Saturday, June 21, 2008

I love mornings

I never thought I would be ‘that woman’. The one who is up at six in the morning on her own power, but that is who I have become. Some of it, no doubt, is a function of having our bedroom with an eastern exposure. The sun breaks over Mount Hood, the Willamette valley is flooded with the first, eight minute old rays of light, dawn seeps into our window and the light strikes my eyes. Then a cat will stir and I am awake. Many a work day morning that has saved my ass! In no possible way am I complaining, at least not on those mornings. Over time, as this tendency to wake early has become more pronounced, I have come to enjoy it.

This Saturday morning, I was up at 5:30. I thought, briefly, about going back to sleep but got out of bed to check on the back-up I’ve been running (the travails of setting up a new network) and that was all she wrote. The next thing I was hunched over my Mac, waiting for the last six gigabytes to go across the wire so I could unplug the wire and take it to the desk. I started streaming Weekend Edition, listening to host Bob Simons’ sonorous voice and two hours have passed. I started playing around with some photos in PE* and suddenly it was a quarter of eight.

(I’ve just heard Simon say that comments by Obama where he says it plain, when he says that the GOP will say, “did I mention he was black.’ Anyone who thinks that it *won’t* happen is living in some kind of fantasy world. McCain, of course, will have to try and stay above it but for him to be excoriated for saying what is manifestly obvious to anyone is just ludicrous and another example of how the media tries to turn the narrative to generate interest. He has opted out of public financing, Obama knows what is coming at him because the GOP *will* try to make Americans fear Barack Obama. He’s going to have to be brilliant because large parts of it are going to come out sideways. But to suggest, for example, that FOX news does not function as anything so much as a PR branch of the RNC is to engage in a willful blindness to the reality of modern American politics. )

At any rate, these quiet bits of the morning have become the very best part of my day. The world is largely quiet, those sounds that intrude are distant, street sounds that remind me that I live in a city. The only sounds are of Liam being Mighty Panther Ninja Cat and Willow sneaking up on me to escape the MPNC and NPR. Those moments where I can only write if I have only my own words in my head are what I love mornings for. At 8:40 on a Saturday, having been up for three hours, the day feels full of potential.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Lesbian pioneers' marriage decades in making -

Lesbian pioneers' marriage decades in making -

Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon, the women who founded the Daughters of Bilitis, the first lesbian organization in the United States will be married today. This makes me so very, very, happy. They have been together almost six decades and were, in part, an inspiration for a story I wrote a number of years ago called Romantasy.

Years ago, when I was a wee young baby-dyke, I was going into the 7-11 in the Castro District in San Francisco on my way to the Dyke March. Del and Phyllis were coming out and Del, the butch one, winked at me. Nothing at all sexual, just a “you kids are cute” wink that had my knees quivering. I will forever remember that one glance from a butch woman, 45 years my senior. At that moment I determined that whatever it was she had, I wanted THAT so that when I was a crusty, old butch I could melt some other baby dyke as I was.

Del and Phyllis are pioneers who made it possible for me to come out in the late 80’s. I hope that my love, Jaime, and I are as happy when we’ve been together 50 years. If any two people on this planet have earned their happiness, it’s these two.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Reflections on my 20th Pride festival

It’s kind of amazing for me to think about but this is my 19th Pride parade. Since 1989 I have always gone to Pride whether I was living in San Francisco (where I went to my first 12 Pride celebrations) or Portland, where I’ve done the last nine. At any rate, I am now sitting at Tom McCall Waterfront Park waiting for the Parade to start. This is one of only five where I have been purely a spectator. No drum, no marching with some non-profit or volunteer group or another. Some of that is that I think I’ve become somewhat jaded. It’s just another Pride festival. For Jaime, however, it’s all still new and fresh and exciting as this is only her second Pride and so she still has the excitement, the sense that it’s all new. We’re waiting for the roar and shaking of Dykes on Bikes, which last year in San Francisco, was renamed to the “Women’s Motorcycle Contingent” for reasons that still mystify me. It’s Dykes on Bikes, such as it always has been and, in my mind, such as it always will be.

Yesterday, I spent a good portion of the day at the Festival. I was on the setup crew for my Toastmaster’s club and, of course, had to wander the Festival for a while collecting my yearly queer SWAG. This year the pickings were kind of slim, but again, I’m a jaded old dyke these days and while I’m happy to be here with my wife if I had it to decide, I would have stayed at home and maybe done some writing. The parade should be here relatively soon now.

I’ve run into a few people this weekend, including someone from the old Lake Merritt Breakfast Club. She mentioned how good I look with some weight on me, reminding me of how skinny I once was.

Over the years, Pride has changed. There are a lot more families here. It used to be that kids were a relatively rare sight at Pride. We are surrounded by a family of four or five kids, maybe more. The other thing that has changed is that there are a lot more teenagers these days. It does my heart good to see so many teens who come out of the closet at such a young age. To me, coming out at 15 is amazing since I came out at 21. Wow, the years that have flown by. The old radical activist, member of Queer Nation and ACT-UP and Lesbian Avengers that I was feels somewhat ambiguous about how things have changed. On the one hand, this is what we worked for. This is what it is all about, creating a world where lesbians and gays can come together with our families. On the other hand, this means that things have been toned down considerably to accommodate the families. It’s not quite as queer, not quite as radical, not quite as in-your-face as it used to be. But this is the goal of all liberation movements, to become irrelevant which is not to say that the gay rights movement is irrelevant yet. Not nearly yet. But this is still no longer what it once was.

I started my day with talking to Debra Floyd, someone I met when I was a wee young baby dyke and she took me and Tracy and Nicole under wings.

Perhaps this feeling of nostalgic ennui is that because my son and my best friend, Jeff, are away at war and my father is ten years gone, almost to the day. (It will have been 10 years on July 1st). Whatever the reason, I feel very subdued today. Quiet and non-talkative. I don’t have much motivation to hang out at the Festival afterward although we almost certainly will.