Skip to content
Image

June 14, 2017: L.A. Pride

PrideMarch2017_MMRR

Mara and I marched in L.A. Pride’s Resist March on Sunday with our friends Rosh and Robert. The march took the place of the annual parade to commemorate the first L.A. Pride event in 1970, when it really was a march. Very fitting, considering the current political climate and momentum to turn back the rights of the LGBT community (among other communities that are deemed too “different” by the alt-right).

I don’t know exactly how many people marched, but we were packed along Hollywood Boulevard for several blocks before heading into West Hollywood. So I’m guessing it was in the tens of thousands. Police were there, stationed at points along the way to protect the marchers, many of whom thanked the officers as they passed.

PrideMarch2017_Pano

Mara and I bought pink and blue transgender rights flags and were acknowledged by several people watching from the sidelines who were calling out for protection of trans kids. It made me think of the victories those kids have had in their struggles just to use the public restrooms that match their gender identity. (BTW, someone at the march was wearing a T-shirt that said, “You can pee next to me.” Love it.)

This was the third march this year for us. (In fact, it was the third one we’ve ever done.) We also did the Women’s March in January and the Tax March in April. And every one of them was time well spent.

April 19, 2017:  A Friend in Need

A transgender friend of ours stayed with us for about three weeks recently. Although Wendy presents as male most of the time and says she’s not sure she wants to transition, she started taking hormones a few months ago without telling her wife of 30+ years. Her wife found out and kicked her out.

Wendy is staying with someone else now and is in counseling with her wife. They have a lot of work to do. But at least they’re talking. And I hear there’s been a bit of compromise on her wife’s part. But it’s gotta be difficult. It was hard enough for Mara and me when we realized she needed to transition, even though she had told me when we were dating that she might one day take that leap. I can’t imagine how difficult it must be for a couple who has been living in denial all these years.

We hosted a little get-together with some trans friends the night before Wendy left our place. She made some new friends and got to party with some of her own — something she rarely got to do before. We’ll follow up with her to see how she’s doing. But one thing’s for sure: It takes a lot of courage to take a stand on being oneself. You have to walk through some pretty deep-seated fears. And Wendy is walking through hers.

 

March 22, 2017:  A Whack-A-Mole Issue

One of the most troubling issues of this new administration is about transgender bathroom rights. I know, they’re all troubling. But this one keeps popping up, like a whack-a-mole these days. Essentially, Trump threw trans kids under the bus with the roll-back of the Obama administration’s directive that, under Title IX of the U.S. Constitution, they must be allowed to use the bathrooms the correspond to their gender identities in public schools. 

This roll-back doesn’t bode well for the case of Gavin Grimm, a trans teen who fought a high school policy forbidding him to use the boys’ restroom at school. Instead, he was to use “alternative private” facilities. (Hmmm…“alternative?” Sounds like a foreshadowing of the “alternative facts” idea.)

An appeals court ruled in favor of Grimm, but then the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear it, sending it back to the appeals court for reconsideration in light of the roll-back. It just pains me that the progress that’s been made on this basic right (and many others), which took so much time, effort and sacrifice to win, can be yanked away so quickly.

Add to that the hypocrisy of this administration. Trump very specifically addressed the LGBTQ community at the Republican National Convention last year, promising he would protect their rights. Then, he nominated the anti-LGBTQ Jeff Sessions as attorney general, who promptly rolled back Obama’s directive soon after taking office — with Trump’s blessing. They’re calling it a states’ rights issue. No, anti-discrimination is a national issue, enshrined in the Constitution.

The new secretary of education, Betsy DeVos, was against the roll-back but went along with it because she was outnumbered and wanted to keep her job, rather than take a stand.

I know there’ll be lawsuits and other challenges, but the protestor’s sign in this photo sums up the frustration perfectly.

 

 

Image

Feb. 2, 2017: 20 Years Strong

Mara and I celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary yesterday. We’re one of the few lucky married trans couples who have stayed together this long. One reason is that I knew Mara was transgender before we started dating. And she let me know early on in our relationship that there may come a time when she needs to transition. I stayed with her anyway. But even that’s no guarantee. The bottom line is that we’re soul mates and best friends. We support, forgive and love each other no matter what.

Yes, we’ve had rocky times, but what couple hasn’t? And when we have a disagreement, it’s about the things that most couples fight about, like finances and miscommunication and leaving dirty socks on the floor. But it never has anything to do with her transition. Like my sister told me when Mara (then Gary) and I got engaged, the difference between being married and being in a non-marriage relationship is that, “When you’re married you will go to the wall for the other person.” She’s right. At least in our case. And it’s worth every moment.

Here are a few photos of Mara and me over the past 20 years:

garymimi_wedding

 135garymimi_nbbjholidaydinner_121412-2maramimi_disneylanddamesinthedungeon1mm_annenbergspace4photog_100816mm_vrphotoshoot3_060416laughingmatters_mara1

 

New Year, New Bathroom Bill

Happy New Year! Glad to see the end of 2016, but 2017 will be a doozy. Especially with so many anti-LGBT people in the incoming administration and a conservative-leaning House and Senate. Frankly, I’m a bit nervous, but I’m also confident that lawmakers who care about all Americans will make sure everyone’s rights are protected.

But the issue that’s in front of Mara and me right now is the proposed Texas bathroom bill (SB6). We’re going to see Mara’s dad in Dallas for his birthday in a couple of months, and that city has a law prohibiting such discrimination. That’s good. But SB6 would put the kibosh on that and other municipal laws in the state. Not so good. If the bill becomes state law, I don’t know when it will take effect, but we would need to be careful when we visit Mara’s dad. She has very feminine features; the vast majority of people can’t tell she’s trans. But every once in awhile, she gets clocked.

SB-6, which is nearly identical to HB2, the bathroom bill North Carolina passed before it’s governor was voted out of office last year, has a loophole designed to prevent the NCAA and other major organizations from yanking their events out of the state (or not considering the state to host their events in the first place): a provision that basically exempts them from the law at sites where (and when) they hold their events. Big whoop. I hope the NCAA et al. sees through this thinly veiled attempt to dodge the economic consequences that plagued North Carolina while discriminating against transgender people.

Dec. 15, 2016: A Sign of the Times

Mara and I saw this sign in the window of our favorite ice cream shop last week. It wasn’t there before the election, so we’re pretty sure it’s a response to all the hate that has boiled over since Trump was elected. I’ve been reading about (and seeing videos of) people of different races, ethnicities and sexual orientations being verbally and physically assaulted since Nov. 8. And it’s comforting to know that there are businesses — and individuals — who are standing up for the rights of everyone. It’s truly a sign of the times.

That said, Thanksgiving at my nephew’s place was another situation where he and his girlfriend took a stand for us, and for their own beliefs. And the day was as good as it could have been, from our perspective. Only three unaccepting people on my family were there. Most of the 27 people who came were from my nephew’s girlfriend’s family; and they either knew about Mara and accepted who she is or didn’t know and didn’t care. A few people from my family who accept Mara were there, too.

So, the unaccepting family members were far outnumbered and kept their comments and opinions about Mara to themselves. No snide remarks; no mis-gendering. They didn’t say hello to Mara, either; just ignored her. And that pissed my nephew off. But I explained to him the next day that it was the best they could do and that, as long as they didn’t create drama, I was happy.

One woman whom we were introduced to as the host’s aunts asked us if we’re sisters. I said no, we’re married; I’m the aunt and Mara is the aunt-in-law. And left it at that. I just didn’t want to explain the whole situation. And it really didn’t matter. The woman was totally accepting. That’s all that mattered.

So today is Mara’s re-birthday. It’s been exactly 4 years since she transitioned (woke up presenting as Mara and never presented as male again). Happy birthday my love! I gladly take a stand for you every day. I’ve said this before but it bears repeating: I seriously lucked out in the relationship department.

 

Nov. 22, 2016: Fond Ireland Memories

Got back from Ireland on Sunday. It was Mara’s first overseas trip since transition. Great time. And no one batted an eye at the two of us traveling together as a couple. Hotel clerks knew we had booked rooms with double beds; and in our conversations with strangers, we mentioned “our house,” “our cats,” etc. So we felt completely at ease, never worrying about what anyone might be thinking.

The selfie above was taken at the Gravity Lounge at the top of the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin — our post-tour pint. Here are a few more fond memories:

 

ireland_mimi_imma

Mimi reflecting on an exhibit at the Modern Art Museum

ireland_trinityreflection

Reflecting upon a sculpture at Trinity College

ireland_mara_blarney

Mara in a tight spot at Blarney Castle

ireland_moher

The Cliffs of Moher