Category Archives: Gay Things

He’s My Husband Not My Couch

Language is an arbitrary system of articulated sounds made use of by a group of humans as a means of carrying on the affairs of their society (Francis 1958:13) [my emphasis]

I think that’s close to the definition my mom shared with me over three decades ago as we discussed reading, writing, and the power of both. I was in elementary school then and am relying on memory now, but the impression it made on me has kept 80% of her exact wording intact despite no active effort on my part to remember it.

We are so used to using words, we sometimes forget that words in and of themselves have no inherent meaning. One doesn’t go digging out in the desert and uncover the word “Dog”, or even “Sand” for that matter. Rather we develop a system where we can make an utterance that another fellow user of that system will understand we are talking about dog and sand if that is what we are needing to convey to them.

Persons who oppose marriage equality often accuse me of redefining marriage. But that’s misunderstanding how language works. Definitions, like cultures, are never static. They come out of society’s need to communicate certain ideas, not the other way around.

This need is society dependent. As such, between any two societies there can be whole swaths of words that are utterly absent from one or the other, or are at the least quite cumbersome to translate if they can be translated at all.

For purposes of this blog entry, the Yanomamo tribe of Indians comes to mind. Familial relationships are important to them in carrying out their affairs. So where we use the generic word Aunt and Uncle to describe a sibling of either our mother or our father, they have a separate word for each, instantly letting the listener know with a high degree of specificity what the person’s exact relationship is to them.

Likewise, when I am allowed to use the word husband to describe Gary — which I am prevented from doing so in the course of filling out any number of heterosexist forms, such as taxes — any listener or reader in my culture instantly knows where he fits into my life.

They know we are not shacked up. They know I’m not referencing a business partner. They don’t think he is just one of many others in my life who are significant. Nor do they think I am referring to a fellow member of a union that requires dues.

And they sure as heck don’t think I’m talking about the davenport in my living room, the Internet, or cell phones.

Only someone being deliberately ignorant would claim to be confused by my use of husband. Only the slyly disingenuous would say they do not know what I am meaning when I say, He is my husband. Only those who are being maliciously incendiary would assert that I’m using the term husband in some wholly foreign way comparable to using it to refer to a tree or a rock or a box turtle.

For we as a society have a common bond of shared language that allows this effective, and wholly unambiguous, piece of straightforward — and honest — communication:

I am married.

I have a husband.

His name is Gary.

Three simple sentences that you don’t have to be smarter than a fifth grader to understand. Nor do you need a dictionary for comprehension.

The Necessitation of Sexual Orientation Revelation

EMT Timothy McCormick was killed Saturday night.

He was gay, an eagle scout, and on duty. Those three words — gay, scout, and duty — are important ones and should be said loud and clear, in that order, over and over again.  They need to be Klaxon loud until deaf America hears.

To do so is not playing politics, pushing an agenda or showing disrespect. To NOT do so would be more accurately described as possessing such attributes and is exactly the kind of subtle inaction anti-gay factions promote in their fabrication of reality.

We are having discussions of the discriminatory sexual orientation policy of the Boys Scouts of America in the unreal world of there being no gays in the scouts. The real world is where gays are already there and have shown their mettle rising up through the ranks from Cub Scout to Eagle Scout. You’re damn right it is important that Timothy was an Eagle Scout AND gay.

We are having discussions of marriage equality in the unreal Micah Clark world of gays not caring about anyone but themselves. The real world is where gays not only care about others but are actively engaged — on duty — in jobs that serve and protect adults and children alike. You’re damn right it is important that Timothy was an EMT AND gay.

We are having discussions of sex education in the Stacey Campfield unreal world of gays wanting to recruit children. The real world is where self-identified LGBT children are being bullied and it is society as a whole that needs better sex education.

The fact that in the real world Timothy made an It Gets Better video empowering such kids is damn important, too.

A crucial step in disenfranchising a class is rendering that class invisible in the social sphere. This allows malicious artists of the unreal the opportunity to paint broad brushstrokes of generalizations. The best counter to such sweeping statements is specificity.

The kind of specificity that necessitates constant, continuous, and unrelenting revelation of sexual orientation.

Such call for action might be construed as a call for gays being in your face about their –and others — sexual orientation. You’re damn right it is such a call.

For It has to be that way as long as blind America keeps on turning its head and omitting us from obituaries, wedding announcements, and any other normal societal frame of reference that humanizes us and the people whom we love.

Timothy’s death was a tragedy, make no mistake about that. But to not draw attention to his sexual orientation would be a travesty.

Timothy McCormick, may you rest in peace.

And may the world in which you lived keep on getting better.

Not Enough Compasses

We have too many laws and not enough compasses.

I was going to write about Mr. Marsh of Marsh Supermarkets and his curious claim that he was unaware of being under a code of conduct during his employment.  I have strong opinions about morality versus law (or code or policy or commandment).

Obeying or not obeying some edict or other has little to do with being moral. Many religions drive me crazy with their specious claims to morality. If you are only doing or not doing something for fear of punishment by the Big G in the sky, the policeman down the street, or your mum and dad, you may be curbing behavior but you are certainly not automatically being moral.

Instead, you are just a dog not pissing on the carpet for fear of the master’s lash.

I thought I would write on this and segue into Boy Scouts territory with a deconstruction of “morally straight” in their oath. I would talk about the shallow absurdity of believing that straight refers to “put your penis there but not there.”

But I think I might write about a dead raccoon instead.

Living in the city, I do not see a decent variety of wildlife. But my husband and I have started feeding the stray cats that come by and that has attracted other creatures, like birds and dogs and squirrels. And, until now, the raccoon.

He loved our house. After eating, he would shimmy up the wooden beams on our porch and hang out on our roof.

Last night I came home from the SGI Buddhist Center. As I parked in the street I saw him about fifteen feet in front of me. Dead.

Ran-over. Killed. Murdered.

He was so beautiful up there on our roof; a beautiful that will be no more.

Today I sent a service request to the Mayor’s Action Center. It’s an efficient site. I just picked the correct options from drop down boxes: dead animal — raccoon — location.  There are laws governing such things and I did my part, my civic duty, by reporting it.

But such action on my part wasn’t moral. It was functional,  behavioral, and responsible, but not moral. Morality can certainly include those three things, but those things can also be separate.

Instead, morality is the feeling I get when I contribute to the beautiful, whether on the rooftop or elsewhere in the world. It is the pit I feel in my stomach, like it’s been hollowed out, when I see the once beautiful now just so much discarded meat in the road.

Morality requires action, but it also requires a feeling; an emotional pull on the needle of your personal moral compass that keeps you heading in the right direction.

Passing laws or policies has little to do with instilling people with their own moral compasses. But the good news is that compasses come pre-installed. There just aren’t enough compasses being used as we too often settle on the ease — and empty morality — of simply obeying the rules.

It is time for us to move beyond canine obedience into human compassion.

Think Progress.

There is No Wife

There is no wife, plain and simple.

A comment in the Indy Star that was probably only half-joking asked me how Gary and I decided who the “husband” was and who was the “wife”. I had referred to Gary as my husband in my post, which prompted his display of either his ignorance or what he thinks is humor.

Either way, I thought I would spend some time on this topic, which might actually be on the mind of even some otherwise enlightened people. In the above paragraph, I do not use ignorance as a pejorative. Ignorance can be a bridge if we want it to be.

Now how I’m going to explain things is from my view. That should be a given, but sometimes it isn’t as much a given as you would expect. I do not represent Gay People but only my gay self. Still, I hope my perspective sheds light.

Usually when people are thinking of being a wife, they are meaning who is the “female”. And, as is the mind of the typical American, that usually cashes out as who is the “female” when you have sex, which further cashes out as who is penetrated.

Sex and love reduced to penetration has an unfortunately rich religious history (Paul the apostle’s writings, for example) which is probably why it is so maliciously pervasive. But there are a couple other erroneous reductions to roles that likewise contribute to misunderstanding of being gay that I think might make for a better first grasp than jumping headfirst into penises and where they go.

These other reductions typically lump distinctly different concepts together. They surely can be together, as many concepts can be, but it is the failure to mentally understand that they are indeed distinct that bring about ignorance.

The first, gender appearance.

Some persons are more comfortable to wear clothes more appropriate of the opposite gender. Now that is worth an essay in itself as to how “appropriate” gets constructed by a social group. But the point is, it is a commonplace enough notion that at our wedding someone asked us who was going to wear the dress.

I don’t own a dress. Gary doesn’t own a dress. We wear “men’s” clothes as far as I know, as that is what we are comfortable wearing. This does not take a stand for or against men, gay or straight, who wear “women’s” clothes. It is just to make the often lost distinction that being gay has nothing to do with the clothes you wear.

You can be gay and wear a dress. You can be gay and wear pants. You can be straight and wear a dress. You can be straight and wear pants.

Gender identity.

Some persons are more comfortable identifying with themselves (their societal “role”, which again is another loaded word beyond the scope of this piece) as someone anatomically (by at least physical appearances) of the opposite gender.

This identity is separate from Gender appearance and sexual identity. An anatomical male who knows his identity is a female isn’t necessarily attracted to men. He can be, or rather she can be, but the anatomy of the body’s matching the brain’s gender identification is wholly separate from sexual orientation.

For myself, and Gary’s, our bodies anatomically match our gender identification.

The point is that all three distinctions — sexual orientation, appearance, and anatomical matching — can be present in any possible combination, and are. But they are always three separate components that have come together to make the whole person, rather than being automatically bundled up together.

So back to the person’s remark.

I am a man, comfortable with being physically a man, who loves another man who is comfortable being physically a man, and loves me as a man. Could there be cases of “gay” that don’t follow our form of being gay, and perhaps there is a “wife” present?

Sure. As I said all combinations are possible. Though the term “wife” itself is probably as loaded as gender-appropriate clothing.

And besides, I don’t think the person making the comment was really trying to find out what my “combination” of identity factors was, but was simply confounding them into so much gay soup.

And as for the sex part of our lives…

Gary and I know where are parts go. And quite frankly, we’re the only ones who need to know it.

And if you think you still need to know who puts what into which hole in order to understand what being gay is, I think you’re still missing the point of all the words I’ve written here.

And I don’t know what else I can say.

Volunteering at Indy Pride

Gary and I volunteered at Indy Pride today, doing a shift at the SGI-USA (a gay-friendly Buddhist organization) booth and also a shift at the Indiana Youth Group (the only state-wide organization focused on supporting LGBTQ youth) booth. We did the last shift there at IYG, so we helped tear down afterwards.

Large events like this pose some challenges for me:

I have some mild face-blindness (Thank you Oliver Sacks for my now having a name for what I thought was just me — Prosopagnosia)  so people often will recognize me but I will have to embarrassingly ask “Who are you?”

My spatial-directional sense is frequently crappy, so I often get disoriented, having to repeatedly hunt for the same booth.

I dislike crowds and the nature of this event means a large crowd is a good thing.

And lastly I’m not a very social person (which shouldn’t be taken for anti-social, which is a completely different thing (I hope)).

But nevertheless, I feel compelled to attend the event, work the event, and otherwise show my pride through action. For pride is not something static, but a way of conduct as a whole. As Aristotle put it, it is the “crown of the virtues” and rightly so. The Christian idea of it being a sin wrongly conflates it with arrogance, when really it is better understood as sister to worth.

For we should all feel a value in ourselves that allows us to be ourselves. As one of the T-shirts at the event proclaimed: Be Who You Are.

A high school boy came over to the IYG booth. He said he was so glad there was an organization like IYG and he’s trying to get the word out to his friends about it. For a lot of them are gay, but the school they attend is private and the kids are forced to be closeted. He is trying to start a related group at his school, but he has to be discreet and call it something else, for in the administration’s eyes the kids have no fundamental right to be who they are.

Pride is wanting to reclaim ourselves from those who would try to tell us we must be molded into their image. Pride is developing the ability to correctly point out to any number of arrogant fucks that it is they who have no fundamental right to tell us who we are.

Pride in the current age has to be more than: I’m here, I’m queer, get used  to it.

It needs to be: You see, I’m me, and frankly I don’t have time for you to get used to it, so you better get out of my way. I am here, I am queer and I am here to stay.

A (possible) Gay Future

I was on You Tube just poking around and trying to find old sitcoms such as What A Dummy (no luck). I ended up watching a funny scene from War at Home (Kenny is Gay clip), which led me to a clip from the show where their son, played by Dean Collins, has taken up being nude around the house.

Also a very funny clip and I wasn’t expecting to go all serious and tender and romantic, but, lo and behold, to my right a clip from El cor of the ciutat, a Catalan television series.

I’ve been impressed with the way Days of Our Lives has been handling their gay story line, as it’s very believable and is played well… but wow, it is so empowering to see this much more progressive gay portrayal of love in these scenes from a televsion show across the pond.

When you live in a country like the USA where it seems like many people want to yank us back to slavery and closets, it is such a breath of fresh air to realize there are some countries actually moving forward as if this were the 21st century.

Props to you, TVC!

Connie Lawson, Secretary of Hate

My e-mail to former Senator new Secretary of State Connie Lawson:

Dear Secretary of State Connie Lawson,

Your signature on the letter to the BMV asking for the removal of their specialty plate shows severe deficiencies in your ability to serve all Hoosiers. You should resign your new appointment as Secretary of State.

As a citizen, you are free to hate gay youth the way you evidently do. But the state shouldn’t give you a paycheck for it.

John D Fox
[tweeting this blog page under #ProfessionalBigot]

Not Green but Red

It’s St Patrick’s Day. March 17. That’s what my calendar tells me.
It also tells me it’s 2012. 2012? Really? You could have fooled me.

We have long since passed the millennium, yet my husband Gary and I keep fighting the same battle for equality. I’m sure some people get tired of me writing/ranting/speaking about anti-gay stuff; but try to imagine how tired we get of living it.

The latest attack by the people elected to serve us was on kids. The only gay youth group in Indiana finally got approval for a specialty plate. They were selling well. Then, at the eleventh hour of their session, our state government, having failed to be able to legislate it away, pressured the BMV to pull the plate for reasons that are specious at best.

Gary has written a blog about it, along with the senators involved, which you can link to here. Politics is more his area than mine and he does a better job of that type of explication/exposure/fact-checking.

My educational background is in philosophy and I articulate it via my fiction. I write stories that I hope will entertain as well as subtly stimulate some new thoughts or reconsiderations of old thoughts in at least some of those entertained people.

Subtlety is one of the reasons I prefer fiction. Oh, I do have a definite moral vision in mind when I write as well as a philosophical space from which I am coming. But I try to keep my focus on describing the “real” fiction events in a “this is what happened” way that hopefully leaves it up to the reader to draw their own conclusions about the good, the bad, and the ugly.

For I firmly believe it is up to people to decide such things for themselves.

But the state of our state forces me to be more direct.

Lawmakers practice deceit, so I must be an outspoken champion of honesty to counter it.  Hate groups spread lies so I must be an outspoken bringer of truth to expose it. Unholy religious leaders subvert faith to warp kids’ minds so I must be an outspoken evangelist of what’s sacred.

For how are people free to decide for themselves when the triumvirate above alone crowds their ears and eyes with the white noise of their malevolence?

It makes me so angry I see red. And it makes me want to cut through that red into a greener world. I want my words to rain down on my — our — world so full of beautiful potential and leave in its aftermath a vibrant rainbow for anyone — and everyone — to see.

Different Kinds of Gay Sex

Oh, I don’t mean like anal or oral or krámpack.

I mean like buying him flowers for Valentine’s Day, kissing him good-night, or making him his favorite meal. OR I could mean like being excessively jealous, physically abusive, or pressuring him into doing something he doesn’t want to do.

But wait, you might say, those things don’t sound like kinds of sex at all, but more like relationship-type things. And you’d be right. And you’d be wrong.

For sex IS about the relationship; that is, a manifestation of it. Sex never comes detached from relationships. Even having “no relationship” sex is still having a relationship in the same vein as choosing not to decide is still making a choice (check out Freewill by Rush).

Yet time and again the opponents of marriage equality and “gayness” in general keep resorting to a bizarre genital checklist in their quasi-analysis:

Penis. Check. Vagina. Check. Ok, good. Penis Check. Ass. Che-wait a minute. Not good, not good. Danger Will Robinson, danger.

with the only quality of a good and proper marriage for them seeming to be if there is a penis-vagina connection, or potential connection going on.

When they talk of “traditional” marriages and “same-sex” marriages, I never hear considerations raised like:

Do they love one another?

Do they treat each other with respect?

Do they care about one another?

Instead it all goes back to an unwavering penis-vagina ideology where black eyes, affairs, or spousal rape are inconsequential in the consideration of the marriage’s worth.

I just don’t understand that mindset at all. There is lots of sex in my stories. Writing from a gay perspective, penis-ass is frequently a given. But not all penis-ass arrangements are equal, with the dynamics of the relationship as a whole manifesting in the act.
In my eyes, there is a world of difference between love and rape; between sticking by him and just sticking it in; and between being with him and just being in him. For me, the genitals involved are just that: genitals. Far more important to me than how the sex organs matchup is how the persons attached to the sex organs matchup.

But then again, what the hell do I know about marriage?

Your penis, his ass? Sorry. Not valid. Find a vagina and you can join our club.

 Forget 17 years. Forget stormy and sunny weather. Forget sickness and health and until death do you part.

Just repeat after us: “Traditional marriage is between a [penis] and a [vagina].”