Category Archives: Partners

DOMA Privilege

Last week the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was deemed unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.  This historic move will grant same-sex couples in states where queer marriage is legal federal recognition.  Couples like me and my spouse in the liberal state of Massachusetts, for example.  We should jump for joy, right?  We can now file our taxes jointly and glean the same financial benefits straight, married couples do.  We can get on the same health insurance and not be slapped with a hefty fee (likely around $2000-3000 for our family) come tax time because of being a same-sex couple and getting fined the discriminatory “imputed income” fee.  We can have the peace of mind knowing that our family is recognized not just in our teeny-tiny, east coast state, but on a federal level too.  Partly, we did celebrate, it’s a big deal, it’s progress.  But it is only that- progress- and not a full swing to something fully just and liberatory.

And that brings me to my dear friend, fellow blogster, and non-gestational mama, Betsy.  She’s awesome, right?  Her family is awesome, right?  We love them.  They are clearly raising their little guy with care, integrity, and love.  COOL.  Besides sharing a blog, Betsy and I also share several things in common amongst our families and I’m not just talking about the obvious ones like how we both are queer or how we’re non-gestational, non-bio mothers.  We share small, but strange, coincidences that I think are a mystical sign of our connection, like the fact that we have many family dates in common (as in, dates on the calendar): anniversaries that overlap with birthdays, etc.  But even more central to this post, we share the fact that we both were married in Massachusetts to our dear sweeties, we both had our children and filed for second-parent adoption in Massachusetts, but have most of our family living in western North Carolina.  Betsy and her family moved there soon after their son was born to be closer to them- totally understandable.  My parents are lucky if they see my daughter two times a year- something that I know pains both us and them even though we cherish the time we do have together.  We have chosen not to move there for a number of reasons, but I do feel sad thinking about how my parents and my sister and her family, won’t get regular connection with my daughter and our family.  It’s a sacrifice.  Here’s the thing though:  remember what I started talking about… DOMA?  Families in North Carolina, including my dear friend Betsy’s, won’t get to benefit from DOMA being stricken down because NC never did recognize or grant same-sex marriages.  And although Betsy and her spouse are all set with “second-parent adoption” (hate that term) rights for Betsy since they filed in MA before they moved, couples who have their child/ren in NC and stay there can’t file for second-parent adoption rights so that the non-gestational parent is protected because NC is one of the few states in the nation that doesn’t allow for same-sex second parent adoption.

So while we were all parading around Facebook with gleeful posts, singing in the streets, and hugging each other after the Supreme Court’s decision, these families, sadly, were still in the exact same position they were before (or at least things are murky for them in this regard).  It’s important to recognize this because I can already see how it could be easy to stop here; to say we’re about to cross through the finish line of this race towards queer liberation, but we’re not.  And of course there’s the reality that even if marriage were granted to all same-sex couples, regardless of where they lived, that there are still so many other hurdles to be overcome for queers.  Marriage equality was never where our fight stopped.

Tonight, a week past DOMA, I am recognizing the privilege that I have as a queer person living in Massachusetts.  I have so many privileges- race, class, ability, and more- but I also have this privilege now.

– Charlotte
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The Great Reduction

And by ‘great reduction,’ I mean this is really what we have been reduced to.  My son has decided that he prefers for Horse to floss/brush his teeth and for Monster to read him stories.  Horse and Monster are hand-puppets.  The first couple of nights it was cute (although a little disturbing because he seems to think the puppets are actually talking to him).  Now, however, S has this really nasally/ high-pitched voice that she uses with horse and it is driving me…I mean, Monster, crazy.  Nails on the chalkboard crazy.  Tonight, Horse got to read to M before bed…in Hebrew…in the voice.  It felt like I had slipped into the depths of hell as the story dragged on and on, with Horse stopping to make “funny” faces along the way.  By the end, I told S she needed to skip a few pages for the sake of humanity.  When she continued, Monster leaped at her face (of her own volition, of course) in effort to get the train rolling.  It worked!  (The lights were out and Horse was reading by headlamp, so M couldn’t see that Monster had a little projectile help from yours truly.)

My mom had her hip replaced two weeks ago.  What this means for me is that she was my childcare two days a week.  Right after she had her hip done, S, M and I were to leave for a week’s vacation at the beach.  This has been a vacation I have been counting on since the new year.  Dreaming of reading a book on the beach with a cocktail in hand and my co-parent at the ready to manage our boy while I got a break.  Ahhh…While we had a lovely time, it was a bit soured by the fact that S threw her back out two nights before we were to leave, rendering herself utterly useless to me for most of the trip and actually in need of being taken care of as she really couldn’t walk.  Why am I saying all of this?  Well, I think Monster needs a break.  Monster didn’t mean to fly at Ima’s face with such vigor.  Monster just needed the insanity to stop!

While Monster is glad that Horse found the whole incident humorous, Monster is also glad that Horse gets to put M to sleep tonight so she can sit in the dark, writing to mostly strangers, drinking a gin and tonic, and eating chocolate chips.

-Betsy

People Say the Most Stupidest Things (Seriously, Y’all*)

I think this may have to be a new weekly post on the blog.  Since it keeps happening, I am assuming the pattern will continue.

While at a local restaurant (yes, I am now realizing how many sentences I have started this way), we were chatting it up with one of the owners with whom we have been friendly for over a year.  We aren’t best friends forever, but she is kind of loud and sometimes funny and I like that in a person.  Back to family brunch- There we are, enjoying our grits and fruit and eggs and said owner comes and sits down.  After a few minutes of catching up about her children’s lives, the restaurant and about us, we started talking about M and his luscious surfer curls.

Owner lady looks at S and, trying to determine the origin of such enviable locks, says, “Well, he’s half yours, isn’t he?”

The other “half” she was referring to was not me.

S looked at her kind of stunned for what felt like 2 minutes, but was really about 4 seconds, “Uh…I gave birth to him, if that is what you mean.  He’s half Betsy’s, too.”

“Yeah.  I thought so,” she replies without blinking.

The shit that comes out of people’s mouths is astonishing sometimes, like their question is so important it doesn’t matter who may or may not be offended in the asking.  To be honest, I wasn’t totally offended.  Because this woman is brash, it came as no surprise that she said what she said.  If we were closer friends, I would have said something to her and I am sure her response would have been (after a playful punch to the arm), “Oh you know what I mean, loser!”  Yes, loser.  I know what you mean.

-Betsy

*For those of you not from the U.S., y’all is a very southern term referring to ‘you all’.  We like to speak with as few letters as possible down here.

Date Night

We had a DATE!  An actual kid-free, no errand running (save a quick little trip to Home Depot), a glass of wine, a movie – a DATE.  It was the first time we have been out on a real date in a long time.  I can’t even remember the last time to be honest.  Last night was great AND we were home by 9.  That was the best part.

I got a haircut today for the first time in about a year.  I found myself talking to my new stylist telling her she should go see this musician I really like.  I went on and on about what a great live performer she is and how much I have loved to see her in concert.  When my stylist asked me if I was going, I laughed out loud and said, “No way.  It starts at 9.”  Holy shit.  That is what I actually said so that someone else was able to hear me.  Does anyone remember when you couldn’t get to the club before 1o:30 or 11 because no one would be there?  Home by 3 a.m.?  If I am awake at 3 a.m. now I am pissed off because some pint-sized alarm clock woke me up.

Does the fact that we went to a 4:30 movie make us seem like  grannies?  Maybe.  But I am ok with that.  I am ok with us being two of four people in the otherwise empty theater.  I am ok with texting home during the movie to find out if my boy ate all his dinner.  I am ok with rushing back to the house after dinner to try to be asleep by 10.  I am ok with all of that.  It was still a date.

-Betsy