Wednesday, February 28, 2007
Stupid ^&$#&*(*!@(%$
Arrgh! Brain splitting open! Too much to blog about!!!! I know this is supposed to be Word Wednesday and I had all of these potential blog topic candidates and then, smack, right in the face with three stories too stupid to pass up! Guess you’ll just have to wait for another day to hear what I had for breakfast…


I posted yesterday about the transfolk in a totally, I-don’t-have-any-hideously-bad-news-about-anyone-being-murdered-or-assaulted kind of way and then, BAM! Uccellina emails me with this craptastic piece of son of a bitch damn stupid………….!

Apparently Jimmy Kimmel had Rebecca Romijn on his late show recently. She is currently playing a transexual woman on Ugly Betty. I tried and tried to post the You Tube interview but I can't get it and I'm sounding like an old lady with completely being unable to figure this out. "You kids today and your YouTube!" Anyway, I have other things I need to be doing. Go to it yourself here. Here is what I am sending to him and his people.


Former U.N. Special Envoy for AIDS in Africa, Stephen Lewis (My Hero! I’d have his babies if were I not queer and infertile and I wanted children), told a news conference that he would take the 13 member International Narcotics Control Board “behind the international woodshed and give them an intellectual and rhetorical flogging, the like of which they would never forget," for discrediting methadone maintenance and needle exchange programs. The full article as reported by Reuters is great.

I love this guy because frankly I think he might be the only public servant in North America who speaks his mind – and of course, he’s Canadian! I wrote about Mr. Lewis (love you!) in an article last year when he said that America was guilty of incipient neocolonialism for its micromanagment of HIV in Africa. Which brings me around to….


A couple of months ago I wrote about our President and his very (NOT) sensible regulations about who he gives HIV prevention dollars to. This was a good post (in my humble opinion - I highly recommend reading it). Essentially he was making anyone that got the money swear on their mothers right pinkie finger that they were against sex trafficking and prostitution. The ACLU and judges were standing up for DKT but nooooo. Yesterday it was announced that the President could give money to anyone he wants to based "on such terms and conditions as the president may determine." and no one's free speech rights would be violated if the money was linked to a pledge. He's the determiner. He determines.

Brain hurts. Owie.

Seriously though, my WORD post is brilliant…I guess it’ll just have to wait until next week…

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Tuesday, February 27, 2007

The other day I was being all vain and looking for sites that linked to “That is so Queer”. One of the "internets tubes" took me to a Portuguese trans blog. The author of this blog copied one of my entire posts and reposted it, with credit, on her site. I am honored. Our trans sisters and brothers are, as a huge understatement, viciously maligned.

Trans-peeps are what they are. As I am what I am. What I am is not altogether certain, but the fact of the matter is that they are FAR FAR more certain about their identities than I am.

They are so certain they risk their lives and livelihoods to be what they are.

Kids grow up with all kinds of messages about where they fit in. A lot of that has to do with gender. The standard toys, job opportunities, role as mother/wife. I was confused enough as a kid. I cannot imagine the kind of drama that would have ensued had I been in a little girl’s body and knew, deep down in my heart, that I was a little boy. How incredibly frightening to tell one’s parents, one’s friends, one’s colleagues that when you see me next, I will be different in a way that is so notably obvious.

How great the fear of being alone in this world that transgendered women and men deny what they know, live closeted, secretive, false lives and attempt suicide in numbers from over 30% (Health Soc Work. 2005 Feb;30(1):19-26; J Homosex. 2006;51(3):53-69.) to over 50% estimated by some social service organizations.

Transgendered people are discriminated against in jobs, housing, healthcare, and in every other way you can think of. Imagine going into a bank and changing your name from Herman to Lily or from Annette to Frank. Will you be surprised if the bank representative can’t help you because you don’t have enough forms of proof, despite being told on the phone that you do? Will you be surprised when you hear snickering on the way out?

Transphobia is all too common in the queer communities as well.

I was shocked (shocked I tell you!) when at the precious (not to mention precocious) age of 20, first hearing about the Michigan Women’s Music festival (yes, I know they spell it with a “y” but I don’t, and won’t), that only “women-born-women” were allowed. Before I even knew what kind of queer I was, I knew I wasn’t going to be attending that event.

It’s not a phase, ladies! Heard that anywhere else? It’s not like she’s going to suddenly, in her sleep, in the tent next to yours, morph into a man with nothing but patriarchy and rape on his mind! Like anyone would go camp in the woods of Michigan in a tent, eat organic vegetarian meals for 5 days and listen to the musical stylings of Lez Zeppelin and Melissa Ferrick to be a man? No, she wants to be there because she wants to be there. Period. With or without one.

I am thrilled to report that as of last year’s festival (2006), they are now accepting trans-dollars and trans-chicks are welcomed! I’m still not going, but, “Way to go and it’s about damn time!”

Gay men seem to have a bit of the same issue. Sadly, the LeatherSIR/Leatherboy competition only accepts “born males” into their contest. I wonder what the problem is here? Is it that someone’s penis is too small or is it the fear that a transguy will act “girly”? Or is it something else I cannot comprehend?

I could not find one leather organization that excludes the participation of transmen. So why include this in the rules?

I’m certainly not saying that all or even most gay men or lesbians are transphobic, I’m just sayin’, check yourself. Are we doing to them what has been done to us? Is our acceptance so fragile (or even so sure) that “we” are afraid that “they” will “ruin” the little speck that “we” “have”? ((I do love me some quotation marks!)) Is there something about the fluidity of gender that makes people dismiss others? Or is it sheer stubborn ignorance, as NBA player Tim Hardaway illustrates in an interview at with a childhood friend who happens to be a reporter (explaining why he said he “hates gays”):

“I still don't accept their lifestyle. No. I don't want to … try to find some type of understanding of why they live the way they live or why they are the way they are. But as a person, my beliefs are my beliefs. I don't have to condone it and I don't have to be around it. You can curse me out in the streets and in the papers. As long as they don't put their hands on me.”

Here are a few more references, just in case you were curious.

US Department of Health and Human Services. Report of the Secretary’s Task Force on Youth Suicide, Volume 3: Prevention and Interventions in Youth Suicide. Rockville, MD: US Department of Health and Human Services; 1989

Garofalo R, Wolf CR, Kessel S, Palfrey J, DuRant RH. The association between health risk behaviors and sexual orientation among a schoolbased sample of adolescents. Pediatrics. 1998;101:895–902

Garofalo R, Wolf CR, Lawrence S, Wissow LS, Woods ER, Goodman E. Sexual orientation and risk of suicide attempts among a representative sample of youth. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1999;153:487–493

Saewyc EM, Heinz PA, Bearinger LH, Blum RW, Resnick MD. Gender differences in health and risky behaviors among bisexual and homosexual adolescents. J Adolesc Health. 1998;23:181–188

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Monday, February 26, 2007
Happy birthday Elizabeth Taylor

Dear Ms. Taylor,

Happy 75th birthday! Thank you for all of your work in raising awareness of HIV disease and raising funds for care and research.

Dame Elizabeth Taylor was the first celebrity to make noise about the HIV epidemic months before Rock Hudson died 21 years ago. For this alone, she should be commended, however, she continued to press on. She did not get bored or complacent like SO MANY other celebrities. Celebrities that are either doing it to enhance their image or doing it because they care so much for "the people with the AIDS" but then they hear that PETA is having a protest and, well, they get distracted...

Dame Taylor continues, to this day to be a steadfast advocate in the fight against HIV disease and raising funds for research and care for people living with HIV.

Elizabeth Taylor has been working with amFAR and the Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation for 21 years because she is angry. She is angry at the ignorance of policymakers and she has no trouble saying so. She is annoyed at the lack of sex education in schools, she is livid that injection drug users do not have access to clean needles. She is steadfast in her support and I salute her.

Thank you Elizabeth and Happy 75th!!!


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Saturday, February 24, 2007
Tchotchkefication follow up

I feel the need to clarify. I grew up in a house with a lot of stuff that was not-to-touch. I think it was the early childhood trauma speaking.

Mom had collections. They were not grouped.

There were
  • teacups
  • Madame Alexander dolls
  • depression glass
  • rolling pins
  • Pillsbury dough boys
  • Orientalia
  • Pigs (don't even ask)
  • Miniature houses
  • Bells
  • Perfume bottles

and about here is where I start to dissociate. Obviously my lack of tchotchke is a rebellion (psychologically sophisticated much?)

So don't blame me...blame my mother.

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Friday, February 23, 2007
And now I know why wicked witches eat babies

Because they're so gdamn cute and juicy!!!!


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Thursday, February 22, 2007
She wants to be Gene Simmons for Hallowe'en


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Wednesday, February 21, 2007
And now we know where he stands.
As reported by the Associated Press, John McCain told about 800 people at a rally in South Carolina,

"I do not support Roe versus Wade. It should be overturned."

And now we know.


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Word Wednesday

I have a lot of words lately and in an ongoing nod to Mr. Colbert, Wednesday is going to be the day.

Today’s word is Tchotchkefication.

That’s right, you heard me, I said tchotchkefication (btw – that is the correct spelling!)

Defined, tchotchkefication is the making of any space so cluttered with little items of no use (tchotchkes) that you cannot turn around without fear of breaking something, nor can you find a space to rest a glass on any surface.

Personally, I do not understand tchotchkefication. In my home, I have a jade turtle. It serves no use whatsoever. It haunts me. Things must have uses.

I want to know about the use of a plush heart with feet that says dirty things about getting into bed (which I will have for sale at CAPs yard sale on March 3rd). I mean seriously people. Get a plant if you want to give a nice gift! They make oxygen! This heart was given without irony even...

Don’t get me wrong, I am not a neat freak. I leave useful things everywhere. Scissors, inspiring clippings, nail polish remover, a newspaper that I’m not done reading yet (hint)…. It’s the tchotchkes that I don’t understand. Please, won’t someone explain the tchotckes!!!!


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Monday, February 19, 2007
We hate her...
Women in America, (and maybe in some other places, but I live in America so I can only speak from that perspective) have a saying to express how they feel about their bodies.

The saying is “We hate her…”

It is shorthand for “I’m not beautiful like her and therefore, I am against her.” The facts are exactly the opposite. We don’t hate her, we idolize her, adore her, and worship her.

You don’t hate her for being thin, you hate you for not being what you think she is. You are angry with yourself because you can’t wear the cute clothes that she is wearing – that you can’t actualize yourself because the you that you see in your mind’s eye is not the you that stares back at you, angrily, from the bathroom mirror, when you’re brave enough to look into it.

The cutest shoes cut into your feet and the straps cut your skin into bloody ribbons, the vintage clothes that you want to wear don’t fit because women in the 40’s had a different shape and it’s not yours.

I grew up in a community where women talked behind each other’s backs. Who had gained weight, who had lost weight, who looked old, tired, fat, too thin…and if she was thin, how was she doing it? Was she starving, surgery, Atkins, Weight Watchers, diet pills? If she had gained a few pounds, was she getting a divorce, did her husband get laid off, were her children on drugs?

Anyone who seemed perfect though, I heard over and over again…"we hate her." And the white Mercedes-Benz she rode in on.

What they never seemed to think about when they said, “We hate her.” is her.

She is a human being. She may have grown up in our culture. Maybe she was raised by wonderful parents who taught her that she was beautiful no matter what and that caused her to become exactly who she was meant to be. In that case, do we hate her or do we wish we had been raised by her parents. Maybe we’re a little jealous of her because we could have been beautiful if we had only been told that we were beautiful unconditionally and they meant it.

Perhaps she was raised by a mother who constantly looked in her bathroom mirror, with daughter looking on, pinching her thighs and bemoaning the reason her husband left. She might have been treated as a substitute wife by her father who brought her rings and rubies and made his daughter into his perfect wifey. She may be throwing up her 400 calorie lunch because her mother let her know that she would never, ever get a man if she was fat. She may run 10 miles a day to silence the voices in her head that remind her that she was treated like a punching bag instead of a child.

Based on this, do we hate her, or do we want to take her in our arms and let her know that she’s beautiful no matter what?


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Saturday, February 17, 2007
Weekend postetry
To the chicks in the combat boots
In dirty jeans and headscarves

Who stood in front of churches
With condoms and signs

Proclaiming Silencio=Muerto
and laughing

To the chicks in combat boots
Who came to each memorial

And cried a little in the back
while getting a glass of water

For his brother
Who flew out from Odessa, TX

To the chicks in combat boots
who lay down at the die in

In front of the White House
On Pennsylvania Avenue

As another chick in combat boots
Drew a chalk outline around your limp body

I see you out there
You're not wearing the t-shirt anymore

But you're still angry.


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Friday, February 16, 2007
The short version
So, Crazy Aunt Purl was nominated for a 2007 bloggie award a couple of weeks ago. Upon seeing this I called her and said,

"Did you know you've been nominated for a bloggie?"

To which she did not answer with the enthusiasm expected for such an event. Mostly because she lives under a rock filled with sweet tea, wine and cats. So I explained to her that it was, in fact, a big deal and she had been nominated with some very cool blogs. One of which, I found through the Bloggies and am now in love with called Confessions of a Pioneer Woman. Ree, the author, is smart, funny and takes some g-damn gorgeous photos of her livestock, her children and her Marlboro Man. Anyway, long story short, her post today about Google searches that brought people to her blog inspired me to do my own, since I am constantly a little awed at what brings people to mine.

Here's a sampling:

Syphilis mascot and healthy penis tend to be big ones for me. Fake Penis and Butt Sex are pretty common (although I'm pretty sure I promised that in my very first post ever).
I think I'm honored. If not, I'm just a little weird.

Ickle me pickle me tickle me too and hungry hippo.

Recently Beautilities has been popping up a lot. I have no idea what this is about. If anyone knows, please clue me in.

These people have no idea what they're getting into. If they are looking for Hebrew children's songs Hakova sheli, Jewish recipes, places to buy Haredi clothing and the meaning or origins of Simchat bat they are getting into a whole lot of blogosphere they weren't expecting.

The big one though? Any combination of vagina with juice and limes is probably the one that brings in the most Googlers.

Well, this has been like a That Is So Queer clipshow! Have a great weekend!


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Thursday, February 15, 2007
The Word II
I've already done one issue of The Word, but frankly, I think the format is pretty wonderful and in honor of Stephen Colbert receiving his very own Ben & Jerry's flavor, here is my second edition.

Today's word is ACTING OUT

Ted Haggard has announce to the world that "He is completely heterosexual," Rev. Tim Ralph said. "That is something he discovered. It was the acting-out situations where things took place. It wasn't a constant thing."

Rather "things took place" fairly consistently over a period of three years.

And it was only one man and he bought meth but he didn't use it and three weeks later, he is cured. I have to say, the lady doth seem to protest...a little much.

In related news, researchers at Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU) and Oregon State University (OSU) have been doing a little research trying to make gay sheep.

This is not actually the primary aim of the research but boiled down, this is what they are trying to do. Unfortunately, PETA has picked up their well-worn signs on this one and are trying to get the gay community involved. They are misconstruing the research claiming that the researchers are trying to find out why the sheep are gay so they can "cure" them. This is not actually the point of the research, which is actually all about breeding, but Martina Navratilova has jumped on the band wagon. This is kind of a shame. PETA twists research constantly, tells half lies, full lies and complete fabrications about animal research to get their point across.

Science is scary. There are vast canyons of regulations that researchers have to go through to get approved just to start the research. It is not just a free-for-all of mice in cages waiting to be given some tumor-causing agent.

I've always said, if you don't want research done on animals, volunteer yourself.

Then today, in a twist of Alanis-like "irony" the Barbi Twins and former wrestler Joanie Laurer showed up at UCLA to protest the use of monkeys in neuropsychiatric experiments. Saying that they should be "experimenting on blondes instead of monkeys" because the blondes wouldn't know the difference, these blondes were surprisingly wary of donating their bodies to the efforts.

Then again, knowing the regulatory authorities as I do, it's unlikely that the Twins would be acceptable research participants considering their propensity for plastic surgery and, I'm no psychiatrist, but a diagnosis of body dysmorphic disorder is not outside the realm of possibility.

It's always fun to have the anti-vivs at UCLA. The lockdowns, the annoying newsvans taking up prime parking space and all for three women whose Q scores are incredibly low. Calling yourself an animal rights activist and heading to the closest university does not a celebrity make. If you had any idea that your implants and the drugs that helped you recover from the surgery were tested on animals first so that you wouldn't die, perhaps you wouldn't be acting out in this way.

And that's the word.
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Tuesday, February 13, 2007
The gang's all here!

Last month I went to the Coronation of the Oedipus Rex LXXVI. Oedipus is Michael's motorcycle gang. There were about 100 men (and me) celebrating the coronation. This particular photo is of the new Rex and one of the Satyrs, the "rival gang" paying homage.

Oedipus Motorcycle Club (OMC) has been in existence for 49 years. They have scrapbooks with photos from as far back as 1958. The history of the gay motorcycle community is incredibly rich. I spent nearly the entire night combing the scrapbooks. If a movie hadn't already been made about the oldest gay motorcycle club, the Satyrs, called Original Pride, I'd want to do one. I'm thinking about some other ideas though.

The photos of gay men in 1958 with their bikes - how incredible, and incredibly different it must have been.

I have the DVD of Original Pride at home if anyone ever wants to see it.

There are actually a bunch of gay motorcycle gangs (they officially call them clubs but I like gangs better). Just in Los Angeles alone there is Satyrs, Oedipus, Warriors, LOBOC and probably one or two others I can't remember.

Anyway, this weekend, Oedipus made me an Associate Member! I'm officially a (associate) member of a gay biker gang. I am sincerely incredibly honored to be a part of the history. The next board meeting (yes, they have board meetings) is going to be at our house.

Now I'm really going to have to learn to ride.

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Monday, February 12, 2007
Bring out the Best
He that would live in peace and at ease, must not speak all he knows nor judge all he sees. - Benjamin Franklin

Jeff once sent me a postcard that said, "Thank you for never judging me. - Jeff"

I knew Jeff, though he sometimes hurt Michael, which I hated more than when he hurt me, came from a place where trusting people was exceptionally difficult. I never wanted him to feel like he was less than me. He wasn't ever less than me.

For a number of years in the 90's, I was the director of the Southern California HIV/AIDS Hotline.

Every day, 365 days a year people would call. They called about all sorts of things.
  • he had unprotected sex
  • her son had HIV and was in the hospital
  • she wanted to know if she should get tested
  • his partner had a fever
  • and on and on...
These people called us, me and my 75 volunteers who had each been through a grueling 54+ hours of training.

These people needed something from us. They were brave enough to call and hope to get what they needed.

They did not need to be judged. Any one of us could have said,
"Why did you do that? Didn't you know better?" or

"Go visit your son! What are you thinking?" or

"How many times are you going to call??? Just get tested already!"

But that was not what they called for. They called to be heard. They called to be comforted. They called to get facts. Some of them never called, so certain that they would be judged, no matter what.

I learned in my years on the hotline that everyone has a story. Everyone has a reason for doing the things they do.

I know that some people's parents told them they would never amount to anything and no matter how much success they have, they are still walking around proving them wrong with every arrogant comment.

I know that some of them were beaten so badly that the idea of love, with or without a condom was so precious that in the moment, and every moment it happened, it felt so much like light that it didn't matter.

I know that some of the mothers who called me were so afraid of a god that her parents and preachers ingrained on her soul that the struggle between the fear of her god and the needs of her son was killing her.

This is how I live my life. I do not want others judging me for my choices.

I have made them -- not to have children, to marry a man, to open my life up to the millions of unwashed masses (no offense) to read. I have made these choices based on my experiences in my life.

There are things you don't know about me. Hell, there are things I don't know about me, that make me cleave to Michael, that make me interrupt my friends in the middle of a sentence, that make me the center of attention sometimes. 99.99% of the time, the people I surround myself with are gracious and understanding. And when they're not, they are kind enough to be nice about it.

This is how I treat others. I need to believe that everyone is doing the best they can with what they have.

Not the best I could do if I were them, but the best they can do.

I believe that a drug addict is doing the best they can with what they have. I am getting to a place where I believe that I am doing the best I can with what I have. I'm no saint, but I believe that each of us is doing our best. I hope this comes across.


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Sunday, February 11, 2007
The ghost on my living room wall

Michael's lover of 10 years, dead for the last 7 1/2 years is hanging on the wall in my brand new living room, naked and half-tattooed. We all had portraits done the year before he died while we were on vacation in Hawaii.

If Jeff was an artist, and in many ways he was, this painting would have been done during one of his beautiful periods. He looked like a young Greek hero. Smooth and strong and defined - carved of marble. There were some not so beautiful periods as well, like the time he chose to look (and grow a beard) like a lumberjack with no access to personal hygiene accouterments.

People sometimes ask me about Jeff and I'm not sure if I romanticize him or not. I share that he was sweet and caring. He bought me beautiful, thoughtful gifts for my birthday and would say wonderful, kind things to me in his own way. Once we were out at some club in the Tenderloin. I was being bawdy and said something about a sex act. He said to me, "You can't do that. You're the mommy." It was unbelievably touching, in a way that was uniquely Jeff's.

This was a man who had been featured on the side of a milk carton, had started doing porn before he was legal. Was diagnosed with AIDS before he could legally drink. Or vote. I know he saw terrible things that I will never see, but I know he also saw beautiful things that I took no notice of.

Jeff was a handful. He could be mean and was skilled at noting the spot that you were most vulnerable. He was a drug addict, although clean and sober in his last 3 years, the years before were very difficult. Even in the clean and sober years, he could be a total fucking pain-in-the-ass.

The fact that he had been skillfully climbing out of a hole dug by crystal meth when he was diagnosed with cancer was unbelievably painful. He had been going to school, he was on committees for youth living with HIV.

The problem with someone dying is that they are always going to be just that. It never changes, the being dead part. Those of us left are changing every day, but there's no way to make the dead do anything differently. They never come back, they never comment on your post, they don't take back anything they said, they aren't proud of you for everything you've done since they've been gone.

I can hear him though. And Michael hears him constantly.

"Why aren't you talking about me?"

He is a presence in our house, and in our marriage. He is part of us. Not just part of me and part of Michael, but part of the "us", the "we" that married people talk about. I married a man with a dead partner. It is a commitment in and of itself.

Jeff hangs, his tattoo forever unfinished, on my living room wall. He is held in time, in Hawaii, nude but for a pendant on a piece of leather. There is no anger in his face, no worry, no questions. He is pristine.

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Thursday, February 08, 2007
The Whole Megillah
Hey all. I'm so sick that I'm having trouble playing solitaire properly so I decided to do some writing. If I fade off into hallucinatory material, just send orange juice.

This is the story of how I met and married Michael.

I was 21 years old and I needed a job. Really badly. So badly that of all the applications I sent, one was to dispatch for a phone sex number. Another job I applied for was at AIDS Project Los Angeles. I was pretty certain that I was more likely to get the phone sex job.

Anyway, I got a call to come in for an interview and in my brand new olive green double breasted suit from the Bullock's Men's department, I impressed the head of HR enough that he hired me. I started working in human resources. The big benefit of which was that I had the inside scoop on who put their mother down as a life insurance beneficiary and who put their lover. This was very valuable information.

Human resources shared our office with volunteer resources. Of about 150 employees, Volunteer Resources were the cool kids. Kristin, Joe, Larry, Shane, Shawn and Jamie. Everyone wanted to be around them. They smoked in their offices. They dressed up in drag on a random Tuesday morning for the hell of it. When Kristin got engaged they made her a full length wedding dress out of Velon (also known as "convention taffeta") and we ran around the building singing the wedding march and throwing rice. Joe, when he wasn't getting exactly what he wanted, would fall to the floor dramatically (having cut his claws at Studio 54) and croak, "Get me my AZT! Please, someone get my my AZT!"

I was a little intimidated.

Ultimately, everyone passed through Volunteer Resources, if just to see what was going on. About a week after I started, Michael came through Volunteer Resources to show off the little kitten perched in his shirt pocket. The kitten was found in the underground garage and would be named Billie. Billie would go home with Michael and the other cat, one Hillary Rodham Landsman. This was prior to the 1992 election. This is the first time I met Michael.

Over the many years we worked at APLA, I stuck to Michael like a parasite. He was catty and did drag and was friends with porn stars which, at my tender age, I thought was terribly urbane. Everyone had HIV, or so it seemed, and I thought I would spend a few years doling out chicken soup from the ample trunk of my Pontiac Parisienne until all of my friends had died. That is pretty much what we all thought in the early 90's.

As the years dragged on, Michael and I were spending weekends together and lunch breaks on the patio. Co-workers would satirically ask when we were going to get married.

In 1999, Michael and I decided to move in together. We wanted to get out of debt, Michael wasn't dying nearly as quickly as the doctors had predicted and he needed to find something new to do with his life as this "whole AIDS thing" was getting old. The same year, on July 1st, Michael's lover of 10 years, an intractable and beautiful man named Jeff, died of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma related to HIV. He was 28 years old.

After Jeff died, I made sure Michael had food and a safe place to come home to (or at least I tried) and Michael worked his ass off at two jobs paying off his debt and to have something other than his grief.

Soon after, Michael decided to start a business of his own and I threw my support behind him. I'm pretty sure I brought up the marriage thing. I told him that he would be able to use my health insurance at UCLA if we got married.

Over the next few months we joked about it, talked about it and debated the pros and cons. Since Jeff had died, we were, in fact, each other's family and there was no better way to make that official than to tie the knot. Somewhere around December, Michael poked his head out from behind the kitchen wall and said "So, will you marry me?" and I said "Yes".

On February 6, 2000, Michael and I were married in Las Vegas by the County Commissioner. Michael and I stood looking at each other in a small office with a large wooden desk. We didn't go in for the Elvis impersonator. We have no photos or video. The whole thing cost $70. I wore jeans and a t-shirt. He did too. It was more somber than it was joyous. It was about 25 minutes of one day. It was perfect.

At dinner that night, Michael asked me whether I would change my name. I changed it almost immediately.

Over the last 7 years, Michael and I have had many of the traditional ups and downs. We also have some not-so-traditional ones. I get mad, he gets frustrated. I blow straw wrappers at him. He pretends that he's too old for that. We don't get makeup sex but as for friends with benefits, I'm not sure how it could be better.
Now I'm going to lay down. I get dizzy when I blow my nose.


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Tuesday, February 06, 2007
California girl goes to Canada - News at 11
I don't know what I was expecting except that Michael made it seem like Banff would be positively inhospitable to human life. It wasn't at all! Granted, it was below freezing the entire time but I was surprised that, given a coat, scarf, gloves, hat and long underwear, I was really comfortable and I didn't slip on the ice once.

You see, as a 3rd generation native of Los Angeles, we do not get snow, contrary to the belief of the waitress at Nellie's in Calgary ("Well, it's gotta snow sometime!" - Um. No.) So having been to the snow only a handful of times in my life, 90% of which was after snow fell and there was a handful of iced over dirty crud on the side of the road which my sister and I would squeal over and have what we thought was a "snowball fight", I was not entirely sure of what to expect.

It was freakin' gorgeous! Banff was not to be believed. We were there at the invitation of Mick who met Michael in Palm Springs about 2 years ago and they have been enjoying each other's company ever since. Mick is also a rider so he and Michael have quite a bit in common.

So, immediately from the airport, within about 45 minutes of touching down, I dragged Mick and Michael to one of Calgary's local yarn stores, Make One and it was great! Suzen and Karen were working and since I had written up in advance of my arrival, Mick was absolutely floored to have them know who I was and introduce themselves like they had known me for years. Here is a photo of their very cute shop which I am anxious to spend more time at the next time I'm in Calgary.

Next day we headed out to Banff. Where Mick immediately took us to stand on a frozen river. Now, I've eaten fire, I've done a few nutty things in my life. Never have I stood on a frozen river. First, I keep hearing things like the ice cracks and you fall in and there's no way to get back out. Also, I cannot tell how thick the ice is so there's no way for me to gauge if this is some completely crazy guy just getting us to risk our lives for his giggles. I went out onto the frozen river. I took this picture. I got off of the frozen river.

The wedding was Saturday and was absolutely spectacular. Here are the grooms. Jim is on the left. He is a farm boy from Saskatchewan. Mick is on the right. The grand ballroom where the wedding took place was absolutely stunning. The justice of the peace who performed the ceremony hit all the right notes about marriage being a partnership with all that entails. I was incredibly honored to be at this ceremony.

To see two men get married legally was really wonderful and gave me so much hope that someday every couple will be able to do what Mick and Jim did. Michael and I did spend a good deal of the night apologizing, as the only Americans at the wedding, for our president and the people who voted for him. It's pretty pathetic that just to the north of us is a country that is so much more progressive than we are. I find it really shameful. I think the most common comment was that people just didn't understand why we "elected" him. It is a difficult question to answer.

Anyway, on a lighter note, here is my incredibly lame first snow angel. My snow angel is beautiful and disabled a little. Oops.

And Michael and me at the top of the gondola freezing our American tits off. Notice my hoodie, which I made on the way up. It was actually pretty perfect and went with everything I wore. Check it out. Anyway, we had a fabulous time. I've got a lot more photos where these came from. Just thought I'd update since I've been home for a whole 12 hours now. Love, y'all. Love L.A.


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