Children will listen

I “collect” specialized CA licence plates, and this one remains my favorite.

 

My sister-in-law, with whom I co-house, is a fundraiser for Democratic, pro-choice, women candidates. So naturally, elections in general are big deals in her house. And an election featuring the first-ever Democratic, pro-choice, woman presidential candidate? Well. She plastered an “I’m ready for Hillary!” sticker on the bumper of her electric vehicle days after Barak Obama was elected to a second term. If there were an “I was frickin’ born ready for Hillary!” sticker, that would have been on the bumper instead.

Out of love for her, the Bernie Sanders advocates in her house did not cover over it with a “Feel the Bern” sticker. And though dinner table conversation was lively during the run-up to the primaries, once Hillary was the party nominee, the whole family was all-in. My brother-in-law made it a point to connect with local campaign offices whenever his work took him out of state. And when he and their son went on a Northeastern college tour, they spent nearly as much time walking precincts as they did touring campuses.

For each of the presidential elections that have taken place during the near-dozen years we’ve co-housed together, her household has hosted a huge election-night watch party. In addition to tasty food and drink, the parties feature multiple screens in multiple rooms, each carrying a different news organizations’ live coverage. My brother-in-law (whom I have lovingly dubbed in these pages my Know-It-All-Brother-In-Law, and yes, the shoe fits) rigs up a custom spreadsheet á la David Wasserman’s epic 2016 National Popular Vote Tracker.  This past November’s spreadsheet included results for the 2008 and 2012 elections, against which he plotted each state’s results as they came in.

A jovial mood prevailed early in the evening, the assembled buoyed by an electric sense of anticipation: we were about to witness something historic. Again. And then the night wore on. Too-close to call swing states began to be called, one by one, in Trump’s favor. The bright mood gradually began to dim, and not even a pause to watch Samantha Bee’s brilliant election eve herstory lesson, “Let Hillary Be Hillary,” would rouse us. Dispirited clumps of folks began to shuffle away, negotiating internally with various of the five Kübler-Ross stages of grief. Most of us had never taken a Hillary win for granted.  But at the same time, a Trump win–given his toxic combination of buffoonish, uninformed bluster and calculated menace–was simply unimaginable. And yet there it was, the perfect storm Trump win, beginning to emerge out of a surreal haze.

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Begin again

I find multitasking and code-switching a tad challenging. For this reason, three years ago, when I launched into a non-communications/ non-social media-ish job, I found myself essentially hanging up my bloggy spurs.

I did not, however, melt them down and make lawn art out of them. Fortunately for my neighbors.

Fig. A.

And  yet! I now find myself, much to my delight, in the position of directing communications at this selfsame organization. This job is not only in the right ballpark (I was there already) but at the right position therein.

Hosana and not a moment too soon!  Because in a scant few weeks we’re due for quite a political sea-change, something that – for me, and 65,844,953 others like me – looks to be more challenging than rivers being turned into blood, the dust of the land becoming lice, being strafed by swarms of flies, watching helplessly as livestock fall grievously ill, gaping in horror as festering boils break out on all of us everywhere, fruitlessly seeking shelter from thunderstorms of hail and fire, swatting back boatloads of locusts, enduring three days of darkness, or the tenth – which I can’t even speak of.

Yep, I’m talking the Eleventh plague, totally overlooked by biblical historians and prognosticators, whom I don’t blame for not calling this Trump thing because it took a lot of other people by surprise too.

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Post Mother’s Day post

De rigueur for Mother's Day. Lest there be any confusion.

De rigueur for Mother’s Day. Lest there be any confusion.

This is how we do Mother’s Day around here. She gets her day in May, and I get mine in June, alongside all the other dudes.*

I know we two female-people parent combos (and two male-people parent combos) have many choices when we approach these binary parental holidays, Mothers’ and Fathers’. In my beloved’s and my case, how we divided it up feels inspired. Each of us gets all the watts we need shone upon us, all day long, on different days. Of course it helps that I do not now, nor have I ever felt like a “mother.”

Fortunately the thought of referring to me as such is just as absurd-sounding to my kids as it is to me, thereby proving, yet again, the casual simplicity of gender non-normativity and the ease with which kids of such folks apprehend it. Parent, sure. More of a dad, even, they both say readily, than a mom.  Knowing also that I am a female person, more or less.  At nine and eleven they have a capacity to perceive, comprehend, and assimilate tones between black and white, and I think this quality will serve them well.  Continue Reading →

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First Pride

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First LGBTQ Pride, San Francisco, June 26, 2005

Quietly doing a (re)launch status check which, among other things, entails a review of the photo archives. Which in turn brings one to an image of she-what-made-me-a-Baba, proudly held aloft at our very first SF LGBTQ Pride, over a decade (and a world) ago. Outlaws, still, walking in the fresh footprints of the queer parent pioneers not a generation before us. Wonder at a maximum, parenthood in infancy, possibility ablaze.

 

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Getting the hang of this thing

Moon over Coalinga, CA.

Moon over Coalinga, CA.

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It’s been a while

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At SOMArts, San Francisco

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Camp It Up!

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Year-old tie-dye hanging out to dry, Berkeley, CA.

As it turns out, tie-dye shirts which have yet to be “set” and rinsed can indeed sit in a crumpled ball for a year, intimidating and then later forgotten, and be resurrected the weekend before departing for the family camp whence they came the year before! Patience (and neglect) rewarded.

Heading up to Camp It Up! family camp for the week. I sang its praises at VillageQ last year upon return, and don’t mind saying that if you don’t currently squirrel away all your spare pennies for a queer family camp (you queer families), well, you should try. Because it’s worth every one of those pennies.   (Here’s a regionally varied list of them I did back in April at VQ.)

Up at camp there is – ! – no cell phone reception & no cable/ wifi internet access. Schlubs who have internetty work to do make their way into the nearby town for the wifi-enabled cafe. I believe I’ll be among those schlubs, in which case I may also have the opportunity to share a photo or two.  I share this tidbit because I’m working hard at the whole “please keep blogging” thing with which I ended my talk the other night. It’s almost as good for the mental health as a nice, long, family vacation.

 

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10 x 10, inch by inch

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Voices of the Year/ 10×10 audience at BlogHer ’14, San José, CA. 

 

Don’t they/ you look fine?

The woman toward the right with the nice DSLR pointed at me is Danielle Tsi, BlogHer’s event photographer (and a brilliant one).  I’d worked with her at about a half a dozen BlogHer events, and she was kind enough to take my new cutie mirrorless camera and take a few pictures with it for me, so’s I’d have a clue what I was looking’ like (et voilá).  What’s not to love about a person whose generosity matches their talent?

On the occasion of its tenth annual conference, folks at BlogHer had asked ten longtime community denizens to take ten minutes to reflect on the past ten years online (and to imagine where we may be going in the next ten). I was honored to be among them.

I thought I might publish here what I read that night, for any of youse who were there and wanted to get a reminder, and for any of you who didn’t go, but might be curious. If I find out I have permission (nettiquette FTW!), I might embed the slides which I produced, but which were polished off by BlogHer’s designer & thus might be theirs.  If I can’t, your imagination will have to fill in the blanks. Which people’s imaginations generally tend to do anyhow, so.

Herewith, my ten minutes’ of reflection, courtesy BlogHer’s YouTube channel. Below the embed is the text, complete with slide cues, because this is cinema verité here, people.

 


 

[SLIDE: note of gratitude]

 First, thank you. Thank you Elisa, Lisa, and Jory. Thank you Stacy, and thanks also to the many very hard-working women behind you for this stage and what it has meant to so many of us over the years. I know first-hand what it takes to make this happen, and it is truly a labor of love.

 Thank you also for the opportunity to reflect on the past ten years, from my point of view. I would sit in rapt attention listening to all sorts of people doing the same thing – in fact have, and will. It’s a great privilege to take a stab at it myself.

 [SLIDE: 2008 Community Keynote audience, courtesy Elan]

I can say in all honesty that two of the things most precious to me now, I owe to blogging: the clarity I have as a parent, and the opportunity I have to be doing the work I’m doing now in support of LGBT families in my community and online.

And it’s not an exaggeration to say that it all began on the BlogHer stage, 50 miles to the north of here and six years ago.

Six years ago, I stood backstage waiting to read a post at the first Voices of the Year. The ballroom was packed, but with about a third as many people. Backstage were a bunch of folks, none of whom I knew, even though I knew of them. We didn’t know what was about to happen. All we knew was that whatever it was, it seemed like a damned good idea.

I had spoken in the morning on a panel moderated by the inimitable Lindsay Ferrier.

[SLIDE: Lindsay’s pumps; riff; try really hard to not say anything untoward; resist the urge to speak randomly about muffins, as you are wont do]

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