Heaven holds a sense of wonder….











{September 14, 2010}   On Defecting From the Gay Mafia…

I’ve discovered I possess a disturbing perspective. Specifically in regards to individuals who have identified as gay and suddenly find themselves in heterosexual relationships.

I find myself viewing them as “defectors.”

I, who identified for the majority of my life as bisexual, who was in a heterosexual relationship for ten years, and who primarily maintained heterosexual romantic relationships prior to that, feel betrayed when one of “my own” starts dating someone of the opposite sex.

It doesn’t alarm me so much if a woman who has primarily dated women in the past involves herself with a man who’s preferred the company of other men. In my mind, I chalk that up to experimentation.

When did my view become so warped? Am I so immersed in the LGBT lifestyle, so entrenched, that now I take the polar opposite stance as one who believes gays are unnatural?

I suppose part of it is the new-ness of my own self-liberation. I’ve embraced being a lesbian. I look back at my past involvements with men and I honestly can’t understand how I did it. I’ve always found male anatomy disturbing, I’ve always been better friends with guys than lovers, and I’ve always had a soft spot for the ladies.

So why would I “go back”? I think some of my thought pattern involves a bit of projection. If I wouldn’t “go back”, why would anyone else? And if there’s nothing to “go back” to, why even mess with it? Trust me, it’s safer over here on this side of the rainbow.

It’s funny. I’ve always proclaimed loudly, “Love knows no gender!” Hell, I don’t even believe gender is as black and white as the dominant tradition in the U.S. would have us believe.

I’ve also notoriously been a rebel. I don’t follow, I don’t really lead either. I pick out my own beat and march to it, the rest of the band be damned. If someone tells me what to do, even if it was originally my plan, I’ll reverse tracks. And if there’s any semblance of conformity around me, I’ll change my colors to stand out – even if that means that there’s a whole slew of others just like me and I’m only changing my colors to conform to them.

It’s a reaction. I’m not a poser, just a reactionary. And it takes me a while to realize that my non-conformity is actually just a variation of that which I’m balking against. So then I change my colors again. And inevitably… well the cycle has repeated itself so often through my 3 decades here, so why should it stop now?

I wonder if my warped view is a reflection of this? Am I changing my colors to fit in with my still-relatively-new identity? Once the novelty wears off, will I be more understanding? Or will I always see my gay-gone-hetero friends as Benedict Arnolds?

Well, hey…. at least I don’t have to give a toaster back every time.



{April 11, 2010}   Pint-sized Pride

This entry was originally written for Oh Messy Life, a radical parenting blog I contribute to.

Oh, messy life, indeed.

Last week was Pride Week in my hometown. Put aside, for the time being, the fact that I’ve never understood the need to celebrate Pride in April, when it’s traditionally celebrated in June most other places. I know the college town atmosphere pervades everything, including common sense. This isn’t about that.

Put aside, too, that the whole thing is (sorry, friends, I love you dearly…) kind of a joke. A bunch of 21-23 year-old kids hollering and waving rainbows does not Pride make. And some of the chants sound like they might as well be yelling, “We must, we must, we must increase our bust!” (Actually, wouldn’t surprise me if a couple of my friends were actually saying that).

I don’t mean to harsh on it – I do love the Pride march, it has its own little place in a cobwebby corner of my heart, a corner that’s been neglected in these cynical, jaded times. This year, I’m a little bitter, and it has nothing to do with Pride itself. The week’s events just happened to be the unfortunate stage.

I am a lesbian. But first, and foremost, I’m a mom. I’m a lot of other things too, but for the intents and purposes of this brain-spew, we’ll stick mostly with those two labels. Normally, I keep labels for jars, but now and then, they help clarify matters a bit. So.

I am a lesbian, and I’m a mom. I have two beautiful kids, who are too young to have any sort of clue about sexuality or sexual identity whatsoever – As It Should Be. Three and five. Their world consists of dinosaurs and rainbows and beetles and ghost stories. I’d like to keep it that way as long as possible.

Now, being a mom who is also a lesbian, there are certain realities I have to face. One is that, no matter how normal a life I make for my children, they will one day realize that having two moms is something slightly out of the ordinary. Whether they realize it on their own or (goddess forbid) peers pick on them for it and bring it to their attention thusly, I want them to be ready. Many years ago, when B.R. was still less than a year old, I scored a freebie: a book titled How Would You Feel If Your Dad Was Gay? It’s a cute book, complete with bad ’90’s haircuts and all. It’s a story of a brother and sister whose dad is gay, and word gets out at school. The aftermath is chaotic, and affects a boy whose mom is a lesbian. It’s generally a book for older kids, but my kids like “big kid” books, and my daughter was the one to pick it out. Given the timing of her choice, and my inclination to squeeze the potential to answer their life questions out of every possible opportunity, it seemed like a good idea.

The kids were all ears. Asking tons of questions – and answering them too. I asked B.R. what he would do if someone gave him a hard time about having two moms. Without missing a beat, he quipped, “Tell them they’re a lunatic.” While he was at his dad’s a couple of days later, he called me, “Hey mom, what’s that thing when two people who love each other can’t get married? You know, the one we read about the other night?”

“You mean like when a man loves another man?” I asked.

“Yeah, but the woman version of that. What do you call that?”

“Oh, that’s a lesbian,” I answered. Next moment, I heard his sweet voice announce to a room full of adults, “My mom is a lesbian!” And then he said his thanks and goodbyes – my job was done.

To me, that’s what it means to celebrate Pride with kids. Emphasize the normalcy of it all. It’s just another way to love. They don’t need to know about the conflict and the hate and fear just yet. They’re little. Let them follow beetles around and chase rainbows. (Interesting that I keep coming back to rainbows)

The day after we read the book – which I had intended and expected to be their only real exposure to Pride for the week (though I apparently should have known better) – they went to their father’s house. They had a very busy week, apparently participating in a lot of Pride Week events on campus. I got to hear all about it from my friends. Stories moms don’t like to hear, about their baby wandering around looking for his parent, repeatedly, in a very grown-up setting. And I don’t want to think about how close they came to the Phelps family – I’m just glad B.R.’s reading is still limited.

The week was hard. I had to pay attention to my breath, and only my breath, to get through it. The closer Saturday came, the bigger the knot in my stomach grew.

Saturday was the day of the march. He had plans to march with the kids. I had a terrible feeling about this.

Before I go any further – for those of you who don’t know me, I calls it like I sees it. Sometimes I come across as rude and tactless, and those who are inclined to will call me a bitch. I don’t mind. I am what I am, and it is what it is.

So I had a terrible feeling. Why? Why wouldn’t I want my kids to go parading downtown with a bunch of fags and dykes, shouting, “Ten percent is not enough, RECRUIT, RECRUIT, RECRUIT!”? Because they’re three and five, and that world is not theirs. Yet. It may never even be. The choice should be left up to them.

Their dad… I don’t know how he identifies. And it wouldn’t be very radical of me to decide for him how he should identify. But this much I do know. For whatever reasons, it feels to me like he’s making a mockery of my way of life with the way he presents himself. He dresses the way he does because he wants to make a statement about patriarchy and oppression – not because he feels more himself in those clothes. He takes the kids to Pride events to “show our support”, not to revel in the sense of unity it’s supposed to promote.

I don’t want my kids to feel like MY way of life is being forced on them by myself or by anyone else. And I’m struggling, because there’s a part of me that wants to tell him, “This is MINE. Go find your own lifestyle.”

These feelings were only reinforced when B.R. told us he didn’t like the march because it was boring. And when he shared his feelings with his pop, he was told, “We’re here to show our support. We’re staying.”

I was always told, as an activist, that support is only effective if it’s not forced. If we respect our limitations, then we can make the most of what support we can offer.

I don’t even know who he thought he was trying to make the kids support. I hope to high hell he wasn’t trying to show his support of their lesbian mom – or that they would even infer that. I get enough support from them when they call me up to ask for a definition of a word they read just the other day, or when they tell me they love me, and even love my girlfriend, too.

They’re three and five. They can support me by scrounging for pine cones and jumping in puddles and chasing rainbows. They can support me by reminding me that we’re a family, just like any other.

They can be proud of me for being their mom. Nothing else about me matters to them.

They’re three and five.



I write an awful lot about our relationship. I don’t write nearly as much about the kids. I think this is because, for the most part, I’m pretty secure in my role as Mom. The kids won’t up and leave me if I do something stupid, and, at this stage of the game, I’m pretty certain that I’m not going to screw them up too bad if I make a mistake. They’re little and little kids are experts at forgiving and forgetting.

This parenting thing in our house is kind of strange. I’m in some sort of awkward limbo between single mom and partnered-mom – I’m definitely partnered, but she’s only been living with us for a little over 6 months, and as far as the kids go, there are boundaries that are still being worked out.

Take discipline, for example. The kids love her and trust her unconditionally, and because of the nature of their relationship, she gets to be the fun one. She rarely gets mad at them, and when she does, they pay damn good attention. It’s nice because if I’m struggling with them and they’re tuning out Mom, all she has to do is say, “Hey, what did your mom say?” and it’s like magic. They can hear me again.

While it’s refreshing, because even while I was with their dad, I didn’t have this kind of support, it also sets up a potential good-cop/bad-cop dynamic that I would really like to steer clear of. So when it’s her boundaries that are being pushed, I’ve encouraged her to find ways to deal with it herself, to talk to the kids, rather than have me “handle” them. It’s been touchy at times. They’re my kids, I should be the one to enforce the rules, etc. At the same time, if we’re to be long-term partners, and if she wants to have her personal limits respected, they need to hear it from her at least some of the time that they’re pushing.

She is much more receptive to the idea when she’s not trying to sleep. (and usually, I go ahead and enforce her boundaries for her when she is trying to sleep – I mean, I’m not totally cold!)

The kids love her to pieces. They come home from their dad’s house, and the first thing they do when they see her – however cliche it may be – is throw themselves on her. She’s tackled and tickled and kissed and cuddled. And it all happens again at the end of every day, bedtime. And then at the beginning of the day, her bedtime. They can’t get enough of her.

This morning, my daughter, three, was distressed to found out WokkaWokka had gone to bed. (That’s the special name she came up for my Darling, henceforth abbreviated as W.W.) “I want someone else to make my breakfast! I want W.W.!! Not you!” Apparently she’s cooler than me, and she makes cereal better than me.

Sometimes she likes to play around with words. She’ll tell others, “We have kids,” rather than, “She has kids and I put up with the noise.” She’ll say things like, “Our kids are little shits sometimes, but I do love them,” which I almost always have to replay in my mind a couple of times to confirm the “our” presence in the statement. And she’ll never repeat herself. “You heard me. Shut up, leave me alone,” she mumbles with a sheepish grin.

She’s getting the hang of it. It’s not like there’s a lot of resources out there for people in her position though, which I find surprising. I’m trying to find some books – and I’ve got one title in mind that I haven’t read – that focus on lesbian step-parents. Because a lot of the step-parenting books out there are hetero-biased and subtle as it may be, it is hard to navigate around sometimes. And a lot of the lesbian parenting books out there focus so much on lesbians who were already coupled before the kids came along, rather than the other way around. And she could use some support, because it’s not always easy to be in her position.

And the kids… they love her, but they still can’t quite wrap their minds around who/what she is to us. My oldest, my son, knows she’s my “girlfriend”, and that we love each other a whole lot, like a lot of mommies and daddies love each other, which is cool but kind of strange because we can’t get married cuz only men and women can get married, right? Not too bad for a 5 year old. My daughter, she’s absolutely unabashed about sharing affection with her W.W., regardless of where we are or who’s around, which throws people off when she explains their relationship: “She’s my roommate.” Which stings Pickle a bit, because they’re so much more than roommates or friends, but, hey… the kid’s only three. She doesn’t have the language yet.

We’re lucky to live in a very progressive town with a same-sex registry. There’s another girl in my daughter’s class at preschool who has two moms. I don’t really worry about the kids getting bullied or treated badly for it – in fact, in a town like ours, it’s likely to be a popularity boost come junior high – “Wow, you have two moms? That’s rad!” Rebellion is encouraged around here, and having parents that are already breaking the mold, well that’s just bonus.

I’m sure there will be some jerk kids out there who will assume that because her moms are dykes, our daughter will be too.

And then there’s their dad – who’s a puzzle of his own. He identifies as a gender-queer cis-male. This may be a judgmental thing to say, it may not be socially correct, but it is based off of everything I know about him: I would not be surprised if he, in the next ten years, came out as transgendered and started living as a lesbian. He’s very zealous about trans issues, and I don’t think it’s just because it happens to be the current trend, the “cool thing to do” in the Radical Queer community right now.

And while it’s cool that he’s currently exploring his identity and I hope he is able to find happiness and comfort, I do worry about the natural bias of the outside world – even the LGBT community. It’s ok to be gay, and it’s ok to be lesbian. And once people start talking about trans issues, it seems like it’s ok to trans – as long as you’re female transitioning to male (FTM). But if it’s the other way around people start to get squirmy. I think it’s a reflection of society’s general underlying attitudes towards women – “Why would anyone want to be a woman?” It may sound extreme, and certainly, it’s not conscious thinking on the part of most, but it is worth examination, I think.

And my kids have two moms… maybe one day they’ll have three, or even four. I don’t think anyone around here would bully them for having two moms. I worry that, especially for my son, their father’s identity and presentation (he dresses in women’s clothing often) will create problems, and have my son branded a sissy.

But then again, he’s got two tough moms with a lot of fight in them…. and I’m learning – people are scared of pissing off lesbians!

Maybe that’s why people have always found me intimidating – they sensed my inner dyke…



et cetera