I’m Still Sad at Maine, OR “Gay America’s Gotta Be Something Someday”

My therapist tried to bring it back to me, per always. [Yes, I just started a sentence with “my therapist,” which is about as fascinating as, “my acid trip” or “my dream last night,” like keep that shit to yourself, no one cares.] My therapist wanted to know if my anger about Maine [the only topic I was interested in speaking about on Wednesday night] had anything to do with last week, when my girlfriend Alex’s Mom asked us the night before Alex’s 21-year-old cousin’s funeral if we could lay off that “we’re lesbians and we’re proud and we don’t care who knows it” shit at the funeral home. You know. That Radical Lesbian Shit we do all the time to make everyone else feel weird and show them how out we are.

Like, for example — just so you know what Alex’s Mom was talking about, and what my therapist was referencing, and then I’ll get back to Maine — earlier that night at Texas Roadhouse (suburban artery-clogging steakhouse) my girlfriend had placed her hand on my knee under the table. A circumspect display of affection, you may think. No biggie. BUT NO! Even we did not sense the gravity of our actions! This was not an ordinary leg touch. This was a secret recruitment tactic. We weren’t there for gigantic beer-battered fried onion blossoms, we were there to let everyone know that we are lesbians and we don’t care who KNOWS IT! (Although apparently we look alike, so it’s probs more of an Incest campaign than anything.)

See, Alex begins at my knee, and before you know it, the waitresses aren’t singing about T-Bones anymore, they’re fingerblasting on the bar stools like alt-pornstars, equal rights for everyone forevs!

Let’s get one thing straight — we touch each other maybe one-fourth as often as straight people do in public, ’cause we don’t like the attention. I’ve had boyfriends; beginning to compare relative levels of comfort would make me depressed.

I felt like an asshole, but also paralyzed. Because that afternoon, being girlfriends meant we had to act like less than friends, and after a few uncomfortable hours at the wake, Alex and I decided it would probably be easier on everyone if I left.

But Mom insisted it wasn’t a gay thing, she didn’t like to see anyone ‘all over each other’ in public, like the time this older relative of theirs was making out with his young girlfriend on the couch. It hadn’t even occurred to her — and this is the worst part! that she didn’t mean anything by it!– that in fact straight people are OFTEN putting hands on each other’s knees, but it’s like seeing a car drive down the street. It’s peripheral. Or that comparing Alex’s hand on my knee to Lolita & Humbert dry-humping on the couch at Thanksgiving was incredibly offensive.

For example, at wakes, straight people touch each other. At a wake for a child who was killed in a car accident, a man might put his arm around his crying wife, or even a wife might put her arm around her crying daughter.

Not us. Nope. We got the message loud & clear and the next morning at the wake my hands were in my pockets. Granted; we know funeral etiquette, for Christ’s sake, but standing at a distance … like the ‘friend’ I was supposed to be, and aggressively introduced as … all I know is that when my friends are sad, I like to touch them, physically, because I’m not good with words about death. I felt like an asshole, but also paralyzed. Because that afternoon, being girlfriends meant we had to act like less than friends, and after a few uncomfortable hours at the wake, Alex and I decided it would probably be easier on everyone if I left.

Anyhow, I told my therapist, no, this wasn’t about THAT. “I spent an entire therapy session yelling about this in 2004, too,” I yelled. “And I was straight then, like I had a boyfriend, whatever. Like I thought it had absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with me. Because then — it just blew my fucking mind that this was an issue. I hadn’t even thought about it ’til it was in the news ’cause it’d been legalized in San Francisco. And I had no idea that the country would react so negatively to it. I was in a bubble!”

See, I told her — my life is fine, relatively. I live in a tolerant area. I don’t want to get married any time soon. I don’t have to deal with racism, which is still OOC in this alleged land of the free, let alone racism & sexism & homophobia, as I’m sure many of you do. I live in a gay-friendly city. Most of my life if I didn’t like a law, I broke it. My parents were hippies, I was raised to revolt. So no, I told her, it’s not about me.

But I’m still angry, angrier than she’d ever seen me. “Our fucking government is condoning discrimination. You know what percentage of the country is gay? Do you?” She shrugs. “Maybe two percent. Two percent!”

I asked her if she knew about Maine before I’d brought it up, and she didn’t. I asked, “What’s your excuse?” and she said “I have a sick child,” and I felt like an asshole.

But also, then I knew — I knew it. If gay marriage had been on the ballot here, her sick kid would’ve been more important than voting in an off-year election. And that’s completely, totally okay, and also exactly why minority issues can’t be decided by a majority vote. On both sides, it doesn’t matter enough to enough people for the voters who show up to be an accurate representation of “right” or even “popular opinion.”

I continued: “How can we expect a majority of our citizens to rise above discrimination that’s like literally written into federal law?!”

“So it’s not about you at all?”

dotted-divider2

I left feeling it wasn’t about me or about what happened with my girlfriend’s Mom, but in a way I guess it is.

Because it’s about how you think change is happening and it’s not. You think little changes build up neatly like arithmetic; like a rolling stone. You think things have changed so much with your girlfriend’s family since last year. Her Mom did your hair, you’re a regular dinner guest, you debate politics and joke around with her father, she’s stopped passive-aggressively criticizing you when you’re not around, you’re actually recognized as her “girlfriend” now and the word lesbian isn’t frightening anyone anymore.

Because like I said, her Mom isn’t mean or homophobic, she’s just a messenger from the world we live in, and we live in a world that feels homosexuals are “others,” offensive objects to be treated delicately even by those who love them.

You think all these little things mean the big things are real, that signals indicate a transformation rather than a series of small separated events — like that they understand you and their daughter hold hands sometimes because you love each other, not because you want to send a political message.

I thought change was happening and it’s not. We are jumping sometimes and lying down sometimes but we — and by “we” right now I mean America — are not running together towards anything, we’re not climbing, we’re just sprinting back and forth. We haven’t changed enough if Maine happened.

dotted-divider2

I think this might be the actual turning point, the fight after the fight you felt peaceful about on the surface but still lingered unresolved in your gut. We had a radical right-wing President for eight years, and we’re gonna need some radical left-wing power to bring things back to anywhere near sensible.

I saw this congressman from Florida, Grayson, on The Joy Behar Show a few nights ago and he said something that stuck with me, because it’s true: “The Republicans activate their vote, but the Democrats don’t activate their vote … people elected Obama, they elected me, they elected other Democrats and put us in charge of government because they wanted to see change. And they need to see more of it. We need to deliver. We need to make sure that the people who voted for us with those expectations in mind have those expectations satisfied. It’s that simple.”

dotted-divider2

When we interviewed Dan Choi again at the National Equality March in October, I said to Alex & Brooke afterwards that he seemed much angrier than when we’d first met him, right after he’d come out on the Rachel Maddow show and was at the anti-equality counter-rally in NYC.

A few weeks after the NEM, Brooke ran into Dan at a Gay & Lesbian Task Force event in Florida. He actually asked her, out of the blue, if he seemed angrier now, because this was something he was noticing about himself. He told her that he felt angrier.

And I get it now. This is what happens when you’re out there being an activist every day or even just absorbing the news like I do now for this website. I admit I wasn’t angry enough before;  last year I was too excited about Obama to get too sad about Prop 8. I had change I can believe in. I’m not discounting that, but this year I keep remembering that 45.7% of this country voted for the possibility of Sarah Palin becoming the next president of this country. 45.7%. That’s frightening.

I’m getting angrier too.

Something has to change. Last year I thought it was a revolution nationwide, and we’d just be riding the coattails, bringing up the rear, floating in on these ever-promised tides. Change isn’t a train we’re excited to get on anymore, this is a trail we have to lead, cuz it ain’t going to lezzie town without us.

Are you ready?

dotted-divider2

listen-up-bitches

BTW, this is the first column for “Riese’s Pieces.” I did not pick the name but have accepted it under protest due to popular opinion. This is where I am going to share all of my feelings with you about stuff, like Ilene Chaiken, the troubles of being a broke lesbian starting a small business, gender theory, why people should stop hating on bisexuals, and why I need more vodka. Usually not politics, because that’s not my area of expertise. In fact, this here piece was supposed to be Friday’s news & politics fix, but then all my feelings got out of hand and time was running out.

So if there’s anything you want to hear me yell about, let me know!

dotted-divider2

Welcome to The Revolution, where the future is always bright and the girls stay up all night.

Riese is the 37-year-old CEO, CFO and Editor-in-Chief of Autostraddle.com as well as an award-winning writer, blogger, fictionist, copywriter, video-maker, low-key Jewish power lesbian and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and then headed West. Her work has appeared in nine books including "The Bigger the Better The Tighter The Sweater: 21 Funny Women on Beauty, Body Image & Other Hazards Of Being Female," magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 2706 articles for us.

50 Comments

  1. the world is so unfair. any girl on girl touch done anywhere outside the confines of my apartment or the little gay bubble surrounding the local gay bar feels like i’m making a giant political statement. it’s not fair that heterosexuals can not even think twice about touching each other in public, but every time I reach for my girlfriends hand I have to think about where we are, who is around us and what they are thinking of us. i can’t walk down the street holding her hand without feeling like everyone is staring and judging us.

  2. Riese, I’m having sooo many feelings about this and other topics lately that I too have noticed myself get angrier as time passes. The anger is not at the situation per se, is at the wtf-ness I constantly feel when it comes to people. I’m not even going to try and write more as I’m probably not making sense right now but whatever. UGH.

    I do have one unrelated question though, does this awesome new column mean the end of TGCAW?

  3. I live in Seattle and when in the confines of Seattle, it’s fair game to hold hands all the way down the street. I just walked with my gf this morning and we passed an old couple and I felt bad that they prob aren’t comfortable or ok with seeing us hold hands. I didn’t let go, but I felt the urge to, just to keep everyone at ease.

    Your wake story is all too familiar to me. “This is Leah’s friend”. I find my mother purposely interjecting at family functions if she sees me introducing my gf to a member of the fam who has never met her. She will cut me off and use “friend”, because she knows very well I never will. I have never seen two people more all over each other than my brother and his wife. I don’t think she has ever sat in her own seat, her only place to sit EVER is his lap. I just can’t even imagine the mayhem that would break out if I did the same. Every moment is awkward, but if we were just able to act normally, and like all the straight couples, there would not be gratuitous makeout sessions or the copping of feels. The overcompensation makes it all the more awkward and strange for all parties.

    • That’s why things need to start all over again. Where’s the reset button?!

      When looking at things objectively the discomfort comes from, ironically, not being used to PDA from our community. A restriction they made themselves and now, sadly, is part of the collective’s subconscious. That’s why I like Afterellen’s thing of “visibility matters”. But the visibility issue would mostly help with the younger generations since the older generations have, again, this already ignorance-originated discomfort. Even when they’re not homophobic.

      And so while visibility matters, it’s not always possible because of this (willingly or not) current configuration of the people. And I understand. It’s still sad and angering at the same time though.

  4. Ooohh I’m fired up! You said it all, the daily life of a lesbian. I was trying to explain to my sister who just got married to a nice young man, that if he gives her a smooch goodbye in her work parking lot, no big deal…peripheral… but if I give my girlfriend a smooch goodbye, we have to be ready and willing to accept all the looks, glances, judgement or not, people are still more aware.

    The other weekend, we were walking home after being out with friends. Walking arm in arm, not even holding hands, walk past some guys outside who say as we walk by “Speak of the devil, awkward homo’s”. Really?! That was the first time anybody had said anything outright to me. My response was to turn and say “Really? You just really said that?”… and then just kept walking home… but what I really wanted to do is go and introduce myself and my girlfriend, you know… just hoping that maybe after meeting a couple cool, normal girls, who happen to be lesbians… they’d get it…. hopefully. I didn’t do it because I was scared, didn’t want to get beat up, or have anymore of a confrontation but now wish I would have done something!

    • I like the idea of just introducing yourself and seeming normal, approaching them with love in response to hate. But you’re right, we live in a world where even that could get you beat up. Sometimes it’s not worth the risk.

  5. so i was biking through my neighbourhood today, and i totally saw this dude and his girlfriend walking down the street holding hands, and then she leaned over and kissed him on the cheek. and i was like, um, what the fuck, right? i mean, i’m straight-up trudeau when i say that i don’t think the government has any business in the bedrooms of the nation, and whatever people want to do in the privacy of their own homes is none of my business, but keep it out of my face, you know? why do you have to FLAUNT your lifestyle everywhere you go? why do you have to have special holidays and superbowls and stuff all the time? i’m totally not heterophobic or anything, like i have several straight friends. i just think it’s common courtesy to keep that shit private. there are kids around.

    great piece, riese.

    • So, “i’m straight-up trudeau…” might be my favourite line ever. I’ve been repeating it to my friends all day. I live in the Philippines, so no one really has any idea what I am talking about, but they pretend and laugh when I laugh because they are nice like that.

    • Alright. My computer is finally staying connected to the internet long enough for me to properly comment with more than two sentences. I just want to say that I am sad with you on Maine. This whole thing brought the suck. And also I heart this column big time.

      Back when Canada elected our resident douche-bag Prime Minister (Stephen Harper, AKA tool), the gay marriage debate was temporarily resurrected and it became a bit of a thing for a (thankfully) short time. At that time, a political scientist friend of mine was a part of a group that went in front of the supreme court and argued that if the Canadian government were to go so far as to say that marriage was before anything else a religious institution and therefore gay relationships ought be excluded, the only logical conclusion the government would have to follow with was that they needed to get the fuck out of the marriage business entirely (extending instead legally recognized civil unions to straight and gay couples alike, and letting whoever wants to call their civil union a marriage call it that, whatever).

      Fortunately, Canada had its shit together and the government was all about putting inclusive marriage rights into the mother fucking constitution (unfortunately though Stephen Harper didn’t crawl back into his hole, shame), but what I cannot figure out about what is happening in the United States (and by not figure out I simply mean that I think it is insane) is that the government(s) and the electorate are going so far as to say that marriage is before anything else a religious institution and therefore gay couples ought to be excluded but they aren’t coming to the next logical conclusion, that it means the government needs to get the fuck out of the marriage business entirely. You cannot have legally-recognized exclusive marriage for religious reasons and still have separation of church and state, it just isn’t possible. Someone needs to tell everyone who voted yes on 1 that they just failed kindergarten age logic (and maybe 7th grade social studies) and it’s so time that they figure their own shit out.

      This (of course) is all besides the fact that the United States is not a true democracy (on purpose) but is a republic, and in a republic shit like this should not be going to the fucking electorate anyway, there is no way. But that might be 9th grade social studies. Just saying.

      • I totally agree. The only real argument against same-sex marriage is based in religion. Because this country is supposed to be founded on the separation of church and state, you would think that argument would have to be rejected. I don’t understand why it’s still considered valid. It boils down to: marriage is either religious (and shouldn’t be run by the government) or it has become an instrument of the state (and shouldn’t be dictated by religion). People should have to pick one or the other.

        • This is the argument that I always use when having a conversation with the conservative people that surround me EVERY FUCKING DAY. The thing is, the ones who are against gay marriage for religious reasons will never believe in separation of church and state because “Christians are right and should run the world” and the ones who are not religious are just straight up homophobic. That’s the thing that makes me so angry about the issue. The people who are voting to take rights away from other people are not even being close to logical, yet they get their way.

      • Yes everything you say makes sense, which is where my anger and frustration is coming grom — it’s clear we’ve completely abandoned any sense of logic and NO ONE CARES. Like, we are totally fine as a country with not making sense anymore. Obama is bright and he wants things to make sense, which is why we voted for him, but it’s a bit disheartening how impossible it’s been for him to actually execute logic upon anything.

        But until Obama was elected we had ourselves an artistocracy for eight years? So maybe we’re on the up and up.

  6. First, I would like to say that I love the name “Riese’s Pieces”. I also love Reese’s Pieces, but back to the point… I think it totally SUCKS if your family is homophobic or if you live in an area where it is dangerous to be out, in which case I would always encourage you to put safety first, but outside of that I don’t think we can use our own fear/guilt/anxiety about what others think of us as an excuse to cower. Even if people are staring and thinking mean thoughts, we shouldn’t allow that to cause us to give in to them. I think we have to take some responsibility here. Visibility reality does change things over time and if we are refusing to be visible because we don’t want to offend people or are anxious about people judging us, then that is OUR problem. Ignore the assholes! Be visible. The more people see us and know us, the harder it is to hate us. Don’t appease them, even if it is uncomfortable. I know you can’t always do anything about the whole parent/family situation but if it is just a random stranger, I say covertly hand-hold and lingering eye-shag away! (and this is not directed at you, Riese. It is just my little rant in general. Keep up the good work!)

  7. hey Riese,

    long time listener, first time caller.

    it makes me very, very sad to hear of the situation you were put in during alex’s time of grief. mostly because i know, through experience, that during times of loss – words do not suffice. its touch, hugs and holding that make up the human stretcher that’s needed during that kind of sadness. its what makes the loneliness and pain subside, if only for a temporary moment. my grandfather was married to my grandmother for 60 years. When she died, i witnessed him take in many condolences at the wake, and with each word of sympathy, he seemed to become an even emptier shell than he was before. at one point i just felt a pull to hug him – and i told myself as i was walking towards him – even if he says “thank you” or “that’s ok” – to NOT let go. so i did that. and he didn’t tell me either of those things… we just sat in a room and hugged and were quiet for a long time. and afterwards he said, “i am very grateful for this time – you are the only one who understands.” i’ll never forget those words.

    that being said, i really can’t imagine not being able to physically console someone – especially someone you love so deeply – for everyone’s dysfunctional comfort. while i understand that alex’s mother is simply under the influence to comfort and coddle an old and prejudiced way of thinking, the fact that such pressure exists is heart-wrenching and deplorable to me. like you, Riese, i come from a hippy background with a very liberal guidance system. my role models all come from family, and my family is made of every race, creed, religion and sexual orientation that is in the know, and ‘tolerance’ is not a word that applies to our family, because that indicates putting up with something we don’t agree with. allowing: there is a great acceptance, love and allowing there, which i realize now – is rare. perhaps that’s why it strikes me so deeply that you would have to LEAVE the ceremony. the fact that you felt it was best if you left is something i cannot stop shaking my head at, or getting teary about.

    if anything, its a wake-up call to me as to how absolutely out of hand things can become and are. i’m bisexual, (“half-breed” as i like to call myself – in the gayest omage to Cher as i can) but i dunno – this story just makes me want to get my half-breed ass off the couch and do the hard work that lies ahead for gay rights. i mean, i cast my ballot for marriage rights and the politicians that support it, but i think i get it now – that’s not enough. it took a while for the message to get through this thick irish skull, but i get it. its about much more than political sway. its an f’in hard earned road, and who’s willing to talk it up and walk it.

    awareness, acceptance, embracing, dare i say – inviting – that’s the ticket to the best life we can give ourselves and each other.

    i know you feel angry, but i don’t think its the kind of negative anger that gets people nowhere, cause personally speaking, its not doing that for me. its getting me to see the light – and hey – one more that gets the message aint a bad thing – is it?

    thanks for the words and the awakening, miss thang.
    xx
    lynn

    • Firstly can I say that I never get over the joy of the phrase, “long time listener, first time caller.”

      Since my Dad died when I was 14, I’m pretty weird about death — as in, alrady being the Star Mourner at a funeral, I’m sort of incapable of dishing out the same lines that didn’t do much for me when I was sad … like “I’m so sorry” never really made sense to me and still doesn’t. But hugs and touches and shoulders to cry on were usually better than anything anyone could say. It actually just made me realize that I am a super touchy-feely person secretly.

      I actually felt for a long time like this fight wasn’t my fight, because I was bisexual, like, b/c I could hypothetically marry a man and not be completely miserable, that I was too entitled to participate in change, or scared that I wouldn’t be welcome. I got off my ass, and I’m glad I’ve inspired you to do so as well.

  8. I always find that everything I write ends up about me too.

    I’m glad you’re doing the personal writing again, it’s why I loved autowin so much in the first place.

  9. I keep reading this and wanting to have an articulate response to it but nothing seems to want to come out other than I’m sad! It is sad that love isn’t accepted in all of its forms, it’s sad that the majority can’t rise beyond the unknown to see that love is love no matter the form it takes. I’m grateful that you’ve shared your story. If we don’t make our voices heard then no one will ever listen and right now the silence is deafening… so thanks! this inspires me to fight even harder for rights that we shouldn’t be fighting for at all. Sweet sweet irony.

  10. love reading your work (a fan & loose follower since the “this girl called automatic win” days). you always write with such insight and this beautiful rambling, deeply personal and elusive precision. your writing – and your message – is easy to connect with. anyway, i look forward to these columns, a lot. re: topics… i have a couple of ideas: 1) i’d love to read your take on the impact our country’s marriage laws have on modern relationships and, specifically, our concept of fidelity. I once heard a conservative NPR-type argue FOR gay marriage on the following basis: ‘marriage is an institution designed to protect families and increase the likelihood of a child’s survival’. that’s basically the biological definition for evolutionary “fitness”. makes sense… even for gay couples. marriage requires couples to stay together and fight through problems that would normally drive them apart. so, without marriage, what keeps gay couples maturing together? “marriage” and “family” are always touted as milestones marking a step into adult hood, when people learn to give up selfish desires for a greater good. i am in a long-term relationship but i feel like i am constantly fighting an urge to move on towards the next, great thing. my point is – for good or bad – marriage gives people a reason to stay when the going gets tough or one person starts to have doubts. this issue isn’t really a “gay”-specific issue b/c there are lots of heterosexual couples that choose not to marry but still maintain loving, monogamous relationships… still… it seems like a topic that plays out in lots of different ways within the gay community. 2) the line between friends and lovers. you started to talk about it here w/r/t situational norms and expectations. it’s gotten me in trouble more times than you’d care to know… it’s crazy but sometimes i feel more comfortable being affectionate with my girlfriends than my Girlfriend because i feel like we’ll somehow attract public scorn and hate with the way we act with one another. i’d sooner kiss a friend on the cheek than my girlfriend for fear that i might linger too long. it sucks–ya know?!

  11. When you live in a liberal/tolerant bubble, it’s easy to forget what the real world is like and then we get horrible reminders like Maine. I am a lesbian mom and am as out as a person can be. I live in Minneapolis and move pretty easily through the world. Whenever we go to visit my family in Kansas, however, I remember what you’re fighting against/for. Go to the Great Wolf Lodge in Kansas and you’ll remember that we’re fighting for very basic equality. Oh…and less processed cheese and Bud Light. But that’s another story.

  12. this was awesome and riese, you’re awesome too. and i can’t wait to read more.

    this country discriminates in the same ways over and over. the few (the ‘us’ if you will) find something about another group (let’s call it ‘them’) that it may not understand, (be it religious creed, gender, race, disability, sexuality, gender identity, gender expression, etc) on moral grounds. so therefore the us interprets the existing law as discriminatory, not necessarily what the law was intended for. and even in extreme cases, the us may even legislate laws in order to discriminate against the them. the discrimination becomes normal and everyday. it reduces the them to a single defining quality and therefore the them has no moral code in the eyes of the us because of the so-called regrettable trait. thus any action that is considered normal in the eyes of the us, like physical comfort in times of emotional pain, are therefore political when a member or members of the them partake in the ‘normal’ action.

    i apologize for the confusing use of ‘us’ and ‘them’. according to my anthropology professor, ‘us’ and ‘them’ are often used to define groups.

    • Yes, precisely. We touched upon this too in the “what does a lesbian look like” panel — that by maintaining these limited ideas of what lesbians look like, it’s easier to make gay people “other” and therefore to reduce them to less than everyone else.

  13. this whole thing reminds me of something that happened in my AP US History class today. We were having a socractic seminar about Civil Disobedience and at the end we all shared whther or not we would brake a law because we thought it was morally not right or if we would just accept it. When the group turned to me the only thing I could think was “well the only thing I can think of that is so morally unjust I would break laws for it was gay marriage. And we’ve done everything we can to make this right without civil disobedience. But how the hell could we ever civilly disobey the ban on gay marriage?” And that’s what I said. And that’s what makes me angry about this. We can’t do much of anything except campaign.

  14. I am going to copy all of these comments so I can write replies to all of them and whichever comments come next asap! (i’m on a boat it costs 50 cents a minute so I gots to be budget and shit)

  15. This is why I’m scared. I’m absolutely terrified. I’ve never been afraid of physical pain, never been afraid of death, but the thought of telling the world, or even just my family, that I’m not straight, brings me to tears. My head hurts. My brain spins. I feel sick and weak and powerless and it hurts. I don’t want the glances, the whispers, the disapproving looks. My purpose isn’t to offend anybody. I don’t even have a purpose, I just want to be me. Please.

  16. I will never understand where people get off telling other people what they’re allowed to do with their bodies and who they can and can’t love. Like wouldn’t these people be happier/more fulfilled if they concentrated on making their own lives better rather than trying to make others’ worse?

    Also, there’s this radical lesbian feminist Sheila Jeffreys (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sheila_Jeffreys) who lectures at my uni who posits that you need to be in a constant state of “rage” about homophobia, misogyny etc. in order to achieve change.

    Thanks for sharing this.

  17. yayyyyyyyyyyyy this is the stuff I really miss from autowin!!!

    I definitely want to hear about being a broke lesbian starting a small business. I’m continually impressed by this website, and that you just DID it. HOORAY!

  18. Riese,
    For me you couldn’t have written this at a better time, I too as I’m sure MANY of us are am going through similar conversations with my family. When asked why she didn’t agree with marriage, she said “marriage is ours (straight people)” How does one even respond to that. I said isn’t marriage about two people in love committing to each other?” no response. I have always been relatively close to my parents and found out recently that they are still trying to wrap their head around me being gay, it has been years BTW. My parents love my girlfriend, but as far as they are concerned I’m sure they are pretending we are really close friends. I just wonder if I can’t get my parents to see the light how am I supposed to rely on the rest of the world to make decisions for me. Anyway thank you for your blog

  19. Oh god, this sounds so familiar to me.

    My mother has only recently stopped calling my gf ‘that girl’. Each time she said that it used to just push me further away from her.

    Small little things that mother does that show she’s improving at this (like asking how my gf is, when she calls me on the phone) – they seem like these big shifts forward. To anyone else they probably seem so insignificant – but beggars can’t be choosers.

    What drives me crazy about all this is that, homo-ness aside, I’m a great daughter. Academically, professionally, emotionally, socially – I’m pretty awesome. (Maybe I’m lacking on the modesty side of things). I think my mother is just gutted that even though all these things she can boast about – as soon as people realise I’m a queer, then she’s automatically a ‘crap mother’ according to the people around her.

  20. I’m commenting on this because it is beautiful and I want this to show up in the “last 10 comments” part of Autostraddle so people who haven’t been following AS since 2009 (like me) can read it. Because I think they should. Because we STILL haven’t gotten on any sort of “train of change” and our country is still fiercely fighting equality.

    Also @riese I think you should write a book. I know you are insanely busy with this website and other life-things but OMG YOU SHOULD WRITE A BOOK. It would be beautiful and everyone would love it.

Contribute to the conversation...

You must be logged in to post a comment.