THE GREAT TRANS LAMENT (AGAIN)

In a landmark moment for lesbians and gays in America, another amongst many over the last few years, “the Supreme Court on Wednesday struck down the 1996 law blocking federal recognition of gay marriage, and it allowed gay marriage to resume in California.” http://nbcpolitics.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/06/26/19151971 As the LGBT world’s collectively held breath exasperates in a crescendo of joy, it is difficult still to catch a glimpse of perspective. It is hard to know, as the euphoria winds down, just what it all means and what I should feel.

I am of course elated for Edith Windsor, and hope she feels the sense of vindication that I feel. I hope also that the IRS is forced to pay her estate taxes back, together with penalty and interest in a like amount to what she would have to pay had the tables been turned. I am tickled pink-er, for gay friends in Butte, America, who announced their engagement only this week. I am ecstatic for the LGBT Equality Movement, and its ever escalating advancement toward full justice and inclusion.

Yet, for me, something is missing. I have this niggling sense that for all the good that is happening around me, and the excitement that it brings me, it is not really meant for me. While I may share the joy, I may not reap the blessing. For it brings to mind yet again the great trans-lament, and just how far we still have to go. Who will accept me enough into the full fabric of society to love me? Who will lie next to me, hold me close and keep me safe? Who will share their life with me? Who will marry me?

It is a struggle that not even the LGBT community collectively can get their head around, let alone the broader world of which I am equally a part. For example, some of the larger world remains blissfully ignorant of even the larger LGBT struggle. In my exuberance this morning I burst in on a co-worker and said, “DOMA is unconstitutional!” In truly Ozzie-esque fashion she replied, “What’s DOMA?” If the larger world is not even aware of the LGBT struggle for marriage equality, how on earth will they understand the trans struggle to even get a date?

It begs the question: What is equality? And just what is its genesis? We can say that we seek to be equal in our application of the laws of the land, and we should. We should scream it from the rooftops. But, what about ideas, philosophies and judgements? Should we not seek an even playing field with these too? Let me put a finer point on this that might sting a little.

I have been playing the field of the on-line dating scene off and on for the last year or so – with absolutely no degree of success. That’s right – not a single date from the on-line sites including Planet Sapho, Cupid, Tagged and Are You Interested. Planet Sapho is more like planet scamo. Cupid and Sapho are related I’m pretty sure. Tagged is for people who take vicarious pleasure through sending e-porn back & forth, and for foreigners who look for love in all the wrong places (like 1000s of miles away where dates are literally impossible). Are You Interested is yet another way for Mark Zuckerberg to suck the ever living advertising dollar out of the world before we all get fed up with Facebook.

The faults and foibles of these sites notwithstanding, my experience has been remarkably repetitive on way too numerous occasions. I have been scammed, slammed, avoided, evaded , judged and condemned – everything but loved. Here’s what happens. Gay guys may think the world of me, but they are gay, okay. Straight guys always call me dear right off the bat – I mean in the very first message. And I know immediately where it is headed. They will profess great and enduring love for me, for my picture, my smile and my wondrous beauty, then evaporate when I reveal my transgender nature. And reveal it I must for the tragic potential of omission. Plus, all I have to do is Google my name to see that there is absolutely no potential to live in stealth.

Then there is the lesbian reaction which is perhaps the most deflating and discouraging of all because, for reasons we shall see, I identify as a lesbian. First, the story. I have loved women all of my life, and I have felt in heart and soul for just as long that I am a woman. Before I ask you to do the math, let me ask you to consider what determines our gender? It is physical or, God forbid, merely our genitals? Or does it include the way we think, feel and believe? Can a manly woman be a man despite the lack of a penis? Can I be a woman despite the lack of reproductive organs? I do not hold the answers to these questions, but this I know; If I was not always a woman I defy anyone to deny me that description now. I have at the very least become a whole woman in body, mind and soul. Yet, when I come out to a would-be suitor, she turns me down flat every time, unless of course, it’s a scam. I do not get it.

I know my way around a woman, really! As a dude, I was all that and a bag of peanuts, or something. I always had dates. I dated many girls in high school and college, even married a couple. Once, with my ex-wife, we counted up the number of people we had made love to. I suppose it was in the interest of full disclosure prompted by the pre-marital blood test. I do not think that I have made love to fifty women, but, I know it was more than thirty. This is not about conquest, and I write this just to say that I do know how to make love to a woman. I know what works, and what does not. I know how to give and take love, to have, hold and help her . . .and the weird thing for me is that I was always a woman even though she thought she was with a man.

Yet, though I live and love as a woman in all respects and am capable of great emotional support and attachment, and sexual pleasure, I am somehow off-limits to lesbians. I cannot figure it out, and that is the trans-lament. I belabor this point to demonstrate an even greater and more fundamental point – discrimination and prejudice lie much closer to the heart than most of us are willing to admit, for to do so would mean that we must cast it aside. I suspect few of us are prepared to do so.

My greatest fear as we secure marriage equality (it appears ever increasingly certain that we will) is that many if not most LGB activists will abandon the movement. They will stop pressing for other rights and greater equality. So, I write this rant. I reveal myself to the possibility of disagreement and perhaps ridicule, not out of self pity but as a plea. Please do not let the pendulum stop swinging.

How the Internet Turned Red to Support Marriage

rad-equality

COLORADO: Civil Unions Bill To Be Heard By Senate Committee Next Week

From Joe My God: 

English: Great Seal of the State of Colorado

English: Great Seal of the State of Colorado (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On Wednesday the Colorado Senate Judiciary Committee will begin hearings on a proposed civil unions bill.

Senate Bill 11 would “authorize any 2 unmarried adults, regardless of gender, to enter into a civil union.” Last year, the Colorado House failed to vote on a civil union bill before the end of a special session of the legislature. This legislative session, democrats control the majority in the House and Senate. House Speaker Mark Ferrandino (D – Denver) says he would like to have a civil unions bill on Governor Hickenlooper’s desk by Valentine’s Day but has acknowledge it may take more time to get the bill through both chambers. 

Hot on the heels of Washington marriage equality, and with Wyoming considering marriage equality (and a civil unions bill), looks like the west may be getting more savvy.

Donors For Marriage Equality Dwarfed Those Who Opposed It

 

 

Human Rights Campaign 2791

Human Rights Campaign 2791 (Photo credit: tedeytan)

From HRC Blog:
The number of contributors who gave in support of marriage for gay and lesbian couples was thirteen times greater – about 133,000 compared to an estimated 10,500 – than those giving financial resources to oppose marriage equality. That’s according to a new analysis HRC released today.

 

Polls consistently show – USA Today/Gallup and ABC News/Washington Post being the latest examples – that a majority of Americans support committed gay and lesbian couples getting a marriage license.

 

HRC obtained financial contribution data in each of the four states through the Maine Ethics Commission, Maryland Board of Elections, Minnesota Campaign Finance & Public Disclosure Board and Washington Public Disclosure Commission. Supplemental data was obtained from each of the pro-marriage equality ballot committees to account for small donors not required to be itemized by law.  Anti-marriage equality donor information was aggregated from currently available public reports and estimates of non-itemized contributions.

 

Pro-equality groups raised more than $34 million in the four states, mostly from small donors. Anti-marriage equality campaigns raised $12 million, of which nearly two-thirds ($8 million) came from just three sources: the National Organization for Marriage, the Catholic Church and its affiliate the Knights of Columbus.

 

NOM, the largest funder in all four states to defeat marriage equality, saw a one-third decline in contributions for 2011, with two donors providing 75 percent of its funding, according to tax returns obtained last month by HRC.

 

 

 

BREAKING: Supreme Court will hear DOMA discrimination case and Proposition 8 case in 2013

From Freedom To Marry:

By Adam Polaski
Dec 07, 2012 at 03:25 pm

Moments ago, the Supreme Court announced in an order that it has decided to hear the Proposition 8 case and a challenge to the so-called Defense of Marriage Act in 2013. Now, the Court must schedule the cases for oral arguments, which are likely to be heard in the spring of 2013. We should hear final news on rulings in both cases by June of 2013.

Our founder and president Evan Wolfson reflected on the news that the Supreme Court will hear Windsor v. United States, one of the key challenges to DOMA:

By agreeing to hear a case against the so-called Defense of Marriage Act, the Court can now move swiftly to affirm what 10 federal rulings have already said: DOMA’s  ‘gay exception’ to how the federal government treats married couples violates the Constitution and must fall. When it comes to the whole federal safety net that comes with marriage – access to Social Security survivorship, health coverage, family leave, fair tax treatment, family immigration, and over 1000 other protections and responsibilities – couples who are legally married in the states should be treated by the federal government as what they are: married.

With the clock now ticking on a Supreme Court marriage decision in 2013, it is more urgent than ever that we make the same strong case for the freedom to marry in the court of public opinion that our advocates are making in the courts of law. With momentum from Election Day victories for the freedom to marry in Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, and Washington, the way to maximize our chances of winning in court over the next several months is to win more states and win over more hearts and minds. We can show the justices that when they do the right thing, it will stand the test of time and be true to where the American people already are.

He also commented on the Court’s decision to hear the Proposition 8 case, Hollingworth v. Perry:

Gay and lesbian couples in California – and indeed, all over the country – now look to the Supreme Court to affirm that the Constitution does not permit states to strip something as important as the freedom to marry away from one group of Americans.

Windsor v. United States dates back to November 2010, when the American Civil Liberties Union filed suit on behalf of Edie Windsor, the 83-year-old widowed lesbian from New York who sued the government for the $363,000 in estate taxes that she was forced to pay under DOMA following the death of her late partner Thea Spyer in 2010. Windsor and Spyer were together for more than 40 years and wed in Canada in 2007. Because of DOMA, their marriage was not respected by the federal government.

In June 2012, U.S. District Court Judge Barbara Jones sided with Windsor by ruling DOMA’s Section 3 – which explicitly restricts marriage to different-sex couples – unconstitutional. In October 2012, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit upheld that lower ruling, and the case was subsequently petitioned to be heard by the nation’s highest court.

The Proposition 8 case, Hollingworthy v. Perry (formerly Perry v. Brown) dates back to March 2009, when the American Foundation for Equal Rights filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California to challenge the constitutionality of Proposition 8. Prop 8, which passed in California on November 4, 2008, is a citizens’ initiative that repealed the freedom to marry in the state, overturning a May 2008 decision from the California Supreme Court legalizing marriage for same-sex couples across the state.

You can help Freedom to Marry create the climate for pro-marriage decisions in both the Prop 8 trial and the DOMA trial. Tell us that you’re on the Right Side of History by DONATING TODAY. 

Yeah, I left the donation link in for a reason….
Help if you can.
~G

Marry Them Today

From Sean Chapin- a new song and video aimed at people voting about marriage equality in Minnesota, Maine, Washington and Maryland. From Sean:

“Next month, four states will be voting on marriage equality: Washington, Maine, Minnesota and Maryland. With this in mind, I’ve written an original song and produced a music video in hopes of helping change the hearts and mind of voters in these four states, and it is called “Marry Them”. Please feel free to share this video to those you know. “

And yeah, I teared up.

Resigned Priests Come Out For Marriage Equality

by newwaysministryblog

Marriage Equality USA logo

Resigned priests are starting to emerge as a strong moral voice in support of marriage equality.  Earlier this year, 80 resigned priestsmade a statement in support of marriage equality.  This week, a group of 63 resigned priests in Washington State have made a public statement in support of the referendum to legalize marriage for gay and lesbian couples.

Reuters quoted from the statement to explain the group’s reason for making their views known:

“We feel the bishops are abusing their power in attempting to direct Catholics on how to vote on this civil matter and impose their position on all citizens, Catholic and non-Catholic.”

Pat Callahan, a church-goer who had been a priest for 15 years, organized the effort, and explained another motivation to Reuters:

“Progressive-thinking Catholics need the reassurance that there is more than one authentic Catholic position.”

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer cites a passage from the resigned priests’ statement:

“Nothing in this legislation infringes on religious rights or restricts the Catholic Church from maintaining its own standards for sacramental marriage:  It simply provides the protection of civil law so that same sex couples may enjoy a set of civil and human rights involving health, financial and end-of-life decisions,” said the former priests, who remain active Catholics.

“We regret that our Washington State Catholic bishops have chosen to oppose Marriage Equality and attempt to impose what we feel is a very narrow point of view on all society.”

A separate Post-Intelligencer article reports that the  former priests’s statement comes right after one of Washington State’s bishops issued a pastoral letter against the referendum:

“In the latest pastoral letter,  Bishop Joseph J. Tyson of the Diocese of Yakima told his 41 parishes that Referendum 74 ‘jeopardizes freedom rather than expands it” and “endangers our religious liberty and the rights of conscience.’

“ ‘Once marriage is redefined as a genderless contract, it will become legally discriminatory for public and private institutions such as schools to promote the unique meaning of marriage . . .This law will challenge our right to educate about the unique value of children being raised by his or her own mother and father in a stable home,’ Tyson wrote.

Tyson’s letter was directly countered by Catholics for Marriage Equality Washington:

“We are shocked when we read the language and examples used by our bishops to incite fear in our Catholic brothers and sisters if Referendum 74 passes.  The message of Jesus is love and compassion, not fear.”

The former priests’ letter comes from a perspective with an immense amount of moral credibility: 1) they are men trained in theology and years of pastoral experience under their belts; 2) many of them are married and have raised families–perhaps even some with lesbian and gay children–and so they know the practical realities of love and relationship; 3) they are men who have been marginalized by church structures, so they know what it means to be excluded.

Their witness is a powerful testimony to both love of the church and the cause of justice and equality.

–Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry