a whole lotta a lot going on

It’s been kind of a big week.

I’m on the record all over the place with my thoughts about marriage equality–I don’t think it’s the most important, or even 5th most important fight for the LGBT movement. I think that queer youth will still get beat up/bullied/get kicked out of their homes. I think that trans* folks, and particularly transwomen of color, are still in danger everyday. Just living. Forget access to jobs and healthcare and housing and and and. I think that aging LGBT folks will still face discrimination. Do I think this was achieved mostly because of white cis male money? I do. (do you see what I did there?) Am I also really glad it happened? I am. I have never ever been asked about my relationship to Trudy by someone who could use that against us. Ever. (probably because I have a ton of racial and class and educational privilege) But, am I glad that, once all the dust settles, I’ll likely be able to sign a bunch of legal papers that list me as her legal parent? I am. I am relieved that, should something happen to me or to Jess, we will be legally connected so that, while I’m grieving or she is, we don’t have a bunch of legal shit to figure out. I’m also hopeful that, maybe,  surely, we can start making housing rights, employment rights, trans* rights for all members of the LGBT community a priority.

Jess was in Atl when the ruling came on Friday. I was teaching a 3 hour class. My students needed a break, so I surfed over to facebook, and WOAH. Trudy and I joined, literally, hundreds of people in downtown Kzoo to celebrate, witness a wedding, witness renewals of vows, hug, cry, rejoice, dance, color with chalk, all of it. It was an amazing moment. I joked on the phone with Jess that if she were here, we could have signed some papers. Too fast! she joked back.

It’s interesting–I know I was swept up in the emotion of the moment, but even as people asked me, “when are you and Jess going to get married?” I had to look at them askance. I’m already married. I’ve been married for 15 years. Having a second wedding (and lots of queer folks have done this–get married in a state where it wasn’t legal, and then went to a state where it was and got married again) seems (and always has) ridiculous to me. It validates the idea that the marriage wasn’t real until the state said it was. It validates the whole argument that we should vote on people’s civil rights. We don’t need another ceremony. We don’t need another spiritual leader/minister to perform–we’ve done that. What we need is some legal paper work. So, we’re figuring that out. In the mean time, it feels a little amazing.

And, of course, there has been the on our soil terrorism in Charleston. The hero Bree Newsome climbing the flagpole and teaching the world about courage and inclusiveness and power and freedom along the way. Obama and his graceful eulogy. In my own classroom last Thursday, my students and I listened, stunned, to another student spew hate speech as the text of a final presentation in our class on diversity in education. How all of these moments intersected for them has been interesting to process, and I’m still figuring it all out. In the mean time, I feel like if any time, now is not the time for complacency.

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2 Responses to a whole lotta a lot going on

  1. meridith says:

    People look so confused when I remind them that our recent wedding was a legal one. It’s not going to be our one year anniversary. We aren’t newlyweds. No, married life isn’t so great now. I mean it is, but that’s not new. Our real wedding was ten years ago and that trips people up all the time – even people who should, frankly, know better. All that said, I am tremendously grateful for this privilege and, while I agree that this was one of many things that need to change and not the most important one (at least not for many), it was very much a clog in the drain to normalizing gayness, however ridiculous that sounds.

    • Jill says:

      I don’t think it sounds ridiculous at all. I also, kind of, don’t want marriage to be one more thing that defines/excludes people. (In other words, I’m off put by the homonormativity of marriage. Even though I’m going to participate. I off put myself. As ridiculous as THAT sounds. I’m gonna do it because of the structure of society that means that the state has a role in lives where it should not. But, as I really really think/know that that isn’t going to change, I’ll sign up.)
      I also think it is going to be really really helpful for elementary school teachers. SO so so often, I (and my collaborator with whom I do my academic work) have heard preservice and in service teachers say, “well, gay marriage is illegal, so I don’t have to talk about it.” Of course, we easily shot down that idiotic logic, but now, with state sanctioned families, early elementary classrooms (where communities and families are part of the curriculum) will have a harder time ignoring our families.

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