Friday, June 26, 2009

Since Stonewall

We've been going to lots of mass gatherings lately. L'Ailee and I learned after the Mermaid Parade that while the LG Lotus is one hell of a lovable little cell phone, it's not very good at taking pictures. (Yes, I have the purple one and L'Ailee has the black one.) Otherwise, I'd have posted a couple for once. Thankfully, if you follow the link, others had better equipment! Next year, we will really dress up. So many other women (and some men) had creative interpretations of the "mermaid" concept, and not just the ones marching. So that's another costume for us to plan. I did Zombiecon last October, which is people dressed up like in very topical zombie costumes taking over Manhattan bar by bar. I was Zombie Sarah Palin with an axe in her head. (Hope nobody tries to fire me from my blog for that one! :-O) L'Ailee will be going with me this October.

On Sunday, we are going to participate in the Pride parade in Manhattan. We wouldn't miss this one. Among other reasons, it commemmorates the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, which kick-started the modern LGBT rights movement. Yes, I know there's way more to our history than that, but Stonewall provided a real flash point, and we're grateful for it. It's especially instructive to note that Seymour Pine, who served as the NYPD's deputy inspector at that time, still thinks raiding the Stonewall Inn was right.

I keep thinking of the different post-Stonewall lives my friends and I have, lives that wouldn't have been possible 40 years ago, not even in "liberal" New York. On Saturday morning, before the Mermaid Parade, we took L'Ailee's best friend's daughter out to a sporting goods store to buy her father and stepfather gifts for Father's Day. She'd painted her nails with a bright green marker to show support for the protestors in Iran, all on her own. She is a big believer in fairness. We hugged her--we thought it was so sweet. But she can be a bit spoiled and bratty, too. She opined that her mother shouldn't marry her boyfriend because "then I'd have three dads to shop for and that's too much." Both her father and stepfather had slipped her money for his husband's gift. We kept having to remind her to stop shopping for herself and look at things for them. When she proudly placed her purchases on the counter, she let the clerk know the gifts were for two fathers. He said matter-of-factly that he'd "seen a few other kids get gifts for two dads."

Our friend with early-onset Alzheimer's is gay. He almost lost his partner because of the disease. In a healthy man in his late thirties, you just don't think Alzheimer's--drugs or psychosis were suspected instead. His partner is thinking they should get married very quickly, while they can, so that he has legal standing to make decisions. He hoped they could marry in New York, but that probably won't happen this year. At least a marriage contracted out of state can be recognized here now. L'Ailee and I have offered to spend time with her friend so that the partner can have breaks. He's grateful for the offer, but says for now he wants to spend all the time he can with his partner. They won't be at the parade.

We have two friends who are in their seventies, a lesbian couple who we consider role models. They taught us to divide chores on a "who cares most" basis. They will be at the parade. They came together in 1968, a year before Stonewall. They were divorced mothers in their thirties, pooling resources. They'd had feelings for other females before, but stuffed them down. The feelings flared back up for each other. One's teenage daughter was disgusted, and they have only barely communicated since. But the other four of the five kids they raised together got used to it. They've thought of leaving Brooklyn to retire, but their grandchildren live close by, and anyway, they figure they need to work as long as they're able, anyway. They remember thinking of the Stonewall Inn and other gay bars as "trashy," but finding the riots inspiring. "People should be able to get together and not be afraid," one said. "This isn't Iran."

No, this isn't Iran, or Russia, or Saudi Arabia. For that reason alone, we should celebrate. It can be better. It has been worse. I have said before that I don't think Pride really means that the participants are proud to be lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgendered. Those are neutral qualities. It's more like "not shame" in the face of people who tell us we need to be ashamed of those qualities. But this time, it might really be pride. We should be justifiably proud of our "ancestors", whether they were at Stonewall or quietly knitting their lives together in a row house in Brooklyn. We should be proud of ourselves and each other, too, for all the ways we survive and thrive in the face of adversity.

Links, links:

Everyone has talked about Michael Jackson's death, and will continue to talk about it. Some have talked about Farrah Fawcett and Ed McMahon. Me, I would like to talk a bit about Dr. Jerri Nielsen FitzGerald, who died this week at 57. She is the doctor who, ten years ago, diagnosed and treated her own breast cancer in an Antarctic research base. She also continued working as the only doctor on that base for the other people there. I admired the hell out of her for that. She went to Antarctica because her life desperately needed a change after a bitter divorce. After her breast cancer was treated, her taste for adventure lived on--she kept traveling, even returning to Antarctica. Her book, Ice Bound, actually made me want to go! (They're so mean at the National Science Foundation, though--they didn't think a Florida Cracker with a history of depression made a good candidate for Antarctic support staff.) I am glad that she was able to find love again before her cancer came back.

Rachel Maddow, helping bring butch sexy back. Of course, I know it never left!

Interesting article on the generation gap among gay men.

Do New Yorkers want to elect Bloomberg for mayor, or Big Daddy?

Andrew Klavan, a right-wing writer, is the latest in a long line of insecure little boys posing as macho conservative men.

Finally, speaking of manliness, Marvo at the Impulsive Buy's review of the Braun BodycruZer razor made me laugh like a four-year-old.


liminalD said...

Thanks for the link about the gay Generation Gap... fascinating stuff!! I've often bitched about the gap to my friends, and I'm on the younger side of it, but this was a bit of an eye-opener for me.

Also... I'm jealous that you get to go to the Stonewall 40th celebrations in NY... hope you enjoy, and make sure you take pics!! ;)

MoonRaven said...

Happy Pride! It's amazing to think that it's been forty years since Stonewall. (And I guess I'm showing my age with that remark.)

alan said...

I'll confess I hadn't thought of Rachel being "butch sexy", but only "sexy" and the smartest girl in the room...any room!

I'd love to vote for her for President someday...


Get Off My Lawn! said...

Sarah Palin zombie with an axe in the head. Good costume. You shouldn't be fired, perhaps promoted.

CrackerLilo said...

@ liminalD: Glad you liked it. That article did explain some things I saw. Pride was awesome, but very crowded.

@ MoonRaven: I'm glad I can still make someone else feel old! :-D

@ Alan: I'd love to vote for Rachel Maddow, too. And while I hate watching TV news and really hate watching TV pundits, I got sucked into the Rachel Maddow Crush Vortex, too.

@ Get Off My Lawn!: Thanks! And welcome! I was referencing the David Letterman flap. (His comments were tasteless, but I shuddered when politicians wanted to "do something.") My wife's best friend, known for his tastelessly topical Halloween costumes, taught me how to make a plastic axe stick in my hair (a souvenir of his very popular post-9/11 Osama Bin Laden costume). And I mixed good stage blood, too. But I was outdone by a Zombie Sarah Palin with what looked like caribou antlers stuck in her back!

Rebecca said...

Hi, just stumbled in and really enjoyed this post.
And your response to that woman, that she was hiding behind her child, how so very true.
I will be back!

sttropezbutler said...


I'm back to the grind today...and feeling slightly more human...and doesn't Rachel rock!

Have a great summer!