August 27, 2009

We Are Just Like Them - REALLY?

I ran across this on a new website here in my neck of the woods... I am happy to call Don a friend and appreciate his articulation:

By Don Davis

The gold equal sign on a bright blue background is an amazingly wonderful branding for the Human Rights Campaign (our largest membership national l/g/b/t/a organization). When I drive through neighborhoods and see that equal sign on the bumpers of parked cars or flying as flags from individual houses, I know I’m in place where people like me reside and thrive. When I see the equal sign (or a rainbow symbol) while I’m motoring down the highway, I always make it a point to wave wildly and smile knowingly. It’s important that we reinforce each other in our visibility.

The genius of the HRC symbol is its simplicity.

I wonder, though, how simple the message really is.

I read an article here on OUR OWN which declared, “We aren’t any different from our straight counterparts.” Is that what the equal sign means…that we’re just like them…that we are “equal” in that there are no differences between us and them?

I imagine it means exactly that for some. However, when I consider the word equal in the context of our struggle, I see “equal” as being a goal. That is, my family should be equal in our ability to marry, to serve in the military, to participate successfully in the workplace, and to not live in fear of hate bias crimes. I want to be equal in the eyes of the law. I am NOT equal currently.

I take strong exception to the notion that I, and most of my l/g/b/t family, is no “different from our straight counterparts.” Most of us were raised by heterosexual parents. We spent years hiding ourselves sexually for fear of losing our families and friends. Many of us were bullied at school because we were too butch as girls or too femme as guys. Lots of us have settled for small simple careers because with higher organization visibility comes more scrutiny and gays in charge in the workplace is still the exception. Many of us in relationships struggle almost endlessly to survive together and move forward because of the emotional damage we experienced early in our lives and we bring that baggage along with us to our new relationships. We struggle daily due to the general lack of support we find from our predominately straight biological, religious, and workforce families. For these reasons and hundreds more, we are QUITE DIFFERENT from our straight counterparts. We experience life differently. We see the world through bright pink shades of hetero-normative oppression which negatively affects us every day, in most every way.

I demand that laws be changed to make us queers equal. I am not, however, just like any straight person. We are not equal to them! The hurdles placed in front of us have been mean-spirited, ignorant, debasing, and shameful. Some in my queer family haven’t survived. For those of us who have, we are damaged, hurt, and often angry. We’ve had to work hard to overcome the strident homophobia which smacks us on the head multiple times every day.

While it’s true we all put on our blue jeans one leg at a time, that’s as close as we are to being the same as heterosexuals and the heterosexual majority.

Thanks Don, for your words... Over and most definately "Out" from my "gay"borhood in Portsmouth, VA

August 18, 2009

Dribs and Drabs from Portsmouth

We've been busy. Lots of things going on for both Michael and me. As a result, a few things (like the blog), have been suffering.

After getting home from vacation, Michael started training for his new position (promotion) and I have been working on the Fall Floorset at work. It's been hell at times. Like trying to fit 20 pounds of shit, in a five pound bag. We, at times, had merchandise everywhere that it's not supposed to be. Finally we get things settled into their new places and what happens? The company makes a huge leather purchase from a manufacturer that's gone out of business. We had a full trailer of leather sofas, chairs, recliners, etc... shipped to us from our distribution center in PA. We have it everywhere now, in the aisles, along the windows, even outside the front doors... and there's still tons in the backroom to come out as we sell off what's on the floor. Ahhhh, this too will end soon... Retail in a struggling economy can be entertaining..

Otherwise life on the homefront is good. We are hosting a Pampered Chef party this weekend and are looking forward to that. We are also trying to get time off in October for the LGBT March on Washington DC. There are buses running from down here for the day, but we think we'd rather make a weekend of it and visit with my niece while we are there. We'll see how the scheduling thing works out...

Not much else happening here in the Commonwealth...

Over and "Out" from Portsmouth!

August 5, 2009

Pictures, Pictures, Pictures...

Ok, here are some pictures from our recent Florida trip:

This was taken the first morning behind my Mom's home in Melbourne Beach. She is about 3 blocks from the beach and has a dock right on this canal

First day at the beach: Michael and his son trying to keep their heads out of the good sized waves coming in

Before one of the big waves took me up the beach, while my suit dragged down around my ankles (Moon over Melbourne Beach?)

Me and Mom on the fishing pier at Sebastian inlet, Thanks for letting us begin and end our adventure with you!

Michael and his son Alex looking quite dapper

I love the look on Alex's face. This was taken on Duval Street in Key West, not sure who is more colorful, Alex or the bird!

Convertible top down, air conditioning going full blast (it was in the lower to mid 90's almost every day)

Michael said he "didn't need no stinkin air conditioning" as we crossed one of the bridges on the "Overseas Highway" better known as US-1

Hanging by the pool in Miami (I got the tatoo in Key West a couple days before)

My oldest two sons, their Mom, and Me at Monty's in Coconut Grove/Miami

Back at Mom's Alex had never seen Manatees before. These two were right off Mom's dock and looked as if they were kissing

Our last night, we went to this cool restaurant right on the beach. This is Mom and me on the deck of the restaurant looking for turtle tracks in the sand

We had a blast, and there are tons more pictures for us to remember the trip with. I am thinking Cape Cod in April again for the next adventure!

Over and "Out" from Portsmouth, VA

August 3, 2009

Danger... Men Working...

Whew... Getting back into the swing of things at work (post vacation) can be exhausting... The company has changed the way we normally change up the floor (showroom) for the Fall. This year we are doing it in two phases rather than all at once. For us, it makes it much easier as we are still operating with one less manager than a "normal" store. The missing manager is our Sales/Merchandise Manager, the one responsible for the Spring and Fall floor sets, in addition to a magnitude of other things that we (the remaining managers) are handling. Thank goodness for our awesome Decorator. She has stepped up and taken this bull by the horns, phase one of the floor set is complete and the store looks terrific!

During the above process, we were told that we should expect our newly appointed Regional Director to stop in for a store visit (aka: inspection) followed by a visit by the COO, CEO, and DOS (Director of Stores) two weeks later. Needless to say, we have been inspecting ourselves from different perspectives every day. Changing lighting, replacing stained ceiling tiles, painting, cleaning, tossing old parts, etc, etc, etc... For the past three weeks...

Then came the realization to the financial wizards of our company. Our fiscal year ended 8/1, it would make more sense to have all this travel expense booked into FY2010 rather than 2009. "All travel cancelled" until August. But our store looks beautiful, and we spent all the money in FY2009 to fix it up... Oh well...

In the meanwhile, my man has gotten himself a promotion. He spent last week in training for his new position and will now oversee 3-4 Department Managers in his store... He was so worried when he first transferred down here in April. Worried that he would have to re-prove his worth and abilities to a new management team, and what happens? Less than four months pass and he gets himself a promotion and a nice raise. How can I not love this man? He so undervalues himself sometimes, and is so humble about his abilities...

We have managed a couple of days off together since returning from Florida, mostly spent cleaning, gardening, and managing the things around the house we neglected before leaving. Oh, and speaking of gardening, Michael's vegetables are looking grand! Peppers, Tomatoes, Cucumbers, Green Beans, etc... We had fresh green beans last night as a side to dinner... Yummy!

That's all for now in my new life... Over and "Out" from Portsmouth, VA