Posts Tagged ‘America

03
Nov
12

My Mom, Joe Biden and I all agree, Transgender Discrimination is the ‘Civil Rights Issue of Our Time’

The Vice President of the United States of America giving my Mom a great big bear hug!

So, as many of you might know, my incredibly adorable and emotionally opinionated, old hippie Mom made quite a splash this week.  She had the chance opportunity to meet Vice President Joe Biden, who was coming out of the Democratic Party Headquarters in Sarasota Florida when he spotted my Mom’s big blue eyes and made a bee-line to her to give her a big old bear hug!  It was just serendipity that my Mom was next door at her hairdressers when VP Biden was in town.  She didn’t even know the Dem Headquarters were in that building!

But when my Mom saw the Secret Service guys and found out who they were there to protect, she put on a fresh coat of lipstick and talked her way through the checkpoints.  We’re a lot alike that way.  It’s little coincidence that I became a genuine Pageant Queen (Miss Trans New England 2009), or that I’ve got a lot of opinions myself, that I am never afraid to say and say it LOUD!  It’s just how I was raised.

The further details of this encounter are easy to find.  The last time I googled, “Biden + Transgender” the results were hovering around one and a half million, with over 600 ‘news’ hits.  Suffice it to say though that my Mom, when she had the opportunity to say a few words to the Vice President of The United States of America, spoke of her transgender daughter and the imperative need to help transgender people achieve full civil rights!

My Mom posing proudly with her blonde curly locked transgender daughter.

I know that the resulting statement from Biden that “Transgender Discrimination Is ‘The Civil Rights Issue Of Our Time’” was somewhat surprising for most of the world to hear. In fact he is not far from correct in his statement.  Though even as a trans woman whose main focus is on the struggle for FULL Transgender Equality, I would remind folks that the fight for trans rights is ultimately about a fight for Human Rights for all who are oppressed.  Even so, it was surprising for most of the world to hear the VP make such a strong statement in support of transgender people.

But it wasn’t surprising to me folks!  This is the woman who raised me!  The woman who, when I was a baby and she was asked to be the featured speaker at a Feminist Rally, angrily declined when they expressed discomfort at her male-bodied child being present (In hindsight, seriously ironic…).  This is the woman who built the house I grew up in with her own freaking hands!!  And who convinced our local Rep, Speaker Of The House, “Tip” O’Neill to help her get in the program that allowed her to do so.

My Mom standing excitedly by my side moments after I won the title of Miss Trans New England.

My Mother is a woman who has never been afraid to speak her mind.  Something she also raised me to do.  A woman who, when she has something that she cares passionately about, and there’s nothing she cares more passionately about than her transgender daughter, is very good at getting people to do what she wants.  So no, I was not surprised to hear that Joe Biden, after being drawn in by my Mom’s Irish Eyes a-Smiling, said exactly what she wanted him to say!

I have been very proud of my Mom not only for being so supportive of me and working so very hard to raise me to be the person I am today.  But also for the tireless efforts she puts in to try and be a friend and ally to the whole trans community.  And when she encounters those who are alone and rejected by their own families, she never hesitates to be as much of a surrogate family member to them as health and distance allow her to be.

Though I am an only child myself, through my Mom’s Love I have found a growing network of Brothers and Sisters (and Zisters!).  Her example reminds me constantly that we are not simply a community, we are a Family!

And yes, I’m pretty much bursting with pride that my Mom, Linda Carragher Bourne, changed the world just a little bit this week.  Proud that she made the public discourse over the issue of anti-transgender discrimination just a little bit louder by getting the man who holds the second highest office in the country to amplify the heck out of it!

And with that dear readers, I duly turn my blog over to my Mom.  Who has something she would like to say directly to all of you.  I’d strongly recommend that you listen.  Not that you have any more choice in the matter than even the Vice President of The United States!

Good Evening, Friends! Hope you’re enjoying your Friday “reprieves!”

Now. We have PRECISELY FOUR DAYS until Election Day. That’s not much at ALL.

I shall be putting together a Blog very soon, but, time is of the essence, and I shall not wait one single more minute to say what needs to be said!


Yeah. Luck was with me, this week, at the Democratic Headquarters here in Sarasota. I got to “catch the eye” of Vice President Joe Biden. I got to SAY to him, basically, “Our Transgender Population, which includes SO VERY MANY Loved Ones & Friends, is NOT reaping ANY Benefits of Constitutionally Affirmed Civil Rights, HUMAN RIGHTS!”

Biden, in turn, responded that Transgender Rights is “a (or “the,” depending on which news source you are reading; personally, I can’t exactly recall. Just being honest here, Friends.) ‘Civil Rights Issue of Our Time.” It was a wonderful moment, for me, personally, for my trans daughter, my countless number of Transgender Friends! It was also, let’s be frank, kind of adorable. The Hug. The sweetness of “it all.”

K. That’s DONE now, Friends. That’s YESTERDAY’S NEWS! I cannot stress that point ENOUGH! I was blessed with the HUGE opportunity to Speak OUT for Trans Rights. I was, apparently, “heard,” evidently agreed with.

Now. This Old Granny Rabble Rouser was lucky enough to “light the match.” However, the Community Organizer, from past days, rises up in me and SHOUTS: TIME’S AWASTIN’!!! We need ACTIONS! We need them more than EVER! We need them RIGHT NOW!

I am here PLEADING with each and every one of you to whom ANY Human Rights are held dear, most especially to those who are working day & night to achieve RIGHTS for Our Precious Transgender Population (which is MUCH larger than “folks” want t’ know!), to GET OUT THERE! TO MAKE SOME NOISE! To share YOUR STORIES! Wherever, However, with the Largest “audience” that you can REACH!!! This is CRUCIAL, Peeps!

I want EVERY SINGLE ONE OF YOU (yes YOU!!!) to be at YOUR Local Polling Place on this coming Tuesday, with your voices, with your willingness to share YOUR TRUTHS…and, yes, with your SIGNS! The ones that will inform EVERY SINGLE “about to vote” voter that YOUR LIVES and LIVELIHOODS ARE AT STAKE in this Election.

The SOLE possibility for Transgender Rights being ANYWHERE near supported, endorsed, at the Federal Level, lies with an Obama/Biden “Win.” There is ZERO possibility for anything but fewer rights, more violence, more untethered bullying and Hatred (Hate CRIMES! Loss of LIVES!!!) if their Republican Opponents are inducted into the Office of Presidency/Vice Presidency of OUR United States. ZERO. ZIP. NADA.

So. GET OUT THERE, Lovies! Make a NOISE! Be your SweetSWEET selves, but, BE HEARD!!! It’s, honestly, and quite tragically, Our Only Hope…

Yes. That ‘s precisely what I feel, what I (at 60) KNOW! Pretty eyes be damned. That’s simply an Old Hippie “Theater In The Streets” bit, Friends. Ya use what ya GOT. THEN! YOU ORGANIZE YOUR ASSES OFF!!!

Just. DO IT!!!

Love OUT! Fist Raised HIGH! Your Always Lin
Power To OUR People!!!! That includes ANY disenfranchised “group,” but my Heart is Specific here. I know a zillion of yours are too!!!

-Linda Carragher Bourne

Trans Rights Now!

If you’re looking for more on my Mom meeting the Vice President, check out these links to The Huffington Post, Advocate.com, my own paper, The Rainbow Times and The SF Weekly.

If you find yourself inspired to get involved in the fight for Trans Civil Rights, I strongly recommend checking out and contacting the following organizations to find out how!  The Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition and the National Center for Transgender Equality.

For much more in depth information about the discrimination that transgender people face daily, I urge you to read over the results of the National Transgender Discrimination Survey performed by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.

And of course, don’t forget to get out and vote for Vice President Joe Biden and his running mate for President, Barack Obama next Tuesday!!!

20
May
11

An open response to Gregory Kane of the Washington Examiner

The following blog entry began, as these “Open Letters” often do, as a reaction to a piece of venomous anti-trans bile I stumbled across in the wilds of the internets. I find that I start to write a “comment” and as the word-count climbs I realize I have much more to say than is appropriate for that kind of forum. Thankfully, I have a blog of my own.
I had been intentionally refraining from writing anything about the recent beating in a Baltimore McDonald’s of a woman named Chrissy Lee Polis, who as it happens is also transsexual. The reason for this is that I felt much had been said about the incident already. Her tragedy had been claimed and counter-claimed by various people and groups all purporting to know just what this woman was going through and using the publicity generated by this tragedy as fuel for their own fires.
I don’t judge necessarily, I’m a politician and an activist I know how it works. Some of these have been noble causes. Some not so much. But for myself, I decided to stay mostly silent.
It seemed to me that most everyone was forgetting that there is a woman who has been hurt and scared at the center of all this. A woman who has had all shreds of anonymity ripped away from her by sudden and unasked for internet celebrity. Who can no longer walk around her own neighborhood without being recognized and “outed” as transsexual.
And I suppose by writing this now; I am perhaps no different than anyone who has written about this horrifying incident before me. I offer only the small justification that I do not claim to have any more personal knowledge of Ms. Polis’ personal feelings than anyone else. Only that I recognize her ordeal as one which has sadly been shared by countless other transpeople who have suffered similarly, if less publicly. It is for all those of my sisters and brothers who suffered thus that I speak up now.
Also, as a blogger and a newspaper columnist myself, I felt compelled to respond to the column entitled: “’Hate crime’ justice is no justice at all” by Gregory Kane of the Washington Examiner. Perhaps I have not yet been nominated for a Pulitzer, as Mr. Kane has, but I try to be as well informed and balanced in my opinions and writing as I am able. And I found Mr. Kane’s bigoted and pointedly mean column to be quite lacking in these qualities.
This then is my response to him. I hope that he reads it.

Dear Mr. Kane,

You sir, are an ass.
However you have inadvertently provided an almost pitch perfect example of why hate crime protections for and education about transpeople are absolutely necessary. The sneering manner in which you refer to Chrissy Lee Polis as a “woman” and insist on the fairly pointed usage of male pronouns throughout, indicates to me that you neither know, nor care about the struggles of those who are not so fortunate as yourself. Who have not been lucky enough to be born in a body they were comfortable with. Who were “gendered” in a way they found discordant with their own self-knowledge. Who, in the attempt to align their own public identities with that self-knowledge, often find themselves marginalized, hated and abused with little available recourse.
Ill-informed hatred like that you spew forth from this column is the very engine that drives this abuse. Yours are the words that justify the beatings.
That said, I am going to assume by the fact you have been nominated for a Pulitzer, that you are an intelligent man. And I would like to point out to you, and to those of your readers who might be similarly misinformed, exactly why hate crime protections are called for and indeed vitally needed.
It is not, as you seem to assume, to achieve more excessive criminal punishments than are already called for. In point of fact if most crimes against transpeople were simply punished with the same severity as are similar crimes against most everyone else, it would be a step in the right direction. As it is, even the most heinous crimes, murder for example, when committed against transgender, transsexual and intersex folks, are often punished with little more than a slap on the wrist.
We are not looking for more stringent punishments than those against non-transpeople. We are simply hoping for some degree of equity with anyone else.
A sentiment which was, I believe, shared by the wise Founders of this country. In the interest of brevity I’ll refrain from direct quotes and assume you’re familiar with a rather important document called, “The Declaration of Independence”. At least I hope you are.
The real reason we need Hate Crime protections have little to do with the whinging “political correctness” you accuse us of. It has everything to do with being counted.
This evening I attended a meeting of local activists in which one member was presenting information on the recent beating of the woman you refer to in your column, Chrissy Lee Polis. Who I would like to remind you is more than just fodder for another week’s column, to be sneered at and denigrated. She is a real flesh and blood person. And a citizen of these United States who has been brutalized while others simply stood by and watched. (How Un-American is that!?!?!)
The person giving this presentation admitted that there was precious little in the way of hard information or statistics to be found regarding crime and discrimination against transpeople. Even the F.B.I. came up flat. This is because as a community we are often not counted. Ignored even in the national census. There are few crime statistics because the way the system in this country is set up, the only crimes against minority groups that are counted, tracked and dealt with are those which are registered as Hate Crimes. Everything from funding to prevent such violence to programs to help the victims, are determined by these numbers.
Without Hate Crime protections we may as well not even exist as far as some law enforcement and governmental bodies are concerned. Without Hate Crime protections, as well as other basic Civil Rights which we are also fighting for, we will continue to be beaten, killed, denied basic dignities and generally pushed to the margins of society.
And that sir is why we are standing up in ever increasing numbers to demand that we be treated with the same dignity as anyone else. Why we ask for Hate Crime Preventions and Anti-Discrimination Laws. Why I get so angry when I see men like you, men who have power, privilege and position; belittling and demeaning people like Chrissy Lee Polis and myself who have to watch our backs every minute of the day and fight for every step up we can get.
Think about that the next time you settle into your chair and begin another column with a full stomach and an unharmed body. And thank God for your great good luck.

Slainte!
Lorelei Erisis

20
Feb
11

Time To Stand Together

I‘m going to say something here that is bound to get me in trouble.  I believe that not only do trans people of all types need to band together in a unified “transgender” movement, despite our individual differences.  I also believe we have an important place in the larger LGBT movement.  Not only that, but I believe we must find ways to support and band with larger movements for social justice and freedom all around the world.

Taking it to the streets

The time is NOW!

If we want trans rights now, we need to speak out with the strikers in Wisconsin.  If we demand our basic freedom, we need to support the free peoples of Egypt, Algeria, Tunisia, Yemen and Bahrain.  If we want to end oppression of trans people, we must work to end oppression wherever it may be found.  We should concern ourselves with the plight of the poor and the powerless on the streets of New York; in the mountains of Appalachia; and in the fields of Afghanistan.

If you are saying to yourself right now, “But why should I concern myself with all of these other problems?  I have my own problems.”  Then you have answered your own question.  This is the very attitude we, as transpeople are up against.  Most folks don’t hate us, they just don’t see why they should be bothered to help.  They have their own problems.  And everything they hear and read and watch encourages this individual focus.

If we have learned anything from the recent actions in the Middle East and Africa, it is that change will only ever happen when the people band together.  When we set aside individual concerns and turn out in numbers to demand freedom for all our Brothers and Sisters.  We saw it in Egypt when bands of Christians stood and protected their Muslim allies as they prayed.  We are seeing it in Wisconsin in the crowds that flood the Capital to say no to an unjust policy that will do nothing but hurt their neighbors.  We see it anywhere people help each other out, simply because there is need.

We must remember that the fight for trans rights is the fight for human rights.  We can either stand together and march towards victory or stand apart and suffer under the fists of oppression.

The time is now.  Together we may succeed.

11
May
10

Let’s All Pull Together To Pass A Trans-Inclusive ENDA Now!!!!

What do we want?!?

Trans-Inclusive ENDA Now!

Okay folks, I just got off the phone from a nationwide conference call with some of the best minds and hardest workers in the trans community discussing ENDA.  We discussed the realities and the misleading falsehoods, the details and the broad scope.  It was a lot to take in quite frankly and I’m still trying to process a lot of what was discussed.

But since I’m an improviser and I believe in being in the moment and going with your gut to take you where the truth is, I wanted to share with you some of my initial impressions.

A lot of what was discussed were political details.  Hows and whys and the procedures to make this happen.  Good stuff and absolutely fascinating to a political junkie like myself, but not necessarily easy to convey without some additional study.

Basically what I got though was that this version of ENDA stands a very good chance of being passed and being passed as a Trans-Inclusive Bill!  It is not perfect, nor will it be.  There are problems with ENDA.  Not insurmountable problems though.  And certainly nothing as catastrophically bad as the conjectures that have been making the rounds of the interwebs for the past few days would seem to imply.

There will be no “Genital Inspector General” appointed and no spot checks at the restroom.  The provisions in regards to bathrooms don’t make me especially happy, but it’s nothing we can’t work with and it actually is an improvement on the current workplace situation.

Mind that: “Workplace Situation”  ENDA will not affect the restroom transgender people may use when they go out to Mackey D’s or at The Courthouse.  It governs only workplace related issues.  Basically the situation is this.  An employer will not be able to force you to use the “wrong” restroom.  Though they may be able to prevent trans employees from using the “right” restroom IF it is a multi-stall restroom and they have provided an alternate solution.

That’s important.  They must make a reasonable accommodation.

I agree, not ideal and not happy.  It still gives employers the ability to single us out and create a “separate but equal” situation.  It IS better than the current state of affairs though.  Where first of all, we have no actual employment protections anyway.  And second of all, as it stands today, employers in many states MAY actually force transgender people to use the “wrong” restroom

And that brings me to my next point.  ENDA will not be the end all be-all.  It’s not even going to be all that great.  I mean, if you can describe historic friggin’ legislation as “not all that great.”….  But it will be, as Gunner Scott aptly put it, “the floor that we’re starting on.”  It will be a building block on which to base state level protections and education about transgender issues.

And that is good.  That is excellent.

We will still need to pass laws at the state legislative level to provide stronger, better protections for our community.  But these stronger, better laws will have a national precedent to help us springboard them.  And once we can get them passed they will trump the weaker ENDA.  Meanwhile, ENDA will still provide at least some protection for transfolks in places that do not currently have any protections at all!  And some protections are a heck of a lot better than the no protections at all we have right now.

Yes, it’s true, it will be a bit of time and probably several stages before we see any actual language.  There is a lot we do not know about the final form ENDA will take.  But that’s just how it is in politics folks!  That’s how every bill gets passed.  The legislative process requires us to take some risks.  To take chances.

Right now, as a community, we are going to have to take a leap of faith!!!

ENDA needs our support to happen as well as to stay Trans-Inclusive.  It’s time to stop bickering among ourselves and pull together as one, unified and powerful community.  This bill must pass and it must pass this year!!!  We will wait no longer.

So get out there and call your Congress People.  Call your Reps and tell them that you as their constituent, as their VOTING constituent, need them to help pass a Trans-Inclusive ENDA now!  Then call your Senator, so we can get them buttered up and ready to throw on the grill once the Bill comes out of The House.

There’s a tremendous amount of energy out there in the trans community right now.  If we can focus that and join ranks with a single purpose, there is nothing we may not accomplish.

Now Go!!!!  It’s time to get to work and there is not a second to waste!!!

ORIGINAL IMAGE AND CAPTION REMOVED BY REQUEST

ENDA Now!

ENDA Rally at City Hall in Northampton

People Come Together!!!

( To look at the Bill yourself, go here:  The Library Of Congress: Thomas Jefferson Legislative Information Section And search for Bill Number HR3017 )

Northampton Trans-Inclusive ENDA Rally News Segment

Northampton Trans-inclusive ENDA Rally Article in The Socialist Worker

Photos by Madeline Burrows and Elle St. Claire (Amazing Shot, but Sadly Removed -LE)

29
Dec
09

Deep Fried Fear at The Cape Cod Mall.

Nothing quite so instills me with fear than The Cape Cod Mall.

The sense memory, reminder of childhood fear combined with the ever-present Out-Transwoman reactions.

Stirred into a cocktail of deep fried and fish battered fear.

So what in the name of whatever Gods happen to hold sway in this part of the universe am I doing here?

Every time I come back to the Cape, I repeat the same pattern.

Drive down Main Street.

Visit an old home.

Drive by only.  Never get out.

And walk through The Cape Cod Mall.

I hope that I will spot someone I know/knew.

Although I almost never do.

All the people I knew are grown and gone or quite simply know better than to spend any more time at The Mall than is absolutely necessary.

But still I go.

Soak in the sickly-sweet and artificial, terror infused ambience.

Remind myself to slow my pace.

Smile.

As if I am not bothered in the least.

When I can take no more, I leave.

And typically I will head to Sam Diego’s.

Same idea.

An order of nostalgia with a nice stiff drink.

And maybe I’ll see someone I know/knew.

Sometimes I do.

Usually I don’t.

But I do get to hear that accent.

That particular working-class accent.

So homey and dangerous at the same time.

03
Jul
09

My testimony in support of “An Act Relative to Gender-Based Discrimination and Hate Crimes.”

Dear Honorable Members of The Joint Committee On The Judiciary,

Hello.  My name is Lorelei McLaughlin and I am a transgender woman, Massachusetts born and raised.  I was born in Northampton, grew up on Cape Cod and graduated from Barnstable High School.  My Great-great-great-great-grandfather Noahdiah Leonard was a Minuteman at Lexington and served throughout The War For Independence in The Continental Army.  Part of UMass Amherst was built on what used to be my family farm.  And one of the biggest fish hatcheries in the Northeast, The Charles L. McLaughlin Fish Hatchery in Belchertown was named after my Grandfather, who was Director of The Massachusetts Department Of Fish And Game in the early sixties. I mention all these things not to brag, but to impress upon you my and my family’s long connection to and active history in this great state.

Although I have lived in several diverse parts of the country over the past few years, I have always counted Massachusetts as home.  Recently, due to circumstances surrounding my transition, I have returned to Massachusetts to reside.  Since I started Hormone Replacement Therapy and began to live full-time as a woman, I have encountered a great deal of prejudice, discrimination and even outright hatred.

Thankfully for me, my family has been very supportive.  This is not often the case for many transpeople however.

I am proud to posses a stellar resume.  I have run companies, been trusted with management positions, consistently shown both loyalty and the ability to excel in whatever field I have worked in and have excellent references.

Despite this, I have been fairly consistently unemployed since I began my transition.
By training and profession, I am an actor and comedic performer.  However, these are rarely lucrative professions, so I am often forced to seek additional employment in order to support myself.

Stereotypically, I have often worked in the service industry.  I am a great waitperson for instance with exceptional experience in all levels of service, from diners to fine-dining.
I have also worked in more technically oriented positions in theaters and niteclubs.  Most recently, I was the Showroom Manager for several years at The World Famous Hollywood Improv.  A position I lost unexpectedly after I returned to it from a leave to take care of a dying relative at the beginning of my transition.

These are positions which often required me to interact with the public as an integral part of my job.  This is something I am extraordinarily good at.  I am a “people person” who is affable, friendly, easy going and good natured.  I like people and make friends easily.  I am a team player and a hard worker.

I am, in short, just the kind of person you would want to represent your business.  Except, apparently, that I also happen to be a transgender woman.

I have been pounding the pavement for years.  Dropping off resumes, asking for interviews.  I am very good at this.  My people are hard-workers with a strong employment ethic.  I treat looking for a job as a job.  I even have different versions of my resume for potential employers in different fields.  Before I came out as a trans woman I never had any trouble at all securing employment in a timely manner.

None of this seems to help.

Although no one has yet been foolish enough to outright deny me the chance to fill out an application, it’s the same story over and over.  I can fill out as many applications as I want, yet somehow every place I go has either just filled the job or is not actually hiring now “just looking” or I get a promise that my resume will be “put in the stack”.  I almost never get the chance to have an interview.  When I ask if there is anyone I can speak to, that person has always just left or won’t be in until later in the week.

Individually, these things would seem to be perfectly reasonable and not especially discriminatory.  Added together though, there is such an incredible homogeneity to these responses.  The remarkable similarity of the responses and lack of even the tiniest shreds of interest are far too overwhelming to be simply coincidental.

I present myself well and professionally.  Never more than the most basic makeup, always conservatively and appropriately dressed.  I smile and am friendly, courteous and respectful no matter how I think I am being treated.

I am easily readable as transgender however.  Although I make an effort to be the best woman I can be, I am very tall and so invite closer scrutiny by my height alone.  My resume also betrays this information.  It is obvious that I have changed my name, I note it so that anyone who wishes to check my references will not be confused or think I am trying to hide anything.  Additionally, I am open and out about my transgender status.  I won’t bring it up in a job interview unless there is reason, but I am totally comfortable discussing it.  I am proud to be who I am.

But no matter what I do.  No matter how many places I go.  I cannot seem to get an even break.  I am consistently denied the opportunity to prove I can be just as good an employee as anyone else with the same qualifications.  If not better and more motivated to prove it!

To get this chance though, I need your help!

Please help pass H.1728/S.1687, “An Act Relative to Gender-Based Discrimination and Hate Crimes.”

I am not asking for any special rights, I only desire to be allowed the fair chance to secure and then to keep gainful employment as well as decent housing and equal access to community services and programs.

Thank you for taking the time to read my story and hopefully, for your support of H.1728/S.1687.

Sincerely,
Lorelei McLaughlin

For info on how to submit your own testimony to the Judiciary Committee before the preferred deadline of July 10th, follow the link below to the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition website.  They’re fine folks who are working hard to help you!!!

Submitting Written Testimony

27
May
09

An Open Letter To California (And All Americans) About Gay Marriage

Lorelei At City Hall

Hellooo California!!!  Are you there!?!?  Because I’ve got some things to say about this whole Gay Marriage issue.

Forgive me while I resort to internet slang but, OMG, WTF!!!!

Where is the liberal bastion of free thinking and human rights that I used to admire?!?!

What happened to the gleaming Camelot of the West Coast that seemed so open-minded and accepting to me when I was desperate to escape the Midwest 8 years ago?!

What kind of topsy-turvy, bizarro world do we live in where Gay Marriage is legalized in Iowa and Maine, but not California?!?!?!!?!

Seriously, you’re going to make me break the “!” and the “?” buttons on my keyboard if you keep this up Cali!!!

Somehow, I fail to grasp the logic of your Supreme Court’s decision to uphold Prop 8 but also allow to stand the 18,000 Gay Marriages that were performed during the minute and a half that all marriages were considered legal and sacred in your state.

Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t want to be the one to have to tell Mister Sulu that he can’t be married to the man he loves either.  I’ve seen that guy wield a sword.

But you just can’t say that a certain group does not deserve the same rights as everyone else, except these folks who managed to cash in on our “Short time limited offer!”  If I had known that Equal Marriage Rights were simply an infomercial offer, I would have encouraged my marriage oriented Gay friends to send in their $19.95 +S&H, tout suite!!!  Maybe they could have gotten a Popeil Pocket Fisherman along with their marriage license.  Or a set of Ginsu Knives as a wedding gift from the State of California!!!

I’m not saying I don’t think these folks don’t deserve to be married.  They Do!!!!  I’m just saying that the law shouldn’t be allowed to be seen as a “sometimes, if it’s convenient, or if we mess up it’s okay” kind of thing!!!

I just don’t see how your Supreme Court’s decision makes any logical sense California!

Of course I don’t really understand how we could have fought to assure equal marriage rights for all Californians (I was one of you at that time;  a proud Angeleno!!), on a constitutional basis no less, only to have what was declared to be a Basic Human Right taken away by a so called “popular vote”!!  Huh!?!?  I thought Basic Human Rights, especially ones protected by writ of Constitution, were not open to the whims of “popular opinion”.  Isn’t it the job of the courts to protect the Constitution from things like this?

Please forgive all the quotation marks I’m using here.  I simply don’t believe that Proposition 8 had anything to do with popular opinion at all.  I actually believe, foolish though I may be, that most Californians, most Americans in fact, are pretty open-minded and fair people.  This is a country founded upon virtues of Tolerance and Respect.
It is my well-researched opinion that Proposition 8 is the result of a well-financed and bigoted campaign of hate and intolerance by a relatively small minority.  I won’t name names here.  I’ll just say “But isn’t that wrong Davey?”
But I digress.  Allow me to reign in the sarcasm here and ask you all a question I have asked before.

Shouldn’t all Americans enjoy the same equal rights?  Is there some thing that I’m missing that somehow makes homosexuals fundamentally undeserving of the same privileges that heterosexuals enjoy?

I have never understood the mindset that believes gay people are undermining basic family values whilst at the same time denying them the ability to support those very same values!!!

In the past few months I have heard many arguments for and against the issue of Gay Marriage.  Even from people whose inclination would be to support our brothers and sisters in their fight.  One argument along these lines that I’ve heard a lot of is that Gay People should leave “Marriage” alone as a strictly Christian Sacrament and settle for civil unions.  I disagree.

First and foremost is the fact that our Government treats marriage and civil unions as different entities.  With civil unions being a distinctly lower grade with fewer rights.  I was “Married” once myself and believe me, whether or not the priest performed the ceremony didn’t amount to a hill of beans without the proper government forms and consents. I know when I did it, I had to get permission and approval from the great State of Illinois, as well as pay a fee.  I’m pretty sure that makes it squarely an issue of “The State”.  As in that which is separated from “The Church”.

I was somehow under the impression that one of the things that makes this a great democracy is our separation of church and state.  I believe marriage is a civic issue.  Marriage, although also a religious ceremony, is primarily a civic issue in this country.  And we’re supposed to have a separation of church and state.  So a civic issue, and I believe, a civil right it is.

It’s not so long ago that the same bigots who oppose Gay Marriage were calling interracial marriages unnatural and wrong.  And calling the couples who dared to defy that sentiment perverts.

As for marriage being a Christian sacrament.  Yes it is.  But the idea and the label for it, long predates Christianity.

In the interest of full disclosure I should mention here that I am in fact an Ordained Minister and Student of Theology, among other things.

I’ve done a bit of digging about this, because I wanted to have something intelligent to say to the 500 people I spoke to at a rally in Northampton, MA back in November when Proposition 8 was first passed.  A brief perusal of the history of marriage reveals that our concept of it has changed radically over the last couple thousand years. most noticeably and dramatically in the last century or two.

Arranged Marriages for instance are no longer common in the Western World.  In fact this whole idea of marrying the person we love is really new!  Women are no longer expected to maintain the home and bear a good crop of chilluns’.  Men can no longer summarily dismiss their wives if they feel they have grown tired of her or she is somehow unclean.

And they certainly aren’t allowed to sell their daughters.

Why shouldn’t we allow Gay People to get married?  Doesn’t that support the good moral values that religious nuts are always accusing homosexuals of undermining?

I’ll spare you the specific bible quotes.  But trust me, for every piece of scripture I hear denigrating homosexuals, I could quote you ten other completely ridiculous scriptural laws forbidding all kinds of things that no Christian I know pays any attention to.

For one thing, The Lord is really effing serious about this whole “Not working on The Sabbath” thing.  Violators are supposed to be stoned to death.  By contrast, homosexuals are briefly mentioned as not being allowed to be part of His church.

To take this all a step further, Christ Himself was the one who turned all of that Old Testament nonsense on it’s ear and pretty much said we should all love each other and leave the judging up to Him.  Presumably he was talking about Gay Folks as well as Sabbath Breakers and Menstruating Women.

To conclude, I believe that it is not Gay People trying to make a religious issue into a civil matter.  Nor is it mainstream Christian folks trying to make a civil matter into a religious one.

It’s a few powerful bigots making a mockery of the teachings of Christianity and the Values of Good Americans to support their own closed minded and hateful beliefs.

Please.  If you believe in this country.  If you believe that all people should be allowed to lead lives of dignity and respect.  If you believe that we should judge not, lest we be judged.  If you believe in the ability of humanity to rise above our petty differences and move forward into the new Millennia.  I urge you to support our Brothers and Sisters in California and around the country in their fight for equal rights and the chance to legally Marry the person they Love.
This is not just an issue for Californians, or for the LGBT Community.  It is an issue for all of us.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Slainte Chugat!!!
Reverend Lorelei Erisis




Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 747 other followers

Erisis RIGHT NOW!!!

June 2017
M T W T F S S
« Mar    
 1234
567891011
12131415161718
19202122232425
2627282930  

Flickr Photos

Lorelei on The Stairs in Los Feliz

Horror Show 6

Come Play

More Photos

Transprov Time Machine