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Let me tell you  a story.

Let’s pretend you have a kid who’s sick.  He’s got a variety of things that make his health a daily battle, several of which could be terminal.  

You have two choices.

You can treat each battle as something to mourn and never stop pushing forward.  It’s for the kid’s survival.  What kind of parent or you.  You can dwell on the kids who are losing their battles, and never let your kid forget he could die any day.

Or you can celebrate the good days and let the kid enjoy his life despite the battles.  You don’t treat them any less seriously, and you don’t stop taking care of his health, but you take a deep breath once in a while and go to the park.  You keep the kids who have lost their battles in your heart, and you educate yourself on advancements in care.

This is how I feel we can handle the Supreme Court decision about Marriage Equality.  We can celebrate it as what it is.  A step in the right direction.  Not the last step or the most important step, but a step.  We’re allowed to celebrate small victories without forgetting the other issues or those who are still battling.  Why?  Because the kid is still a human being, that’s why.  Just because this decision doesn’t fix all the problems for all the people does not give us the right to invalidate the people the decision does help in any way.

I’ve been told at least half a dozen time today that I’ not allowed to have an opinion on the matter as anything but a bystander.  Because I’m already married.  Because I’m bi and chose to legally marry a man.  Because I’m white.  Because I’m cisgendered.  Because…because…because.  I have never understood this kid of isolation as anything but what we’re fighting against, and I do not understand it now.  As a community of humans fighting together we need to also recognize the importance of being a community of humans exalting together.  The two are not mutually exclusive, but they are both vitally important to the survival of the spirit and humanity of the community.

No, the journey is not even mostly over.  No, the war has not been one.  No, celebrating this victory does not erase from our memories the journey behind us or the long road yet before us.

 

Aloha.

Go now.  Be together.

National Coming Out Day logo, designed by arti...

All my life I have been the “unique one” in my family.  At the age of 5 I was determined to be the next Reba McEntire, and it didn’t get any more normal for me from there.  I don’t think it was any surprise to my family that I chose some sort of alternative lifestyle.  I think the main question was which one I would pick and when.  That being said, I never really came out to my family about any of it.  If anything they outed me to themselves.

I have been a decidedly practicing pagan since before I moved out on my own, and my daily practices before that all had pagan flavour no matter what I called it.  I never hid my alter, my tools, or my jewelry.  No one asked.  My dad did ask me once to light a candle for something for him, but beyond that no one mentioned it until I was wedding planning.  No one had heard of a handfasting, and my mother-in-law had been telling people we were having a “traditional Celtic wedding”.  With a guest list of Catholics, Lutherans, Protestants, Jews, and a few others thrown in for good measure, we expected some questions, and we worked hard to put together a ceremony that was both true to our spirituality and not alienating for our guests.  In the end we heard nothing but good about our ceremony, and it was everything we’d dreamed of.  I guess, in a way, it was our coming out, and we did so my showing how beautiful our spirituality can be.

I’ve felt my sexuality from a very young age.  I don’t think there was ever a question in my mind or heart that I was Pansexual, even if I didn’t have the words for any of it.  My mother never told me I was wrong, and it was just who I was.  I never felt the need to have a “coming out”.  I did try to talk about it a few times, but it never resulted in anything memorable.  Though he had heard me use the word “girlfriend”, the first time my father and I ever discussed it he had met my girlfriend and was more concerned about the trappings of polyamory than anything else.  That was the same weekend Hubby and took him to his first Pride festival.  He wasn’t particularly comfortable, but he went along with us and did what he has always done as my dad.  He watched and listened and didn’t judge or protest.

Our talks with our respective families about polyamory was as close as I have ever come to “coming out”.    Hubby just up and mentioned our girlfriend in conversation one day.  My dad asked me on a visit from California because my grandmother had taken to reading my blog and had given it her own twist.  In each case the conversation was calm and pretty well received.  Both parents met our partners at the time, and once they were sure we were being safe and that we were both happy with the arrangement they were fine.

A lot of my lazy “coming out” process can be attributed to social media.  I only have the energy and time for one Facebook, so all my friends and family get to see the same online persona.  I have had cousins I didn’t know paid that much attention tell me they think it’s really positive how I live.  This past summer I had a really relaxed conversation about polyamory with my grandmother, dad, and a cousin, and no one seemed weirded out about it.

This has been my experience more often than not in my family, and for that I can be grateful, because I know it isn’t the case for everyone.  I am in constant awe and appreciation that I can discuss men who are not my husband with my mother-in-law and she doesn’t even bat an eye.  I feel like I could tell my dad I like to paint myself purple and roll in marshmallows and he wouldn’t judge me unless it led to some kind of jail time.  I’ve never felt the need to make a grand gesture of “coming out” because I’ve never felt like I wouldn’t be accepted for being who I am and acting accordingly.

There is a saying that “coming out” is something we do every time we meet someone new, and it’s true.  I do it whenever I mention my husband and my girlfriend in casual conversation.  I do it whenever our whole family goes somewhere together and I don’t introduce our partners as “friends”.  I do it when I wear rainbow or pentagram jewelry or someone sees my poly heart tattoo.  I do it by how I live, because I refuse to censor myself for strangers.  If you ask about my family, my holidays, or my home I will tell you the truth.  This is just the way it is for me, no matter what day it is.


Diversity

     

When this topic popped into my list of topics I cringed a little.  I am, at large, a live and let live human being.  I am also not a fan of buzzwords, and my affinity for the English language gives me a mild seizure when it is abused or exploited.  On top of all that I try not to make apple pies when there are no apples, and it leaves a bitter taste in my mouth when people whine wolf, especially about things that are important to me or where others actually have, in fact, encountered a wolf.  I also believe that everyone is entitled to his own opinion, even if it conflicts with mine.  This is not a “free speech as long as you agree with me” world, as long as it ends with speech.  That being said, I have been asked to write about discrimination, particularly as a poly family, and have accepted it as a chance to tell a few stories and count a few blessings.
As a person I have made myself a pretty strong target.  I’m a chronically ill, slightly overweight, short, female who happens to identify as pansexual, pagan, and polyamorous.  I’ve always been a bookworm and a bit of a geek, I wear glasses, and at one time I had braces.  I’m not the most socially graceful person, and I can be both a tomboy and a girly girl when the mood strikes.  I’ve grown a pretty thick skin over the years, and I generally choose to ignore the comments unless they’re particularly hurtful or creative, because most of the time I can tell they come from a place of confusion more than hatred.  For the most part I’ve always believed that to let the little things bother you is to give closed-minded all the power.  If I can smile and move on they get nothing from me and I am not affected.  This belief has kept me from  becoming a miserable, jaded person who no one wants to be around.  Besides, I look terrible on a pulpit, and I’m too afraid of heights for a soap box.
I would like to take this opportunity and stop to make a distinction that is not made enough, that between actual discrimination and mere prejudice.  Discrimination, by definition, is treatment derived from prejudice, which is an opinion or feeling formed without knowledge or reason.  The difference here is important, because while negative prejudice can be hurtful it is generally not harmful and can be ignored.  Discrimination, however, is a much more serious circumstance.    I will also point out that neither of these things is inherently negative.  Keep this in mind as we move along.
Prejudice is something I’ve learned to ignore and not take personally.  I am always the chunky white girl getting the side-eye in every dance class I take despite the fact that I have 15 years of experience in dance and theater.  I’ve been told my marriage is a mockery or a fake, I have heard that some of my guests were asked if my wedding dress was black, and I have had those interested in dating me ask if I’m still married.  I have mentioned before the notion that I will sleep with anything not nailed down, and that generally comes with the assumption that I am not concerned with safety.  In fact, I have had people balk when I insist on using protection.  The gay community is quite often hesitant to accept a poly situation, mostly because they’ve had to try so hard to fight their battles and prove that gay and lesbian relationships can be committed, monogamous relationships.  It’s understandable, and not something I take personally. 
Most of the discrimination I have faced as a result of my decision to be polyamorous has been silly and trivial.  For example, Victoria’s Secret won’t let my husband, who has much better fashion sense than I, check me in a dressing room.  They will, however, allow my girlfriend to go with me.  Family events at work generally only allow one guest, so there’s always a question about who to take.  My mother-in-law continuously has “family only” events and forgets about our extended family or uses the rest of the family as an excuse rather than explaining the extra guests, a behaviour we had to finally bring to her attention when it became unacceptable. 
There are a couple of instances in the past few years that have led to a serious issue or change in my life because of discrimination I found serious enough to address.  The first came a couple years ago when I changed gynecologists.  I believe in full disclosure with my health professionals and will never tolerate being spoken to like a child, so when I finished and she gave me a lecture about “risky behaviour” and alluded to the possibility that I could not possibly trust Hubby to always be safe because he has same-sex encounters I gave her an education in acceptable risk, safe practices, and outdated statistics…oh, and trust.  I never went back, and I found a new gynecologist who has never batted an eyelash to my lifestyle.  The second has happened a few times, and it’s always the same.  I make friends with someone who happens to be male.  Honestly, reason would tell you that if I can’t be trusted with male friends I can’t be trusted with the females either, but no one seems to ever bring this up.  In any case, in several cases where these male friends have been married or with a serious girlfriend the friendship has ended because either his significant other demands it or gets so paranoid and irrational that I need to consider changing my phone number or moving.  It’s a shame, but it happens.  I have to add that while I have had a few partners or prospective partners decide to not continue with me because of my poly family, I don’t consider this discrimination any more than any other relationship decision.  Polyamory is a pretty serious change for those who have not lived it, and not one that’s for everyone.  I can understand that.  I might be unhappy about losing someone close to me or how they handle the situation, but that’s not discrimination. 
I have been fairly lucky in my life that much of the actual discrimination I have dealt with in my life has been annoying at best, and almost none of it has been because I’m poly.  I have been questioned about my abilities and had to prove myself a bit more at jobs because of my physical structure and chronic illness, I have had both straight men and gay women decide not to date me because I choose to love both genders, and I have been skipped over for invitations and special events because “it seemed a little girly” for me. While I went to an all-girls Catholic high school I was never isolated for my spirituality or sexuality, and I  have never faced the physical or psychological attacks some of my peers have.  It’s not that I deny that these things happen, or that I am not outraged and willing to offer any support I can when they do, but I am fortunate enough to not have personal experience with this level of hatred. 
That is really my point with this piece.  I have never had my life threatened or impaired because of my lifestyle.  For the most part I am allowed to live as I feel appropriate without too much of a hassle.  I have never been denied life essentials or basic human rights because of my decisions, and for this I count my blessings almost daily.  In another time and place I may not have had this luxury, and while there is still a road to travel before we are universally accepted and approved we are not hiding in fear for our lives.  Would I like my family to have the same rights and privileges as any heterosexual, monogamous family has?  Of course I would, but we have our ways of dealing with and even circumnavigating some of those hurdles.  This is a great time to live in in that respect, and who knows what will happen in the future.  Until then all I can do is live my life the best I can with what I have and remember that this lifestyle is not about laws and public acceptance; it’s about love.

 

(Originally written for Mindchaotica)

 

Google the GOP lately (go ahead, I’ll wait), and the results will be full of some of the most ridiculous made up facts and outdated beliefs you can imagine, which is entertaining but terrifying when you also Google the percentage rise in voter support for the GOP.  Press coverage offers us a glimpse into a 3-ring circus that may or may not collapse at any time, letting loose on America some pretty dangerous animals.

By now most of us have heard ‘s claims that denying rape victims the option of abortion is justified because no woman who is “forcibly raped”, as opposed to just-kidding friendly raped, can become pregnant, because our bodies have the ability to block it from happening cases of “legitimate rape”.  He did a great job of making the fact sound valid with a claim that he had heard the fact from medical doctors while in the next breath freeing himself of any factual responsibility by adding that it was just what he had heard and understood it to mean.  I wish somebody had told me this at 18.  It may have saved me a lot of hardship and a college career.

Yesterday the intelligence of America was even more insulted as Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach spoke against an amendment that would incorporate civil unions in the Republican platform with this statement:

 “Our government routinely judges situations where you might regard people completely affecting themselves … like for example the use of controlled substances, like for example polygamy, that is voluntarily entered into. We condemn those activities even though they are not hurting other people, at least directly. So this is worded way too broadly for inclusion in the platform.”

Let’s break this one up into smaller, more easily digestible pieces, shall we?

“Our government routinely judges situations where you might regard people completely affecting themselves.”

In this single statement Kobach gets to the heart of a pretty serious issue.  The government involves itself all the time in situations where no one is being harmed, where they have no right or reason to place judgment.  Dear US Government, it is not your job to decide whether or not how I live is good for my immortal soul!  How is it that there are laws to make sure I’m not out there minding my own business causing no harm to anyone with how I live or who I love, but if someone violates my body I am stuck with the consequences even if doing so causes further harm?

“…like for example the use of controlled substances, like for example polygamy, that is voluntarily entered into. We condemn those activities even though they are not hurting other people, at least directly.

The poly community has been all over this one.  While there is a fundamental difference between polyamory and polygamy, the sentiment here is the same, since Kobach specifies consensual marriage of multiple people not anything illegal or malicious (which is not my view or opinion, but often used as an argument against polygamy).  I will say this once, and only once.  My marriage harms no one, not even indirectly.  I apologize if seeing a harmonious group of loving people and well adjusted children strikes a chord somewhere and possibly makes someone question his closed-minded refusal to accept any lifestyle but his own, but this is not harm.  My children being bullied for their sexuality, my girlfriend being refused the same rights as any wife because her spouse happens to be a woman, these things are harmful. Our family harms no one.  I’m not not going to get into a diatribe or debate about the existence of harmful effects of substance abuse, but I do resent being compared to a drug addict and feel compelled to sing a couple rounds of “One of these things is not like the others“. Apples to heroin, friends.

This is not the first time Kobach has made waves infused with bigoted flotsam.  You  may remember him as a co-author of Arizona’s “papers please” campaign, a role that has put him in a prime position as an adviser for the GOP’s immigration platform.  I’m not sure what practical or applicable knowledge Kobach has, since last time I checked there were no foreign countries bordering Kansas, but his rhetoric on the topic has caused national uproar and allegiance alike.  This is also not the first time he has addressed the LGBT community directly with his fantasy-based hogwash.  In 2004 he accused the HRC and other LGBT organizations of supporting “homosexual pedophilia” in a brilliant display of verbal vomit with no basis in fact or reason.  Kris Kobach, I hear, also keeps a stuffy, conservative unicorn with magical powers of hate and propaganda in a secret cave on his family’s estate.  It eats rape babies who might have been adopted into happy families by loving gay couples across America.  Can you think of any better reason for these ridiculous claims and proposed legislation?

The scary thing is that this man has support of both Republican voters and Presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who recently sung his praises.  I have to wonder, however, how Mr Romney’s great-grandfather, who was a known polygamist, would feel about being lumped in with drug addicts.  Probably the same way I do. Bewildered that it may be possible the GOP is actually moving backwards instead of forwards with the rest of us.  From where I sit it looks as if the circus is making it impossible to watch any one thing for too long, and I’m waiting to find out what’s happening behind the scenes that we’re really missing.

 

People like labels.  We put them on everything.  They tell us what it is, what it does, what’s in it, when it stops doing what it does, what it could do to you, and what to do if it does.  People really like labels when it comes to other people.  Too busy for the process of actually getting to know someone, we are presented with a list of labels.  Joe is: a carpenter, a diabetic, middle-aged, gay, a bowler, and a fan of both country music and the Chicago Bulls, and refuses to eat chicken.  Wow, that was easy.  I know everything there is to know about Joe!  The problem with this system is that I don’t know Joe at all.  I know a few facts about Joe that allow me to make assumptions, but I have no idea who he is as a person.  Considering how far off the mark assumptions can be, Joe is still a stranger, and it is now slightly off-putting how many specifics I have on Joe.

People don’t just like labels, we like to wear them proudly.  We emblazon shirts, buttons, jewelry, and cars with emblems and logos.  We put up flags and customize credit cards.  We put our labels on everything, and no one ever has to ask us a single question.  They already know who we are.  Right?

This weekend we went to a local Pride festival, and nothing brings out the human label makers like a queer event.  We want to know everything.  Are you straight, gay, lesbian, bi, genderfluid, trans, genderqueer, heteroflexible, homoflexible, pansexual, gender neutral, or a litany of other words we’ve drummed up to further isolate each other.  Not only do we insist on these labels, but we bicker about what each one means and whether or not anyone really qualifies.  Why is there this need to be so exclusive.  Aren’t we marginalized enough without doing it to each other?  This is the only place I use the term “it’s complicated” and mean it.  It is, and I have neither the time nor the energy to make a venn diagram of where I stand in my sexuality and lifestyle today.

So, I’m complicated…like every other human being on this planet.  I am more than a sum of labels.

Here’s another scenario.  There is nowhere more un-labeling than a nude beach.  You can look at someone at know very little about her until you talk to her.  You can forget your own labels and just be yourself for a day.  A whole beach full of unlabelled, unrestricted strangers is beautiful, but for some it can be uncomfortable.  For some it means having to talk to another person without knowing a thing about him.  It means opening up to the possibility that he may not have the same opinions, perspective, or interests.  He might have different experiences or ways of doing things.

This can be daunting for people who live solely in their comfort zones, but I love meeting new people, and I love finding out what they’re made of without  a label.  I don’t consider anyone a friend or confidante until she knows the unlabelled me.  The me that changes every day.  The me that grows and evolves, not subscribes to a label.  The me who loves to peel the label off others and see what’s really inside.

This is one of the reasons I write Pearls and Pentagrams.  I get a lot of questions for as being open and honest as I am, but there would be no reason to do this were I not.  At 28 years old (ahem…almost) I must not only be unlabelled, but also unafraid to show what’s really inside.  Otherwise I’m just another unmarked jar.

Go now…find out what’s really inside…

In the past few weeks there have been more suicides in the young LGBT community than I can count on one hand.  As a teacher, a mother, a member of the queer community, and a citizen of the country that is doing nothing to protect these young people from harassment, abuse, and humiliation, I find this trend unacceptable on a violently angry level.  We’re talking the type of anger that makes my pupils twitch and my hands shake.  These kids, like many in our community, were treated in ways that would make anyone feel helpless and hopeless, especially at a point in their lives where they are vividly aware of their differences and want nothing more than to be accepted.

All across the country gay adolescents are told they’re just confused, that they’re broken or sick, and that they should be ashamed of how they feel, think, and love.  At best they are ignored by their parents, but often they are punished, chastised, or beaten.  They are cast away, kicked out of their homes, and shunned by their families.  Their spiritual leaders tell t hem they’re damned, their peers ostracize or bully them, and there is generally little to no support or protection from schools or the community.

But what about those of us who could help them?  What about those of us who have been in their shoes and could guide them through one of  the most trying and confusing points in their lives?  We’re kept away from them in hopes they’ll grow out of it and in fear that we’ll encourage them to be themselves.  Instead of being seen as a support system or valuable resource, queer adults are considered a detriment in a youth’s life.  Why is this ok?  At what point do we stop telling our children they can be anything they want to be when they grow up and giving them the mentors and environment to nurture whatever that might entail?  When do we instead start limiting and judging them?  More importantly, why is any of this treatment allowed to happen?  Why were these young people pushed to a point at such a young age that they felt it would never get better?

In his September 22 article Dan Savage speaks of how the first of the recently publicized suicides touched him.  Like many of us he was heartbroken.  Like many of us he has been where these kids were and are today.  Like many of us he knows that something needs to be done.  It’s time the people who can give these young people a little hope stopped being stuck in a closet and spoke out to them.

“Why are we waiting for permission to talk to these kids?”, he says. “We have the ability to talk directly to them right now. We don’t have to wait for permission to let them know that it gets better. We can reach these kids.”

So, Dan and his partner made a video.  Then they made a channel on YouTube and encouraged members of the community to make and post their own videos to encourage these kids and share our stories to show that it does get better.  To find the instructions and post your own video, you can go to youtube.com/itgetsbetterproject .  As soon as I figure out how to use the camcorder function on my new smartphone I’ll be posting my own.  If I can get over my technophobia and do this, you should all be making videos!

My life as a bisexual teen (and at the time there was only gay or bisexual in my world…no pansexuals, homoflexibles, heteroflexibles or otherwise) was fairly quiet.  I kept it that way purposefully.  It had its rough moments, but for the most part I’ve forgotten the trappings.  Yes, I was in the San Francisco Bay Area, but that’s not always as free-thinking and forward as it sounds.  I went to an all girls catholic school, and had several strikes against me already.  I had friends who knew I was  pagan, but it wasn’t until I was extremely close that I admitted to my sexuality.

I knew at a very early age I loved everyone equally, but never expressed any of it.  I was told it was a phase, that I just didn’t know how to express my feelings towards friends, and that I’d get over it someday.  My mother passed before I could try to talk to her about it, and the rest of my family was all about not making waves.  My confusion and fear caused me to withdraw completely.  I didn’t go on dates.  I didn’t socialize much.  I didn’t have my first kiss until I was almost eighteen, and that one defining moment started a revolution inside me.  I could no longer be quiet.

I can’t imagine my life being any different.  It took moving to Philadelphia, a place most consider a lot more conservative that Berkeley, CA, to find “my people”.  I am never ashamed to talk about my husband and my girlfriend.  I am never ashamed to be poly, pagan, or pansexual.  I wish nothing more for these young people than to know how good life can be when you find where you belong.  We owe them that optimism as people who have laid the path.

Today begins LGBT History Month, and what better way to start than with each of our own personal histories.  Those who came before us gave us a wonderful foundation, and we have built the beginnings of a wonderful world, but these kids are the ones who will be in charge of finishing the job.  We need to invest in them the pride and freedom we know is possible.  Our goal isn’t just for them to survive, but to live.  Like a good bra, we must not just support but uplift.

This is my promise to the queer youth of America…You can always come to me.  You can share with me.  You can talk to me.  You can be safe with me.  You have all my love, support, and optimism.  You have my arms for hugging and my shoulder for crying.  I will help in whatever ways I can, and I will never abandon you.  I will never stop trying to show you that it does get better if you can promise me that you’ll never give up being you.

Yours, Autumn.

~*Namaste*~

A lot of auspicious events happened this year on or around my birthday, and I feel happy to have shared my day.  The first thing was Dairy Queen donating $1 for every Blizzard bought on my birthday to the local Children’s Miracle Network.  I happily did my part and got off the bus at the nearest DQ for my birthday Blizzard, and decided on chocolate chip cookie dough.  It was rough, but it was for the kids, I assure you.

The second bit of news to reach me via social media was that Prop 8 has officially been overturned as unconstitutional.  I know we still have a way to go on this issue, but what a happy day for hope.  I may already have my legal spouse, and he may be of the opposite gender, but what if he hadn’t been.  What if he were female?  As a bisexual these are issues that do come to light.  I can’t imagine not being able to marry the person I’ve chosen to give my life to because of her gender.

The opposition will talk about sex, but this is not about sex.  It’s about family.  It’s about love.  It’s about the right to live one’s life and be left alone.  It’s about having the right to be with one’s soul mate at his deathbed.  It’s about raising children together as a family unit.  It’s about being spiritually as well as legally united as partners and treated as such.  I know there will still be a lot of legal back and forth on this issue, but I’d like to extend a heartfelt “thank you” for those who have helped thus far and an uplifting “huzzah!” to my LGBT friends and family out there.

The third thing I noticed was myself being more polite and helpful.  Maybe I was just in a good mood, but it felt great making other people smile all day.  Perhaps I was giving a birthday present to my soul.  Maybe my birthday gives me a little Karma boost.  I don’t really understand it, but it made me glow from the inside.  Every time I held a door open or helped a young mom struggling with her groceries get them to  her car I felt like dancing.  I’m not trying to boast.  I’m really just trying to express to you all how heartwarming it can be to just do it without wondering whether or not it will be appreciated.  Give it a try.  Your spirit will thank you.

I could not have asked for a better birthday.  The amount of calls, texts, emails, and Facebook wall posts (oh, how would we know whose birthday it was without Facebook to remind us?) I received was overwhelming.  Hubby surprised me with cake, dinner, and a movie..in that order.. and we were accompanied by a friend who barely has time in her schedule to breathe let alone spend the night seeing a movie with us, even if it was Despicable Me in 3D.  I truly felt loved, and I didn’t mind turning 27 one bit.  I won’t mind 28 either if it’s this exciting!

Go now…eat your leftover birthday cake with pride!

*Namaste*

By now most of us have heard of the girl in Mississippi who only wanted to take her girlfriend to prom.  Instead, in order to avoid conflict prom was canceled.  To me this seems a little bit like treating a hangnail by cutting off one’s finger.  The school now has more upheaval and bad publicity than it would have otherwise.  There have been Facebook pages, news articles, and an appearance on Ellen.  My school took a more clever approach.

My junior year of high school I decided I was taking my best friend to Winter Ball.  Whether or not we were dating is not really the issue.  I knew I was bi, but not a lot of other people did.  I had no luck with guys, so I decided to take her.  I went to a very small, all female, Catholic high school.  There would be no “stag” guys and all my friends had dates.  What could be the harm?

My only saving grace in this situation was the fact that my friend has a traditional Japanese name, which the administration may not have guessed is a pretty common female name.  Weeks before the ball we had to have a guest permit signed by our date’s parents and submitted for approval by the administration.  It never really dawned on me that I was doing anything wrong until I showed up at the ball with my friend on my arm.

The teacher in charge of checking us in gave me an incredulous stare.  She didn’t want to cause a scene, and my date had already been approved.  How could this have happened?  What would the nuns say?  Was the baby Jesus crying as we stood there for a second in pregnant silence?  She quickly regained her composure, the blood returning to her face, and made sure I was aware that this was not to happen again.  The formal excuse I was given was that we already had enough girls at the ball without adding them from other schools.  Apparently, if I wanted to share my night with a girl it shouldn’t matter who that girl was.

There was some discussion about it at school the following Monday, but I never made a big deal of it.  I took a boy, who I also wasn’t dating, to prom.  Friends of mine who were dating were able to attend because they both went to my school, and I couldn’t help but note the hypocrisy in the whole system.  I can’t imagine not being able to take someone I genuinely cared about to one of the most important, if not the most important night of a girl’s high school existence.

Years after graduation most of the petty arguments and crises one experiences in high school are forgotten, and we realize how meaningless most of it was.  It comes in the relationships we forge and the memories we make that last a lifetime.  I may not remember the food, the music, or the dress, but I have wonderful memories of that Winter Ball.  Everyone should have the right such things.  Should it matter with whom we have them?  Prom isn’t a wedding or having a child.  We haven’t even crossed over into these kinds of political issues.   It’s prom.  Let the kids have fun before they’re thrown into the real world and adulthood.

Go now, Facebook your prom date.

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