One of the fun things about the wildlife refuge on Saturday that for once most of the birds seemed to be posing. The grackles let us get within about 2 feet of them and the same with the egrets. I was also with 10 feet of a Great Blue Heron who was more interested in watching a fish than in watching me.
The Canadian Geese just opened a sleepy eye at me when I was taking their picture. My sister kept telling them we weren’t going to hurt them and I was within a foot of them at one point.
Talk about irony, I finally get a decent zoom lens and I barely had to use it except for the shots of the bird island. Gaia has a strange sense of humour.
Now if I can just get Myrtle and Ed to pose I’ll be happy.
This oriole has built her nest of fishing line and fishing is illiegal in the refuge.
I came out to myself in 1979 after a summer at camp when I had to look at who I was and decide whether I was being honest in who I was. It would take another whole year to be ready to act on it. I was terrified and in 1979-1980 with good reason. My parents were homophobic and my mother was continually asking me if I thought my brother was gay. Every time she did I shrank inside. He was the golden child. If she was so worried and mad that he would be gay, what did it mean for the one she said was her black sheep?
I remember being scared, and hurt and feeling like I had failed in living up to what I was supposed to be but I loved women and there was no changing that fact. Every time I had tried to date a guy or been forced into a blind date in my sorority I was just creeped out and knowing all I wanted to do was get away and for a long time I didn’t even know why. No one talked about being gay in those days and when they did it was about men not women. I was lost and adrift and the two people at church that I now know were gay, kept watch over me but couldn’t really do anything for me except give me opportunities and challenges to “be myself whoever that might be”. At the time I had no clue what that meant especially in high school. (I graduated in 1972.)
My parents wouldn’t give me a curfew because they said if I had been brought up right I wouldn’t need one so every time I was forced into a date I made up one. The earlier the better.
Coming out was traumatic. It was 10 years after Stonewall and there was Girl Scouts, softball and dyke bars that were kind of scary and I didn’t drink. If you were lucky you could get to West Hollywood or sneak in the local bookstore and quickly grab a free copy of the Lesbian News. There was no other place to go. The Center didn’t really exist yet except for few rap groups. Most people today wouldn’t even know what a rap group was. (It has nothing to do with music. Good luck looking it up because you won’t find it.) When I got to CSUN I joined a rap group there and was the only hearing member. CSUN is the National Center for the Deaf on the West Coast so all our groups were interpreted for me and the facilitator.
Two women or even a group of women on a city street would get things yelled at them from cars. I loved when idiots would yell “faggot” at us. Indicated such a level of stupidity as to be unfathomable. Or when straight men would walk into a lesbian bar and expect women to flock to them because as they would often announce, they were real men. And how totally pissed off they would get when they were ignored and the woman bouncer would forcibly escort them out. I remember having to go to the car in groups in case they were still there.
I remember going in to Crown Books because I wanted to buy the Joy of Lesbian Sex.. The front one was so dog-eared I grabbed the one behind it and practically ran to cashrap to get pay and get out of the store and getting to the car and finding I had grabbed the Joy of Gay Sex by mistake. And because I couldn’t afford to buy both having to go inside again to exchange it. The woman at the counter was caught between disapproval and laughing at me.
I remember going to a lesbian picnic in Long Beach and having men standing around the outside of the park and asking things like who was the man? This usually brought on a game of “Kiss the nearest woman”. Which then would involve the cops escorting them away because they would freak out.
I remember the first few times I marched in the Gay Pride parade and had to march by the hateful Christian men, (never any women) with their towering black signs full of hateful words and images. They wore all black and had the meanest faces I’ve ever seen on human beings. They were so filled with hate you could feel it radiating. I always felt sorry for the sheriffs that had to stand there with them. I still remember the year one of the men yelled something hateful and lunged at us across the cops because we started to sing “Jesus Loves Me” . I heard the cop tell him to shut up or he would arrest him for inciting a riot. That really made the guy mad because we were the “evil bitches” that needed to learn our proper place at which point he got frog marched off to cheers. They finally got smart and surrounded them with all the MCC churches and the welcoming churches that marched. Now I think only one or two idiots show up if at all but in the beginning? There were a lot of them.
I remember wanting to hold hands with my partner and thinking I would just get us beat up. I remember the shock of seeing leering men every time we left the West Coast Women’s Music Festival after having spent 4 or 5 days in the wonderfully safe company of 4000 lesbians and suddenly feeling unsafe outside on the way home.
So flash forward to now and we’re before the US Supreme Court fighting for what should be our rights to live, love and the pursuit of happiness and hoping a bunch of straight people remember that religion has no place in the argument. That there is no place for a religious argument when it comes to people’s rights and anything else is just sheer bigotry and hate. Once again we are at the mercy of a bunch of straight people that I hope love someone gay and want the best for them. Once again we wait and hope for the kindness of strangers.
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