10.08.10, My 31st Birthday and my first Flash Mob

A little after 6PM at New York’s Grand Central Terminal a whistle sounded three times.  After the third cry dozens of bodies slowly collapsed to the ground.

6PM on a Friday night in Grand Central Terminal is sort of a mash up of many things.  It’s a tourist stop and Friday is the day they all come to NYC.  It’s right after the work day when the trains to Westchester County and Fairfield County stop running express and drag on forever on the local schedule.  It’s where business men and women stop for drinks before heading home, it’s where brides and grooms take pictures after their NYC weddings.  On October 8, 2010, it let those busy, bustling people see the effects of homophobia.

property of Erika K. Davis

The fact is that Homophobia Kills.  It kills in a very real sense, the names of people we’ve lost due to homophobia were said aloud for all of those present could hear their names.  Homophobia also kills the soul.  When a gay youth is told that they are worthless, they are sinners, they are ugly, they are inhuman and they have no outlet or resource to give comfort their soul dies.  Just as a child should never be told they are stupid, no gay person should ever discount their worth. 

Property of Erika K. Davis

When people turn a blind eye to hateful words and ugly deeds, Homophobia Kills.  It was to be expected that hurried New Yorkers would walk over the bodies.  We were occupying one of the busiest spaces on the entire island, but the not seeing of the New Yorkers trying to make their trains, the lack of compassion to even stop and ask, the desire to not see the death around them was eye-opening and it’s more than just a metaphor it is reality.  People hear and see acts of violence done to LGBTQ people and instead of lending a hand, they walk away.

Tikkun Olam is Hebrew for repairing the world.  It is our duty, as Jews, to participate in the repair of the world on every level.  We grow up in a Christian society that spouts sayings like, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” but its loaded and rattled with inequalities.  Our society as always put some one, some class, some minority aside or down to lift another up.  We cannot sit idly by and watch this continue to happen.  I urge you, no I implore you to do what you can to repair the world. 

I often wonder what happened to the Civil Rights activists of the 60s and 70s, did they not teach their children to act up?  Why aren’t some of us, folks in our late 20s and 30s, children of these activists more active?  When they saw the world around them filled with injustice and inequality they marched, we hop online.  Personally, I always say but rarely do. 

Yesterday was my birthday and I felt alive watching the dead bodies lie in Grand Central Terminal.  I felt moved in a way I haven’t felt in a long time.  I was inspired and I was angry but the thing that I realized is that I should only be angry with myself for not moving, talking, acting sooner and found inspiration in those who gave their lives, unwillingly, to the cause.

It’s my Birthday!!

There is a “die-in” at Grand Central Station today to shed light onto the issue of homophobia the way that it’s killing LGBTQ youth.  It’s at 6PM.  Be there or be (draws cartoon square a la Uma Thurman in Pulp Fiction and Kill Bill)

Come out, Come out Where ever You are?

I used to feel this way and in some instances I think that it stands.  Celebrities, for example, should always come out with their homo flags flying.  It’s important that media figures, artists, actors, actresses, musicians, and political figures come out with their gay guns blazing.  It’s important that they show the world that they’re comfortable in their homo skin and it shows America and the world that gay comes in many different forms.  When celebrities come out it allows small town girl in Michigan that there are people out there who are like her, who are different, who are gay.

I feel the same way about showing positive images of women, people of color, and other minorities on television.  It doesn’t help society when all blacks are portrayed as absent minded, drug addict gang bangers.  Showing Asians as smart, good-doer prudes and Latinos as knife swinging, tequilla drinking thugs.  Just as gay men prancing around in glitter and tights don’t do gays any good.  Fact of the matter is that there are limp wristed gay boys, black men and women in gangs, Mexicans swigging tequilla, and an Asian girl getting into Princeton with her perfect SAT scores and GPA.  The vast majority of minorities fall in the middle, though.  Don’t we?

When you have positive images in the media of minority people it allows you to see a projection of yourself or a projection of who you aspire to be.  It is for this reason that I get angry when the media keeps shoveling the same bullshit down our throats.  It’s also why I stood on the side of come out ,be proud.  Until those teenagers took their lives for being who they are.  My tune has shifted a bit because it’s not always safe to come out and be who you are.  I applaud those young boys in glee club who wave their homosexual flag for the world to see.  I love the teen who refused to attend prom if not on the arm of her girlfriend.  On the other hand, there are so many different places and spaces where being gay, or perceived to be gay is like standing in front of a firing squad.

Growing up, I knew that I was gay.  I can remember my first realization when I had my first job at 15 at a local hotdog chain.  My boss and I were closing and she leaned over.  I could see down her shirt and she wasn’t wearing a bra.  Her breasts were small and perfect and the moment my eyes caught sight of her perfectly perky pink nipples there was an immediate warmth and aching in my shorts I never felt when I was in the back seat of a car making out with the pimply faced boyfriend I had.  I knew I was gay and waited 13 years to come out later.  It’s not that Toledo, Ohio was an anti-gay place, I just wasn’t ready to admit who I was. 

After the alarming number of recent suicides I’m feeling a little different.  I love Dan Savage’s It Gets Better Project but on the other hand, I think that keeping kids safe is more important.  Schools need to have better laws, restrictions, and groups that support LGBTQ and questioning students.  Gay and Straight alliances aren’t an option in this day in age, they are required just as the Math Club or Student Council are mainstays of high school life.  There needs to be more safe spaces for LGBTQ youth to go to when they feel like there is no place to turn and parents need to come to the reality that their children may be gay.  Education on so many levels is severely lacking in our country and gay issues is one of the areas.  In the public school system, tolerance doesn’t need to be taught, acceptance needs to be the norm.   Lastly, so many of us, me included, need to do something to make it better for kids instead of waiting for someone to pick up the slack for us.

Let’s Talk About Sex, Baby

Is “You can never have too much sex!”  An accurate statement?  How much sex is too much sex and How much sex is too little.  It’s subjective, clearly and I don’t have a real answer, only rhetorical questions I’ll assume you will all answer.

Is sex a barometer of your relationship.  ie. If you have a lot of sex, your relationship is good and if you don’t have a lot of sex your relationship is bad.  My theory is that’s it’s really situational. 

Let’s say you have sex every day but your relationship is shit otherwise.  You and your partner don’t communicate well, you argue when you’re not having sex, you don’t have much in common other than the sex and you’re not connected in any way.  At times the sex is amazing; earth shattering, mind blowing, multi-orgasmic.  Other times it’s just okay, you both know every move and you’re working on an orgasm quick as possible.

On the other hand, let’s say you have an amazing relationship with your partner where you communicate in a real, sincere way.  You argue but over normal things, not just to bitch and moan.  You’re connected to your partner and you have tons in common.  You and your partner have sex, just not every day, or every week, or every month. When you do have sex though it’s always amazing.  You have not just one orgasm, not just three, you have at least a half dozen and you have sex multiple times for that stint.

Which scenario is best?

What is Love?

Love can mean a lot of different things for a lot of different people.  In high school I learned that there were 3 different types of love; Eros, Phileo, and Agape Love.  The first being physical love, often referred to erotic love, the second being friendship love, and the third being “unconditional love”.  The idea being that the first two kinds of love could be considered love of condition, it could fade with the friendship or the affair and the third type, Agape, is the kind that is the hardest to achieve because it implies that there are no conditions; it’s a godly love.

This theory of love has been taught for centuries and I’m not here to dispute them on theory rather than to argue that one could love a person, possibly one person, on all three levels.  For instance, you could meet someone and instantly be infatuated with them, Eros.  After your infatuation subsides you begin to see the depths of the person, perhaps you start dating and as you learn more about them the Eros is combined with the Phileo.  After some time more you are in love and committed and this is where the Agape comes in.  You love this person because of who they are, not despite of who they are. 

Mirs and I are listening to some vinyl she found on the side of the street.  Some asshat threw out amazing Funk, R&B, Soul, and Old School Jams like Chaka Khan, the Village People, Diana Ross, and Donna Summers to name a few.  We’re listening Luther Vandross’s 1986 album, “Give me the Reason”  and it instantly brought me back to my childhood.

I grew up in a Victorian mansion.  Did I ever tell you all that?  I did.  It was built in 1903 by an architect I still cannot find online.  The home was beautiful and a truly magical place to live.  Long story short (wait for the memoir) my parents and I moved out of the house in 6th grade.  Almost two decades later they have purchased it again.  There was nothing more magical than me going back to the house of my childhood to babysit my nephews who are growing up in the place that I did.

When I was a girl my parents would host large gatherings of family and friends on the weekend.  My uncles, aunts, and cousins would come.  And those adults who were not related to me by blood but I called “Auntie” and “Uncle” just the same.  The men would work on multiple grills, cooking ribs, chicken, burgers and hot dogs.  There was always enough kool-aide for us kids, and beers for the adults.  The music would billow out from our music room onto our large front porch and we’d dance and sing and play hide and seek while the adults danced, talked, smoked cigarettes and enjoyed life.

One of the songs, I can’t remember the title now, played and I instantly thought of my parents.  They got divorced after twenty-odd years of marriage for about a year.  There were many stresses in their lives, too many for me to understand as their daughter but at the time I was happy my mother was rid of the burden that my father could sometimes bring with his words.  They separated, found their own individual condos, and for a year they were not man a wife.  Until my father came over one night to ask my mother on a date.  They courted, had dates, did the deed while they were dating and one day he popped the question.  Presented my mother with a new ring and asked her to marry him, again.

They’re technically and legally divorced but will be getting married, again, on the same date they did so those many years before I was a thought in their minds.  As much as I don’t understand the things that they do I understand that the underlying emotion must be love.  They are in love with one another because of their faults, their good times and their bad times.  You can’t find it every day and ony a few are lucky enough to experience it.  I feel like I’m one of those lucky ones.

Remembering 9/11

9 years ago today many Americans lost their lives.  Those Americans were Black, White, Asian, Latino…Those Americans were gay, straight, trans, bisexual…Those Americans were Muslims, Jews, Christians,  Athiests…Those Americans were women, men, children…They were mothers, sisters, daughters, aunts, fathers brothers, sons, uncles…They were grand parents.  Most importantly I’m remembering that they were people with families they left behind before their time.

It’s hard for religious people to understand why G-d let’s tragedies happen.  The thing I always have to remember is that we were given free will and that those people who carry out ugly and hateful things will be judged by G-d.  It’s not our place as humans to judge one another.  It’s not for us to say who is right and who is wrong.  It’s not our place to place blame on one group for the actions of individuals.

Hillel famously said to a potential convert who wished to learn Torah, “That which is hateful to you do not do to others.  The rest is commentary, now go study.”  Hillel wasn’t a prophet and he isn’t in the Torah, he was just a man with great wisdom and insight.  Born before Jesus, it’s clear that Jesus, who was of course a Jewish rabbi, would use Hillel’s words for his famous line, “Do unto others and you would have them do unto you.”  They are the same message, yes, but the words used by Hillel and Jesus are different.  I grew up learning Jesus’ words but Hillel’s have the most impact.

“That which is hateful to you” carries so much weight because we can think of things that are hateful.  Racism, Sexism, Discrimination, Bombs, Ugly words, Shoah, Slavery…those are the most hateful of hatred.  So you think of things that are hateful, things you’ve possibly experienced and you remember not to do them to another person.  For me, remembering the hatred I’ve felt being a gay black woman helps me put into perspective hateful thoughts or words I want to utter in anger.

Nine years ago today a few individuals acted out of hatred and today protests in the streets of New York over the Islamic Center do not honor those who lost their life.  It does not honor the families who are still mourning, it doesn’t bring back the dead.  If anything, it makes the message of hatred valid and the message of love and hope invalid.

Today I’m remembering so I do not forget.

Back-sort of

So technically, I’m “back” but my back is not and therefore I’m still out of work.  It’s a long drawn-out annoying discussion that I really can’t get into.  Suffice to say, I cannot work because of a work-related injury and have severely lacking funds.  It’s depressing, I’m depressed and the only thing that’s making me not want to run under my bed and wait for my landlord to throw me out is the fact that I’m cat-sitting for friends with cable and internet 🙂