Don't let your schooling interfere with your education.
~ Pete Seeger

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Joy

Entering the door to the Tango Center tonight, a wave of music, cheering, and sheer joy washed over me. Electricity crackled in the air. Couples danced across the floor, dodging the children who ducked and dived under their feet. Among the tables along one side of the dance floor, several women in wheelchairs held court. At the back, plastic cups filled with champagne fizzed in partners’ hands. Old couples, young couples, music, dancing.

Joy.

There is no other single word I can conceive to describe so well the feeling of these many same-sex families, celebrating their new ‘domestic partnerships.’

It has been six days now since Oregon same-sex families have finally been granted a decent proportion of those marriage rights and responsibilities taken for granted by those of us privileged enough to be born into the majority orientation. Most of the people who filled the room had lined up on Monday to file; others had gotten ‘partnered’ later in the week. One lesbian couple, together for 28 years, was planning on getting partnered next Wednesday; “We didn’t want to rush into anything.”

(As if they could, when the right of marriage had already been withheld so long.)

I laughed, I hugged, I toasted old friends and met new ones. Some of these couples had been married before, only to see their union torn away when the state nullified the Multnomah County marriages. But no one can take this night away.

On the way out, I took a moment to look over the “Congratulations” board. “Tom and Mark – 22 years.” “Elaine and Joy – 28 years.” “Ken and Tom – together 16 years.” Again and again, commitment writ large – and long.

Get real, people. These folks are married, they have been married, they are more married than many heterosexual couples have ever been or will ever be. It’s time to honor them with the same recognition the rest of us have enjoyed for so long.

Thank the good people of Oregon, and our legislators, domestic partnerships are a real good step on the way. Hallelujah! What a celebration!

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Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing. To keep our faces toward change and behave like free spirits in the presence of fate is strength undefeatable.
~Helen Keller

Reading List for Information about Transpeople

  • Becoming a Visible Man, by Jamison Green
  • Conundrum, by Jan Morris
  • Gender Outlaw, by Kate Bornstein
  • My Husband Betty, by Helen Boyd
  • Right Side Out, by Annah Moore
  • She's Not There, by Jennifer Boylan
  • The Riddle of Gender, by Deborah Rudacille
  • Trans Liberation, by Leslie Feinberg
  • Transgender Emergence, by Arlene Istar Lev
  • Transgender Warriors, by Leslie Feinberg
  • Transition and Beyond, by Reid Vanderburgh
  • True Selves, by Mildred Brown
  • What Becomes You, by Aaron Link Raz and Hilda Raz
  • Whipping Girl, by Julia Serano
I have come into this world to see this:
the sword drop from men's hands even at the height
of their arc of anger
because we have finally realized there is just one flesh to wound
and it is His - the Christ's, our
Beloved's.
~Hafiz