they know they will be excommunicated and likely disowned if they come out.

I did not know the back story to Imagine Dragon’s lead singer’s activism. It’s intense. He pushes himself in this documentary to limits. And people die. I sobbed. My wife came out of the shower and I was about forty-five minutes into it and literally sobbing. She looked at the screen and saw him singing, and I was like no, no, it’s so much more than him singing. People committed suicide. Kids are dying. You just walked in on a clip of him singing so I look totally crazy right now.

But I couldn’t actually say that because I was crying. I sort of just waved my hands around and tried to talk between sobs.

She didn’t really react because I think she’s used to my twice yearly break-downs after a tough week.

Eventually I explained and pointed out all the people who lost family members so I didn’t seem quite so dysregulated.

This documentary is different because it shows the struggle of an ally. It shows the “it’s not my problem because I’m not gay” attitude and why that is not okay. Why allies need to stand just as loud if not louder for the Queer community.

When I’m feeling like I am burned out because I can’t take the homophobia and discrimination and transphobia stories that I hear, witness, and experience daily at my job, it’s those stories. The story of the ally who stepped up and spoke out that remind me I’m not in this alone.

There are testimonies by people who leave and/or are excommunicated from the Mormon Church due to them being allies or them being Queer and out. One person who was excommunicated due to speaking out says to the lead…You must know that quote, that evil only exists when good men do nothing.

I keep seeing stories about the migrant families flooding my newsfeed. My heart aches for them, but all I can think is LGBTQ people will be next. What if they ever come for my family? LGBTQ people are persecuted all over the world and discriminated against daily in our own country.

It’s like there’s only just so much space in my head and heart for heartache and I’m spending my energies on the Queer community and there’s just no room for anything else.

We recently switched daycares and when we were looking for new ones we had to ask “Have you ever had a two mom family?” and wait with bated breath for their responses. I recently started using a new pool guy, love him, first time I mentioned my wife though I wasn’t sure he’d come back. He did. There recently was a debate in my lesbian mom’s group about donor sperm and half siblings- add it to the list of my worries. We started a farm share. I’ve gone to pick up. My wife has gone to pick it up. Not sure if/when they will put it together that we are married and if/when we will find out if they are homophobic or not. We are about 50/50 for farms in the area.

That is a small list of the last week. The last week of experiences when I worry or fear because I’m married to a woman. I’m a grown, educated, confident, intelligent, working woman. Imagine the fear and vulnerability in a sixteen year old. Ten year old. Twenty year old. They are out there. Our Queer youth.

We need allies. Step up. Speak out. The exact quote is:

“It has been profoundly said, and how true it is, that the only thing necessary for evil to exist is for good men to do nothing,” Edmund Burke

 

 

 

But Why do the Queers Get a Month? (Said in a super whiney entitled voice)

Sometimes I read the comments on Pride posts. Mistake. I know. People are mean and hateful and discriminatory. For real though could they come up with anything different from “Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve”??? It’s so outdated and used up. Y’all need some fresh homophobic material.

One comment on facebook I read asked why we don’t have a month for Veteran’s Day, only a day. I thought that was a valid question. As I respect Veteran’s seeing as my Dad was one.

Here’s my response. I did some research so pay attention.

First off the last time the draft was enacted was Vietnam. Roughly 25% (648,500) made up the number of soldiers drafted who actually set foot in Vietnam. Roughly two million were drafted in total but of those only 648,500 set foot in Vietnam. Draftees accounted for  30% of deaths roughly 17,700.

Those are bad statistics. Because really no one should die fighting for a cause they were involved with involuntarily.

I promise you that 100% of individuals who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, non-binary, genderqueer, etc. identify this way UNWILLINGLY. Yes the Queer is not something any of us would choose to be.

In 2016 it was estimated roughly 4-5% of the population identify as Queer. That’s over ten million people. Other estimates are as high as 9% of the population. The Colorodoan ran a story in 2018 based off a review of hate crimes they did separate from the FBI’s statistics (which are incredibly low). Transgender and non-binary individuals made up more than 45% of the deaths in those files starting in 1998 through 2018.

Gender not normals are not safe in the United States. Their total projection was that over 600 LGBTQ individuals have been killed in the last two decades in the the United States.

We are not in a time of war. We are living our lives, with families, jobs, and homes. We are unsafe in our own backyards though.

Secondly for the traumas that Veterans have endured, which are many, they have an entire healthcare entity dedicated to Veterans health located in every state. Accessible to all Veterans. Is it a perfect system? No. But it exists.

The LGBTQ community often delays care due to fear of discrimination. They have higher rates of suicide, mental illness, and untreated medical illnesses due to lack of access to care.

Veterans are now held up high in our society. I for one have only seen them treated with respect if wearing their uniform in public and we as a society have thankfully changed our attitudes toward them so they are accepted and not blamed for wars that they have no control over.

The Queer community hides in fear. We were slowly emerging from the shadows when our country voted in one of the most openly homophobic administrations in recent history.

We live next door to neighbors with #45 signs. We know what that means. That we are not welcome there.

We know people who have been assaulted, spit on, fired, and not hired for jobs due to their sexual orientation and/or gender identity.

Veterans don’t have a month because they can live safely if they are heterosexual.

We have a month because we have been disowned, kicked down, told we are going to Hell, told we can’t have children, told we can’t get married, told our spouse has no legal standing to the child we have born and raised together, told that we are less than, that we are freaks, that we are deserving of the rape, torture, and murders we face.

We have a month because even in this month we are killed. Because Pulse happened in 2016. Remember Pulse? The deadliest shooting in our history and specifically targeting the Queers.

Because it took until 2003 for the United States Supreme Court to rule that sodomy could no longer be used to charge people for crimes (a case that shockingly originated in Texas). Because it took until 2015 until we could marry and even that does not protect our partner’s parental rights when we have children.

We have a month because we are still fighting to just exist.

Until that day; when we can exist without fear, on that day, then you can take the month back and give us a day.

Google “LGBTQ deaths in America”. Then ask me why we have a month.

 

Three Year Old Twin Birthday Party. (Queer as F%&*)

Growing up I always thought of my sister as the gay one. Because, well she was, and is, super gay. But apparently I am too.

I know that shouldn’t come as a shock to me because I’m married to a woman, but I never labeled myself as gay. More as a woman who fell in love with a woman, and should we ever break up likely would never fall in love with a woman again. I don’t fit into a box. But then again maybe I do.

My kids turned three. That was a lot for me to ponder emotionally. So I decided to have a big party. And to my surprise every one I invited came. Which meant my house was full of 30-40 people with lots of kids. We hadn’t had parties since we had the boys.

Something people don’t talk about who have twins or multiples is the incredible isolation that occurs when you have more than one newborn. It seems ironic because we doubled our family size but the truth is, twins are a lot. We were exhausted. We had nothing in common with singleton mom’s and in fact wanted to strangle any singleton parent who made ANY comment about having a new baby because for real. Twins are harder. Fact.

The breastfeeding also caused isolation. The boys needed to breastfeed in order to keep up my milk supply. So I couldn’t pump and bottle-feed for the first 18 weeks. It was all my boobs. I couldn’t leave the house. It sucked.

But then time goes by and slowly I began to feel human again. Breastfeeding stopped. Sleep improved (Jackson still got up 5 times last night because his damn blanket fell off but it’s still better). Little by little we are progressing to fully functional adults again.

So we threw this party. I have to get mushy about it. Not usually my style. But there’s some mushiness to be had.

I was introducing people to my mom and I realized literally we have some of the strongest, kindest, most fun people in our lives. The nurse who took my wife in when she was homeless was there, with her partner and her kids. We’ve maintained that relationship for eleven years. And it all started because she literally opened her home to my wife at a time when she barely knew her. A therapist I’ve known for seven years was there with her partner, who my son is obsessed with, and we’ve gone two different roads professionally to end up in very similar situations with very similar clients, and if you had asked me seven years ago if she would still be in life today I don’t know, I might not have pegged it.

A few psychiatric APRN’s I became friends with over time, who mentored me and who I’ve mentored were there. And four of us who all graduated high school together. Again, never would have thought the four of us would be in touch fifteen years later. But there we were watching our kids now playing together.

My bestie was up from Florida, she brought wine, no toys, and I’m like yes she gets it. She knows this is for us not them. Her niece asked her why she was coming to our house instead of celebrating her Dad’s birthday that night. My friend wisely said, “Some day you’ll understand,” instead of bashing her dad for being homophobic, which he is. My friend was explaining to her niece as vaguely as she could that Queer folks have to pick our families sometimes. That my wife had to pick hers, as the one she was given disowned her.

That my family was there, as they always are for us, but that my friends have also been my family. That I need some nurse friends to talk nurse stuff with. I need some high school people because they are the only ones in the world who will totally get me because they know my history. They saw me in my teenage and pre-teenage glory. And most importantly they saw me straight. They knew me as a woman who dated men at one time. And that history is part of my narrative, and only they truly get it.

I also have to say that my friends are freaking fun. There is no one awkwardly standing in the corner quietly. There is loud, there is singing, hugging, swearing, and laughter, lots of laughter.

In this world full of so much negative I have learned how much more important it is to surround oneself with the positive. These are the people who texted my wife and I after we posted the blog about the farmer taking back the firewood from her, and they wanted an address and spray paint and who knows what else. (We didn’t give out the address). It adds a layer of protection and comfort to know that we walk out into the world and face discrimination and hate we have this protective layer of people willing to come forward and stand with us.

It’s so important to find your people. My people are apparently loud, Queer, fun, nurses, lesbians, kinky, bold, and smart. So my sister’s not the only gay one in the family anymore.

Apparently I’m a whole lot of Queer if there is anything evidenced by the people I surround myself with. I feel blessed my sons will grow up surrounded by my crazy Queer friends. Because they are good people. No one better to be a part of their lives.