I want to tell you about what I did — and didn’t — do this past Thursday night. First off, what I did do was attend a little get-together that raised funds for the LGBT pride parade in Madison this August. It was a rather simple party, with just under a couple dozen supporters and Board of Directors membership of Madison’s LGBT community center, held in the home and garden of one of the center’s longtime supporters in one of Madison’s more cozier and aesthetically pleasing neighborhoods (lots of shade trees, narrow and winding streets, beautifully manicured yards).
“There’ll be 100 million people right here in this country who will be shocked and offended and appalled and the two of you will just have to ride that out, maybe every day for the rest of your lives. You could try to ignore those people, or you could feel sorry for them and for their prejudice and their bigotry and their blind hatred and stupid fears, but where necessary you’ll just have to cling tight to each other and say ‘screw all those people!'”
– Matt Drayton to his future son-in-law in Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (1967)
As important as it was to remember the one-year anniversary of the Pulse Nightclub tragedy on Monday, another important anniversary that also occurred on Monday should not be forgotten: June 12 was also “Loving Day.” What’s that, you ask? Well, it has to do with probably one of the most important decisions ever made by the United States Supreme Court — the case of Loving v. Virginia, which was cited as precedence for a much more publicized case 48 years later. Continue reading
I had started work on another post about a different subject this morning, but the significance of this particular day (June 12) has ordered me to take a different direction tonight. Today is, of course, the one-year anniversary of the tragedy at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, in which 49 lovely lives were cut short in horrific fashion.
My previous post, which you can read here, had me talking about a place of higher learning not too far from my old neck of the (literal) woods establishing a LGBT resource and support center. After I added it to this blog, I couldn’t help but think about it further…
First off, I can’t say enough how great it is for the University of Wisconsin—Marinette to establish a LGBT center. I’m happy, of course, that it’s happening in the area where I spent the later years of my adolescence. More than that, though, I’m happy for those in Marinette and vicinity who identify as part of the LGBT spectrum or are LGBT allies, for they finally — finally! — have somewhere where they can find resources; obtain information on healthcare, transitioning, support, etc.; or just find a safe, welcoming place where they will not be judged for who they identify as or who they may be attracted to.
“Skip! Skip! Can you maybe make it next week? I hate to miss Brian’s birthday; and Friday, the transvestites are back on Donahue.”
– the title character, speaking to one of his alien brethren in a 1986 episode of ALF
I want to start this post with the definition of “crossdressing,” as found here: “the act of wearing items of clothing and other accoutrements commonly associated with the opposite sex within a particular society.”
Why do I use that word? Well, I first started dressing in women’s clothing back when I was 11 years old going on 12. Even back then, I knew that putting on women’s undergarments or anything else feminine was considered taboo and against societal (and more immediately, familial) norms. But while I knew the definition at the time, I didn’t know of the word. To me, it was nothing more than “putting on clothing that belonged to my mom or my sister or, before that, what was found in that spare bedroom where we lived.”
A serious question for all of you: How do you feel right now? It’s for sure that things have seemed quite scary since the election of He Who Doesn’t Need To Be Named Here Since He Has His Name On Everything. My heart sunk after that night, felt really low the next day, and has been stuck with that low feeling ever since.
In the past, you’ve probably seen me talk about efforts in some corners of the sports world to help build acceptance and inclusion towards those in the LGBTQ community, including the “You Can Play” movement in hockey and Canadian football, the use of rainbow-colored tape for hockey sticks, and even recognition of LGBT people from the Olympics to baseball’s first pitch. But they’re not the only sports or sporting organizations to advance toward LGBTQ inclusiveness, as this image helps prove.
Presented without any extra comment, a poem that sums up how I’ve been feeling this week.
Oh, what a lovely day!
What a thrill to be outside today!
Walking down the street
Without a cloud in the sky
Friendly people passing by
Seemingly not a care in the world
As let the freedom to be me unfurl
It’s after 6AM in Madison as I write this, and by now you’ve already heard the news: A vain, egotistical, lewd, misogynistic, hateful, womanizing deviant and male chauvinist has earned enough electoral votes to become the next President of the United States. A moment virtually the whole world had been dreading has now come to fruition. It had been a moment I worried about as well, more so during the past week. I admit the past several nights, I haven’t gotten enough sleep as I should. It’s hard to make your brain relax when something with such big impact as who America’s president could be is so scary. Yeah, not even thinking about, say, some dirt road in far northern Ontario that you saw on Google Maps’ Street View just earlier in the day is enough. *sigh*
If you recall from August of last year, I had plans to march, as Allison, in Madison’s LGBT pride parade. However, a very last-minute familial situation scrapped those hopes. (At least I did dress up for the public one month later.) But I still love a (pride) parade, and I wanted to take in this year’s edition of Madison’s pride parade, which took place on August 21.
The event is technically billed as the Outreach Pride Parade & Rally. The Outreach of the name is the LGBT community resource center here in Madison (mission statement: “To promote equality and quality of life for LGBT people”). Outreach, which just moved to a newer, more expanded office in Madison earlier this summer (memo to self: check it out very soon), puts on noteworthy LGBT-oriented events in the Madison area every year, including an awards banquet that is scheduled to take place this coming week, and, since 2014, a parade and rally every August.
You’re probably seeing that “since 2014” part in that last paragraph and are wondering to yourself, “Really? Madison is so open and progressive, yet they’ve only had a pride parade since 2014?” Well, that’s not true. Other groups have put on pride parades in the past, including a group called Capitol Pride that put on a small parade in the late 2000s/early 2010s. Those groups, for various financial and/or organizational reasons, have come and gone. Some of the previous pride parades and rallies in Madison have been different than what Outreach puts on. Some years it was just a parade; a parade followed by a picnic or rally; and, as I recall one year, just a picnic since there wasn’t enough money in the budget for a parade (a city parade license and police logistics can cost a pretty penny).