Archives for posts with tag: lgbt

An article about an eight year-old girl not being feminine enough is making the rounds of the internet this morning. Give the masses a little time to get outraged and we’ll see if it actually “goes viral”. Here’s a link to Huffington Post’s coverage if you haven’t seen it.

My first thought wasn’t, “how dare they”. Rather, I thought, “hey, that little tomboy looks me at that age”. She might have been my sister or cousin or tomboy best friend. The resemblance is uncanny:

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Left: Me circa 1992. Right: Sunnie rockin’ a sweet Steeler t-shirt today.

As an eight year old I didn’t feel comfortable in my own skin – a little chubby, a little nerdy – but I was not yet burdened by the paralyzing self-consciousness of adolescence. Dressing however I wanted eased that awkwardness. A haircut from the boy’s section of the stylist’s handbook. A favorite pair of stonewashed overalls rocked least once a week – despite a distinct lack of farm work. Spandex shorts and Mickey Mouse t-shirts worn with abandon. I was one comfortable kid.

To add to the similarities between Sunnie and I, all of this happened at a parochial school.

Even those uptight Catholic school administrators back in the day knew a tomboy was just a tomboy. They didn’t read into it. I wish this southern Christian school could do the same. Don’t make this girl’s haircut and clothing choices something more than they are. It’s hard enough being a kid. Navigating social landmines of the playground, learning to multiply, studying geography, deciding if you really like the Steelers or you just like that t-shirt. This kid doesn’t need a group of adults telling her that she is doing it all wrong.

Let’s try having a little goddamn compassion.

This little girl could grow up to be a doctor, a lawyer, a businesswoman, a soldier, a fashion designer, a professional poker player. She could be gay or straight or trans. We don’t know. I doubt she knows. Maybe in twenty years this little girl will look like a larger version of her current self – a short haired, sports lovin’ lady. Maybe she’ll be a goddamn swimsuit model. Maybe she’ll be both.

Right now, she is just a kid.

My tomboy phase never really ended but finding comfort there allowed me to become who I am today. I am most comfortable in jeans and a hoodie with my hair pulled back. This utilitarian style just make sense to me. On the other hand, I’ve also grown to enjoy getting gussied up:

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Playing dress up isn’t just for kids.

In this day we can take what we want from each gender’s stereotype and make it our own. A dress today. Jeans tomorrow. Awesomeness forever. Even if some people are still catching up to this idea it sounds like Sunnie’s grandparents are already telling her this.

Hopefully their (our?) positivity can outweigh the school’s bigotry. Hopefully.

The wife and I made the Wall Street Journal’s Life and Culture section today. Seriously. Featured image and everything. Here’s the link:

Jewelers Woo Engaged Same-Sex Couples – WSJ

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Our story opens the article:

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Close enough.

As far as I can recall, this is the first time I’ve been quoted. Mentioned maybe but never quoted. It’s an odd feeling. The words attributed to me don’t ring false but I can’t help raising an eyebrow. Is that exactly what I said? Does this story, this little blurb of my life, really represent me? Does it accurately represent my marriage? Not really.

This article doesn’t show much about us. Barely a glimpse really. You can’t see the grit that makes up our daily life: the mortgage and walking the dog and making dinner and shoveling snow at six in the morning. These few sentences don’t show the love that drew us together, the marriage that’s simply awesome.

But that’s ok.

In this anecdote, we’re an example of the new normal. We sit on that fence between normal and unknown. Like any engaged couple we needed to buy wedding rings. Unlike that other couple (that straight couple), we also needed to explain ourselves. Fine. Hopefully what we did in that store, and with this article, is have that mildly uncomfortable conversation for other couples. Hopefully we took one for the team.

That’s love.

On the hottest day in June we stood on a gravel path that cut through a prairie in central Iowa. We held small bouquets arranged by my mother-in-law, calla lilies and freesia. My brother combed his hair and tucked in his shirt. My mother cried. The dog behaved. My wife-to-be looked beautiful, like the best kind of summer girl in her green dress – even when she made that scrunched up cry face while saying our vows.

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Back at my mother’s house, just down the road, our families and friends gathered. More people than I expected Food. Games. Beer. Wine. More love than I deserve. I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect day.

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Yesterday, the girlfriend and I officially announced our engagement. Family, friends, facebook (in that order).

Then we waited for the likes to roll in, the facebook love, the affirmation of our relationship, the approval we don’t want to admit we need in these modern times.

Then, well, things got a little tense.

All of our mutual friends (even those friends of mine who had only met the girlfriend long enough to deem a friend request appropriate) liked her status. Only her status. As her likes reach closer and closer to 100, mine have stabilized around 30. Obviously her likes are my likes. People like the relationship thus they like us both. Oy, I’m tired of saying like. But this division is like a gnat buzzing in my ear. It seems to work like this: I requested the relationship change and she accepted. Thus, with her action being final, she ends up in the newsfeed. Why would facebook integrate this kind of divisive coding into its rulebook and not combine the likes as it did with this adorable picture of us?

Let me be clear, facebook is not really ruining my engagement. I’m head over heels in love. I’m stoked. I’m already dreaming of the Target registry and planning the reception. Though I’m not sure how I’ll wear my hair…

This simply isn’t a problem I expected to encounter. History says the good ‘ol days never were. Life has always been hard. Yet here, in this particularly modern conundrum, I can’t help but wish for a simpler time.

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