Tag Archives: equal rights

What to bring to a march

A pocket-sized notebook and pen to chronicle the day’s events.

Dr. Martens

These boots are made for marching.

My brown Dr. Martens eight-eyelet lace-up boots. Sneakers would be a bit more comfortable, but years from now I want to be able to point to my feet and say “these are the boots I wore to the march.”

Soft, warm socks.

My outside voice.

My wife. “Remember when,” we’ll say all those years from now when we are slower but wiser and counting our shared adventures on our crooked fingers and toes.

One clenched fist to raise in the air.

Men's underwear

Protest (under)pants

Clean underwear. Aren’t we always supposed to be wearing clean underwear when risk is involved? Just in case. Because what if and what would your mother say? But I wear men’s boxer briefs, which will only embarrass her. I’ll wear clean underwear anyway! Because hygiene. And as a symbol of my individuality! Statement underwear! Protest underwear! No one can make me wear women’s panties! Underwear knows no gender! Power to the boxer brief, people.

Jeans.

A T-shirt emblazoned with an appropriate message.

Cash.

An endless supply of head nods for the other butches in attendance.

iPhone to take pictures.

A copy of my big butch memoir in case I run into Leia Delaria, the world’s most famous butch.

Wonder Woman

Thanks to Wonder Women everywhere!

Thoughts of those whose deeds and words and music have gotten me to where I stand tall and proud today … Susan B. Anthony, Gloria Steinem, Betty Friedan, Wonder Woman, Anne Lamott, Melissa Etheridge, the Indigo Girls, Ivan Coyote …

Anger, frustration.

Hope.

Possibility.

Pride.

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Did I forget anything? What are you bringing?

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Sochi Winter Olympics 2014: Gays in the games

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This is how I felt without heat.

Tonight, we will probably watch the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games. We have been without power and heat for the past few days because of snow and ice, so I imagine that we will stretch out in the living room, appreciative of a working television, hot food and a warm house.

In the back of my mind, will be the debate about this Olympics. Sochi 2014.

Some say America should boycott these games because of host country Russia’s anti-gay policies. Others say American athletes should compete.

This is not much different than the stay-or-flee dilemmas faced everyday by plain old not-so-athletic gay folks.

There are businesses run by people who do not believe that those in the LGBTQ community are entitled to equal rights. Two that come to mind are Chik-fil-A and Barilla.

You had me at buttered bun.

Sometimes I see this in my dreams.

Now, this butch lesbian enjoys a chicken sandwich with two pickles (and only two pickles) on a buttered bun with a side of waffle fries and a cup of sweet-tart lemonade. You had me at buttered bun, Chik-fil-A.

Our local Chik-fil-A is always clean and the food is hot and fresh.  Bonus, the employees are super polite as if they have been imported from the deep south along with the company’s sweet tea.

“My pleasure.” That’s what a Chik-fil-A worker says if you ask for extra dipping sauce or thank her for bringing you your meal. “My pleasure.”  We could all stand to be more polite, just like Chik-fil-A employees. I would love it if my kids used this “my pleasure” response around the house.

Can you take out the trash. My pleasure.

A little help with the groceries. My pleasure.

Anyway, how does Middle Age Butch justify being, well, Middle Age Butch and consuming Chik-fil-A products?

I believe I can effectuate more change eating there than not. In a nutshell, here’s my rationale: I live in a glass closet. For the most part, what you see is what you get. That’s the thing with us butches. We don’t have to come out like some of our brothers and sisters because our appearance gives us away every time. (Ok, there’s that kid in the drive-thru who keeps calling me “sir,” but he’s young and oblivious, and that’s another post.)

When I eat at Chik-fil-A, I’m representing. I’m demonstrating that lesbians aren’t so very scary after all. Even us big bulldykes. Boo!

I’m soft-spoken and well-mannered. I eat my chicken sandwich just like everyone else — with two hands. I might use a coupon if I have one, because I’m trying to save money, too. My kids are just like your kids. See, they’re all on their cellphones, rolling their eyes at their parental units.  Geez, kids these days.

While Chik-fil-A is a corporate entity, my local store is made up of everyday people — employees and customers. Every time I eat a chicken sandwich, I have the opportunity to influence people by changing their perceptions. Those chicken sandwiches with the two pickles? That’s a perk of my personal campaign for equal rights.

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These cows are not only ignorant but rude, too.

The bottom line is that I’m not like Chik-fil-A’s mascot cows. “Eat Mor Chikin,” their protest signs read. Besides being bad spellers, these cows are very pushy and rude. I think gentle persuasion is best. Lead by example. Be quiet and strong in your own beliefs. Let other people have their own opinions. People do change but only when they’re ready.

If you’re interested, here’s another post that I wrote about Chik-fil-A: Which comes first? The chicken or the gay?

Barilla is a different matter. There is no Barilla store selling boxes of pasta and sauce. So, yeah, Middle Age Butch no longer buys Barilla products. No more Barilla oven-ready lasagna noodles for this lesbian household.  Geez, I loved those.

Back to the Olympics. Sochi 2014.

This butch thinks the United States should show up. Compete with strength and dignity, determination and grace. The world will be watching. American athletes have an opportunity to eradicate stereotypes, to change minds, to give hope to those who need it more than we do.

It's not just about sports.

This picture gives me chills.

I don’t know what will happen with respect to gay athletes and this human rights issue that will be the elephant in the room throughout these Olympic Games. But I’m certain it will be another step forward toward equal rights for all. It might be something subtle — a comment by an athlete or a hand gesture reminiscent of the black power salute in Mexico City in 1968. If you blink, you might miss it. But some will see it and it will inspire. It will get people talking. It will open eyes and minds and hearts.

That’s what happens when you show up.

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Thoughts on these Olympic Games?  To compete or not?  What about in everyday life?  Are you a boycotter or do you ride things out?

Girl power: Danica Patrick and female role models

imagesCAJGIE8DToday, race car driver extraordinaire Danica Patrick has a legitimate shot to win the Daytona 500, NASCAR’s premiere event, in her GoDaddy green car.  Patrick is the first woman to win the pole at Daytona, which means she’ll have the top starting spot in the race.  This is a big deal.

I read an article about Patrick in yesterday’s newspaper that talked about how three of the best drivers in the game — Jeff Gordon, Carl Edwards and Jimmie Johnson — brought their little girls to the race track to meet the female race car driver.  When it comes to little girls and even big girls, Patrick is the rock star of this sport.

After reading the article, I found myself transported back to my childhood.  It was 1976 and I was in the fourth grade.  (This is my point of reference for anything having to do with my childhood.)

I wanted to be a boy instead of a girl.

It’s not that I was a boy trapped inside a girl’s body.

It’s that it was the middle of the 1970s and I saw my gender as one that came with roadblocks and limitations.

At the time, I wanted to grow up to be a professional baseball player or the President of the United States, I wasn’t sure which, and neither of those occupations was a possibility as long as I was a girl.

Susan B. Anthony dollarBack in the day, I was a miniature feminist.  By sixth grade, I had read Betty Freidan’s feminist manifesto The Feminist Mystique multiple times.   I still have the paper that I wrote about trailblazer Susan B. Anthony.  I never understood why the Susan B. Anthony dollar coin never caught on.  I was convinced that it would knock George Washington’s paper bill out of the currency game.

I was all about the National Organization for Women, the Equal Rights Amendment and Geraldine Ferraro.

Women belong in the House and the Senate.  At the time, this sentiment was printed everywhere … on T-shirts, mugs, bumper stickers and ironically aprons.

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I had a Nike T-shirt that I wore thin that carried this message: Home or away, as long as we play.

And that’s the thing.  I just wanted in the game.  I wanted the opportunity to do anything and compete with everyone.

That’s what Danica Patrick will have the opportunity to do today.

Growing up, I found myself constantly searching for female role models.  Women who could hold their own in typically male-dominated arenas.  Here are some of my idols.  I know that they are not necessarily the firsts in their respective fields, but they were my firsts and the role models that I glommed onto as I developed into a young woman.

  • Charlie’s Angels — Female detectives who kicked ass and solved crimes without messing up their perfectly feathered hair.
  • Wonder Woman — A warrior princess of the Amazons, this super superhero had mad pilot skills that allowed her to fly an invisible jet.  She could nab the bad guys, too.
  • Joan Jett and The Runaways — They were badass, and they rocked just like the best boy bands of the day.  They were the self-proclaimed Queens of Noise.  Come and get ’em boys.
  •  Sheila E. — Who said drums are just for guys.  Sheila E. could make some serious noise, and look hot in lingerie, all at the same time.  Now that was a modern woman.
  •  Joan Rivers — She broke into the boys’ club of comedy and dominated for years and years.  Oh, and she was really funny.
  •  Chyna — A female wrestler in the World Wrestling Federation, Chyna, also known as the 8th Wonder of the World, was big and bad and strong and squared off against guys in the ring.  Usually female wrestlers battled  other women or posed as managers or girlfriends to boost backstage and ringside story lines.
  •  Xena — Television’s Xena was a skilled warrior princess who faced off against the dark elements found in a fantastical mythological world.  She faced off against Ares, the God of War, and won.  Talk about girl power.
  •  Jennie Finch — Arguably the greatest women’s softball player ever, Finch once struck out some of Major League Baseball’s greatest hitters such as Albert Pujols and Mike Piazza.

I’m sure Danica Patrick will find herself on similar lists compiled by young girls who have dreams to race cars and lead people and do whatever the guys do.

Certainly, things are much different today when it comes to equal rights.  But there are still some remaining prejudices and hurdles.

Patrick will wipe out a few more when she races today.

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Who were some of your female heroes?