Life On The B Side

Taking all that life throws at us one moment at a time

Being An Ally June 8, 2018

Filed under: Family,Life on the Jay train — The B Side @ 3:14 pm
Tags: , , , , , , ,

*Language warning. If you’re offended by curse words, stop reading.*

 

34562255_10155461297261863_8521995820059328512_n (1)

I saw this on Twitter and added the comment – “Not just the cake. All vendors/services.”

 

 

The other day, via text message, I received a bit of a rant from a friend. A straight friend.

 

I’m so over this wedding cake case. Fucking religion. When I hear people start with it, I have to restrain myself. If you are using it for good, then fine, but what infuriates me is all the awful things they use it to justify. If they want a cake, and you are in the cake business, bake them a cake. They want a room, and you are in the hotel business, rent them a room. Why is any of that subject to your belief system? They want to be married and are of consenting age, give them a license. I get so goddamn angry. Because if you’re the worst person on earth but you’re straight, step right up. What will you be having today? Marriage, cake, adoption?

Fuck outta here. It’s indefensible.

I asked a religious friend of mine who I know is against gay marriage due to the fact that “it’s a sin”, if there was any action/sin that a straight man/woman could commit that would make him say they shouldn’t be allowed to get married to someone who also wanted to marry them.  He said no.  I had to laugh. Then I said, so only homosexuality is a problem? He said he had never really thought about it that way but no there isn’t any sin that would disallow marriage if a man and a woman wanted to get married.

 

After reading through his messages, I replied with:  “Yup, that’s how it is.  They’d rather the gay man, lie (which is also a sin) and pretend to be something he’s not and marry a woman. Then they can live unhappily ever after.”

 

It’s imbecilic” was his final comment.

 

 

Recently, another friend of mine asked if I wanted to be a part of a Whatsapp group chat with a bunch of people we graduated high school with.  I said sure.

It started off fine.  Lots of people who I hadn’t spoken with in years popped up in the group as each member kept adding whoever they were still in touch with.  Some of the names being added were people I don’t remember being in school with at all.  It was fun though.  People cheerfully welcomed all the newcomers.  People reminisced on our high school years, mourned the loss of those who have died and asked after the ones they had long since lost touch with.  At one point, someone asked if anyone was in contact with my friend Jon and suggested that he be added to the group.

That’s when things took a turn.  Jon is an openly gay man.  As far as I know, he’s the only one of our group.  My former classmates, who I’d just been happily chatting and catching up with did not want him added to the group chat because they “don’t agree with his lifestyle” and they actually called him derogatory names.

 

Jon and I are Facebook friends but we are not as close now as we used to be.  However, back in high school, he was one of the nicest people you could ever know.  He never said anything bad about anyone.  Never hurt anyone.  Was considerate and welcoming and when we were at his house he was a gracious host.  His entire family was that way.  I have no reason to believe he is any different now.

I know for a fact that some of the people who had been enthusiastically welcomed into the group chat have criminal records.  We had liars, cheats and divorcees. People who have had abortions and those who have had kids out of wedlock with multiple partners.  People just a minute earlier were boasting about how much rum they drink and how often they get drunk still.

The only person they wanted to exclude was Jon.

 

I don’t know if I should have said something in the group or not.  I chose to speak separately with the people I considered friends.  I told them how disappointed I was in the way they were behaving.

A lot of the people in the group know that I am in a same sex marriage and (whether they agree that it should be legal or not) they didn’t reject me.  But for some reason, it’s pretty standard for males to get harsher treatment than females.  I can’t be a part of a group that would discriminate that way even though I wasn’t personally being harmed or left out.  We all need to do a better job of supporting each other and advocating for each other and being allies for each other even if we are not in the affected set.

I left the group chat.

 

 

 

 

P.S.  “No Gays Allowed” because the Bible says so? The same book of the Bible (Leviticus is the popular one) also forbids: • Charging interest on loans • Trimming your beard • Selling land • Eating shrimp • Wearing two different fabrics and suggests the death penalty for adultery.

 

 

 

We Are All X-Men April 17, 2018

I didn’t spend much of my childhood watching super hero cartoons, and I wasn’t a comic book reader, other than when we visited my Grandads sister, whose son had a box full of Archie comics.  Thanks to my sons however, I am now well versed in all things super hero.  I know real names, side kicks, back stories, powers, enemies … the lot.

I very quickly figured out who my favourites were.  The X-Men.   Of course, you gotta like Wolverine’s willingness to fight for justice, even with all his emotional brokenness and you gotta feel sympathy for Rogue who’s just a young girl who wants to be normal and experience normal things, and anyone with any decency can appreciate Charles Xaviers outreach efforts and desire to be peaceful but, personally I really relate to Magneto.  Techniclly, he’s the “bad guy”, but in terms of ideology, I’m with him.

 

“They wish to cure us. But I say to you we are the cure! The cure for that infirm, imperfect condition called “Homo sapiens!”

 

Magneto, or Erik if you’re cool with him, makes no apologies for his Mutation.  He revels in it;  Celebrates it; And has no tolerance for those who would look for ways to control mutants or worse, make them extinct.

 

His methods may not be on the up and up, but think about how many people who are different, live their ENTIRE lives feeling the pain brought on by other peoples fear?  Think about how many children are told that yes they are loved, but can they just tone themselves down a bit.  Be less obvious.  Blend in.

So much of autism therapy is aimed at stomping out as many of the Obviously Autistic traits that a person has.  We train our children not to stim, to make prolonged eye contact, to play only with “age appropriate” items.  We use words like, cure and fix and broken and hardship and nightmare and burden.

So many LGBT+ youth spend years trying to be something they are not.  They know what will be tolerated and what won’t.  No pink anything for boys and no buzz cuts for girls.  No talk of same sex attraction.  Definitely cannot question gender.  I mean, we barely expect boys to wash dishes or for girls to take out garbage.

 

And what do we do?  Those of us who are broken, sissies or otherwise not what we know our parents wish we were?

We pretend.  We hide.  We lash out.  We detach.  We self-harm.  We self-medicate.

None of it is good or sustainable;  And whether those unhealthy behaviours come to an end in a good way or a bad way depends on many factors.

 

Archangel, (in the comics), comes from millionaire, mutant-bigoted parents who sign guardianship of him over to Professor X.  In the movie, The Last Stand, however, Angels father has developed an inoculation to suppress the X-gene that gives mutants their abilities and offer the “cure” to any mutant who wants it.  We see Angel as a child, who knows his fathers negative views of mutants, trying to saw his feathered wings off his own back.  He has grown up thinking there is something wrong with him.  He does not want to be a mutant.  There are tears and blood everywhere.    When he is discovered in the bathroom, his fathers disappointment and horror is evident.  “No!  Not YOU !

We see Angel as a young man, very reluctantly agreeing to have his mutation stripped away by his fathers injection.  For his whole life, this thing has caused him unnecessary emotional and physical trauma.  He tries to hide, then he tries to mutilate, then he pretends – until finally, even though he knows how much it will anger his father and he understands that his action will likely mean their relationship is over, just as he is about to get the shot, he breaks free and flies out the window unable to take it all anymore.  Nothing is worth more than being his true self, in all his winged glory.

 

Replace the words mutant and powers with autistic or gay and (Arch)Angels story could be anyones story.

 

…Angels father developed an inoculation to suppress the X-gene that gives autistics their traits and offers the cure…

…He has grown up thinking there is something wrong with him.  He does not want to be autistic…

…He is ashamed of his struggle with sexuality and tries everything he can to numb his feelings and to prevent his father from finding out, including constant lying, avoiding being at home – even if that means sleeping in his car, cutting himself or drinking himself into oblivion…

…We see Angel as a young man, very reluctantly agreeing to go to conversion therapy, just to please his dad, even though he doesn’t feel like there is anything wrong with him…

…We see Angel as a young man, knowing that he would benefit from ADHD medication but choosing not to take it so as not to upset his father because taking it would mean admitting that something was “wrong” with him…

…Until finally, even though he knows how much it will anger his father and he understands that his action will likely mean their relationship is over, he just cannot take it anymore and decides to live a free and open and honest and healthy life…

 

I’ve lived some of those scenarios above (or something resembling them) and was well on my way to passing them onto my children.  It took me years to see Jays autism, as something other than a tragedy.  To be able to give him a sense of pride in his autistic brain.  I fought so hard against Ace being on any time of ongoing medication.  Not my baby.  That’s for other parents who want to change their kid and make them into a zombie.  It took me over 20 years to stop spouting out the anti-gay rhetoric that I was raised to believe in and another 15 before I willingly admitted to being in a relationship with a woman.

What a waste of time it all was.

 

Certainly, not all the mutants are good.  Just as not all autistic people are nice and not all gay people are loyal and not all women are reasonable and not all straight, white men are ethical.  That doesn’t mean that illogical and unreasonable fear of those who are different from you should be excused or justified.  That thinking is damaging to the vast majority who are just trying to live their best lives.  I whole-heartedly believe that people should be free to be themselves and that we should all be comfortable asking for help if we need it and be proud of who we are, as long as we are putting respect and compassion out into the world.

 

 

Lastly, in case you were wondering why the heck I chose to spend time writing about the X-Men today of all days?

Honestly, it’s just cause I had some free time last Sunday and it was on Hulu so I watched it.

 

Open Letter To My Mothers Sister September 18, 2017

Filed under: Family,Marriage — The B Side @ 5:40 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,

christian

 

Isn’t that sweet.

You, one of my mothers many sisters, posted that meme on Facebook and I assume you think it’s just lovely and makes you come across as having a good heart and not like a bigot.  You probably thinks it’s the perfect mix of compassion and religious integrity.  With all the talk of love and not judging and friendship and what not.  I mean really, how noble and Christ-like of you to not stand by while we get bullied.

 

I have questions though.

What does “not supporting homosexual marriagemean?  What does “standing up for your beliefs” look like?  Does it mean you would vote “NO” to make it legal?  Does it simply mean that you would not attend a homosexual wedding?  Does it mean that you would teach your children that someone else’s marriage is less valid or is inferior somehow?   Would you allow your children to spend extended time with their cousins who are children of a homosexual marriage?  Would my wife and I not be welcome in your home?  I just wanna know.  Because you see, with all your talk of still being a friend while you “stand up for your beliefs” you are probably being a hypocrite.  You, as a Catholic, happen to follow a sector of a religion that does allow pork eating (which I think is fine) – Never mind that there are parts of the bible that prohibit that – But that’s not my point here.  I’m not trying to influence which parts of the bible you decide are worth ignoring and which are not.  Choose any parts you want to.  Just as 7th Day Adventists can choose to focus on the parts that say pigs are unclean (which I also think is fine).  As individuals people should be able to choose what they want to eat without the government intervening and without other people putting themselves in a position of power over their rights based on personal religious beliefs.

 

If you don’t want to socialize with a gay couple I’m actually ok with that.  Well, I think it’s dumb, so I’m not necessarily ok with it but I accept that it’s your prerogative.  If you want to shelter your children from their lesbian Aunt and her children that’s totally up to you.  Would you disown your own son if he told you he was gay and wanted to get married?  You could.  That would be your choice to make.  It would be sad and unfortunate; but it would be your choice.

 

If you think homosexual marriage should be illegal though – that’s a problem.  Believe whatever you want, just don’t impose those beliefs on everyone else.  What gives you the right to put yourself in such a lofty position as to decide if it’s alright for another person to get married or not in the first place?  It’s no different from white people in 1787 deciding that black people should only be counted as 3/5 of a person when determining political representation.

 

It’s not ok to make laws for everyone based on religious beliefs of some.  Or is it?  Would it be right for 7th Day Adventists to make bacon illegal in an entire country and would it be ok for Jehovah’s Witnesses to make it illegal for women, anywhere, to hold any positions of power?

 

How about for you as a proud Catholic with the alter boy son, to make it illegal for men of all religions to get married because you don’t believe your own priests should marry? If there was a way to make pre-marital sex illegal and punishable by law, would that be acceptable?  Wait a second, should divorce be illegal?  I’m pretty sure that’s against your Church rules.  (Rocks and glass houses and all that).  Would it be the right of the government to force the children of non-married people to live with other married family members or in a group home because their biological parents have been sent to prison for breaking the law?  And what about birth control?  Should condoms and pills be illegal?  I’m just asking.

 

How do you feel about womens rights in strict Muslim countries?  I suppose it’s fine with you that Saudi women aren’t allowed to drive and that their girls cannot go to school and that the women are forced to wear bourkas.  I mean, after all, their religion tells them that’s how it should be.

 

If there was such a country where most of the law makers were Scientologists, should they and Tom Cruise cause all psychiatrists to lose their jobs and should all medication that treats mental illnesses be outlawed even for the Christians of said country?  Should it be forced upon all people, in a country led by Mormons, that they “go forth preaching the gospel, two by two” because that’s the law as laid out in the Book of Mormon  (D&C Section 42: 6)?  Or, instead of asking about missionary work, should I ask about the Mormon law which at one point argued for legalized slavery saying God ordained it or the one that forbade mixed-race couples saying blackness was a curse brought down on us as the seeds of Cain?  In The Book of Mormon, it literally says, God inflicts a curse of dark skin on the Lamanites when they disobey him and they become white and delightsome when they obey him.  How could the entire world not agree to and stick to this?  God himself commanded it.  God himself banned black people from voting or holding public office.  How did we allow Obama (who you support) to become President?

 

In the Jewish Torah it says that all males should be circumcised and that a widow whose husband died childless must not be married to anyone but her deceased husband’s brother.

 

Or are laws and restrictions based on religious views, only allowed if they align with YOUR religion?  With YOUR holy book?

 

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to trick you or back you into a corner, or even convince you of anything.  I am not saying your religion, or any other religion, is bad.  I am not knocking anyones beliefs by drawing attention to them here.  I go to Church sometimes too.  I just want to know, specifically, what your beliefs are.  I want to know about things that don’t fit nicely into your cute little meme.  Maybe saying “I don’t support” is just your way of saying that when you pray, you pray for God to heal me and my sinning heart.  Or for God to have mercy on my soul when I die.  That actually wouldn’t offend me at all.  Pray away.

 

I hope you don’t mind all my questions.  You put the meme out there so I feel like it’s fair game for me to ask you about it.  So, don’t be vague.  Tell me where exactly you stand and IF you believe that because of the Church you attend, that qualifies you to infringe upon my rights?

What you say will tell me a lot about who you are and if I want to be a part of your life or not.

 

With Respect,

Your big sisters oldest daughter

 

Pride Month Reflections – With some religion and general life stuff thrown in there. June 28, 2017

Very often, life is incredibly beautiful.  Very often, life is incredibly difficult.  Just as often, both of those things are happening at the same exact time.

If you are lucky enough to find someone who makes the beautiful moments even more so and the difficult times somewhat bearable, then hold onto them with both hands.  If you find someone who you love and who in turn loves you and is as committed to you and your happiness/success/well-being as they are to their own, then cherish them.  Don’t let them go.  Certainly don’t let them go because of what other people think.

Find your real people.  The ones who willingly share your burdens.  The ones  who make you laugh and who comfort you and who are good influences on your children and who bend over backwards for you.  The ones who welcome you with wide open arms and want nothing more than for you to be happy.

Ignore the ones who do not make any effort for you.  The ones who make excuses and who don’t show any concern and who forget important dates and who obviously don’t care about your feelings or appreciate your time/sacrifices.  The ones who talk about you but not to you.  The ones who add nothing of substance but would have you live by their rules.  The people who are happy living in their own sin but who would judge you for your perceived transgressions.  No matter what their titles are, those are not your people and you do not need them.  Life is hard enough without them adding to it.

At the end of the day, there’s no use pretending to be someone you are not.  There’s no point in being lonely and no reward for being unhappy.  There is no prize for leaving yourself unfulfilled in order to please people who should be focusing their energy on other, more worthwhile, ventures.

 

 

I am no different than anyone else.

My life has had a lot of very difficult moments.   My life has had a lot of very beautiful moments.

I have truly amazing friends who have been there with me and stood by me through it all.  I have found romantic love and lost romantic love.  I am in love now – And I couldn’t ask her to love me (or my boys) any better.

I cannot imagine doing life without these people.  I would not want to imagine it.

 

But, there are those who would attack us with their religious speeches.  The ones who would deny my wife and I our happiness/rights and deny my children an awesome parent.  The re-married “adulterous” divorcees who quote one verse of the Bible to justify their anger/hatred/fear of gay people, but happily disregard the parts that say women should be silent in church and keep their heads covered or that shrimp is an abomination or that allows for incest and polygamy and slavery and that speaks of women as property for fathers to give away and for men to own/pass from brother to brother.

A few months ago they were posting about “Black Lives Matter” but now that it’s June they are posting about being “Straight and Proud”.  They don’t see that proclaiming Straight Pride is the same as proclaiming All Lives Matter.

These same people, with their holier than thou attitudes when it comes to homosexuality, have no problem with other forms of supposed sexual immorality.  They have no problem getting drunk on a regular basis or not tything or touching a menstruating woman.  Others remain silent when their friends spew racism and the worst of them condone men in their family who have molested children.  They welcome these sick bastards into their homes and they smile with them and wish them a happy fathers day.

 

I am not here to bash the Bible or religion or church goers.  I am bashing the hypocrisy.  I am bashing the picking and choosing of which Bible verses to pay attention to and make a big deal out of.  I believe the Bible can and should be used as a tool for good.  It should not be used as a weapon.  I believe there are a lot of benefits to having a church family.  I also believe it’s not possible to take everything the Bible says (in both the old and new testament) literally.

I believe at the end of the day, Jesus was about love.  Jesus was about protecting children and healing the sick and befriending the outcast.

When He gave His sermon on the mount (Matthew 5-7), He talked about anger issues and lust (for another mans woman) and divorce and making promises and retaliation and loving your enemies and giving to the needy and fasting and anxiety and judging others and He taught people how to pray.

 

Do good.

Forgive.

Be Honest.

Help Others.

Love!

These are the things He preached about.

 

Shaunie and I didn’t attend any Pride events this month as it wasn’t convenient this time around.  We were busy living our lives.  Paying our taxes.  Pumping our gas.  Watching kid friendly movies.  Going to the dentist.  Hanging out with friends and hosting Grandma.   That’s not to say I don’t fully support them though.  I do.  I understand the desire to celebrate with and to be surrounded by other LGBT+ people.  I am 100% on board with activism and I think it’s totally ridiculous that laws get enacted based on the religious beliefs of some.

 

Life is hard enough without us imposing additional and unnecessary burdens on each other.  We should let people feel comfortable enough to find their true love; whoever that may be and whatever body parts that person may have.  Let people adopt children and give them a good home no matter the gender make-up of the household.  Provide a safe learning environment for all students regardless of their gender expression.  Stand up to bullies in every form.  Ban work place and/or healthcare discrimination based on sexual orientation.

 

To everyone I say, I don’t have all the answers to all the questions.  None of us do.  But I do know it is NOT our job to make things harder.  It’s just not.  It IS our job to make getting through this damn difficult thing called life as happy as possible for as many people as possible.   It IS our job to leave the world a better and safer place for the next generation.

To my fellow LGBT+ people, in addition to the above I say, keep your head up.  Be proud.  Be open.  Don’t give up the fight for equality.  Handle your personal business.  Live your truth and let your light – and rainbow – shine!

 

images

 

Not Special. Not Strange. February 9, 2017

 

In my marriage we support each other.  We cheer each other on.  We offer a shoulder.  We both have 9 to 5’s and we share the household chores.  We drop kids off at school and we check homework and we figure out what’s for dinner each night.  We have disagreements and we can never decide what to watch on TV.  One loves coffee and cake and that same one hates yogurt.  One has food allergies and that same one carries an asthma inhaler.  We have inside jokes and  random things that bring back warm fuzzy memories to us would mean nothing to anyone else.  We talk about bills and taxes and we share a bank account.  The kids know who they should ask depending on what it is they want.  We each have our own sensitivities and our own strengths and our own interests.  We have some of the same sensitivities and strengths and interests.  We get on each others nerves at times but mostly we like each other and like spending time together.  We wonder if we should have one more kid.  We wonder when we will go on our next vacation.  We enjoy a glass of wine here and there.

We are neither special nor strange.

We are like all married couples.  We are like you.  And you.  And you.  We’re just trying to get the kids to bed on time and clean up the mess in the kitchen and remember to water the plants.  We are trying to find a babysitter so we can have a rare night out and we are searching the basement closet for some wrapping paper.  We have no idea where the other foot to all the socks are.  We share stories about our co-workers and we complain about our families.  We step on Legos and we curse the fools who invented toy megaphones because inevitably that is the toy the kids choose to play with at 6am on a Saturday morning.  We are nice to each other.  We care about each others feelings.  We are not disrespectful even in anger.  One irons the others work clothes the evening before and one puts gas in the others car.  We gripe about our weight (well, I do) and we’re still trying to figure out which one of us should really be in charge of plunging the toilet when the boys clog it up.  (Neither wants the job).  We gladly offer up the last (and always most delicious) bite of the thing we were just eating but complain when someone takes the first sip of our drink without asking.

Like I said:  Neither special nor strange.

We are multi-dimensional beings in a multi-dimensional marriage.  Going through all the same things as everyone else.  Struggling with all the same things as everyone else.  Finding joy in the same things as everyone else.

We have to work at keeping our love strong and our lives happy and healthy.  We have to make effort everyday to not take each other for granted.  We make fun of each other and are affectionate to each other.

Above all, we are a team.  We truly are best friends.  We appreciate each other and what each adds to this equation.

 

I know in my marriage we are both women and in most others there is one woman and one man but I don’t know why people like to reduce us to what happens in our bedroom.  I don’t know why people care so much or are so angry about what they assume happens there.  Like all married couples, we spend less time there than we do out in the world.  What happens there is private – Just as what happens in yours is private.

Can I make certain assumptions about what I think is happening in my bosses bedroom?  In my friends own?  My sisters?  How about in my pastors?  Of course I can.  Might I get some of it right and some of it way wrong?  Probably.  Is it my business?  Does it help me to know if any of them are decent people?  Does what you do in your bedroom, or who you do it with, make you a better friend to me or daughter to your mom or employee?  

NOT ONE BIT!