To The FemmeMobile! Away!











So, my cousin posted this thing on Facebook.

Wait, back up. You should know that both sides of my family are socially and religiously conservative. That one set of cousins (as in, the children of one particular aunt) has broken with the family conservative-Catholic beliefs to say, “Actually, maybe teh gays aren’t all that bad. In fact, they might not even be ‘teh gays’ but be actual people. WE SHALL TREAT THEM THUSLY.” A few of the others simply are loving and I don’t actually know where they stand on religious-political issues, but they do talk to me about my life and ask me with big beaming smiles about Quin, so I have no problem with them. (This is a little contrary to what I’m about to say. I’m still puzzling it out.)

But. There are another set of cousins that are really anti-gay marriage. They post anti-gay marriage things on Facebook periodically. Mostly they’re consumed with pro-life stuff, so the gay marriage stuff doesn’t come up so often, but now and then…

One of these cousins posted some speech the Pope gave with the comment, “Thank you Pope Benedict!” The speech was, in part, a reaction to the school shooting. The title (which pretty much captured the story) was “Pope Says: True Peace in the World Requires the End of Abortion and Gay “Marriage”.”

Because clearly abortions and gay marriage were on that guy’s mind when he shot all those kids.  */snark*

Anyway, it wasn’t the Pope’s statement that bothered me — I know the Catholic stance on both those things — it was my cousin’s sharing it with the comment, “Thank you Pope Benedict!” It was her making that statement despite knowing I’m gay and in a long-term relationship.

I wasn’t sure what to say. Whether to let it slide as her opinion she’s entitled to, or whether to step forward. That’s a hard line for me to see, the difference between opinion and bullying, and worse, she’s family. I don’t want to create family fights.

I very nearly said nothing. My mom raised us while keeping the peace in the family. She said (and this was true) it was so that we could make our own decisions about whether or not we wanted those family members in our lives, without her burning our bridges. But what I learned, and am slowly unlearning, is that you should keep the peace in the family AT ALL COSTS.

I’m also a big believer in complicity by silence. Er, not that you should do it, but that it happens all over. I’ve been working really hard not to be complicit by silence. To speak up if I hear someone being hassled or bullied, and to call people on it when I hear hateful or predjudiced language being spewed. But here’s the thing: at what point am I being complicit by silence vs just acknowledging that people have their own beliefs?

And here’s the other thing: is it even good for me? I think it’s good for society for people to speak up. But I did speak up yesterday, and I didn’t sleep last night. I was in a state of high anxiety most of today, thinking about her possible responses and my possible responses and whether or not I was going to catch flack at Christmas, where I’ll see her, and so on. (As it turned out, she didn’t respond at all.)

BTW, my response was: “You know… I just don’t think the downfall of civilization is caused by my loving and possibly marrying my girlfriend. That action would, however, stabilize and give more support to her two kids’ lives, which seems to be what Benedict wants, anyway.”

So… I guess I’m actually here asking for opinions. When do you speak up? When would you like to see people speak up, in an ideal situation? When “should” comments slide? I’m still not sure if I did the right thing or not. I can’t say I did the wrong thing, but I can’t say I did the right one, either. It doesn’t help that this is family, so there’s learned and familial issues there, anyway. But at least if I had a better understanding, I might feel more confident about saying something vs keeping quiet.

At least I have realized one thing for sure: I no longer have qualms about inviting some of my cousins and not other cousins/aunts and uncles who aren’t supportive of gay marriage, should I ever get married. And I’m finally realizing that if that creates family rifts… I’m okay with that. I’m not even doing it because I feel angry at them, which I expected. It’s more like, “Well, why would I invite them? They would be there out of obligation, not because they were happy for me. I want to share it with the people who would be happy for me. And if they’re angry because I didn’t count them admist those numbers, I’m sorry for that, but I don’t think I’m wrong. And if they are happy for me, and are sad they didn’t get to share, then I’ll apologize and we’ll bond. Or we won’t.”

It’s kind of freeing.

J

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{June 19, 2012}   Father’s Day

A couple of weeks back, S (Q’s 8-year-old daughter) looked up at Q and said, “Should we get you father’s day cards?”

Now, I wasn’t actually there for the conversation, but it was relayed to me thusly:

S: Should we get you father’s day cards?
Q: Well… I suppose you could… why do you ask?
S: Because even though you have a girl’s body, you’re more like  a dad.

She was right! Kids are smart like that. They’re not all caught up in ‘supposed-to’s like the rest of us are.  A few days later I picked them up from school (something that only happens rarely), and asked them if they still wanted to get their Mutti a father’s day card. To resounding yeses, we headed to CVS. J (Q’s son) went through several cards before finally, frowning at me, said, “These all say ‘father.’ But she’s our Mutti.” I told him it was okay, she’d understand, and we could always cross “father” out and write “mutti” instead. Apparently satisfied with this answer, they both picked out cards and then announced we should get Q a present, too. They bought Reeces Cups with their own money, and off we went.

Q gets a little resentful over mother’s day because people forget about her. She sends cards and well wishes to her friends, butch and andro alike (I believe I’m pretty much the only femme in her life), but doesn’t get any back. Last year her brother sent her flowers, which was a BIG deal. Then again, I wonder how many people remember at all. I send a card to my folks on their respective days, but not anyone else. Hmmm.

It also occurred to me that in another couple of years, I might well be “eligible” to be getting mother’s day cards of my own. That kinda freaked me out. I think I wouldn’t mind if everyone forgot. >.>

It’s funny; I was also the one kid in the family who DID NOT WANT KIDS, KTHNX. And I’m the first one to end up with them… This amuses me, though I’m still not sure it counts as they’re part-time kids. Also, I didn’t have to deal with any of the crappy baby ages. (I know lots of people say that’s their favorite part, but I like kids best once they hit 7 or 8. Then you can DO STUFF with them!)

Anyway, now I’m starting to ramble. Life continues on.

J



{October 7, 2011}   Cross posted to my other blog!

Y’know. The one about my whole life. 😀

My sister got married! For more hilarious stories on how awesome that was, click above. For the gay bits, read on!

For me, the best part of the wedding was the pressure to get married. Crazy, right? Who likes that, after all? It’s definitely not something most single people look forward to when they go to a wedding, but for me it’s a sign that my extended family is getting over the fact that I’m dating another woman, and they’re treating me like they would any straight niece or cousin. It was AWESOME.

Q didn’t show up until Friday night (the wedding was Saturday, and I was there by Tuesday.) Mark and Cathy — my favorite aunt and uncle — were there before I got there.

Things have been a touch strained with Mark since I started dating women. I knew they would be, but hoped that, like so many other things, he’d do the flip he does sometimes and end up in my camp. Usually, once something becomes personal to him, it’s not so bad! For instance, despite being rabidly right-wing, he’s pro-choice. My mom used us girls as an example one day, and he changed his mind completely on his pro-life stance. Things like that.

But religion is a strong factor, and he’s conservatively Lutheran. His wife, Cathy, has a gay sister — which hasn’t actually helped my cause, because her heart’s been broken by women. Never mind that everyone has their heart broken, Mark just sees this as proof that it’s not good to be gay.

Now, note that he’s never been anything but nice to me about it. It’s not what he says, but what he doesn’t say: he doesn’t ask how my love life or my girlfriends are, or if I’m dating, or anything else like that. He’s always kind to the people I bring home (all two of them, yes, shuddup), and he never says anything bad. Cathy told me once that he’s just worried for me, because being gay is a harder path in our society than being straight, and he just needs time. That’s okay, but I’ve still sort of been… waiting.

Anyway, Friday night was the rehearsal dinner, and Quin flew in right after it. I was talking about her — all week I kept trying NOT to talk about her, because it seemed like every other line out of my mouth had to do about her — and Uncle Mark was tipsy. He told me in that solemn-tipsy way that he really liked Q, because anyone who could make me that happy was good people. He (and my Aunt Cathy, at separate times) then proceeded to ask me if we were getting married, and if and when we got married could he play? (He played at Chelsea’s wedding, as she was walking down the aisle.)

I was totally touched. When Q got there, he was thrilled to see her. She danced with my Aunt Cathy at the reception, and Mark gave her a nickname: Rug Cutter. He even did his fist-bump with her; both are signs of high approval! And we were invited by both of them — again, separately — to come visit this spring. YAY! Everything very nicely fell into place, inside me. It was awesome. 😀

Hilariously, despite KNOWING who Q was (in part because I was introducing her as my girlfriend), another cousin (sort of — my second cousin once removed) said it was nice meeting my friend. *amused* That didn’t bother me: I was really only worried about my Uncle Mark, and the rest I know how they’ll react. It IS nice that everyone, even the people who strongly disagree and fear for my soul, are being sweet. (My aunts weren’t always nice to my mom, and she wasn’t even gay!) Mac was kind enough to sit Q with people who’d like Q and she’d like them, so I had no worries there! (My bff, Danny, was at that table too. Mac told me at one point, “Yeah, I sat Q and Danny together. Then I realized that the only other gay person at the wedding was also at that table, and I thought, ‘What is this?! The gay table?!’ So I switched him.” I nearly died laughing.) One of my favorite cousins even came over and introduced herself to Quin while I was off doing something, but that wasn’t a surprise: I knew she’d be fine with everything. 🙂 For all that I’m generally sure my aunts and uncles won’t approve but will at least be polite, I’m equally sure my cousins will be awesome!

Also, speaking of homophobia and weddings, check this out! I can marry either of my cousins Chasen or Taylor (my two unmarried male cousins), but I can’t marry another girl. So, so wrong.

Ugh, so annoying. Here, have this much more entertaining wedding picture. This was one of the weddings I went to this summer, where I was the bearer of the ring bearer. 😉

Ha! I love that picture.

J



{February 5, 2011}   life craziness!

Hi, everyone! I kind of fell down on that femme study again, didn’t I? Oh, well. I’ll just have to love myself anyway, or something like that. 😉

So. Guess what? I had an article written about me and my mad dog training skillz! It came out today, and I’m on cloud nine. There are lots of quotes; who knew I sounded so authoritative on the subject?! I mean, sure, I’m an authority what with making a living off of training dogs and all, but it’s funny to SEE myself sounding like an authority.

Am I making any sense? Well, it makes sense to me. 😀 I’d link you all to it, but given it contains my phone number… maybe not.

In other fun and exciting news, my email may have gotten hacked. So I’ve been re-setting all my passwords… *sighs*

In much better news, though, my mom is coming to visit me today! My mom is seriously special. From what my older sister says, she’s dealing with some internalized cultural homophobia, but from her actions I know that she’s fully supportive and not actually homophobic at all.

And my mom really is awesome. 😀 Last year, when I was dating DK, DK came home with me for Christmas. My mom (who loves clothes shopping) asked what DK would like. I haltingly explained butch in the shortest way possible. My mom didn’t even bat an eyelash, though I don’t think she fully understood it, and then would call me with great glee over the next weeks.

“I can’t decide between these cufflinks with a blue stone in them that will go perfectly with the blue pinstripe in the shirt I bought, or these silver cufflinks which will go with any shirt she pleases. What do you think?”

“Which is better, a tie pin or a tie clip? A pin is smaller, but a clip won’t puncture the cloth!”

“Okay, I can either get two ties and two cufflink sets, or I can get one of each and this gorgeous pocketwatch! Which do you think would be better?”

Seriously, my mom is awesome. (She also drives me crazy sometimes, but that’s what mothers do.)

So, she’s coming up from SoCal to the ironically-warmer-NorCal to visit me! This is the first time she’s come up since I’ve moved up here, and I’m SO looking forward to it! I can’t wait to show her my place and my town and she’s coming to one of my dog training classes and and and! And the BEST PART is that I get to show off my butch, who’s coming down on Saturday night and part of Sunday! Q bought me flowers, so they’re bright and cheerful on my counter now, and I know she and my  mom will get along, and I get to show off all my favorite people. (I think half the reason my mom is coming up is to meet Q, actually, since we’ve been dating for a year. I mean, Q is only the third person to make it past 4-5 dates.)

(I had a really entertaining conversation with Q/my  mom. It went like this:
Me (to Q): So… my mom was wondering if she can meet your kids.
Q: …no. I try not to introduce them to too many people, because it gets confusing for them. Basically, I only introduce them to someone’s parents when I’m marrying that someone.
Me: *nods!* Makes sense. I’ll tell her so. 🙂
Q: Uh, maybe you can make something up? I don’t want to offend her.
Me: …I’ll tell her what she’ll be most impressed with.
Q: Okay!

Me (to mom): So, you can’t meet Q’s kids because she doesn’t want them forming attachments and then getting confused. They’re only allowed to meet parents when she’s marrying the person.
Mom: Oh! That makes total sense. Good for her! Okay, no kids. What else should we do? 🙂 (Okay, the smiley face was implied because we were on the phone, but still. I could hear it.)

Me (to Q): So, I told mom …[what I said]. She was really impressed at your responsible parenting.
Q: …she wasn’t offended?
Me: Nope. I knew she wouldn’t be.

And that was the end of the children saga! Okay, maybe it’s only entertaining to me, but I think it’s VERY entertaining. 😀 Q and my mom are kind of frighteningly alike in some ways. (They are unalike in the really important ways.)

Oh, and that last locked post? I forgot Q had the password. Ha ha ha on me. So someday if I want to write about her again, she said I should have a new password because the temptation to read would be too great. Which means someday, I’ll have a new password, and if you want it then you can ask for it. 😉

I’m so looking forward to introducing them! Q is nervous, but she really has no reason to be. It’s all going to be fabulous. :DDD

J



{November 25, 2010}   Ahh, Answering Questions

Saw this on The Femme’s Guide, and it made me laugh. It’s a video made about answering the question this particular femme hates the most.  Yeah, I love it when my definitions of things (like family; the people one chooses to surround themselves with, instead of the blood family who hates them) gets overridden by whatever the other person wants to hear… ;-D

I can’t embed the video, though, so the post is here!

J



{May 1, 2010}   Post of topic-leaping

Okay, so a friend of mine posted this video, and because I think it is the funniest shit ever, I’m posting it everywhere. You can get more information on it, or you can just know that a troop in Afganistan got bored and made a video for Lady Gaga’s song, Telephone (that’s the work safe version, btw).

People! I get it now! This is why gays aren’t allowed in the military. If straight men turn this fabulous, gay men would tear the place apart. (This should totally be a recruitment video, btw. Join the Army! It’s like Glee, but far more entertaining!)

I was also thinking about the movie, Kissing Jessica Stein, (why didn’t any of you warn me it was terrible? I’m so disappointed in you. Don’t try and tell me you didn’t say anything because it came out almost a decade ago. That’s no excuse.) and I decided that it’s really even more insulting to straight women than lesbians. You know the biggest thing I remembered from the movie? The very last bit, when they have lesbian bed death, Jessica goes back to the boy, and the other girl gets to roll around having hot sex in red satin sheets. What do I learn from that?

1. Lesbians get to have decadent hot sex in red satin sheets. YAY! GO, US!

2. Straight girls shouldn’t try to be gay. They also cause lesbian bed death. Oh yeah, and apparently have no sex drive.

Right.

Now, onto a Very Important Topic: FLOWERS! As in, I had a PSMy day, and I bought myself some flowers. They’re bright and cheerful, and they’re now sitting in a vase. Yay!

Butches, take note: flowers are always good. Actually, maybe everyone should take note. You know what flowers say, when your loved one is having a bad day? They say one of two things:

1. I know you’re having a bad day, and I want you to feel better, and I know you enjoy bright cheerful flowers so I went and got you some!

or,

2. I know you’re having a bad day, and I want you to feel better, but I couldn’t afford the Harley that would really make you feel better, and you have so many colonges already that I wasn’t sure if I could find a decent one, so I got you flowers! I hope you understand the intent. Let’s go have sex. (That last part should only be applied if you are actually in a sexual relationship with the person.)

So, yes, flowers. Good for all occasions! And they don’t even have to be expensive! That’s what grocery stores and Trader Joe’s are for! Sure, they’ll probably wilt by morning, but they were pretty that night. YAY!

In still other news, my friend DoctorLady stopped seeing a guy who was a homophobe (you can read about that discussion in her blog — I nearly burst something laughing) and I have an evil sort of “mwahahaha” feeling at being the person she referred to. See, she asked me several days ago if I would mind if she mentioned me and Q to see how he reacted, and I said, “Go for it! :DDD” (Yes, with that amount of smiling. What can I say? I kind of like being a shit disturber.), so she did, and he had a bad reaction, and they’re no longer dating. I’m sorry she didn’t find an awesome guy, but I have a bizarre sort of pride at being the tool to find out about his unawesomeness. Go figure.

In still OTHER news, DK sent me this kick ass study on femme as a gender! I swear, that study could have been written about me! I have so much to say about it that I’ve been trying to figure out the best way of starting. I think I might just have to go through the study bit by bit, and have a lot of blog posts about all the things they talk about. 😀 Anyway, suffice to say my femme experience is very common, and I’ll tell you all more later. 😀

In the final bit of vaguely-femme news, I was talking to my mom today about all the blogging I’ve been doing, and how it’s been helping me work through some issues. She asked what issues? So I kind of went, “Well, stress, sex, identity stuff — like whether I’m bi or lesbian — that sort of thing.” To which she made one of those “labels don’t matter,” comments. Our discussion went something like this:

Mom: Why does it matter? Whatever label you choose, you’re still you on the inside.

Me: Yeah, but it matters. It changes perceptions–

Mom: Ah, so you’re worried about how other people see you.

(Note: This is A Bad Thing in our household. You should be strong enough it doesn’t matter what other people think about you! While I do agree to a certain extent, I’m trying not to kill myself over it.)

Me: …yeeeaaah, and it changes my perception of myself.

Mom: So you’re letting other people dictate your perception of yourself? It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t change you.

At this point I began ranting about community and the way you get treated and the pros and cons of bi vs lesbian and so on and so forth, and throughout the whole thing I could hear her voice in my head going, “You’re letting other people dictate your actions. This is weak. It shouldn’t matter. Everything you’ve said is a co-dependent action, trying to curry favor from society.” None of which is true, but I kept hearing it because that’s my mom’s kick. By the end of my rant she sort of made agreement noises, but they sounded more like, “I’ll agree with you to get you to stop ranting, geez,” than, “I understand, even if all I understand is that this matters to you.” *sighs* So that hasn’t helped with the bugged, PMSy feeling all day. 😦 (Though I did have a BRILLIANT moment, imo, when I compared identity stuff with her favorite thing, archetypes. Archetypes are patterns in our life, and if you know what pattern you have you know how to stop it from happening. I talk about how some butches — the ones I’m attracted to — have a knight archetype, for instance. I compared changing an identity label to getting the wrong archetype pattern. This is the point at which she was like, “Okay, okay,” so I’m hoping I’m wrong about the tone and she actually did get it.)

I love my mom, I really do, she’s an amazing person and she’s taught me a lot, but every so often I talk to her and all the old perfectionist, drive-yourself-to-death, do self-improvement all right, all the time tendencies resurface. Humph. I’m going home next weekend. Should be interesting.

In the same vein, she says Q sounds fascinating. *amused* I’m a little afraid. ;-D (They both have an in-charge, occasionally OCD streak. I can’t decide if they’d get along famously or kill each other flat. As Q and I aren’t so serious that a trip to the in-laws is in order, it’s not something I really have to worry about atm.)

Now! I’m off to watch TV and attempt to turn my brain off. Woo hoo!

J



{October 21, 2009}   Family politics strike again

My dad emailed me and my sisters to let us know that my aunts and cousins were arranging for a near-Christmas dinner at a fancy restaurant, and did we want to go? I thought about it for near a week before I emailed him back. My aunts and uncles are all anti-gay, and, uh, I’m dating DK who, though she might occasionally get mistaken for a guy, she is definitely female. And so am I. So I emailed my dad to ask for advice. I don’t want to hide from my family, but I don’t want to cause undue strife, either. This is an excerpt from what he sent me back:

So here is my thinking: You are a beautiful and valuable part of the family. Who you are and who you love is also beautiful and valuable. Would your bringing [DK] to Christmas at the [restaurant] cause distress and worry on the part of a few sisters? Perhaps. …Probably. Would it cause distress to me and your mom via my sisters’ later reactions? Absolutely not. […]

So would it be “appropriate” for you and [DK] to attend Christmas dinner? How could it not be? Christmas is a time of love and family, and [DK] is the person you love–and that makes her part of our family. […]

I know this is an important issue for you, J. You are a valuable, worthy, and beautiful person, as is [DK]. I’d love to be with both of you at the [restaurant], but I will support you in whatever you decide.

I love my family. His email keeps making me sniffle, and it reminds me how lucky I am to have such a loving, accepting family. We rock. 😀

J



et cetera