wyld_dandelyon: (Creative Joyous Cat)
This Thanksgiving, I am thankful, primarily, for my friends, here and elsewhere, from the closest loved-friends to the casual acquaintances. I count myself lucky to know and interact with so many people, people who are different from me and from each other in so many ways. I love having friends from so many different ethnic backgrounds. I love having friends who are introverts and who are extroverts. I love having friends who follow so many different religions—and some who follow none. I love having friends who live in red states and blue, and who live in other countries altogether. I love having so many women friends, and so many friends of other genders. I love having friends who are unrepentantly out about their orientations, their quirks, and their passions, and I love having friends who are just starting to experience and express new passions and new things about themselves. I love having friends who are curious about everything, from people who find an unusual color of mold on their pie and grow more to try to identify it to people who relentlessly fact check internet memes. I love having both friends who are comfortable with the role they were told they should fill as a child and people who forge new ways to live their lives despite those expectations. I love having friends who care about the world and the people in it, and I love it when they come to my page to discuss politely their differences regarding how to best move forward in the future.

I love the people who post cat memes and snarky internet comics. I love the people who write, who paint, who draw, who edit, who publish, who dance, who drum, who sing, and who quilt, and the people who do not. I love the people who stop to help strangers in the grocery store or on the street, the people who share kickstarters or go-fund-mes to help someone make a new thing real or just to help someone they know pay medical bills or care for a stray cat. I love the people who share recipes and pictures of their families and homes, the people who garden and sew, and the people who share their babies’ milestones. I love the people who share their travails with home ownership (and inevitable maintenance) and the people who share techie tips. Just as much, I love the people who share stories of their explorations, whether those are making something new or wandering the world in body or in imagination. I love the people who share cool stuff, from comments that glitter or display in mirror writing to cool stuff I’ll never be able to afford to restaurants that can safely feed people with weird food allergies. I love people who share our world’s history and people who share new discoveries. I love people who share their delight in cool stuff even when, or maybe especially when I never saw that particular stuff as delightful before.

I love having both friends with strong opinions and friends with questions.

I love the people who help me understand those who are unlike me in some way and the people who understand some facet of me so well because they feel that thing too. Your diversity enriches and delights me.

Thank you all for being a part of my world, in whatever ways you have chosen to do that. Thank you for sharing some part of who you are and what you love with me.

I hope that your winter holidays (regardless of which secular and/or religious holidays you personally celebrate or try to ignore) are not too stressful, and I hope the season brings you delight both in the fashion you hope it will and in unexpected, life-enriching ways.

wyld_dandelyon: (Polychrome Wizard)
In the wake of the Supreme Court decision, I'm seeing people post "Straight Pride" things. Now, I have no objection to straight people being proud of their sexuality and their families, but posting that probably means that they don't understand why queer people feel the need to assert their pride publicly. It probably means that they are not aware that straight people have always been able to casually show pride in their sexuality and in their loved ones. They never had to fear flirting with someone in a bar or at a party would lead to them being attacked. They never felt obliged to date someone they had no interest in to look "normal". They never had to fear the consequences of talking about their love at work, at school, at church, at the grocery store, or at Christmas dinner.

I remember being on my first day at a new job, and a very young attorney there was obviously embarrassed to say the word "lesbian". I wanted to say, it's OK to say it, it's not a bad word, but I was afraid that if this was a place where it wasn't OK to even say the word, speaking up could lead to me losing that job. I needed to keep that job so I could support my daughter. I kept my mouth shut (though I didn't feel good about doing so).

I remember when people called their LGBT friends in far away cities to say, "I'll march in your pride parade if you'll march in mine" because the parades were mostly covered by local news, which made marching in your own city much more dangerous than marching a few hours' drive away. I was asked to the first Milwaukee Gay Pride Picnic, not because I am bi, but specifically because I was a college student attending school in a different state, so my face on the Milwaukee news wouldn't mean I would lose my job or be outed to my family.

Straight people have always been free to speak openly about their sexuality, talking about their spouses and other romantic relationships, their weddings and anniversaries and breakups, their loved one's health and welfare, and so on. In short, straight people were always allowed to be proud about and open about their sexuality. They never had to worry they would lose their jobs if they even briefly mentioned their loved one--heck, they could bring a spouse or romantic partner to company parties (even if said spouse was a doofus). They never had to prevaricate about the nature of their primary relationship to keep a job or a friend. They never had their child not want to invite friends to their home because the friends would realize Mommy isn't "normal", and said child reasonably feared that would lead to social consequences at school.

Maybe in the future, now that marriage equality is law, we will get to a point where it is not an act of bravery to say, "I'm queer", but we're not there yet. Saying that IS still an act of bravery, an act that risks the person you say it to trying to shame you or harm you (or your family) in some way.

The pride movement isn't a narcissistic "I think highly of myself" thing. It is a reaction to being told, hundreds or thousands of times, that we should be ashamed to be who we are and of loving who we love. It is proactively fighting all those negative words and actions, fighting for the right to be simply yourself despite valid reasons to fear the consequences of people knowing who you are--and fighting for the next generation, hoping for the time when people like us won't have to be afraid, when we will be able to be as casually and innocently proud of our relationships and families as anyone else, without fear, without harassment and certainly without risk of financial ruin or physical attack.


wyld_dandelyon: (Default)

October 2017

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