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Medium Dawn Felagund of the Fountain

*wubbles* *rants*

The (Cyber) Bag of Weasels

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"About as much fun as a bag of weasels"...when I first saw this Irish adage, it made me think of the life of a writer: sometimes perilous, sometimes painful, certainly interesting. My paper journal has always been called "The Bag of Weasels." This is the Bag of Weasels' online home.

*wubbles* *rants*

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Today is the day that my sister leaves for England....

We went over my parents' for a Pasta Nite last night, only Sharon and I shared a Papa John's pizza. Pizza is one of her favorite food--and she doesn't care much for spaghetti--and so it only seemed right that her last supper as a resident of our parents' house should at least be something she liked.

Funny, I don't remember my last supper there. But I will always remember hers.

That my sister has met someone whom she loves, someone as kind and wonderful as Kirsty, is a cause for joy for me. And I've kept this in the forefront of my thoughts these last few weeks--since word came that her visa had been approved for moving to the UK--to keep the sadness at bay that my little sister, one of my best friends, is moving to another country. That, unless the laws here change and she and Kirsty decide to move back, we might see each other in a lifetime as many times as we are used to seeing each other in a year. That I can't simply ring her anymore or shoot her an email to meet for supper at Q'Doba or any of the other number of silly things that seem to mean so much all of the sudden.

That we will no longer regularly sequester ourselves from the rest of the family to talk about writing and "gay things" and other stuff that the rest of our family simply doesn't understand.

I feel a lot of things right now. Of course: happiness. I was ecstatic to hear that she and Kirsty would be able to marry and start their life together. There is nothing quite like coming home to a person you love. I have that with Bobby, and I have always wished it for Sharon too.

Naturally, I am sad too. I am losing my sister to another country and not necessarily by her own choice. If she and Kirsty had talked and decided that living in England was better for them than living in the US, then I would not be nearly so...bitter? It is hard to describe: a grief that our family is being broken by the narrow-mindedness and bigotry of a few. A certain helplessness that this can be allowed to happen. And anger, yes, a lot of that.

If she and Kirsty had chosen to start their life in England, I would not feel this so profoundly. Because that would be their choice. As it is, they were given none.

Same-sex couples can't marry in the US. And our immigration laws are such that Kirsty would likely never be able to come over here, even if they were content to live unmarried.

On Friday, Sharon said something that really stuck with me: The laws in the US are such that--for "people like her"--no matter what, a family is being broken up. Either our immediate, blood-family or the family she has found and made with Kirsty. Ironically, the people who have made it so she cannot marry the person she loves, cannot start the family that they want, are the same groups that call themselves "pro-family." Pro-family how? By sundering any family that does not meet their narrow criteria?

Yes, a family will be left behind whether Sharon moves to England or Kirsty moves to the US. But when it is by choice, it is not so hard. When it is ordained by the narrow-minded views of a few bigots...it sounds immature to say, but that is not fair.

The other week, I saw my sister--because she is bisexual--being compared to pedophiles and people who sleep with their dogs. And the person who said this then expressed the astounded sentiment, "Oh, I would never have said that if I'd known people involved with that were around here!"

This struck me: It is unforseeable--on the LiveJournal of a person who probably has around 100 friends--that someone who is homosexual or bisexual might be around. Why? Because that is "those people," and "those people" aren't people like you and me; "those people" don't have friends and enjoy laughing over a cheap dinner somewhere and have LiveJournals and live just like normal folks, with cats and jobs and headaches and bills to pay; "those people" don't have moms and dads and sisters and brothers and friends and children who will mind hearing the person they love being compared to a child molester or who will mind that their loved one has to move across the world in order to live as the person that she is. Or live without being harassed by narrow idiots who believe that God can be confined to a rulebook written by Man. Or have their lives threatened, even, and fear for their safety in certain places for living as the people that they are.

I will admit that I supported gay rights before my sister "came out" to me, but it was a largely background issue. It was someone else's problem. I am straight; I love a man whom I can legally marry; we can hold hands in public without being assaulted or harassed; no one is trying to bar us from having or adopting children or visiting each other in the hospital or having "Beloved Husband/Wife" engraved on our headstones should one of us die. It was easy to turn away from the troubles of "those people" because I was not one of them. They were almost a myth, almost not to be believed.

I didn't know how much my life would change when Sharon invited me to dinner--just her and me--at Don Pablo's and told me that the real trouble between her and then-fiance Troy was a British girl named Kirsty, and that she was irrevocably in love.

Suddenly, I started taking those things--the comments, the laws, the abuse, the-Bible beating without a clue what the Bible even says--very personally. "Those people," it seemed, had come home--to my home. I saw what Sharon went through, emotionally and legally. No one should have to go through that, not in this supposed "modern day," just to live as the person that she is, to be with the person whom she loves.

Last week, it hit me that Sharon was going away--not for two weeks--maybe forever. I was good last night; I said goodbye, and I didn't cry. Because, truly, I'm far from sad that she met Kirsty...quite the opposite! And my own selfish feelings matter little in the light of that.

I can't pretend to know what a gay or bisexual person goes through. I am only the sister of one.

But I can tell you what the sister of such a person goes through. I can tell you that for every American who opposes same-sex marriage, every American who has ever quoted the Bible or used Jesus Christ as an excuse to hate, half of me is tempted to wish that they would learn how it feels to have someone they love scorned and driven out of her country because of the person that she is...but the other half of me wouldn't wish that upon anyone.
  • *HUGS*

    One day those laws may change.

    Think about it: only a few years ago gay marriage was unthinkable in Europe, too.

    And, once you have cried yourself out: there's some lemonade to be had from this lemon life handed you.

    Europe is a great and interesting place with so many different cultures so close together. In other words...

    You'll come over. You'll get so see Great Britain: the Highlands! Stratford-upon-Avon (Shakespeare!!!)! You'll get to eat scones and clotted cream!

    You can send care-packages back and forth. There's internet-phone-calls for free across the Atlantic ocean. And YIM. Old fashioned letters are fun, too.

    And if you want to get to know some other corners of Europe, then we can all get together and meet!

    How about renting a holiday home in the south of France and spending two weeks there next year? Or if you want to get to know Germany... Nürnberg has an airport (ppl from America fly over from the biggest German airport in Frankfurt, ppl from UK can fly in directly), and just around the corner from where I live is a very pretty house with two holiday apartments that are not really expensive.

    Not all Christians are scriptural literalists. Some of us remember that the second commandment Jesus gave us is "Love your neighbour as yourself". And he did not mean "hate your neighbour like yourself".

    Julie Andrews says in "A Sound of Music": "If God closes the door, He somewhere opens a window."

    Lots of love to you and your whole family, especially to Sharon and Kirsty!

    • Thank you for all your kind words and positive thoughts, Juno! {{{{{Juno}}}}}

      We are certainly looking forward to visiting Europe. (And Germany is one of the places that Bobby has always wanted to go! Dawn can't get past "Squee! Europe!" to pick a particular place that she wants to see. ;^D)

      Not all Christians are scriptural literalists. Some of us remember that the second commandment Jesus gave us is "Love your neighbour as yourself". And he did not mean "hate your neighbour like yourself".

      I know this. :) Some of my dearest friends--online and off--are Christians. Actually, my family is Catholic, and most of them are all right. ;)

      As with many religions, it is the fundamentalist fringe that give a bad name to all others. Truth be known, I feel bad for mainstream Christians for the bad rep they get from the loonies. And I think that the Christian faith has a lot of nice things to say, like the "Love thy neighbor" quote that you gave.

      Btw, if you see someone on your flist called chopchop0853, that's my mum. Sharon and I got her signed up the other night; now I just have to teach her to use LiveJournal. o.O
      • That's so cute of you to make an lj for your mom! I hope she'll enjoy it.

        (How are you today? Feeling a bit better, I hope!)
        • Well, she wanted to follow along with your reading. :) I will probably send her links to the chapters you've done already; she can do email and links, she told me!

          I am better today, yes. I wanted to languish at home last night but made myself skate for the simple, unromantic reason that the chemicals released during exercise mimic the effects of opiates. Sometimes a biopsych education helps! ;)
  • I somehow never felt like their was anything wrong with same-sex relationships or marriages, though my parents didn't really raise me to think so. Not that their in any way opposed to same-sex marriages, but I know they needed a bit of time getting used to the thought. But for me it was always, well probably not necessarily "normal" (since there were not really any homosexual people in the environment I grew up, at least as far as I know), but nothing scanadalizing either.

    In fact, in doesn't want to get in my head (yes, I'm naive like that), how people won't get that it's not some passing, "abnormal", sexual fancy they are talking about, but love. Like in "loving somebody". I don't get why this should be restricted to genders.

    Anyway, I'm wishing your sister and her girlfriend all the best. :)
    • Same-sex marriage never felt odd to me either. I was technically Catholic as a child but never went to church (not a'once!) so I count myself as more a lifelong agnostic. Neither was my family "pro-gay" in any way. We didn't know any gay people; it simply wasn't discussed.

      I think my parents got thrown into acceptance, like it or not, when my sister "came out" to them. It's harder to be judgmental when it's your own family suffering for your narrowness. Still, I've no doubt that my mum would have found her way to acceptance nonetheless. My dad is terribly apathetic; I doubt he'd care either way.

      It annoys me too how homosexuality or bisexuality is made all about sex. Even when people argue Biblically, they argue against sex with a same-sex partner. (Almost always m/m, but anyway....) As I jokingly said the other day, once you get married you stop having sex anyway, so one would think that if they're against gay sex, they'd be pro-gay marriage. ;)

      Marriage, to me, is choosing a person and saying, "I care enough to make this person my family and spend the rest of my life with him/her." I don't really see how gender factors into one's ability to say that.
  • *hugs*

    I'm pissed off anyway that there's a selection of the population that gets so openly discriminated against for such stupid reasons, but being the slightest bit close to someone who actually has to suffer the consequences--like I'm always seeing one of my best friends (who deserves all the happiness he can get) say "I've found the love of my life, and I hope we can get married someday" instead of "I hope we will get married someday"--it just makes it so much harder to ignore or make excuses for the idiocy of this society.
    • *hugs back* :)

      Yes, once you know someone going through this sort of thing, I think it's a bit harder to dismiss as "someone else's" problem. It becomes much plainer how human gay people are, how they want the same things as any of us "normal" straight folk. And the pain that they go through is like that which we would go through if denied the person we love too.

      Sharon is lucky to have fallen in love with a person whom she can marry, even if it makes the difficulty of parting families inevitable. Hopefully, the laws here will change and she--and your friend--can live as they need to live in their own country too.
  • *Hugs!!*
  • (no subject) - callirhoe
    • It is my hope too that once gay folk stop being those "other" people and start being family and friends, that people's minds will change. I have always supported gay rights--being a good liberal, it was just The Right Thing to Do--but it took on greater meaning for me once it was my sister being denied rights or being equated with a child molester or getting scorned by complete strangers in the airport for hugging her girlfriend. It is my hope that people realize that those who love someone of the same sex as they are do not want "special rights" or anything more than a straight person would want.

      But you are right that there is a bright side in that now I have an excuse to visit Europe. Often. ;)

      Thanks for memming this too! That's an honor. :) As far as I know, all of my flisters are tolerant people, but I hope that someone, somewhere might read what I write and have even a tiny change of heart. A little more empathy, if nothing else. :)
  • Wow. Lots of {{{huggies}}}. It's really hard when someone leaves their family to go far away. I hope she can come to visit often and you can go there too. It's a big new step for her. Thank Eru for the internet, so you can at least stay in touch that way.
    • It is a big step for her...and scary too! I think she's a very brave person, but then, I've no doubt that I'd do the same--if I had to--for Bobby. :)

      I hope to visit often! Bobby and I are already planning our tour of Europe. ;)
  • You are a good person, dear Dawn. I'm sorry you're losing your sister to a faraway land, but happy that she is going to be with her love.

    There are a lot of nasty people in this world. Thank goodness there are a lot of nice ones too.

    I'm glad to know you!

    • This really made me smile. Thank you. :) *hugs back*

      We nice folk will prevail...or I like to hope. 8^) <--the eternally pie-eyed optimist! It's only a matter of time.

      In the meantime, she is with her love (probably right now, as I type this!), and I am happy for that.
  • I wish I were there to give you a great big hug. I can't say that I know what you are going through, but I do share your anger at the injustice of it all. Especially when it comes to the "pro-family" idiots who don't realize/don't care that such blatant discrimination leads to the breaking-up of families.

    I do admire Sharon for not giving up and having the strength to leave her home so she can be with the one she loves. A less determined person might not have had the strength to move away and start a whole new life, but that person would have chosen to 'lay low', so to speak, and accept being in a relationship that can't be reconnized legally, et all. Sharon and Kirsty are two brave persons, worthy of admiration and the way they fight to have the life they deserve should be an example to us all. I hope that England will be good to them and that they will find all the happiness they deserve.

    Like Juno said, you'll have a serious reason to visit Europe now, and I'm sure you'll love England. The English country-side is like paradise, in terms of inspiration, for a writer like yourself. And then there's Scotland, Ireland and Whales, even before you cross the Channel to the mainland. You'll love it.

    {{{Lots of hugs}}}
    • *lots of hugs back* Thank you, Alina! :)

      Especially when it comes to the "pro-family" idiots who don't realize/don't care that such blatant discrimination leads to the breaking-up of families.

      I want to know who defined a family as a husband, a wife, and 2.3 kids.

      But then, I've always had a very liberal definition of family. I have friends who have the status of family to me. Family, to me, is less about genes and more about love. So if two women love each other and then adopt a child and give their love to that child, who is to say that they are less of a family than a man who married a good church-goin' woman whom he never loved and procreates out of duty to God, not love for his child?

      I also admire Sharon and Kirsty. I must admit that I am frightened whenever I read of another "gay beating" or someone murdered for his/her sexual orientation. And when I read the words of certain extremist Christians--equating a homosexual person with a child molester, for example--it is only a hop to outright hate, which portends violence.

      Funny, but I've never read in the Bible that God expects His followers to make His judgments and levy punishments for Him....
  • At least your sister can marry her sweetie in a few countries now, and live there openly as a couple. Just a year or two ago, that would have been impossible. And until about 40 years ago, her relationship would have been not merely unsanctioned by society at large, but actually illegal.

    Same-sex marriage WILL come to the US very soon. Demographics, if nothing else, insures that. But the interval between now and the time until it's made legal is going to be increasingly unpleasant, I'm afraid.
    • And I am so grateful that Kirsty is British so that they can get married! :)

      I also have hopes for our country. The demographics, as you say, are quite astounding; there is a lot of change of opinions going on over a very short time. So I have hope!
  • *Gigantic transatlantic huggles*

    That was beautifully written and made me want to cry. :(

    We've always wanted to live in America together, and I think we might still do that someday. But if it takes, say, 20 years for us to be able to do so, and we've got our roots firmly planted in British soil, well, I just don't know... :-/

    But if being apart has taught us anything, it's to enjoy the time you do have together. So when you, Bobby, mom, and dad come over, we're going to spoil you rotten and spend every minute we can being geographically-close family again, and that includes fish and chips from a real chippie, wrapped in newspaper and drenched in vinegar; tours of really old British sites like castles and haunted places like dungeons and gaols; proper footy matches; and anything else your lil hearts desire.

    And maybe someday...

    *More huggles*
    • You should always stay where you are most happy and not worry about us. :)

      If you and Kirsty had chosen England (or if you one day choose to remain in England despite an opportunity to return to the US), that would be different than having it chosen for you.

      I want you to be happy, wherever you are! :) And I don't like the notion of narrow-minded bigots *ahem* certain people saying that you are not good enough for this country as you are.

      Bobby and I are already talking about England next summer, just so you know. ;) As soon as we get back from Puerto Rico, we're getting our passports!

      *ginormous transatlantic huggles back*
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