Wedding Gifts.

30 08 2009

So this weekend while I was Whitley Gilberting around the Berkshires I managed to have myself a lovely time at a truly beautiful wedding.

Sure the outdoors, and Massachusetts, and very little connection to the outside world, and square-dancing (Yes, ya’ll, square-dancing.  And let me just say that we can now officially check that off of the list of things that white people do that black people have yet to dominate.  Cuz, I dominated.  I’m so good after square-dancing I might need to move up a notch to dodecahedron dancing – that’s right twelve-sided and three-dee’d.) and sing-alongs and rain and doing all of the above in the rain aren’t specifically my thing but what I loved was that they were the brides’ things.

I know that sometimes being a big ‘ol gay I can get caught up in how the world is totally fucked up and get my feelings hurt by the sheer number of people trying to deny me my basic human rights and trying to dismiss the 5-year committed, monogamous, investment in the greater us, that my relationship is, as something tawdry and fringe-y and fly-by-night.
It was wonderful to go to a celebration of the union of two people, who, rather than dwell on the fact that even when they go back to Kentucky they can’t get on each other’s health insurance, decided to commune with their guests and share their love and commitment with us.   It was refreshing to be surrounded by the family and friends of the brides who could think of no greater joy than being able to be present at this event and witness this union.  I was heartened by the guests that brought their children.  I was touched by the many heterosexual couples in attendance who were aware of the privilege of their government sanctioned marriages (or upcoming marriages).  I was able to take a break from being pissed off and let them be pissed off for me.

And that revealed its own very specific privilege.  I was able to think about how nice it was that the brides got exactly what they wanted.

Ketubah and Quaker marriage contract.  But of course.
Rabbinic officiant and Episcopalian minister (who happened, in the best of the Episcopalian wisdom, to be a woman).  Why not?
Cake decorating contest during dinner instead of one big extravagantly decorated cake.  Forever hold your peace.
Man of honor.  Honorable indeed.
Photobooth?  Picture perfect.

Dance Dance Revolution.

Dance Dance Revolution.

Thats Piet (pate).  Hes great.  Hes also the Man of Honor.

RHS and I really like the Man of Honor.

These brides dont blush.

These brides don't blush.

It was the perfect wedding.
And you know what?  This happened because there aren’t, as yet, prescribed notions for weddings with brides (or grooms) of the same gender (or the same un-gender).  The brides were able to tailor their wedding to their desires because there was no pressure to conform to tradition.  What a privilege that is!  What a boon!  Everyone in attendance came away with the distinct impression that they were there because their presence was specifically and personally wanted.

And more than the great food, choice music, customized aprons and memories the greatest gift that I was given was the knowledge that when RHS and finally get into the nitty-gritty of planning our wedding (coming soon, October, 2010) we never have to question if any of our choices make sense, or will make someone uncomfortable.  We never have to worry that we aren’t playing by the rules or that we will commit some wedding faux pas.  We’ve been given the gift of total and complete freedom to share our union with the family of our choosing.  And other than my commitment to her and her commitment to me, that’s one of the greatest gifts I’ve ever received.


A Poem for the Children (who are 30)

28 08 2009
Image by BDinPhoenix.  Borrowed from Flickr.

Image by BDinPhoenix. Borrowed from Flickr. Click photo to view stream.

Part of me will always be
Wishing I was in a tree
Or’n a crow’s nest in the high seas
Swaying on the ocean breeze.

No wonder it’s great trouble to stand
When I have my feet on land,
Or why my smile turns bear-market down
When there’s naught below but ground.

The me I know myself to be
Is happiest when sailing trees,
Or climbing up those ships that breeze
About the verdant summer seas.

Leave the Chanel at home.

27 08 2009

RHS is the maid of honor in a a dear friend’s wedding so we are schlepping up to the Berkshires this evening.

We will be staying in a beautiful little cottage with no phone, no TV and very spotty internet access so I will be offline for the better part of the weekend.  I panicked a little bit when I was finally clued in to the… rusticness of the whole thing, but I thought to myself, “Self WWWGD?”

“Why, Self,” I replied, “She would put on her cutest outfit and her most sensible (and fashionable) heels and have herself fun in the way only a Gilbert can.  She would relax, relate, release herself into the full celebration of the nuptials of the happy couple!”

Course, I think we all know that Whitley Gilbert would survive about two second in the Berkshires. I give myself four.

RIP Teddy

26 08 2009


Some glad morning when this life is o’er

I’ll fly away.


To a home on God’s celestial shore

I’ll fly away.


I’ll fly away oh! glory.

I’ll fly away in the morning.


When I die, Hallelujah by and by,

I’ll fly away.


The brothers are united again.

Oh, how glad and happy when we meet.  Ill fly away.

Oh, how glad and happy when we meet. I'll fly away.

Yes we (still) can.

24 08 2009

Dear President Barack Hussein Obama,

Every morning before I leave for work, and every evening when I return from work I look at the dry-erase board on the back of my apartment door and I re-read your “Yes We Can” speech.  It drives my wife, Johanna, crazy because she has been asking me for nearly 10 months to erase it so that we can free up the board for love notes to each other.
We are obnoxious like that.  I am sure that you and Michelle are kind of like that as well.

Barack and Michelle sitting in a tree. K-I-S-S-I-N-G.

Barack and Michelle sitting in a tree. K-I-S-S-I-N-G.

I’m telling you this so that you can understand its very real, not just sentimental, value in my life.  Every day, when I come home from working longer than I should have at my job at a non-profit in New York City … every single day when I worry about whether the agency is going to have to shut any of our clinics, or reduce our counseling services or if I’m going to still have my job and my healthcare at the end of the week – I look at your speech and I am confident that I am headed in the right direction.

I’m telling you this so that when I tell you that it took me seven tries before I finally succeeded in crafting a post about your win you will understand that much like Michelle, for the first time in my adult life, I finally felt proud.  Finally felt American.
I meant it when I wrote:

I know that there are good policy reasons and feel-good historic reasons for feeling jubilant about President-Elect Barack Obama but when I see him, I see the Daddy that I should have had. The Daddy that a lot of little girls and little boys (and not so little girls and not so little boys) should have had.
When I see Barack Obama with his daughters I see everything that I lost when I was ten. I see how my father should have filled the space in. I see a man who doesn’t believe in giving up, who smiles like a warm embrace and who calls his daughters every chance he gets. I see someone who would not abandon his responsibilities, Michelle, Malia, Sasha and now the United States of America.

I still mean it.
I’d just like to take this opportunity to clarify what I mean by your responsibilities to the our United States of America.
You are responsible for the 50 million uninsured in America.
You are responsible for the 25 million underinsured in America.  (As of 2008)
You are responsible for my fellow citizens who are being bullied and intimidated and dissuaded and told that they are Nazis or Socialists; who are receiving death threats; who are being shouted down and threatened in their towns.  You are responsible for providing them with a clear message about what is going on with our desire for health care reform.
You are responsible for affecting real health care reform.
Real health care reform includes at least a public option.

You are responsible for honoring my vote.  When I voted for Michelle, I voted for a public option.

Let me also clarify what I do not mean by your responsibilities.
You are not responsible for the “legality” of any of the uninsured.
You are not responsible for the people who seek to exploit the fear and hatred of scared and manipulated people.
You are not responsible for spending your hard-won political capital at the counters of the Republican Party.  No matter how long you sit there, they do not intend to serve you.  They intend to do all that they can to humiliate you and harm America.
You are not responsible for sacrificing real health care reform on the altar of bipartisanship.

But in case that wasn’t clear enough, here’s a quote that will clear it all up from someone we both hold in high esteem.

This is our time, to put our people back to work and open doors of opportunity for our kids; to restore prosperity and promote the cause of peace; to reclaim the American dream and reaffirm that fundamental truth, that, out of many, we are one; that while we breathe, we hope. And where we are met with cynicism and doubts and those who tell us that we can’t, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people: Yes, we can.



The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Amazing Race

22 08 2009

Jay really is Smooth when I comes to talking about race.

And so is Robin F from Toronto who offered this great post over at Stuff White People Do.  Macon D’s blog is one of my new favourites so you should take a look at the rest of if after you check out Robin F’s post.

Recent stand-out posts include:

Miss “Their” America

Take Pride in Their Lower-Class Status

Go On Racially Trouble-Free Vacations
Note: This post really hooked me given my experience this May vacationing while Black (and  New Yorker) in San Francisco.

Think That Black People are Paranoid
(As my paranoid schizophrenic brother always says, “Just because you’re paranoid, doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you.”)

Pay it forward.

21 08 2009

My friend Katherine and I know each other from some weird collective unconsciousness in which we were both barefoot and fancy free and probably floating on a raft headed toward an adventure greater than the one that we’d just left behind.

I am quite fond of Katherine.

So fond, in fact, that I want to do all that I can to give her the best birthday ever.  All that she wants is “a little more warmth and kindness in the world.”  It’s totally simple, ya’ll. 

The basic idea is this: [She] will ask [her] friends to perform at least one random act of kindness as [her] birthday gift… [And] when they perform that act of kindness, to leave a note inviting the recipient to “pay it forward” and perform a random act of kindness for someone else.

I would very much appreciate it if you would help me give Katherine a great gift this year.