Jennifer Finney Boylan
I saw a friend at the general store in my little Maine town this morning; gave me a huge hug and a kiss, and said, "Well at least it's not too hot."
I'm up early to leave my house in Maine for two days in New York. Tonight I'm having dinner with author Kate Bornstein, our first meeting. Funny that these two old soldiers have never broken bread together after all these years, but tonight's the night at last. Although we disagree on plenty in the movement for trans equality, Kate and I have sworn eternal loyalty, grace, and kindness to each other nonetheless. We are looking to build bridges between the many contentious wings of the movement. Tomorrow I meet with members of Barnard College's board of trustees to talk about issues dear to all our hearts. Wednesday night will find me at Burp Castle in the East Village with author Timothy Kreider and a properly-sized portion of Belgian ale. Burp Castle is the place with no TV, no music, and a sign on the wall that says WHISPERING ONLY. If you start to talk too loud, the bartender goes, "Ssshhhh." Once, Tim and I showed up there with Rock'em Sock'em Robots. Now I am in the Portland, Maine, airport, as the snow and ice hurtles down in the 20-degree fog. But JetBlue says we are still on time.
Satellite Passing Overhead
Just as you are setting the table
I pull you from the house into the belly
of the front yard to see the satellite pass
the same way husbands have pulled wives
and wives have pulled wives and husbands
have pulled husbands away from the dinner
table and into the night for years to see
these things only in the light of the dark
there are so many pieces of the sky
moving so many birds as stars or stars
as birds such a flock of space matter
a pack of meteors we can't tell
which is the satellite and which is
every other possibility we dream together
Somewhere there is a man
missing this missing what's passing right
overhead standing in a meeting room
in a small town asking how many
believe in keeping marriage traditional
My husband pulls me inside after the
sky becomes still again telling me
C'mon the food's getting cold
Somewhere a man is missing this
Jeremy Lee Brunger
A man who worked as customer service representative at the grocery store where I work just got fired for fondling a coworker. The thought was on my mind all day since I had been previously impressed with how socially tolerant my workplace was — the racism and homophobia I expected in the crystal meth-filled part of town where I work had been conspicuously absent. I had been promoted to cashier the day before. This, after being notified a few days prior that my first academic article was to be published in an actual academic journal; the sort professors use to advance their careers. Cashiering is by no means my aspiration, but I had just started paying my rent without any student endowments. Quite frankly, I was not doing all that poorly for someone in my situation. I was even steadily slowing my alcoholism, which had for the last few months pent up considerably.
But today, I did not think about homosexuality in reference to myself. It was an absentee faculty. At work I am subsumed by the labor process; my personality, all those things that compose a person, are vanished; there is no poetry, nor love in the moneychanging. This man was fired and his homosexuality had something to do with it. I was promoted and my homosexuality had nothing to do with it. It is not that it was not already an important part of me, of my Heideggerian Dasein. It was absent because I was absent. The grocery store mechanized me, assimilated me into its end-point production process. I work for the Borg, in case you didn't know.
You might say, if capitalism is our national religion, that it prayed the gay away that day.
— Lyon-Martin (@LyonMartinHS) December 10, 2014
Dawn Stacey Ennis
My name is Dawn Stacey Ennis.
And I am me.
Today marks a little over a year and seven months since I started living according to my chosen name ... and six months since the day I woke up in Bellevue for having tried to end my life. A few hours later, after I was released, I found I no longer had a job.
But I did have friends.
I accepted their help to cross my valley of despair and loneliness to this happier place, a new city I call home, where I am working again, blogging and living authentically. I owe it to the support and love of this chosen family of friends, and my own determination to getting this right.
Today marks 222 days that I have been living full-time without a break. And while I still have ups and downs, I smile more than I frown. I love the work that I do, and I try to help others across that chasm to this side, where there is hope of better days ahead.
Today, I did my job creating online media, and I took some money I earned to the bank and opened a new account, in my name.
I am Dawn Stacey Ennis, and I am damn glad I lived to see this #DayinLGBT, and all those to follow!
— Jeremy Hooper (@goodasyou) December 9, 2014
I am on the elliptical at George Washington University's gym, the television before me tuned to CNN. This morning, the Senate Intelligence Committee released the findings of a five-year investigation into CIA torture practices following September 11, 2001, and the ensuing War on Terror. President Barack Obama responds, "Some of the actions that were taken were contrary to our values. That is why I unequivocally banned torture when I took office," though he has done little in response to recent police slayings, of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., and more recently, of Eric Garner in New York City, a gross domestic torture of our own citizens, to be sure. The president cannot bring himself to say, "The police are wrong and corrupt here." The president cannot even bring himself to say, "This makes me sad."
As the elliptical forces me to a higher resistance, I think back to last night, when I joined fellow students at a protest seven blocks north of here. For four minutes, one minute for every hour Michael Brown lay slain in the street, we shut down traffic by lying in Dupont Circle, the historical center of LGBT life in Washington, D.C. Nearby, the headquarters of the Human Rights Campaign loomed over us. The organization, reflecting the passivity of our president, has yet to substantially condemn police violence towards black and brown Americans. I think back to our Capitol Pride Parade this past summer, when D.C. Police were cheered by the majority-white gay crowd. I think of the white gay men I've seen on Facebook or Twitter during the past week, saying African-Americans should protest how we protested to get marriage equality. I think of how these men are forgetting their own histories, the Stonewall Riots where queers clashed with police, fighting back, or the those long decades of the '80s and '90s, when we were acting up and holding kiss-ins and die-ins and blocking traffic, and today, how I want to yell at the complaining homos, Shut up, shut up, shut up!
The elliptical slows to a cool down period. The president drones on. The police continue to kill. It is 1:45, and I have to go to a meeting.
It’s dark and terrible outside in New York, a nor’easter pounding down rain. I’m home in the Bronx having lunch with my husband, Hugh. We’ve been together 34 years, more than half of my life. He’s retired, and I’m still trying to make my way as a gay writer, which is very difficult in the post-bookstore era. I have to keep asking myself: What about me is still applicable, worth knowing? I have framed an amazing period of life for the community that I fit into: from the early-1960s, when just being a gay kid was part Artful Dodger, and a deft bit of survival science. There was basically nothing known about us then. With the exception of a few novels, everything written about us came from our enemies, our “saviors” wanting to “cure” us, or pontificate for us because we had to be invisible. That was like living through a worse storm than what’s blowing outside today, but there were relief points — that we “knew” each other in the most elementary sense of recognition, against all odds, in the deepest elements in our hearts.
Now I keep hearing how so out of it — so “de trop,” as the French say — I am. On one of my strange email feeds today, a longtime radical was blasting away about “GLBT Inc,” a fashionable new term for America’s corporate embrace of our rights: that we are “exporting” it to the world — as the newest example of “American imperialism” — to the Palestinians, Afghans, Iraqis, and other people whose mores don’t include it but who on a casual but definitely unacknowledged level are not as homophobic as Americans. A nice naive thought.
My husband says to me, “We’ll force it down their throats the same way we forced down women’s rights!” He smiles and shakes his head. “And antibiotics and polio vaccines — they want to kill people for that too.”
I remember when being gay was a fast route to being murdered in the Deep South where we both grew up, and in some cases, it still is. In many of these same places some of my radical friends with their misplaced political correctness want to protect, from these worst of American values. I’ve known for years that people have a need to feel smug and superior — I certainly felt that as a queer kid growing up in Savannah, Ga., but this is one strange smugness to hide behind … though it does warm up the conversation with a nor’easter blowing outside and my husband and I having lunch together in the Bronx.
— Tyler Oakley (@tyleroakley) December 9, 2014
A few weeks ago, I shared with the world my decision to leave my job with the United Nations. The decision was difficult but necessary, largely precipitated by antiquated policies that do not offer us LGBTQ staff, consultants and interns adequate protection in the workplace. As an up-and-coming LGBTQ author, sacrificing my ability to live openly and honestly finally came to a point that I could no longer tolerate.
When my op-ed came out, I was still anxiously awaiting to board a plane that would take me out of the Africa continent and back home to New York City. In my DayinLGBT, I wander through a rainy, cold NYC. Today, I interviewed for a position outside of the United Nations, I hugged a friend, I had a short stroll through Harlem. There is nothing particularly memorable about this day, and I have no idea where my little steps today will take me tomorrow. However, as I walk through the frigid water covering the massive expanse of this city, I can't help but smile at the thought that I am back in a place that lets me be who I am. A mundane stroll in the rainy street has never been more satisfying.