Archive for August, 2010

True Colors…

Posted in Uncategorized on August 8, 2010 by scottsteaux63

Ten years ago, in a telephone conversation, my brother’s wife, a woman whom I loved like my own sister, confided in me that he was drinking very heavily and that he had taken to hiding his bottles and she feared he was out of control.  She then swore me to secrecy, making it impossible for me to say anything to him or do anything to help.

Time passed, and I confess I probably should have tried harder to think of something, but as it happens I was going through a severe health crisis of my own; my long-dormant HIV had become full-blown AIDS and I was, as the doctors would have it, “presenting” with symptoms all over the place.  I had to stop working and apply for SSD, an appalling process that I will save for another post.

Fast forward three years to 2003.  My health was reasonably under control and I had met my husband the year before, so life was good despite challenges.  So one morning, unable to think of any other approach, I called Tracy at work and asked her simply, “Is Mark okay?”  to which she replied, rather hastily, “No, but I can’t talk about it now.”  We said a few more words and ended the call.

I didn’t think anything more of it until that evening when I received an email from my sister-in-law that was so burning with rage that I am surprised it didn’t set the computer on fire.  She accused me of trying to make her go behind her husband’s back.  She said I “sounded drunk.”  She said a lot of other ugly things and ended the e mail with a strict order not to contact her ever again.

Needless to say, I wrote back just once to inform her that I did not know what she was so angry about, but if she wanted to talk about going behind Mark’s back, she was the one who did it first three years before when she told me about his drinking.  I don’t remember what else I said, but I tried not to be too nasty.  I haven’t spoken to her or heard a word from her since.

Fast forward seven years to the present day.  A few weeks ago I stumbled across a blog on WordPress by someone who calls himself “soberhorsethief.”  As I skimmed a couple of the posts, I realized I was reading my brother’s blog.  He has been a writer since he was old enough to hold a pen, and I would know his writing style anywhere.  Plus, there were several stories about our childhood that I recognized immediately.

Unfortunately, there was also a lot of ultra-neo-Con invective.  Now we’ve disagreed on politics for years; I’ve been a Liberal since college, and if anything he has become more of a Conservative than our parents were.  It was never a problem before; we either joked about it or agreed not to discuss it at all.

Well, two nights ago I saw a post about the Proposition 8 ruling, which my brother referred to as “dopey.”  Now I already knew he hated President Obama with a passion.  I did not realize that his hatred of “Liberals” would extend to the point where he would advocate denying me and my husband equal rights under his cherished Constitution.

I showed the post to my husband John, and we both commented on it.

His next move was to put up a phony post pretending to be a friend of Mark’s who was being attacked by “a couple of guys I don’t know because of my stand on same-sex marriage.”

I told him “nice try, brother, but I read your Mothers’ Day post.”

Next thing I know I get a very peremptory e-mail from Mark with the subject line “CEASE!!” claiming that he had given his “friend Rob” some things to post as his own material on his blog, and basically ordering me to stop fighting with him.

I replied that I did not believe for one SECOND (and I still don’t) that he would have given the Mothers’ Day tribute to our mother to ANYONE to post as his own work.

His response:  “Well believe what you want, but if that’s the way you want it, you better lose my address.”

I have spent the last SEVEN YEARS trying to re-establish a relationship with him; we are only a year apart in age and as kids we were inseparable.  But his actions today showed me only too clearly that he has just been waiting for me to give him an excuse to write me off, and I played right into his hands.

Well, so be it.  I have held out the olive branch so many times I lost count, and every time it has been slapped out of my hand.  I have run out of cheeks to turn, so it is time to shake the dust off my feet and leave him in God’s hands.

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A Step Forward…

Posted in Uncategorized on August 6, 2010 by scottsteaux63

Well it is official:  A Federal judge in San Francisco has declared the vicious anti-gay measure called Proposition 8 unconstitutional.  For most of us in the LGBT community this has been a long-awaited moment that has left not a few of us with a very bitter taste in our mouths.

For this is an initiative that should NEVER have made it onto the ballot.  It was so clearly unconstitutional on its face that it should have died a quick and painless death at the polls.  And the reason that it did not is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

The LDS Church poured $17.67 million into the campaign to support this measure, according to the Advocate.  The Church “encouraged,” pressured, threatened, and blackmailed its members into donating thousands of dollars (proving either that Mormons are very wealthy or that they will gladly go into debt if the Church says so).  Why such a clear violation of the separation of Church and State went un-challenged is beyond me.  At the very least, the LDS Church should lose its tax-exempt status.  Permanently.  If they want to pour money into political causes, they can Goddamn well pay taxes like everyone else.

So where do we go from here?  To the Circuit Court, of course; this is not by any stretch of the imagination the end of the fight.  And if they end up appealing this thing all the way to SCOTUS, which could very well happen, we are probably looking at a minimum of five years before the final word is heard.

Am I happy about this decision?  Of course.  It is not only correct, it is on point.  Prop 8 is unconstitutional because it violates our right to equal protection under the law as provided by the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution.  As long as marriage equality is denied to us, we remain second-class citizens, ineligible for over 1,100 rights and responsibilities that a straight couple gets the moment they sign the marriage license, and vulnerable to all sorts of discrimination.  Yeah I know, the President has ordered hospitals to permit same-sex partner visitation and decision making, BUT.  Most people who go to visit someone in the hospital know that the first question they get is “Who are you?”  And NOTHING answers that question with the same finality as “I am his husband/her wife.”

In the wake of the Clay Greene/Harold Scull case, as my husband and I move more firmly into middle-age and will be facing the questions that the elderly face sooner than either of us would like to think, it terrifies us both to think that at the end of our time together, when we will need each other more than ever, some outside agency could come in and pull us apart.  This could never happen to a married couple.

The Prop 8 case has also brought to light one of the ugliest truths about the United States:  The LGBT community is the last group that in some “respectable” circles it is “okay” to discriminate against.

I am not forgetting what has happened in Arizona, and the clear racism underlying SB1070, but when there is a question of legality, it tends to give credence to their arguments (even though their excuses are piss-poor and the racism so obvious that a five-year-old could see it).

In the case of the LGBT community they don’t even have that as an excuse.  We are doing nothing illegal, there isn’t a reputable doctor or psychologist who would make the claim that we are in any way mentally ill; we are, in fact, discriminated against for no other reason than some people think that we are “icky.”

As I said, I am not unhappy about this decision; in fact I am celebrating.  But I am not so naive as to think that this means the fight is over, and neither is most of the rest of the community.