Tag Archives: music

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.

* * *

Did I forget anything? What are you bringing?

Gratitude (#NationalComingOutDay)

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Just these three lesbian movies please and a pack of microwave popcorn.

Thank you to the clerks at my local Blockbuster store who rented me all of those lesbian movies when I was trying to figure out if I was a lesbian. You never batted an eye, even when I rented When Night Is Falling two times in a row for “research.”

Thanks to Melissa Etheridge for her 2001 memoir The Truth Is … that I read and re-read when I was coming out. And for the album Yes I am. If you could announce to the world on the cover of an album that you were, I knew I could tell the people in my life that I was, too.

Thanks to the Indigo Girls. Along with Melissa, you provided the soundtrack to my coming out. Somebody bring me some water. Please.

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I still love you, Jessica Stein.

Thank you to Jessica Stein. I was coming out in real life when you were coming out in your movie Kissing Jessica Stein, even though you weren’t really gay and ended up with the guy at the end. Helen was super sexy. What were you thinking? Anyway, when I was sitting in the movie theater with my Raisinets and newfound knowledge, it was like we were both coming out together.

Thank you to my therapist who organized coming out groups for women married to men. I thought I was the only one in the world. And to all of those women who participated in those groups. It was an honor to come out alongside you.

Thanks to Sisters, the lesbian bar in Philadelphia, that provided a safe meeting place for people like me. And the cute bartender who always called me “hon.” (Yes, I know she called everyone “hon.”)

Thanks to Ellen and Billie Jean and Martina and k.d. and Rosie.

Thank you to my brother who told me he just wanted me to be happy.

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Xena, you are a badass babe.

Thanks to Xena: Warrior Princess, who I caught in reruns that summer. I drew my warrior strength from you. Aieeeeee!

Thank you to my friends who just nodded their heads. “Of course,” they all said.

Thank you to everyone who came out before me and paved the way. The life I live today is possible because of you.

Thanks to everyone in my life who accepts me for who I am and gives me the courage to be myself every single day.

Happy National Coming Out Day!

* * *

Who do you need to thank for your coming out?

Prince

“I’m not a woman

I’m not a man

I am something that you’ll never understand”

— Prince, “I Would Die for You”

His music was the soundtrack to my life. I discovered Prince when most of my peers did — after the movie Purple Rain was released in 1984 and the songs on the soundtrack became a permanent part of our everyday life.

images7FZ0N531As a senior in high school at age 18, I played “1999” every morning before school on the turntable in my bedroom. One morning I would play Side 1, which was comprised of “Little Red Corvette,” “1999” and “Delirious.” The next day, I would flip the album over and play the two songs on Side 2, “Let’s Pretend We’re Married” and “D.M.S.R.”

I never tired of those five songs, so I never made it to Side 3 or Side 4 of that double album.

imagesMS624EGMI’m not sure what it was that drew me to Prince and his music. It didn’t sound like anything else I had ever heard. But there was something else. He was dirty and poetic. A cross between Shakespeare and a porn star. Something about that combination appealed to me as I started my journey into adulthood. He seemed to understand all those things I didn’t — sex, love, God, life — so I listened to his music in an effort to crack the code.

When I went off to college, I found a used record store and bought all of his old albums — “Prince,” “Dirty Mind,” “Controversy.” I studied them more than my text books.

My parents never taught me about the birds and bees, but Prince did.

He was my sex ed teacher.

The only reason I know the words to the Lord’s Prayer is because it’s in the middle of his song “Controversy.”

Prince was my Sunday school teacher, too.

He was my church.

He was my religion.

He was my Elvis.

He was my Beatles.

He showed me how to adore and appreciate women.

And he taught me how to be funky.

I know what you’re thinking. You, Middle-Age Butch, got funky? Tell us another tale. What I’ll tell you is there’s a fine line between funk and swagger. And any butch worth her boots has a little swagger in her. You just got to love yourself. That’s what Prince would have said.

imagesZHT5V4H7I don’t think I realized why I was always so fascinated with the purple one until he dropped his name and became the symbol. The symbol was a perfect mix between male and female.

That’s the thing about Prince.

He transcended gender.

I always thought I was in love with the pretty purple boy with the high heel boots and the puffy blouses and tight little body. Back in the day, this in-the-closet lesbian always had a thing for pretty boys with high cheekbones and beautiful hair.

I wasn’t really in love with Prince. We would have made a strange couple.

But he did show me how to love myself.

* * *

My all-time favorite Prince song is “Little Red Corvette.” What’s yours?

 

 

 

In concert with the Indigo Girls

“Are you going to blog that I cried at the Indigo Girls concert?” W asked.

“Of course not,” I replied.

“I don’t mind,” she said.

“Right, you’re not a butch,” I said.

So there was that. W cried. But not until the “Closer to Fine” encore.

We were five rows from the stage for this special acoustic show.

“Feel free to ask questions,” Emily said right after the opening number, “Power of Two.”

The audience did, and the duo told stories about their kids, getting older and who they’d like to see in concert. (Taylor Swift. Seriously.) When someone asked why the new album doesn’t have a track number 11, they admitted it was a proofreading error.

“We’re never going to be professionals,” Amy said.

And I think that’s the charm of the Indigo Girls. They have this down-to-earth appeal.

They played “Galileo” right before “Closer to Fine.” That made me happy. God, I love that song.

It was a perfect day. Me, W and the Indigo Girls. And then we rode off into the sunset.

 

This is what we saw on the ride home.

 

“Now the parking lot is empty

Everyone’s gone someplace

I pick you up and in the trunk I’ve packed

A cooler and a 2-day suitcase

Cause there’s a place we like to drive

Way out in the country

Five miles out of the city limit we’re singing

And your hand’s upon my knee”

— Indigo Girls, “Power of Two”

* * *

What about you? What’s the last concert you saw?

Searching for the Indigo Girls

 W and I are seeing the Indigo Girls on Sunday in what is being billed as a special acoustic performance. I got her tickets for her birthday.

Today, I stopped by our local Best Buy to pick up the new Indigo Girls CD. Yes, we still buy CDs. We are old school like that. Word to your mother.

I couldn’t find the CD on the shelves, so I sought out a Best Buy employee to aid in the search. Before all was said and done, there were three boys in blue huddled around a computer screen and then the CD rack. One of them handed me a copy of “One Lost Day.”

So, how many Best Buy employees does it take to help a lesbian find the new Indigo Girls album? The answer is three.

Being butch and Barry Manilow

I had a 45-minute drive yesterday.  I was tired of listening to sports radio and NPR.  Even my 80s station didn’t appeal.

So, I popped open my four-CD collection of Barry Manilow’s greatest hits.  I belted out the lyrics to “I Write the Songs” and “Mandy” and “Weekend in New England.”

It felt like the unbutchest thing I’ve done in a long time.  Even though there was Lola “with yellow feathers in her hair and a dress cut down to there.”

But I didn’t care.  It was just me and Barry in my Altima “singin’ to the world.”

And then I realized it was perhaps the butchest thing I’d done in awhile.

* * *

What about you?  What’s the unbutchest/butchest thing you’ve done lately?

The soundtrack to my life

Grease albumWhen I started writing my book, I noticed a theme.  Besides a love for the ladies (here’s to you Farrah Fawcett and Olivia Newton-John), music played an important role in my life.

The soundtrack to my pre-teen days is the two-record album Grease, perhaps coupled with the theme to Charlie’s Angels“Once upon a time, there were three little girls who went to the police academy …”

My friends and I bowl on a team we name “Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Bowlers.”  We are not fans of the Beatles’ classic album but of the Bee Gees remake.

John Mellencamp’s “Warmer Place to Sleep” had been playing on a boom box right before I have my first kiss.

I come out after praying using the words to the AA Serenity Prayer and the lyrics to the Prince song “Controversy.”  Ok, so most people know those lyrics as the Lord’s Prayer, but I was a heathen back then.  And the Purple Man was about as close to religious as I got.

Tell me about it, Middle-age Butch

Tell me about it, Middle-age Butch

I’ve gone through the book and made note of all of the quoted song lyrics and music references.  (I’ve even included the Charlie’s Angels theme song and “Hopelessly Devoted to You,” which is how this baby butch felt about Olivia in her skintight black leather pants and red high heels.  Have mercy.)

So, yeah, the soundtrack to my book.  You can listen to it here via Spotify.

If it puts you in the mood, you can still pre-order a signed copy of Leaving Normal: Adventures in Gender.  Follow the instructions here.

You can pre-order a copy from my publisher here.

Or, if you’re the patient type, you can pick up a copy on Friday when the book goes live on Amazon.

* * *

How about you?  What songs would be included on the soundtrack to your life?

* * *

Leaving Normal: Adventures in Gender Soundtrack

1. Superman by R.E.M.

2. Black Leather by Joan Jett

3. Controversy by Prince

4. Munsters – Theme Song

5. Lola by The Kinks

6. Like the Way I Do by Melissa Etheridge

7. Charlie’s Angels – Theme Song

8. More Than a Woman – Bee Gees

9. Hopelessly Devoted to You — Olivia Newton-John

10. Look at Me I’m Sandra Dee – Stockard Channing

11. Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Theme by They Might Be Giants

12. Don’t Give Up on Us by David Soul

13. Warmer Place to Sleep by John Mellencamp

14. Laverne and Shirley Theme Song

15. A Little Bit Country-A Little Bit Rock ‘N Roll by Donny & Marie

16. Should I Stay or Should I Go by The Clash

17. Only the Good Die Young by Billy Joel

18. Paradise City by Guns N’ Roses

19. American Pie by Don McLean

20. Seventeen by Winger

21. Talk Dirty to Me by Winger

22. Runaway by Bon Jovi

At the movies

Rae Spoon“Gender is stupid.”

That’s  the best line from My Prairie Home, a documentary about transgender folk singer Rae Spoon.

My Prairie Home is part movie, part music video.  Haunting.  Beautiful.  Brilliant.

Spoon tells about growing up different in a conservative household ruled by a parent with mental illness.

I especially enjoyed the way Spoon tackles complex issues using simple lyrics.

Here are the lyrics to one song that I really liked:

Sunday Dress

When I was a little girl. I thought I had to hold up the world. Singing “Hallelujah” in the choir to keep my feet out of the fire.

My prairie home. My prairie home. My prairie home. Fits like a Sunday dress.

When I was fourteen the devil came for me. Showed me hell could be pretty. I had a poster at the end of my bed. Kurt Cobain in a wedding dress.

My prairie home. My prairie home. My prairie home. Fits like a Sunday dress.

Shaved my head and did my best. Tried to stand tall with whiskey on my breath. I sure wish I was a man. I would never go to church again.

My prairie home. My prairie home. My prairie home. Fits like a Sunday dress.

So, yeah, I would highly recommend My Prairie Home.  We watched it through iTunes for $4.99.

Rock on, Rae Spoon.

* * *

What’s the last movie you saw?  Would you recommend it?