…the agenda, as it were…
As we are celebrating Pride week here in the SF Bay Area, and as I prep for my weekend duties helping to herd the volunteers who work Donations at SF Pride, I find myself contemplating how I came to be a part of this community known as the LGBT community.
As I’ve said before, I’m not the biggest fan of labels. I find them limiting, constraining. I consider myself to be bisexual, but that hardly defines who I am. In fact, it isn’t really something I think about. It’s a part of me. It’s a label others use to try to understand me…but it isn’t who I am. Maybe I’m more…I don’t know pansexual? Omnisexual?
Maybe I’m just me who believes that all people are worthy of love and that all expressions of love are wonderful and beautiful. Is there a word for that? Maybe we need to invent one.
See part of the problem for me is the “sexual” part of the word. My relationship isn’t defined by sex. Whether I’m dating a man or a woman…or one of each…or several of each, I guarantee you that sex is not even the biggest part of the reason why.
We get all hung up on the “icky” idea of what two consenting adults do in the privacy of their bedroom (or whatever other private place)…and it doesn’t occur to us that there is far, far more to the two people involved than the time they spent copulating.
Consider the process of two straight people dating. They meet, exchange information, find similarities, get to know one another, hold hands, kiss, meet each other’s families and friends…there are conversations about their pasts, their future, whether they want kids, where they want to live, what their dreams are…there are fights and making up…there are little moments, expressions of love…there is the mundane day to day of living, sharing space, doing the dishes, paying the taxes, going to the doctor, the dentist, the movies, the theater, the mall…there is grocery shopping and car shopping and weekend getaways…
Now simply substitute the woman in the couple with a man. Nothing else changes. It’s still about getting to know each other, living life together, expressions of love, time spent together. Certainly, in both scenarios sex is likely involved…but in the grand scheme of things, it’s a small component.
Now, don’t get me wrong, sex is a wonderful thing, a great expression of the human body and the desires we are all born with…and I am loathe to really put any restrictions on any two (or more) consenting adults that wish to participate…I’m just pointing out that for most, particularly those actively pursuing marriage equality, it is about so much more.
I should also take the moment to point out that, as I have said, I am not a lesbian, and as I have said before, I have no real interest in marriage for myself. I rather like my life as it is, with my privacy and my time spent alone. The idea of having another person living in my space 24 hours a day is quite frankly disturbing at best, panic inducing at worst.
However, I discovered a number of years ago that my love was not bound by gender, and that women are better kissers, and as my circle of friends shifted to include more people who identified as lesbian or gay or bisexual or transgendered I suddenly found myself a part of a community who was struggling to come into their own. It was a struggle that appealed to me.
I see people as they are, not as society wants them to be…not as labels…or maybe I see them the way I want to be seen? I don’t know…
What I do know is that this weekend a lot of people will fill Civic Center plaza in SF, and there will be many there with their partner(s), many there solo, many there with groups of friends. Some will be straight, some gay, some lesbian, some bi and some transgendered. I will be there, in a red STAFF shirt and my leather biker hat on over my Laura Ingalls braids, and a headset connected to a radio…my agenda will be simple, keep the donations flowing, because every dollar you put in the white buckets is used to fund grants to the community partners who provide various community services, including HIV/AIDS testing, counseling, health care, senior care, food for shut ins and the homeless, programs for at-risk youth, Gay-Straight Alliances at local schools and churches that are welcoming to the LGBT community.
So, if you’re local and coming to Pride, look for our volunteers with white buckets asking for donations. For $5 you get a sticker that gets you $1 off your beverages (soda, water, beer, margaritas, etc) all day. Feel free to give more than $5, of course. As I said, it goes to a good cause…or rather, lots of them.