Tag Archives: gay

Bookstore Experience: The Angry Lesbian Edition

Okay, so here’s the other thing that totally sucked about our trip to the bookstore on Saturday night (reminder: the first thing that sucked is our whole world telling us we need the damn “perfect” wedding or else we’re Doing It Wrong and there’s no good publication out there to remind us that doing it right For Us means we’re Doing It Right. Anyway.): there was no lesbian fiction.

Okay, let’s back this up a little bit, because that statement needs, like, 500 qualifiers.  Or at least 2.

The thing is that I want some nice, light reading to read.  You know, the printed word and all that.  I want some fiction, even some, ahem, “chick lit” would be acceptable – but I want some lesbian characters.  The lesbian characters I was searching for didn’t have to do anything especially special:  I didn’t need them to have babies or have graphic sex or run around talking about being lesbians.  Unless those are the things lesbians do all the time, in which case, I think I’m Doing It Wrong.

lesbians Doing It Right?

Anyway, I got up in search of said light reading.  First stop: the new fiction table.  I read the back or inside cover of every book on that table, hoping for something as small as the main character’s sister dating a woman, or even a nonchalant “Sarah and her partner Debbie” mentioned in passing.  I don’t need a whole AND THEY’RE LESBIANS TOO storyline – I just want them to appear here or there or even be important characters.  And what did I find? Nothing.

So I headed up to the Lesbian & Gay section of the bookstore, and here’s what they have there: books on the legal papers you should write up because even if your marriage is legal in Massachusetts, if one of you dies, the other still gets nothing if you don’t have legal papers.  Uh, thanks for that relaxing reminder on my relaxing Saturday night, Barnes and Noble (Note to self: find a lawyer, write up the damn papers, wear my helmet while riding by bike. Stay safe, kids.).  Other books included: being straight children of gay parents, being straight parents of gay children, how to come out to your family, how to tell if you’re dating another woman or just spending time together as friends, a book called something like The Straight Girl’s Guide to Sleeping With Chicks (um, not a bad book if you’ve been dating men and just realized you’re gay, but also somewhat offensive. Just in case you were wondering.), and a whole lot of erotica.  Did I mention I just want some light fiction?

Where you go next, if you are me, is to that fancy little Nook area – they have these Kindle-esque things that are actually pretty cool, and you can search for books right on them.  So I search for “Lesbian + Fiction”, and I search for “lesbian fiction”, and I wish you could hear the frustration and near-rage in my voice when I say that besides the Sarah Waters book that came up, every single thing was erotica or porn, and one book about mother-son incest that apparently had some lesbian aspect to it.

Seriously?!

I am just looking to be able to see a reflection of myself somewhere.  Of course it doesn’t have to be me exactly, but something like me.  It’s like all those wedding magazines, showing the wedding you aren’t interested in having. It’s like, if you are a straight couple, finding only books about same sex couples.  Fine for a story or two or even twenty, but don’t you want just one that is a story about someone like you?

So here’s what I’m hoping for: that you will all chime in and tell me I was looking in the wrong places and here are eighteen million books that have same-sex couples in them and are not all about sex or even mostly about sex (and maybe because they’re not about sex they wouldn’t be called lesbian fiction?); or that you will chime in and agree that there is a need for something like this, and I will run off and write a novel.

It’s funny, I think, the things that make me feel marginalized.

Please chime in? Thanks.

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“One of the biggest blessings of my life…”

So you probably heard how I’m about to be unemployed, which means that I am taking on a whole lot more extra work than I can handle in a sane sort of way.  Luckily, my amazing wife is supportive times a million and is taking care of things like the beasts and reminding me that it will get better.

Point being, posting might be a little light on substance, so I’m sorry about that.  Hopefully low substance can still equal medium to high entertainment.

Speaking of It Gets Better, here’s my favorite video of the series so far.  Have your tissues ready.

The part that gets me is at 5:18.  Seriously, have those tissues ready.

 

(While I never considered suicide because of my sexual identity, I do think that seeing a video like this would have helped me a lot while I was coming out.  To see people who are comfortable, who are grateful, who can talk of the hard times and also not talk about the hard times inspires such confidence in me.  I love 5:45: “It’s been one of the biggest blessings of my life… it’s made me such a stronger person to be gay. There’s nothing I would do to change that now.”)

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Whittling Our Way to Our Weddings

Okay, folks, we’re 22 days into NaBloPoMo, and I am sort of exhausted.  On the other hand, I’m also proud! Look, I can write every day! I think this means I can go back to listing “writing” as one of my hobbies, which is something I just sort of forgot to stop saying after, you know, third grade.  I always liked the idea of writing, but look – now I actually do it!

Here’s the other part of it, though: it is a pretty neat goal to write something every day and to produce at least one post a day (and sometimes two when I hit “Publish” before I edit “schedule”, lucky you!), but it’s also not really worth writing something unless it’s something I care about writing about. Uh oh, you’re thinking, Now is when she says, “Wasn’t that a nice post? The end.” Well, don’t you worry your pretty little head! I am not wussing out.  And not only am I not wussing out, but I am also bringing you beautiful lesbian wedding pictures.  What could be better?

NFE & her partner A

I was recently talking to New Friend Ellen about weddings, gay and straight, and why it feels so important to see people like us represented.  This quickly evolved into a conversation about weddings in general, gay marriage, and how we, as queer women, feel represented in the wedding industry.  Answer? Not much.

But the other side of this is that it frees us up quite a bit.  When we don’t see people like us doing “what people are supposed to do,” it gives us the freedom to decide what we want to do.  Is this worth the trade of not being legally recognized in all but a handful of states? Um, no.  But let’s look on the bright side here.

One thing NFE said that struck me was this: that straight couples start out with a formula, a script for their weddings.  Step one, walk down aisle with father. Step two, meet husband-to-be at the front. Etcetera.  And you know that this is the script you start with, and then – if you’re lucky, if you realize that changing the script is an option – you take it and break it down, keep the parts you want and fiddle with the parts you don’t want.

tradition

But if you’re not a straight couple… well, where do you start?  Do you walk down the aisle together?  Is there even an aisle?  As a lesbian couple, we sort of get to start from scratch.  Instead of having a list of what should be done and having to whittle away to find what we wanted, we get to build something new; we take a piece from here, a piece from there, and create something that was still undeniably a wedding.  In being rejected by much of the Wedding Industrial Complex, we get to create our own path and our own vision.

Thanks, NFE, for the amazing pictures and the thought-provoking conversation.

What do you think of this idea, of creating from scratch vs. starting with a script?

*All photos by Kelly at Closed Circle Photo.

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Then and Now: High School Heartache

Oh, hello there!

Okay, so I know I said I would get back to your regularly scheduled wedding programming today… but instead I got sucked into the ‘Bee’s “Then and Now” Series.  I know there are a ton of new readers (Hi New Readers! Welcome!) because I got Freshly Pressed yesterday (eep! Thanks!), and who doesn’t love embarrassing pictures of me in high school?  With my boyfriend?

steve and me circa 2002

Yes, boyfriend. I’m sort of curious about whether anyone is picking their jaw up off the floor, so please tell me if you are!

Here’s the idea behind the series: We’ll all get to know a little more about the bloggers—what they looked like, how cool (or stupid) their hair was, their views on love and relationships, and how high school shaped them as human beings.

During my time at an all-girls Catholic high school in Chile.

Let’s start by saying that I hated high school, and there is absolutely no way I would be willing to do it again.  I went to a public high school.  I was on the Honors track, in Special Ensemble (we had to audition to get in! I was always very proud of that.), string orchestra, drama club, school newspaper, and I was a proud founder of the school’s literary club.  If that gives you a sense of Who I Was In High School.

me, at Nerd Camp, singing a song about unrequited love. fitting.

I met Steve in my freshman year, I think, and had a huge crush on him by sophomore year. Heh, as I start this story, I realize how long and complex it is.  Here’s the short version, kids: Steve and I dated for over four years.  He was two years ahead of me and I thought he was the coolest guy in the world.  Forget that he was in Science Club.  I thought Science Club was cool? Who am I kidding, I still think Science Club is pretty cool.

We spent a lot of time together, and a lot of time with each other’s families.  (At my wedding, it was really nice to see Steve and my brother spending time together; they had first met when my brother was only 5, and Alex, too, thought Steve was just Awesome.  It seems that not much changed on that front in the last 11 years. I’m really happy to say that Steve and I are now friends; after a nice hiatus of not talking or being remotely friendly to each other, I’m now happy to see him regularly, and I was thrilled that he came to our wedding.)  I think one of the worst parts of breaking up with Steve was breaking up with Steve’s family. I still miss them.

Me, with steve and his siblings (plus friend). I'm the shortest one. Some things don't change.

I really thought that Steve and I were going to get married.  It was something I just sort of assumed, and was surprised when I realized I believed it (because we were real grownups! At, um, age 18.).  And Steve was pretty much the best boyfriend EVER.  One time, I was having a really hard night and he drove from his college in western MA to my college in upstate NY.  Dedication, folks.  I think that I learned a lot about how to be a good partner now after being in a relationship with Steve – a relationship in which, I admit, I was not a good partner.  Example: I asked him to drive from his college in MA to mine in NY.  At 10 pm. Just saying.

Anyway, the whole time we were together, I felt like something wasn’t quite right.  Something just didn’t quite click.  And he was an amazing guy, always supportive, ready to do whatever I wanted, ready to show up by my side if I so much as hinted that that was what I wanted.  He supported my animal habit (he even gave me a foster cat once), brought me lunch at work almost every day, and drove me wherever I wanted to go.  On my prom night, he drove us an hour to the beach, and I only woke up from my nap in the car to walk on the sand for five minutes.  Steve = major points for big romantic gesture; me = worst girlfriend ever (“There was a beach? I thought that part was a dream.”).

What are we upset about? Theory: I'm upset that he's not a woman, and he's upset that I'm upset. Just a guess.

Well, at that point, I sort of knew that I liked girls.  I just thought that I liked girls and I liked Steve.  Obviously, it turned out that the liking girls thing was a little more than bisexuality.  When I started dating my first girlfriend, I was like, “Whoa. So this is what it’s like to be in love!” Aaaand when she broke up with me, I was all, “OH. So THIS is heartbreak. Whoa.”

These thoughts were followed by many late nights of leaving (possibly-drunken) voicemails for Steve, a la “You were the best boyfriend ever! I never appreciated you enough! I’m so sorry I broke your heart!”

Steve was pretty much the best boyfriend ever, hands down, and I dated a lot of boys after him (you know, searching for whatever that *thing* was that didn’t quite click. Turned out there were two of those things and they are located on the general chest area. Yeah.).  The awesomeness that he provided and the lack of awesomeness that I gave back both taught me a lot going into my current relationship: there needs to be a balance, both partners need to give, and you have to speak up for what you want.  If it feels like something is missing, there is probably something missing.  Be honest with the person you’re with; everyone will be happier in the end for it.

my wife, me, and steve at our wedding in the silly picture, if that wasnt clear

Are you still friends with your first “real” significant other?  Anyone else out there take awhile to figure out what “wasn’t quite right”?

Note: I have Steve’s permission for this entire post, and we both laughed a lot at the fact that I am posting these pictures to the internet.  Please be gentle.

Note #2: Steve is seriously awesome and if you think you’re awesome too (and you think Science Club is fun!) you should probably have coffee with him.  Also, he has two really cute kittens.  Also, you should be female.

he's a handsome, contemplative bugger. and he cleans up real nice.

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Fitting in the boxes

One thing that has been on my mind as of late is taxes.  Partly because of all the election stuff that’s been going on…

…and partly because we are now legally married – in Massachusetts.  But, haha, funny story – our marriage is not federally recognized.  And this makes filing our taxes oh so confusing.  I was filling out a W-2 the other day and had to check the box about how I’m filing: Single, Married, or Married Filing as Single.  Um, I left it blank.  Ask me later? I have no idea what the right answer is.

BUT! This is a great time to show you some boxes that I sure do know how to fill out! The boxes on our marriage license application:

 

Party A and Party B! We picked which we were by going alphabetically. Fun and easy and had nothing to do with our genitalia (unlike Male and Female, in case you were wondering what I was implying), yay!

The whole process was easy, welcoming, and comfortable.  And then we picked up our license a few days later!  I felt incredibly lucky that we have this option.

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Lesbians Getting Married: The First

One thing that felt super important for me in all of the wedding planning was seeing other lesbian couples out in WeddingBlogLand.  I’m still not sure exactly why this felt important.  Maybe because it affirmed that I belonged?  I am someone who likes to throw myself into whatever my *thing* is, which means thinking about it a lot, researching it, talking to people about it, and probably way over-analyzing it.  In the case of roller derby, this means watching a lot of derby videos, wearing ankle weights all the time, and doing a lot of visualizing (thanks Dread!).  In the case of getting married, it has meant stepping up my stances on the political aspects of same-sex marriage, reading a lot of blogs, doing a lot of crafts, and being really, really involved in creating our wedding.  More on wedding creation later… now, I want to show you some things.

I found few sites out there that occasionally featured lesbian weddings, and so when it did happen, I would look at the pictures a lot.  Like, really, a lot.  I picked the parts I did like, and the parts I didn’t like, and tried to figure out what I might want to do in my own wedding.  It’s not that I didn’t do this with heterosexual weddings; it just seemed somewhat distant, like a different culture or something.  Anyway, just in case anyone else has been experiencing something similar, I bring you… Lesbians(/Queers) Getting Married.  Click on the image for a link to where they were originally found.

Emily & Ali, from 100 Layer Cake

 

Amber & Karen, from Jenny GG Photography

Amber & Karen again, Jenny GG Photography

 

Mary & Kerry, from 2000 Dollar Wedding

Sarah & Megan, from A Practical Wedding

Holly & Sari, from 100 Layer Cake

I hope that this can be a continuing series.  If you are queer or a lesbian who is getting or got married and are willing to share your pictures, please send them along! If you are someone who just found some awesome photos (and can credit whoever took them), please send those along, too!  I know that sites like SoYou’reEnGAYged exist and are awesome, but sometimes I just want to look at pictures… so that’s what I’m hoping to do here.

When you are looking at (other people’s/stranger’s) wedding pictures, do you find yourself looking for people like you, and in what way?  What are your thoughts on this? I’m still trying to articulate it for myself, and I would love to hear what you think!

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Please vote! And some gems on why we shouldn’t marry

Last night, we went to our favorite wine store for our favorite weekly wine tasting with two of our friends.  It’s worth noting, for the purposes of this story, that both friends are women, and they are married – to each other! Oh gosh, the things you are allowed to do in this day and age.

Anyway, not only was this week a slightly fancier wine-tasting than usual, but there were also local politicians who are running for office; it was a Meet the Candidate evening.  Okay, fine – I didn’t really want to chat too much, but I figured we could drink some wine and avoid the politics.  Oh how wrong I was.

After a few minutes there, a man in a nice shirt walked over with some brochures and roped us in.  We were wary at first, but eventually he declared himself “a liberal democrat, the last of a dying breed,” and brought up gay marriage and a couple of other issues we were interested in, with a perspective we agreed on.  He pointed out that this really is an important election, but also one that a lot of people don’t know much about, and so “the blanks win”.  He asked us to please spread the word about him, and honestly, after talking to him, I am happy to. Friend E smiled and said, “Well, you’ve got my vote.”  So if you’re considering not voting, or are not sure who to vote for for governor’s council, let me suggest Terry Kennedy.

Shortly after that conversation, another man came up to us and introduced himself.  I realized who he was and I really wanted some wine, so I just told him: “We’re voting for the other guy.” He sort of smiled, and then asked why, which I countered with, “How do you feel about gay marriage?”

There we were, two legally-in-Massachusetts-and-a-handful-of-other-states married lesbian couples, and he told us why we shouldn’t have the right.  Some gems include:

– “Well, I believe marriage is only for having and raising children.” He had no response to A & E’s assertion that they plan to have kids, or my response that we’re interested in providing foster care.

– “I’m divorced, and my girlfriend is divorced, and lots of gay couples are divorced now, too!” Um… thanks, I’m convinced.

– “Well, my girlfriend and I decided not to get married.”  He couldn’t think of what to say when I pointed out that he could make that choice.

– “Yeah, I think you should have all the tax benefits, absolutely, and of course you should be able to have hospital and jail visitation.  But that’s not marriage.”

Ugh. I think my favorite was, “Well, my girlfriend and I decided not to get married. We were both married before, had our kids, and don’t want more.”  Well, thanks, Mr. Politician.  Enjoy your privilege.

What’s the point of telling you this?  The point is: it turns out that the upcoming election really is important.  Please do some research, even just a little bit, and make sure to vote.

Some information on who the Human Rights Campaign endorses.

Get some more information about where you should vote.

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