Archive for LGBT
It is not just mommies who have big hearts, we all have big hearts. Sometimes when parents have their first baby they wonder if they could ever love anything more than they love that little bundle of joy. Then when baby number 2 comes a long they discover their heart grows and makes room to love 2 beings with the same amount of enthusiasm. You could have 10 kids and love them all. The human heart and our capability to love is amazing.
I think we don’t always realize this kind of love is not reserved just for parents loving children. It goes both ways. If you are in a blended family your child or children are capable of loving more than just 1 or 2 parents. If a stepmom has entered the scene in to your child’s life, your child is capable of opening her heart and adding another mommy, just like you are capable of opening your heart and adding another child to the mix of people you love and call family.
This idea can be very threatening and is often what makes mother’s day a challenging day for children of blended families. Kids may feel that in order to prove their love for their mommy they have to not acknowledge their stepmom. This is hurtful to the stepmom and to the child.
Unfortunately, I have learned this lesson in hindsight. My kids grew up with 3 mothers, their biological mom (my partner), me and their stepom. The kid’s love all of us, just like we love all of them. I don’t love one kid more than an other. Maybe they don’t love one mom more than the other, maybe they do. But who are we to decide who the kids love most? Is it really a competition? I’ve got news for you, there is no prize at the end of parenting for being the best mom or stepmom.
Just because you adore your 15 year old does not mean you do not adore your 4 year old. It works the same with kids and stepparents vs. parents.
After much research for my book I’m beginning to believe that the relationship between a bio (or original) mom and a stepmom may be the hardest relationship out there to navigate. The silly thing is those 2 women love and care about the same exact people.
If you come from a blended family I challenge you this mother’s day to take a step back and try to make room for your kids to express their love to whoever has been blessed enough to find a space in their little (big) hearts.
I almost lost it with a representative from Chase bank today. I called to let them know I will be traveling out of the country in April and wanted to make sure they knew so we could use our ATM cards while we are out of the country. They would only let me notify for my ATM card, not Celia’s even though we are on the same account and married. I said, “Do you make every married couple call in separately to put a note on their accounts when traveling?” The mans voice started shaking and he said yes they did and he just went through this with a man and woman who were married and had to talk to each of them separately. At this point is when I realized I am feeling a little sensitive with MY marriage being discussed in the Supreme Court.
Yesterday, I did a speech at Toastmasters titled: I Have Trouble Answering Simple Questions. By simple questions, I mean questions like: Are you married? My voice trembled through the whole speech. I was mad at myself for not being able to hold my composure while speaking in front of a small group of people. Then I remembered the interview Oprah did with Ellen back in 1997 and I remembered Ellen’s voice was trembling when she spoke.
Then later in the day I spoke with a reporter from the MarinIJ about my opinion of the case. I tried to stay positive because I do appreciate how far we have come since I first came out of the closet in 1995 (2 years before Ellen!) but I am tired of waiting. I realize we are at the tipping point and this battle is almost over but I am SO tired of hearing the hurtful comments from religious leaders, politicians and the masses in general.
Can we just get over it and move on? Imagine if all those religious and political leaders who put so much money, time and energy in to trying stop people like me from getting married, would have instead put that money, time and energy in to helping people get out of poverty, feeding hungry people, and offering love instead of judgment and hurt?
I don’t believe all people who were or are against same-sex marriage are bad, ignorant or mean. I have friends and family who voted for Prop 8 and believe marriage is between a man and a woman but at the same time they love and support my relationship with Celia. I do believe there has been a big mix of church and state and that is not how it is supposed to work. There is supposed to be a separation of church and state.
I believe in change. I believe the majority of people here in the US will soon understand that marriage equality is a civil rights issue and not a religious one.
Seeing most of my Facebook timeline turn red yesterday with support of marriage equality, I was moved. I even saw some of the red equal signs on profiles of people from the conservative Lutheran church I grew up in. This gives me hope.
More things that gives me hope:
This blog post written by a self proclaimed Bible thumping Christian woman: Marriage Equality: I Can’t Be Switzerland Anymore
and, “The Hopmonk Tavern in Novato has booked a “Comedy for Equality” show to replace an appearance by singer Michelle Shocked, whose scheduled show there was canceled by owner Dean Biersch after her recent anti-gay rant in San Francisco.” – Novato’s HopMonk replaces Michelle Shocked with ‘Comedy for Equality
First of all, I question my statement above. Why did I write “we” have a new pope? I am not Catholic. I was not even raised Catholic.
I guess I say “we” because this person called The Pope has a lot of influence over the society “we” live in.
I have felt a range of emotions since I heard about the new Pope.
I felt hopeful when I heard he…
- was an intellectual Jesuit.
- was the first Pope from South America.
- practices what he preaches about acting the way Jesus would.
- believes in social justice.
- lives in an apartment and prepares his own meals.
- gave up his chauffeur and instead takes the bus.
- took the name Francis, the namesake of my favorite city San Francisco.
Then I did what probably millions of other people did, I googled him. That is when my heart sank. The first thing I read was, “He has described same-sex marriage as the work of the devil and a “destructive attack on God’s plan.” He has also said that gay adoption is a form of discrimination against children.”
You might say, well what did you expect, a Pope who supported marriage equality? No, I did not expect a Pope who supported marriage equality but I was hoping for one who wasn’t actively preaching and working against it. (Dear World, can we please get over this issue and move on? Is my (gay) marriage really hurting the sanctity of yours? Thanks, Sally)
Then when I think about all of the child abuse that has occurred and been covered up by the leaders of this religion, I get sad. I hope this Pope will be strong enough to face the problem, acknowledge it, deal with it and hopefully put an END to it.
But… instead of focusing on the negative I am making an effort to focus on the positive.
Every Catholic I know (and I know a lot!), I like. They don’t push their religion or spirituality on me. If they have issues with my marriage, they don’t tell me. If I directly ask them how they feel about a controversial issue like my marriage they say it is not for them to decide only God knows. Many of them are doing beautiful things to help others. Yes, even though the Catholic church has done many heinous things in the name of religion and their God, they have also produced a lot of wonderful, loving, giving people.
My hope is this new leader will carry on in his support of social justice and his heart will continue to open with a focus on responsibility, justice, forgiveness, love and servitude rather than on judgement, control and coverups.
*Pope image borrowed from abcnews.com
When is it going to stop being news that someone is gay?
How come you never see a headline that reads “MITT ROMNEY IS STRAIGHT” or “OBAMA IS IN AN OPPOSITE SEX RELATIONSHIP”. Even now in 2012 when it seems “Hip to Be Gay Friendly”, it is still news. Look what happened a few weeks ago when Anderson Cooper came out of the closet, it was considered news. Sally K. Ride died and what do we all remember about her now? She was a LESBIAN and an astronaut, and a scientist, and…
Here is what Anderson said on why he took so long to formally come out. ‘I want to report the news. I don’t want to be the news.’
Apparently being gay friendly is now the IN thing. 2012 is the year capitalism decided it is hip to be gay friendly (more realistically it is profitable to be gay friendly). While I appreciate all the rainbow colored love coming from the corporations jumping on the big gay band wagon, we all know it is about what sells and if supporting gay marriage will sell more Oreo’s then by golly make rainbow Oreos!*
So what is my point of this rainbow rant or ramble?
Hmmm I am not sure. It just bothers me that Sally K. Ride felt the need to be “private” and stay in the closet. America looked up to her as a hero and she couldn’t even introduce the love of her life to the world. I’m guessing if she had had a husband of 27 years she might not have felt the need to be so private. By the way, her partner of 27 years will not be receiving the survivor benefits to which she is entitled. You can thank Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).
Nobody really knows why Sally stayed in the closet or kept her life “private”. Maybe it was fear. Maybe she wouldn’t have been the first woman in space if she had been out, look what happened to Ellen the first few years after she came out publicly.
As a lesbian myself, I totally understand their feelings. I always prefer for people to get to know me a little before they know I am a lesbian. Otherwise they usually don’t hear anything I say for the first 20 minutes while they process the broken stereotype in their head that I don’t look like a lesbian (at least, that is the most common response I hear). Sally K. Ride probably wanted to be known as an astronaut, be a role model for women and girls and not just be known for being a lesbian. Imagine if she had come out. The headlines would have read “Lesbian goes to Space”. Every interview she did would have had questions about her sexuality. It would have just been annoying.
I understand Sally and Anderson. I admire Ellen! Did you know Ellen did not get work for years and Laura Dern did not get another job for a year and half just because she was on Ellen’s Coming Out show?
Ellen’s coming out interview with Oprah in 1997.
Updated 1/16/13 to add a great post in response to Jodie Foster “coming out” at the Golden Globe Awards: Silence of the Gays – why celebrities should come out and speak up! by Josef Church-Woods
*disclaimer: I LOVE OREOS! However, I do my best to keep them out of my house because if there is a package here I will most likely eat the whole thing.
Are you an other mother?
If so, I want to hear your story!
I’m currently in the process of writing a book about other mothers. Title is still yet to be determined but the subject is other mothers. Wondering what an other mother is? Read my past blog post here.
I am learning there are all sorts of women who feel like other mothers.
I am interested in hearing and writing about your stories. Your story can be kept completely confidential or I can give you credit, whatever you are most comfortable with.
If you have a story to share or know someone who does please send them my way.
Here are some suggestions of other mothers I’m interested in interviewing but I’m also open to ones I may not have mentioned below:
- chose not to have children
- were not able to have children
- were surrogate moms
- had abortions or miscarriages
- adopted children
- fostered children
- were/are teen moms
- are moms of teen moms
- divorced moms
- single moms
- lesbian/bi moms
- immigrant moms
- are disabled moms
- are moms of disabled children
- have children with mental illness
- seem like typical moms but don’t feel like they fit in
- are aunts, grandmas & others raising children who are not their own
- are in the military
- have husbands in the military or prison
- feel too young, old, poor, fat, ugly, etc
- are other mothers
- YOU – I want to hear your story
Please email me at email@example.com to share your story or share your story with all of us in a comment below.
Mother’s Day is coming up. This is a tough one for me. Not as a daughter but as a mother. It is a day that I am reminded of how society often disregards the other mothers of the world. I am one of those other mothers.
The number 1 question every woman is asked is, “Do you have children?” You might think this is a simple yes or no answer; it is not. Many women “have” children but did not actually “have” them. It is a complicated question to answer. Some women struggle with how much of an answer to give, I know I did.
I raised 3 children. I changed their diapers, wiped their snotty noses, made their lunches, consoled their hurt feelings, drove the carpool, gave up my own dream of going to graduate school, stayed home from work with sick kids, lost my hair during their teenage years and many nights of sleep. I laughed, cried, enjoyed, loved and hated parenting. But, when someone asks me if I have children and I say yes, I feel like I am not telling the whole truth. I do have children, I have 3 but I did not birth these children, my partner did and we have raised them together with her ex-husband and his wife. If I tell people the whole story their response is often “oh, you are not the real mom.” Being labeled “not the real mom” made it so I was not allowed to ever complain about parenting or my kids because if I did other mothers would say, “it’s different when it is your kid, or you wouldn’t understand since they are not actually your kids”.
These comments from others often shut me down, hurt me and made me wonder if it was okay to say yes I have kids. These comments also isolated me from the “Mom’s club” I wanted and needed so badly to be in. The Mom’s club is any group of moms that becomes friends because of their kids, moms at the park, moms who have kids in the same class, etc. They hang out together while their kids are doing activities and provide support to each other, share their trials and tribulations of raising kids and learn from each other. I felt so alone as a mother. I felt ashamed wondering what the other mothers thought of me. I was young, I was a lesbian and I was the cause for my partner’s (the real mother) divorce. Looking back now that my kids are young adults I realize those worries of what the other mothers thought of me were all created in my own head. I never even gave a chance to those other mothers to get to know me. The few that I did allow in throughout the parenting years are some of my best friends now.
I wish I wouldn’t have wasted so much of my mommy years wondering if I was good enough and realized that the fact that I was raising someone else’s kids was BETTER than good enough. I was sacrificing and doing things for those little snotty nosed people that usually only a “real” mother would do. I should NOT have been ashamed, I should have been celebrated. But a mother’s job doesn’t usually come with a lot of praise, I understand this.
The more I have talked with women, the more I have learned that this feeling like an ”other mother” is a common feeling. Even the traditional type of mom often feels like she doesn’t fit in; she’s too young, too old, too fat, too poor, not cool enough, works, doesn’t work, whatever it is, she feels she doesn’t fit in and she isolates herself from the other mothers.
Being in my position, the other mom, not the “REAL” mom and not even the step-mom pretty much makes me the invisible mom when it comes to acknowledgement from society and community support.
I have an idea for a book I want to write about other mothers. I want to interview all the other mothers out there and share their stories. I imagine there are all sorts of women who could identify with being an other mother: lesbian moms, step-moms, adoptive moms, foster moms, divorced moms, single moms, teen moms, immigrant moms, aunts, grandmas and other relatives raising children that are not their own, moms whose husbands are in prison or the military, women who chose not to be moms or were not able to be and fathers who have taken on the more traditional mommy role are all people whom I’d like to interview and hear their stories. I’m sure there other ‘other mother’s who I have failed to mention here as well. I’ve been tossing this book idea around in my head for a while but now I’ve decided I am going to do it. If you are interested in sharing your story with me and being a part of this book please contact me to arrange for an interview.
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Remembering those we’ve lost. World AIDS Day San Francisco.
SFist has some cool pics from World AIDS Day. In Hungary people walked inside a giant condom. And we thought we were the progressive ones.
California ranks second in the nation in cumulative AIDS cases at 157,719, surpassed only by New York. – San Francisco AIDS Foundation
What can you do? Visit http://www.sfaf.org/get-involved/index.html
In case you are wondering why we need to “come out”? Why we need to talk about it? Why we have to flaunt it in your face?
Here is the reason: there have been at least 6 gay children (that I know of) who have taken their own life since school started this year. In addition, in the last week there have been 2 more teen suicides right here in Marin County!
Last night I stumbled upon the It Gets Better campaign by the Trevor Project on YouTube.
I just wanted to say thank you to The Trevor Project and all those brave people who participated in telling their own stories.
It does get better! If you are straight, gay or anything in between and feeling alone or hopeless right now please ask for help. It does get better.
The Trevor Lifeline: 866-488-7386
National Suicide Hotline: 800-273-TALK (8255)
Also, wanted to thank Ellen DeGeneres for speaking out.
Before I tell you about all the fun Pride events happening around the bay this weekend I first want to address those of you who grumble things like “why do they have to celebrate pride?, I don’t care what you do behind closed doors, why do they always have to announce it?, and why do they have to use the word dyke?”.
Instead of boring you with my rant (because I could go on and on about this) I’m just going to say one thing.
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth are up to four times more likely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual peers, according to the Massachusetts 2006 Youth Risk Survey.
Okay two things… for those of you who wish I wouldn’t be so “out”… I get emails, tweets & Facebook messages from closeted people around the country thanking me for what I do. People terrified to come out of the closet because of their fear of how other people might treat them. People living is less tolerant places around this country and the world. People whose parents, friends and family have rejected them because they are gay. To quote Rodney King, “Why can’t we all just get along?” Just a thought: Maybe we could all start celebrating our commonalities instead of fighting about our differences. Imagine a world where we all get along.
Here are some of the gay Pride events going on this weekend:
Saturday, June 26, 2010
San Francisco Dyke March
Rally in Dolores Park 3–7 p.m.
at 18th St. & Dolores St.
World music deejay 12:30–3 p.m.
Stage performances begin at 3 p.m.
March begins at 7 p.m.
$5–$10 suggested donation.
SF Pride Celebration in Civic Center
Saturday, June 26, 2010
Noon to 6:00 p.m. – Civic Center
SF Pride Celebration
Noon to 7:00 p.m. – Civic Center
The Backstreet Boys will be performing at the Main Stage! (located in Civic Center next to City Hall)
Visit: SFpride.org for more info about all Pride events.
Pride events in Marin & the North Bay
Faces of Spectrum
Sunday, June 27, 2010
Golden Gate Ferry adds extra service for the Pride Parade
Saturday, August 14, 2010
Marin Pride 2010
Photos from the 2009 SF Pride Parade
Another reason why I love the Bay Area so much! We have the coolest futon store ever! Mary’s Futon is hosting a comedy show in her store! You actually get to sit on the futons while you watch comedy. I’ve been before and it’s a great show! This time one of my favorite comedians, Julie Goldman will be there!
The show is on Sunday, June 13th, 2010. Doors open at 6:30pm.
More info here: http://marysfutons.com/Futon_Comedy_94903.html
All Beverage proceeds benefit Spectrum LGBT Center of Marin
Join us for our no-host bar before the show,
And help us celebrate Paula Pilecki’s Birthay!
*warning strong language in video