Monthly Archives: January 2014

Day 10 – Rally Speech

Friends, I want to thank you all for providing me a space to give voice to my angst. Let us remember that this OUR state capitol as well, and it is should not be blinded by a persons sexual orientation.

I want you to know that I come to you impassioned and angered.  I come to you battered and bruised.  But I also come to you …. Battle ready!!

Far too long we have asked … BEGGED, on one bended knee after another, to have full equality.  Far too long we have been told to be civil.  Far too long we have been degraded, harassed, violated and shamed.  I say Enough!  Enough!

All of us: gay, straight, religious, non-religious have waited long enough for equality for all human beings.  Now is not the time to squabble about definitions.  Traditional vs. Gay.   All of this doesn’t mean shit.  What matters are compassion, decency and empathy.  This war … is one waged by ignorance, fear and tyranny.

We are past the point of needing or wanting you to understand.  It is clear that the tears, heart ache, and devastation do not speak to your hearts.  We are past the point of civility, as calling us unnatural, asking us to stifle our love and promoting only one type of family as traditional is beyond being civil.  Instead, we TELL you …. We will not be diminished.  We will not be ignored and with all heartfelt sincerity, we will marry!

We will triumph.  We will walk hand in hand, with our heads held high, loving our families as we always have, only this time we will be cacooned in the warmth of legality.  We will continue to raise our daughters and our sons, only now we will be safe in the web of legal jargon.  Soon, my partners insurance card will no longer claim her to be single.  Soon, ALL OF US will be on equal playing field.

And with time …. these times of angst will be nothing but a blip in a history book.  And with time those that have fought hard against us will come to understand that they were the threat to our families.  With time, all of us will co-exsist and our grandchildren will be amazed that this rally even had to happen.

Harvey Milk said it best, “It takes no compromise to give people their rights…it takes no money to respect the individual. It takes no political deal to give people freedom.”

Before I conclude my speech I would like to remind everyone here that there are many groups of people that need legal help.  The trans* community needs the support of everyone that stands before this capitol.  The trans* community can not be forgotten or fought for any less than the passion you brought with you tonight.

 

Because …. Together we stand in solidarity.  Because … Together, we will be victorious!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Day 9

I expressed, in an earlier post my new found love of Timothy Morton.  In this writing I take one of his ideas (strange strangers) and place it over the article (also referenced in an earlier post) “There’s a Gene for That.”

 

Timothy Morton’s book “The Ecological Thought” introduces the concept of “strange strangers.”  For Morton, the strange strangers are the gaps found within the “mesh” (interconnectedness of all things) and they cannot be defined or labeled.  “The strange stranger, conversely, is something or someone whose existence we cannot anticipate.  Even when strange strangers showed up, even if they lived with us for a thousand years, we might never know them fully – and we would never know whether we had exhausted our getting-to-know process” (Morton 42).  These “strange strangers” are the uncanny and each time we try to pin them down other “strange strangers” appear.

This concept is difficult for me to grasp, so I have chosen to utilize this notion in my readers response, with the thought it will push me to try to understand the vast connotations this theory suggests.

An article, written by Pankaj Mehta, immediately came to mind while reading about “strange strangers.”  Mehta is discussing the problems of biological determinism, such as racism, sexism, classism and he suggests “there is a gene for just about every inequality and inequity in modern society.” [1]  Mehta goes on to claim,  “[a]rmed with large genomic datasets and an arsenal of statistical techniques, a small but vocal band of scientists are determined to hunt down the genetic basis of all we are and all we do.” He goes on to say “… the genetic determinist’s playbook in the genomics era is clear: Collect mass quantities of sequence data. Find an ill-defined trait (like political preference). Find a gene that is statistically overrepresented in the sub-population that “possesses” that trait. Declare victory. Ignore the fact that these genes don’t really explain the phenotypic variance of the trait. Instead, claim that if we only had more data the statistics would all work out. Further generalize these results to the level of societies and claim they explain the fundamental genetic basis of human behavior.”

These scientists are continually seeking “The” answer to biological difference/sameness.  The gaps, or unfamiliar, is what genetic scientist are trying to chase down and make familiar.  Genetic determinist research is in a stage of “getting to know” process that can only reveal more unfamiliarity.  Morton would insist “[e]ven if biology knew all the species on Earth, we would still encounter them as strange strangers, because of the inner logic of knowledge.  The more you know about something, the stranger it grows” (Morton 17).  The argument could be made once a species has been identified and the more you try to understand that one species, the less you will know or understand about the identified species.

Mehta states “[b]iological determinism seems plausible precisely because it gives the illusion that it is grounded in scientific observation.”  Morton would agree and take this thought even further by stating, “the trouble with pure semblance is that it’s like an illusion … Monstrousness and illusoriness go together” (Morton 74).

In essence, when scientist seek out the “strange stranger” they are categorizing and trying to contain these illusory ideas, creating greater harm to the “strange stranger” which, as suggested earlier, could very well be ourselves.

Categories are typically created for inclusion or exclusion and for Morton “[r]ather than a vision of inclusion, we need a vision of intimacy.  We need threshold, not spheres or concentric circles, for imagining where the strange stranger hangs out” (Morton 78).

Mehta points out the problems of biological determinism by illustrating the harms it can create by inequality and power due to our capitalist structures.  Morton would expound further and say that by narrowly focusing our interest of the “mesh” to biology alone, we have limited our view of interconnectedness.  “At its limit, it [the ecological thought] is a radical openness to everything.  The ecological thought is therefore full of shadows and twilights” (Morton 15).

Ultimately, there is nothing “natural” about anything.  Science will not find why boys may be “naturally” inclined for aggression.  Science will not find why girls may be “naturally” inclined to be submissive.  Nature is the strange stranger and the more we try to unveil her/his/its “nature” the more “unnatural” it will become.  Life (in all forms) is a messy jumbled monster enmeshed in interconnectedness that does not allow to be quantified.


[1] Mehta, Pankaj, “There’s a Gene for That”, jacobinmag.com.

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Day 8

Alicia Rizzi and Marcy Taylor

We met in jail.  You read that right!  We both worked for Weber County Sheriff’s Office, as correctional officers, when we struck up an intense friendship.  From that friendship the most magnificent relationship was forged.  For the last 9 years we have had the privilege of not only being partners, but being best friends as well.

When thinking of how to put on paper our story, it felt impossible.  How do you show the middle of the night comforting sessions for our children when they get sick or have bad dreams?  How do you render, with proper timbre, the family singing songs in the car while traveling across so many states for family vacations?  How do you articulate the pain of homophobic slurs being hurled at a family of five minding their own business in a bookstore?

Instead of using my words to explain our relationship, I reached out to family and friends to explain who we are.  This is what they had to say:

“Two people who love, balance, honor and respect one another just as they are. Never trying to change the other, just completely supportive and unbreakable!!!”

“You are two of the most supportive, strong hearted, encouraging, nurturing women I’ve had the fortune to meet, making a life together against the odds. The beauty lives in the way you approach life together and it overflows to those lucky to know you.”

“Two souls entwined, balancing and complimenting each other. Two people who love, honor, respect, support and challenge each other and in doing so, touch all who know them. They make me smile and get a warm glow in my heart.”

It was on a December evening, as I sat with friends at a local pub, that Rizzi asked me to marry her.  I was unaware of the changes made by the Federal courts, invalidating Amendment 3.  It took no thought.  Of course I would marry the person I had already committed myself to.

On Christmas Eve our family (kids, parents, sister and her family) arrived at the home of Amy Wicks, a city council member for Ogden City.  It was a bitter sweet day.  The rush to marry, before a stay was put in place, had me angry.  This is not how I imagined we would marry one another.  I wanted a party.  I wanted a Halloween wedding, with costumes, black cakes and an open bar.  I wanted written wedding vows that would make my parents cry.  I wanted to be treated normal.  I wanted to be something more than a rush job.  But as we faced each other, staring into the eyes of the woman I have loved for nine years, the wants disappeared and the realization that we would be protected legally set in.  I cried.  She cried.  And as we kissed and our tears intermingled, I realized our family was protected.  As I hugged our kids a new notion of taking care of them was born.  Our kids would no longer be relegated to status of “other”, as they could proudly proclaim their moms as married.

But the euphoria would only last 17 days.  The insurance card in her wallet, that claims she is single, will remain a lie until the court process is completed.  Our children hang in legal limbo.  But what is sustained are the very things my friends and family wrote about our relationship.  We still love with a fierceness that can never be defined by paper.  We still respect, love, cherish and enjoy our day to day family life.  That euphoria will remain much longer than 17 days.  It will take an eternity for us to be apart.

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Day 7

I will be speaking at a rally next Tuesday at the capitol, so a lot of my time is spent writing and refining it, so this post will be short.

I will, however, share a funny public transportation story.  While getting on Trax I overheard a woman say to her companion (also a woman), “did you hear that?”  The companion answered no.  “It was a helicopter circling, which can only mean one thing … the police.”  The companion, without hesitation, agreed that it was a bad omen.  Meanwhile, I”m acting like I am reading my book because, well … I don’t want in on the craziness.  Of course they had a petition in their laps, which meant they would be hitting me up soon for a signature.  Within 30 seconds of being seated these women asked if I’d sign a petition.  When I asked what it was for they explained that it was for the Independent American Party.  When I asked what their platform was they had no answer … NONE!  They seemed stumped by the question.  One of the ladies pulled out a card with 10 platforms.  The first read, “That God will be brought back into everyones life.”  The second stated that socialism will be eradicated and the third stated they would bring back traditional marriage.  I didn’t bother reading the rest of them.  I explained I wasn’t interested nor did I subscribe to any of their platform statements.  Needless to say, they wanted to “convert” me.  The conversation was long, but when they finally figured out I was “one of those gay people” they were stunned.  They went as far to say that I “seemed so nice.”  My comeback.  Yeah, you both seemed so nice yourself, I mean you have a dog picture on your hat, who would have known you subscribe to Nazi notions of creating separate “containment” areas for gays.

It was a long day …

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Day 6

Those that know me understand that I am a true eclectic at heart.  Those that know me, also know there a few things that I go crazy over.  Like, immerse myself and become almost obsessive about.  This really is a rarity, as I tend not to be able to focus on one thing.  For those that don’t know my list of “obsessions” they would include:

Books!  This seems so obvious I hesitated writing it.  Every time I enter a book store it is a study in bipolarity.  In one sense it is the happiest place I could ever be, but it also depresses me to think that I won’t be able to read all books before I die.

Bertrand Russell!  I love him so much that if I even imagine that I’m meeting him I cry.

Dogs!  I want to kiss every dog I see. (Just ask any person that posts a picture of a dog on Facebook.)

Edgar Allan Poe!  Ever since a childhood friend (Kelli) read to me Tell Tale Heart, at the age of nine, I’ve been addicted.

Ravens!!!  No really, I love them so much!  When I went to London this past summer I spent HOURS watching them.  When I touched Merlina I cried.  And smiled.  And cried.

Theodor Adorno!  What a brilliant man.  I have read “Cultural Industry” too many times to count.  If you haven’t taken the time to read this essay, you are missing out!

Rachmaninoff!  Most of you know (or maybe you don’t) that I don’t subscribe to the label or concept of hope.  The closest I come to being “hopeful” is when I listen to Rachmaninoff.

And a new addition:  Timothy Morton.  This man is alive!  I could realistically meet him (yeah, theorists/philosophers are my “rockstars”.)  His take on the environment and nature have me thinking, with a more critical lens, what nature is and how we go about making a impact on our “environment.”

 

 

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Day 5

Do you have friends that hold you accountable?  Friends that will call you out when you start to slack or don’t perform at your best potential?  If so, hold onto them with all your might!  If not, create and cultivate friendships where a person can tell you when you are being a fool, lazy, wonderful, amazing and just be an overall barometer for your emotional/physical health.

I was lying in bed, after reading Edgar Allan Poe’s “Black Cat” (HAPPY BIRTHDAY POE!!) to the family, watching videos of paragon falcons with mounted videos on their heads as they hunt crows.  To be privy to their point of view is alarming and beautiful!  While losing myself in the flight of fancy I receive a text.  Here is what it said:  “I thought for a minute you became a JW then it was ‘oh she’s keeping the sabbath.”  Then I remembered your an atheist which means your 3 days behind on writing.  Not even a cop out line.  How many more before you need to start over?  You’re at 50% now???”

William Hobbs, thank you for keeping me at my word.  Thank you for calling me out AND refusing to take my “cop outs” as an excuse.  It seems that if I have time to watch crows be chased to their doom, I have time to sit down and, at a minimum, type a thank you.  Too often we placate others, for various reasons, one being fear of confrontation.  I, however, look for people who will call my bluff and have civil dialogue.  Every person should be so lucky to have one of these friends.  I have surrounded myself with them, as I feel that they are a reflection of myself that I am not privy too.

And though I never started this blog with the goal of having a large readership (which I still don’t have) knowing one person looks forward to what you have to say makes my goal of 100 writings more pleasant and gives me motivation.  THANKS HOBBS!!

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Day 4

Remember, when I started this venture, I said there may be a day that I only write a sentence or two, but that I would try my hardest to write something?  Yeah, well, I’m not coming up with anything good to talk about.  No interesting articles, no burning issues, no real substance that I feel needs to be written about today.  So with that … have a fanfuckingtastic day!

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