Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Town Without Pity

"Town Without Pity" is an old song by Gene Pitney. It talks about small towns and the gossiping that goes on. I thought when I moved from Wright to Laramie that I was leaving behind the vicious grapevine for more enlightened pastures. Or at least a place where people had the common sense and intelligence to research for passing on wild speculation. Sadly, this is not the case.

Last Friday night I learned what rumors have been traveling around town regarding Scotty's stay in the hospital. Some of the rumors simply said that a gay guy was in the hospital. Some were more detailed, and included claims of drug overdose or complications related to HIV/AIDS. Some specifically said he's positive or took some "bad stuff." Neither of these are correct, of course, but why would something so trivial as the truth matter?

Needless to say, I was PISSED. I was pissed because the assumption was that because someone's gay, they must be on drugs or sick with AIDS. (Or both.) I had hoped we were beyond that era, especially within the freaking GLBTQ community itself, where the worst rumors were floating. I was pissed because I wondered how such a nasty story could get started. I was pissed because I could think of a few people in town who would do it just to be mean, because Scotty made the "horrific" choice of becoming my friend and becoming more involved. A "rainbow fag," as we're labeled. A dirty "activist." I was most pissed because someone I care about was being slandered after spending 8 of the most difficult, painful, and vulnerable days of his life. Shouldn't the focus be on "someone's in the hospital, I hope he's okay," not "what did he do to 'deserve' being there?" So I told Scotty and his boyfriend C about it, figuring that it was best if they heard it from me and not someone being petty or nosy.

And the teacher became the student. Scotty and C laughed. "Who cares what they're saying? They're just jealous like always." I REALLY wanted to be the protective mama grizzly bear. I wanted to find out who started the rumors, and to correct all the misinformation floating out there. When I first wrote this blog post in my head, that was a primary purpose. But it's not worth it. I could expend a lot of time and energy frothing at the mouth about this. If they were saying things about me, I wouldn't think twice about it and would laugh it off as I have the nasty things they HAVE said about me before. I'm just being over-protective of those I care about. Not a bad thing to do, mind you, but still wasteful of time and energy.

Scotty pointed out that he's just going to come back from all of this better and stronger than before. With a different perspective. A stronger determination to LIVE. A commitment to spending more time with family and friends. To not sweat the small stuff, or waste his time on things that DON'T matter. Like gossip. Rude people. We're going to spend time together improving our poi and flagging skills. Working out. Watching TV together, which is really an excuse to hang out and simple be together. Taking time to stop and smell the flowers.

Monday, September 18, 2006

A new story for SafeZone sessions

The next time anyone questions whether or not being gay is about sex or love, I want them to spend time in a hospital room with a gay couple. I've spent a fair amount of time in Scotty's room this week, sitting next to his parents, brothers, and boyfriend (whom shall be named C throughout the post). You couldn't help but see the worry, concern, and agony on C's face as he watched our beloved Puppy. Every groan, every wince, every grimace was met with a new line on C's furrowed brow. His love and compassion were SO apparent, that not even the most hardened conservative or religious zealot could mistake it for lust, passion, or the other stereotypical emotions/urges ascribed to GLBTQ folks by the narrow-minded.

The nurses commented on how amazing it was to see so many people spending so much time and energy on a patient; it was rare for them to see it. The saw firsthand the tender ways C cared for Scotty. He never batted an eyelash when asked for a drink of water, help moving a pillow to just the right spot, or a scratch on the nose when Scott couldn't lift his arms high enough to do it himself. They could sense C's pain and worry, and see it in his eyes. So much so that one of the nurses broke down and cried. She was so overwhelmed at their love and the pureness of it, she was moved to tears.

I can't say as though I blame her. I, too, watched C over the course of the week. I talked with him on the phone before he was able to leave work, jump in the car, and race to Scott's side. I held his hand when Scott was incoherent and unaware of his surroundings. And I talked with him about how he wanted nothing more than to stay with him until he's better, rather than going back to his job in Colorado.

Yes, if everyone in the world today could see someone concerned about their partner in the hospital, I'm sure that we would have gay marriage tomorrow. Not civil unions. Not domestic partnerships. Marriage. We would have equality in other realms too. Love is such a shining example of the goodness and purity of the human spirit...even if that human spirit doesn't happen to be heterosexual.

Go be an example of love today, especially if you are queer.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Some news and a laugh

For those who are unaware, Scott R. (aka Puppy) was taken to the hospital on Wednesday. He's okay now, but it was very serious. High grade fevers, extreme dehydration, and two grand mal seizures. Any moment I've not been attached to my pillow (not much) or in the office has been spent at the hospital or with his family. He'll hopefully be released in another day or two. So that's what I've been up to.

I've also had fabulous friends looking after me and making sure I'm eating, getting SOME sleep, feeding puppies, etc...just as I'm doing for others. It's been yet another reminder not to take people for granted. I've been thinking about my mom a lot, and those who are far away. It's also been a reminder that everything happens for a reason. As Scott's mom said, if I had gotten the job in Denver I wouldn't have been here to tell the doctors about his flu symptoms and behavior the last few days. I wouldn't have been on campus to contact the various offices to let them know he wouldn't be in class, or the myriad other details I've been through with my mom.

One of my jobs has been to play cheerleader. To embody the phrase "laughter is the best medicine." To keep spirits high. And so I share a funny with you. My friend Olivette sent me this link, and you must go listen to the song. It does contain profanity, so choose your speaker location carefully.


I'll be back soon

Sorry for my absence of late, both from the blogosphere and real life. Some of you know why, the rest will know soon. (Please don't stress, everything is OKAY, and no Earth shattering changes are in the works...thank goodness.)

In the meantime, here's a little funny I'm blatantly stealing from the Rev. It's a commercial. With gay flight attendants. If we had ads like this in the US, I'd be more likely to fly the friendly skies, just because I can. ;)


Monday, September 11, 2006

I feel dirty

Thanks to my regularly scheduled programming being pre-empted by Shrub, I watched tonight's info-mercial for the war. I mean...presidential address. It's amazing how many times this administration can repeat the same talking points. Be scared. Terrorists are gonna get ya. War is good. Be scared. We're winning, but it will take a while. These are the reasons we can't pull out. Be scared. We have protected you for 5 years. We'll keep going, no matter how long it takes. Be scared. Support me. In short...war is good. Mmmmmmmkay?

Is this really how he chose to commemorate 9/11/01? He gave 30 second lip service to the innocent lives lost, the heroic efforts of police and firefighters in NYC, and the efforts of citizens to make a difference. Then spent the rest of his almost 20 minutes trying to tell us why the war is necessary and good? "We are rededicating ourselves to this important cause..." No...YOU are recommitting us to more years of a war few want, least of all the citizens of the country in which it's occurring.

Today the displays of red, white, and blue made me uncomfortable, as did the playing of the national anthem in the gym. I really do want to remember the innocent lives lost that morning. I've spent time this week remembering where I was when I heard, crying over the bravery of passengers on Flight 93, and remembering the everyday heroes who are no longer with us. But thanks to this administration's politicking, 9/11 has been cheapened into a reason, a rationalization, and justification. It's become a scare tatic. "If you don't support the president (yes, this is the second time I've not used an uppercase P, and it's intentional) or policy X, Y, and Z...you're forgetting the victims of..." Tonight's infomercial clarified my nausea over the misuse of a tragedy as a weapon and a tool.

The only thing that softens the blow is the knowledge that soon I will get to watch Jon Stewart's reaction. That always makes things better...

So tonight I remember the victims. And blatantly do NOT support the war. I support the troops. But NOT the administration that put and keeps them in harm's way. And I feel sick over tonight's informercial...I mean presidential address.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

For my friends...

i carry your heart with me
e. e. cummings

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)

i fear
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Funny because it's true

My thanks to the Rev for sending this little gem to me in email!
A man was being tailgated by a stressed out woman on a busy boulevard.

Suddenly the light turned yellow just in front of him. He did the right thing, stopping at the crosswalk even though he could have beaten the red light by accelerating through the intersection.

The tailgating woman was furious and honked her horn. She screamed in frustration as she missed her chance to get through the intersection, dropping her cell phone and makeup.

As she was still in mid-rant, she heard a tap on her window and looked up into the face of a very serious police officer.

The officer ordered her to exit her car with her hands up.

He took her to the police station where she was searched, finger printed, photographed, and placed in a holding cell.

After a couple of hours a policeman approached the cell and opened the door. She was escorted back to the booking desk where the arresting officer was waiting with her personal effects.

He said, "I'm very sorry for this mistake. You see, I pulled up behind your car while you were blowing your horn, flipping off the guy in front of you, and cussing a blue streak at him. I noticed the 'Choose Life' license plate holder, the 'What Would Jesus Do' bumper sticker, the 'Follow Me to Sunday School' bumper sticker, and the chrome-plated Christian fish emblem on the trunk. Naturally...I assumed you had stolen the car."

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

I'm tired...

...of bad news. We're approaching the anniversary of 9/11. Not long after that will be the anniversary of Matt's murder. I spent time this summer on the Crisis Intervention Team for UW responding to the triple homocide/suicide in Laramie. Our troops are still in Iraq and Afghanistan. I fear for the future of our country at the hands of much of our government. I'm terrified of another two years of Shrub in office. I'm tired of having to struggle every step of the way for GLTBQ equality and rights. I don't want to hear another friend, relative, or acquaintance has died or is gravely ill. I'm tired of the bad!

But the reality is that we can't leave pain and suffering behind. I remind myself that the struggle growing up in the closet made me a much stronger person today, and that it has given me skills and perspective I rely on today. So here I sit, watching Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. Cheesy? Perhaps. But in this episode, they're making over a home for a Hindu family who lost everything in a fire. They came to America for a better life, and have been quietly making do since losing all they had accomplished. Friends and strangers alike pulled together to make a difference. And it reminds me that I'm truly blessed.

I have a decent job. I have a good home. I have incredible friends. This weekend I met someone for the first time. I hope it goes somewhere, as he seems REALLY amazing. I'm working to make a difference. One step at a time. Left foot. Right foot.

Today's homework: Do something to make a difference. Remind yourself of something positive. It's not all doom and gloom.