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White Robes and Broom Sticks

We chose to accept a dinner invitation from friends for New Year’s Eve. Their home was located only about twenty miles from here, but in a county known for years and years as a KKK hub. Why a lesbian couple would choose that spot I have no idea, but as it’s our neighboring county, we often find ourselves there as well. For the most part, it seems people are just as friendly and just as rude there as anywhere else.

(I have to note that when I completed this post, I checked for possible pictures to add in the “WordPress Recommended Media Gallery.” Over half of what was “recommended”  based on the content of my post, was pictures of the KKK, even though the above paragraph contained the only mention of it. A few fireworks and the KKK. Interesting, kind of like the news actually, grabbing the most abrasive content. Or perhaps more intuitive than I like to believe…)

New year’s Eve, however, we stopped at a couple of stores on the way to pick up some last-minute things for the family dinner we were hosting the next day. We stood in line at the checkout of one of the stores behind a couple, a man dressed in camouflage and his supposed wife. About halfway through their checking out, he turned and saw us. Really saw us. He immediately moved closer to his wife and put his arm around her. He then whispered in her ear, both of them giggling as she turned to steal a glance at us. I felt a little angry and even a little frightened. I realized this could still be a scary place, especially on a night when people would be drinking more than usual and in large groups.

As unpleasant as that was, the clerk running the register was as friendly as they had been rude. She was the best kind of friendly, not treating us with a strained overdone crooning, but with an authentic kindness we could assume was how she treated everyone.

Over the holidays, we’d seen parents pull their children away when they noticed us and watched eyes roll. We’d seen the jaws clinch and the heads shake. We’d also been smiled at and had doors held open for us. We’d been treated well, and respected at least as often as not.

We’d been embraced by neighbors and the family of our son-in-law. One of my grandsons gave Lee a measuring tape that said, “Grandpa’s” on it. The other gave him a pack of monogrammed handkerchiefs. He considers them his favorite gifts and now two of his most prized possessions. We spent the holidays with cherished family.

While the political state of affairs may not look as promising this year, progress can’t only be measured by the passing of laws that force equality. Progress also comes when one person, just one allows themselves to lay down a fearful belief or just for a second see someone they fear as a person, just a person, just like everyone else.

Old habits die hard. Even in my family thoughtless phrases are used and degrading terms slip. My grandsons hear things at school and especially the younger one, repeats what he hears not realizing the term he is using is used to hurt his grandparents. Nervous giggles are telling and speak volumes to children. Yet, the nervousness is a good thing! It means a new idea has butted subconscious heads with an old belief that lay hiding behind the best and most loving intentions. I know I have plenty of my own. I also know I can be way too sensitive for my own good.

Sing it with me, to the tune of “You’re So Vain,”

“I’m so gay…I probably think that stare is about me…”

I sincerely doubt we’ll be able to legally get married in Georgia this year, or even the next. I suspect we’ll continue to get stares and giggles and spastic head and eye movements sent our way. For the most part though, we’ll live our lives quietly, unequal but content and oh so grateful for each other, our friends, our families and for every little ounce of kindness. We’ll keep walking hand in hand and sitting side by side except for that occasional moment when we feel to do so could be unsafe. Thankfully, those moments are few and far between.

Last year, we had the joy of performing a Commitment Ceremony for two beautiful women.

Here they are.

Happy New Year Everyone

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January 2, 2011 - Posted by | The Gay Me | , , , , ,

5 Comments »

  1. Good Morning and Happy New Year! It struck me as I read your post, that it took me back more than 40 years…as I march toward my landmark 65th birthday in 23 days lots of things seem to take me back (but I digress!)..back to the courtship between my 2nd husband and I. My 2nd husband was a 6’3″ black man ~ I was a small, white female. Each time you write about an experience like you had in the store, I relive the same experience in those days. Stares, giggels, eye rolling…even openly hostile remarks and even threats! It was the late 60’s and yet we were even refused service more than a few times – in Chicago, no less. We were not out in the country, we were in a huge city where blacks and whites lived, worked and went to school together. Yet there it was ~ ignorance, bigotry, misunderstanding,and “moral outrage”. On a trip to my husband’s home in Mississippi I saw seperate bathrooms and drinking fountains, something I had only seen in books…I could not believe it. In those days there were actually places where it was illegal to marry, just as it is for the same sex couples of today.

    From that marriage came the greatest gift of my life….my daughter. My daughter then faced the fact that she was rejected because of her parents. I remember a woman (40 something) who worked in our apartment building. My daughter was only a few weeks old, and she was peering at her in my arms. “now, is her blood the same color as mine” she asked!! “I mean, her insides are different than ours, does that cause health issues?” I was astounded! This grown, educated woman actually thought that black people were physically different than whites!I just walked away.

    This small, beautiful little girl was hurt by some blacks and whites alike, much the same as children of gay couples today. I remember a conversation with my daughter when she was in kindergarden, she wanted to know why some kids did not like her. I told her that it did not matter who didn’t like (accept) her. What mattered the most was the kids who did like her. I told her if she stuck with those kids she would be too busy to have time for the others.

    Many years have passed and now inter-racial couples are hardly noticed. The Supreme Court has Clarence Thomas ~ all the seperate drinking fountians are gone. I know there is still racisim, but the openly bad treatment is gone for the most part. It took time to heal some of the hurts, but they are truly gone today. I feel bad for people who still suffer the sting of prejudice for their race, their sexual orientation, their disabilities, and even their sex! I feel especially bad for the people who believe they are right to treat things they don’t understand with rejection and condemnation. Those who choose to distance themselves from you and Lee are the REAL loosers. I know you, and those who do not are missing the chance to know 2 of the most special women I know. Your kindness, your warmth and understanding, your wisdom ~ they never get the benefit of those gifts. They miss out on the moments of laughter and companionship of friends who love fully and accept unconditionaly. Today, as the mother of a racially mixed child and a “suddenly” gay female, I take my own advice….I choose to focus on the people who “like” me, and like my daughter discovered so many years ago, my life is much to full to worry about those who do not.

    Comment by Donna | January 5, 2011 | Reply

  2. I feel your pain. People’s ignorance sometimes is amazing. At least you can be together and share your lives. You have a choice to be together and live together. There are so many couples that are robbed of this option. There are couples that have to leave their families behind to be with the person they love. Some of us have to choose between the country we love and the person we love. Even though hate and bigotry is unacceptable, you do have your loved ones by your side and you are not put in a position to make a choice – to be with your family or to be with Lee.

    Comment by Dace | January 8, 2011 | Reply

    • So true. It’s hard to comprehend having to leave your country as you have had to do. I have left other things and other people though in order to live with acceptance and respect and even then it seemed a choiceless choice. Thanks you for reading my post and living your life in truth. You continue to inspire me with your courage and unfailing optimism.

      Comment by New Allie | January 8, 2011 | Reply

  3. Hello Allie and Lee

    Have you had the chance to see this short 3-minute presentation by a 19-year old Zach Wahls of Iowa?

    It was broadcast nationally here across Canada by our CBC radio network this week: http://growfamilygrow.wordpress.com/2011/02/04/follow-up-on-craptastic-legislation/

    Young Zack, who was raised along with his sister by his two female parents, brought tears to my eyes when he looked up and said directly: “If I were your son, Mr. Chairman, I believe I’d make you very proud.”

    Cheers,
    C.

    Comment by Carolyn Thomas | February 4, 2011 | Reply

  4. Thanks so much Carolyn and no, I hadn’t already seen it. Watching it though, made my day. It brought tears to my eyes as well. It baffles me that the US can be so close geographically to Canada, yet so behind ethically. I have to remind myself that progress is being made. Minds are changing. Thanks again. Love, Allie

    Comment by New Allie | February 7, 2011 | Reply


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