It’s official!

Oregon’s ban on same-sex marriages has been ruled unconstitutional!

After a short celebration, we’ll be busy working on the next baby step.

If you’re looking for my #HAHAT post, click here.

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The wait is on…

male symbol in flamesIn less than an hour and a half, we should have the Oregon District Court’s ruling on whether Oregon’s constitutional amendment about marriage (one man & one woman) is in line with the U.S. Constitution. Recent decisions say it’s not, but we can’t take anything for granted. *fingers crossed*

If you’re looking for my #HAHAT post, click here.

BTW, it’s okay to comment and/or join in the conversation–an entry in my giveaway only requires you to answer the question, but doesn’t limit participation to that. 🙂

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Who’s allowed to write, and what are they allowed to say?

tilted rose

I seek out good news. News about an athlete who, after many attempts, finally accomplishes their epic goal or about a scientist who makes a discovery that will change lives. Good news gives me hope, makes me feel like this planet just might be an okay place to live.

Sometimes, though, this kind of news carries undertones that hurt and belittle and erase people—or portions of people. If the accomplishment is made by someone who identifies QUILTBAG, it’s impossible to escape the attempt to straightwash or gaywash them. (Since I’m an author, my examples will use authors.) If the news is about a gay author someone will say—but why do they have to say they’re gay? Can’t they just be Accomplished Author? If the author is bisexual, someone will say that but also, why don’t they just say they’re queer?—or—but being pansexual is so much more inclusive—or even—I don’t go around saying I’m straight so it doesn’t really matter if you’re bi { or  asexual, gay, lesbian, trans, fluid, etc.}.

I’m sure most people don’t say these things meaning to hurt and bully, but if you’re straight and telling someone of another orientation that “orientation doesn’t matter”, then that’s what you’re doing. Almost nobody has to say they’re straight, because straight is the default for our society. Everyone is presumed straight until proven otherwise—and sometimes you are expected to prove it, even inside the QUILTBAG community. When someone says “orientation doesn’t matter”, what an LGBTQ person hears is a variation of “you don’t matter” or “don’t remind me that you’re different”.

Everyone should write the stories they feel inside and everyone should identify the way they choose, without worrying about backlash. Most people would probably agree it’s not right to censor another person’s fiction, to tell them (for example) that authors should only write characters who are of the same gender and orientation as themselves. I hope everyone will think about it before trying to censor another person’s identifier.

I am a bisexual woman who’s been out since the early 1980s and writing fiction about LGBTQ and straight characters since the early 1990s. I didn’t get published in more than small literary journals until I started writing about two men falling in love. Are my stories less valid because I’m not a gay man or a straight woman?* Ultimately, that’s not for me to decide, but I think I have as much right as anyone else to tell the stories of the people who live in my head, regardless of gender/orientation/etc..

My orientation, my right to identify as bisexual, is as important to me as being treated like a human being. Because they’re the same thing.

Erasure = discrimination = dehumanizing = wrong.

Please think before you speak.

tilted rose*This post wasn’t inspired by anyone attacking me personally, or any single post/comment, but by a mindset that I’ve been trying to change for decades. I’ll keep trying until it goes away.

Believe Me? No, prove you’re worthy of being treated like a human is more like it.

WARNING:  This post contains anger and resentment, and verbiage that may be misconstrued to be anti-same-sex marriage. I am not, so please do not attack me in the comments. I don’t like deleting other people’s words, but I will if I have to. Thanks for your understanding.

 

Okay, I almost just let this go by without posting anything anywhere—because we’re supposed to show our happy-faces at all times, right? But maybe someone else will feel a little less humiliated and dehumanized if I share, so here goes.

I jumped through a bunch of hoops to get the new health coverage for me & Kiddo activated asap so she could see a doctor. The plan that seemed to work best for us is a Kaiser plan, and if she’d never been a Kaiser patient before (or if the Oregon wasn’t at least a month behind on everything) she’d be the proud owner of an appointment to see the person who could become her new doctor. She has an existing condition and a new, painful deal going on—neither of which has anything to do with being trans. But, since Kaiser knew her under her old name, their management insisted to see proof of name change AND an operation before they’d allow her to make an appointment.

Supposedly, this will be cleared up as soon as Kaiser gets the records from the state of Oregon, but in the meantime, we spent a day trying to get a workaround—and she spent a day feeling almost completely dehumanized.

This is a good time to state that the Customer Service Rep she talked with did everything in his power to help her—and the whole time they struggled with the mindless bureaucracy he used her correct name and pronoun. He was very cool, and probably the only reason chocolate helped at all.

But I’ve paid for a month of health coverage that might be useless to my family. The cost of one month isn’t a lot to some, but it’s a lot to me—and the only reason I didn’t try to put the start date off to February is because my daughter needs to see a doctor!

Kaiser has this program, “Believe Me”, that says if you’ve signed up for coverage but all the paperwork isn’t complete you can still see a doctor as long as you sign a form guaranteeing you’ll pay once the coverage is sorted out. I’ll pay. I have paid. But we’re stuck waiting—and she’s stuck in pain and not able to sleep—because Kaiser wants to know details nobody has any business asking.

Nobody should have to tell a customer service person or their manager what stage of transition they’re in—that’s between a person and their doctor.

Nobody should have to spend even five minutes, let alone thirty, being made to feel sub-human because of who they are.

It’s hard enough for me to get her to the doctor, and now the people who were supposed to help me keep her healthy have screwed the pooch.

To anyone who’s experienced something similar—yourself or with a loved one—all I can say is hang in there. Eventually all 50 states will allow same-sex marriage and then we can move on to the things that benefit the whole community, like healthcare protections or consistent application of existing laws (I’m lookin’ at you hate crime legislation), and maybe even a baseline level of respect for everyone.

A different take on Black Friday!

Sorry if you’re hoping for another Kink Month post. As far as I know there’s nothing kinky about Black Friday, although it has been getting a little twisted lately.

I can’t lie; I’ve pulled myself out of bed the day after Thanksgiving and stood in line outside a store at 3 a.m.—but not this year. In fact, the only thing I’m buying on Black Friday this year will be a loaf of bread so I can make a turkey sandwich (and I may wait on that too)!

Small Business Saturday, though, that’s different. I’ve been pouring through patterns this evening because one of my holiday rituals is to visit a local yarn shop on Shop Small Saturday and buy anything I want. This year, since I’m hoping to start a legal internship in January, I’ll be looking for something luxurious yet tasteful. I have a few ideas, but this post isn’t about yarn.

My hero in Curious Sustenance, Ross, has an agenda. He has more than one, but only one was relevant for the story. I have agendas too—one of them involves calling bullshit on classism which really does relate to Black Friday, honest.

I refuse to support retailers who won’t even give their employees one full day off for Thanksgiving—so that means I’ll have to visit the little indie bakery in my neighborhood for a $5 loaf of bread, because all the chains are doing it. I worked retail for many years to barely eek out a living, and I know every one of those folks have earned their day off. My contribution to Black Friday wouldn’t have been large but that’s not the point. I won’t put things ahead of people.

To further my agenda, the entry for my giveaway is to talk about a small business you can support on Saturday.

I planned to have a bunch of colorful pictures of the giveaway presents, but my daughter and her girlfriend borrowed my camera this afternoon—and of course I forgot to take some of the pix I need first! Until I get my camera back, here’s a list of the goodies up for grabs. All prizes are International, although I can’t guarantee the ones relying on the US Postal Service will arrive before Christmas.

Two collections of M/M erotic shorts from Thianna D: Volume IV and Volume VII

An ebook from the lovely Dianne Hartsock’s backlist—winner’s choice!

A beautiful tabletop picture frame from Japan—wood covered in kimono fabric.

Six sexy dishcloths that look like this—one for each color of the rainbow (six separate prizes):

Every comment talking about a way to support Small Business Saturday is a chance to win.

I’ll choose the winners early on Cyber Monday (PST) with the help of Random.org and post them here, so don’t forget to check back!

Photo credits:

Wanted: Santa Claus by kevin dooley, on Flickr

Lady Marmalade Dishcloth, designed by Shirley MacDonald

My blog is wearing red!

For the next two days my blog will be wearing red in support of Marriage Equality.  (Close enough … yeah, I have a problem with conformity across the board.)  I’ve spent many hours and have had literally thousands of conversations on this subject.  Not because I’m waiting for my chance to buy a marriage license, but because Marriage Equality is symbolic.  It’s symbolic of the struggle that’s been going on forever—the struggle to be treated equally, to be accepted for who we are.

I try not to get too political in this space but when politics and love intersect I figure it’s fair game for Romance authors.  Same-sex marriage and LGBTQ equality are the civil rights issues of the 21st Century, and something I’m very passionate about.

What you and I do, or don’t do, right now will shape the future for people all across the US.  Be on the right side of history with me and support same-sex marriage.  To learn more about how to get involved, click here or find a group close to where you live—we’re everywhere.  😉

Just please don’t call it “gay marriage”.  Same-Sex Marriage, Marriage Equality, the freedom to marry…   Any of these will do.  The term gay marriage marginalizes at least half of the LGBTQ community.  I realize it’s tres mainstream to use that term, but just think about it.  If I were to marry a woman (I should be so lucky!) I’d still be bisexual; I wouldn’t become a lesbian, my queerness would just become more visible to the casual observer.

Thanks to the amazing photographer who made this beautiful “wet heart” image available via photopin.  I may not take it down on Thursday, it’s so gorgeous!

photo credit: seyed mostafa zamani via photopin cc