My Own Happily Ever After Started Here, Two Years Ago Today

Two years ago today, my life changed forever.

Wanted Sign I suppose that is actually true every single day of our lives in the most strictest sense. But I don’t mean in the strict, rhetoric, philosophical sense. I mean in the something-huge-happens-that-changes-the-course-of-your-life sense. Two years ago today, I posted the piece “Wanted: Femme for Butch.” My therapist told me to write a list of what I wanted in my next relationship. Write it down, he said. It will help you get clear about the kind of woman you want to be with. I thought about it. And thought. And, then I started writing. And I wrote and wrote. It took me some time to get it posted, for a variety of reasons, but whatever the reasons, I posted it today (two years ago).

And then, a few weeks later, one of my fans shared a piece I wrote – not the Wanted piece, but a different/forgettable piece. My wife saw that piece on her friend’s wall and I think she was intrigued by my picture. This was before I “came out” as myself, and so it was a heat mapped version of me. Apparently, she liked what she saw enough to follow the link and read the forgettable piece. Even though she never reads blogs. Then she read another (better) piece, and it included a link to the Wanted piece. She followed the link and read my want ad. She was really affected by it, enough so that she left a comment. Even though she never leaves comments. Her comment was so genuine and honest. Shortly after that, she followed me on Twitter and I sButchOnTap Incognitoaw her picture, which was not heat mapped.

I don’t know if it was because of her comment, her picture (hot, hot, hot), or the fact that I was already set to take a trip to Scotland (where she lived) a few months later, but I reached out. We started talking. First on Twitter in 140 bite chunks, and then in email in much longer chunks. Then we talked on the phone. That led to Skype and we were sure we were both real people, lesbians who looked just like the pictures we had shared online (no catfishing). And we kept on talking, until one day I said, do you think maybe we should meet? In person? *gasp* And you know what? She did think we should meet. In person. A few weeks later, we made that happen. I’ve never been so nervous at the airport in my entire life. Three-piece suit, hair just so. Big bouquet of roses. You can’t text from the customs and immigration lines at the airport, so once someone goes in, it’s a crap shoot when they come popping out of the magical door. Out she came, and suddenly, there she was standing there in the United States in living color. *gulp*

I’ll skip the next bit, but feel free to add your own flourish.

I said in my piece that I wasn’t quite ready for the woman I was advertising for, but that if the Universe sent her my way, I would get ready. Well, it turns out that I knew myself pretty well. I wasn’t ready for her – for all the amazing awesomeness that is her – when the Universe sent her to me. But, I got ready. And, she was patient. And, now I am her wife. All because of the piece I wrote down and then sent out into the Universe. Like a message in a bottle thrown into the sea. “Come find me!” I called out across the social media ocean as I lovingly shoved my electronic message into the protective glass of my website.

Get clear on what you want. Then share it with the world in whatever way you share. I did that work to get clear, and then I Happily Ever After Starts Hereasked on this day. So, it feels like my life changed dramatically (for the better) two years ago. I set in motion the events that lead to me meeting the love of my life. Two years ago today, before I even met her, I moved one step closer on the path to my own happily ever after.

Thank you to my Femme for Butch. You are amazing and I am lucky enough to get to love you every day, and to have you return that love. It is Butch to know and ask for what you want. If you are lucky (#oneluckybutch), you will get it. Be Butch.


What Can I Do?

On the BOT Facebook page, we’ve been having a very sincere discussion about the unintentionally prejudiced and hurtful things whites and Otherthan’s say. One reader posted the following comment and I answered as below. I share this because I know this reader is not alone. As an ally, it is very important to allow whites and otherthans the leeway to say the “wrong thing” without attacking (which hopefully I did not do) when they are clearly struggling. If we only talk to people who agree with us, we are not affecting change.

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Friend,

I wish we could sit and have a meal together. I hear you trying to work through this – just like me. I hear you frustrated because you don’t feel like part of the problem – just like me. Read some more of Dr. King’s words. He laid out what you and I can do.

The first, and most important thing is to acknowledge that we have a race problem in America. We have people of color with less access to education, health care and opportunities. That’s a fact. We have a judicial system (that I used to be a part of) that systematically finds, convicts, and jails POC for more crimes and less significant crimes. The police kill a black person every 28 hours – black people are about 10% of our population. How can this be right?

We have a media (which I am now part of) that portrays things in a way to keep the peace/status quo. That benefits white people. It’s wrong for someone to call you a racist. But it’s also wrong, I gently suggest, for you to say there is no problem because you have black friends.

What can you do? Please keep reading and listening. Thank you for being open enough to read my words.

I see I missed the use of “preference” but let’s just focus on one thing at a time. What else would you add?

It’s Butch to help others see when they cannot. Be Butch.


I’m Otherthan White & My Feelings About the Murder of Mike Brown

Originally posted on December 4, 2014 at Huffington Post Gay Voices. If you like this post, please hop over there and tell them by clicking the like button.

I haven’t written much about race issues, mostly out of respect for the black community. Even this term sounds wrong as I type it out. Is there a single “black community”? Is there just one “gay community”? Sure, if you are talking about the Castro in San Francisco, Chelsea in New York City, or Hillcrest in San Diego. But are all LGBT people in America one community? No. Neither, I suspect, is there a single “black community,” unless we are talking about a particular area, like, say, Ferguson, Missouri. So out of respect for black Americans, then? After all, what the hell do I know about being black in America?

On the one hand, zero. I am not black. I am one of those Americans who tell people they’re Irish because it sounds more interesting than “white.” I knew I would go to college. I can reasonably believe that if I work hard enough, I will be successful and can support a family. I don’t have to live in fear of the police stopping me as I drive home to my nice, predominantly white neighborhood. When I go into a shop, I don’t have to worry that the employees will follow me around on the suspicion that I will steal something. Even with my mohawk. Zero.

On the other hand, I experience being “otherthan” each and every day of my life. Otherthan being married to a man, because I am a lesbian. Otherthan being like “every other lesbian.” (Do all lesbians look alike except for me?) Otherthan looking like a “regular, normal” woman, because I am too tall, too big, too masculine, too butch. Otherthan identifying as a Christian, Jew, or Muslim, because I am an atheist.

Is any of this like being black? No. No. No. A hundred times no. I offer these otherthans only to say that, within my white privilege, I experience daily “otherness” that might give me some hint of what black Americans face each and every day, at least as far as being otherthan white. I don’t feel like I’m part of the big, white, oppressive system — and yet I am. I’ve had amazing friends in the past few years who have helped me see this better; while it might not be my fault, I definitely experience the privileges that come with being white, middle-class, and educated.

But in my privileged, albeit otherthan, place, I have been profoundly affected by the killing of Michael Brown, the grand jury’s decision not to charge Officer Darren Wilson with any crime for the death, and the reaction afterwards. As a lawyer and a former prosecutor, I am trying to understand why the process worked so differently for Wilson, a white police officer, than for otherthans accused of similar crimes. As an intelligent person who understands the system, I cannot fathom how the prosecutor could have handled the case in the manner that he did, nor why he did not recuse himself. If ever there was a time for the process to be fair and as impartial as our system will allow, this was it. But it wasn’t.

As an otherthan white person, I am trying to understand. Trying to process. Trying to synthesize my feelings. I hope this does not make me sound ignorant about race in America. I do not believe that I am; that education started for me many years ago. I distinctly remember an accomplished black lawyer telling me he got hassled by the cops, routinely, in his Brooks Brothers suit. Upper-class black girlfriends of mine share stories of being profiled as potential shoplifters by retail employes, and of the repulsive comments they receive from strangers at a shockingly high frequency. I know about the way my friends whose families are not all-white or all-black are treated. There are so many of these stories that anyone who listens to them gives up the naïveté (“That still happens in America?” asks the wide-eyed white child) immediately.

I note that my black friends and family are not speaking out much on social media. They are silent. I imagine the pain is too much. I haven’t reached out because I don’t especially like it when straight people reach out to me after a gay hate crime or injustice. It is not my friends’ job to help me understand. It is my job to gain understanding. So here I am, part of the problem, I know, but not feeling quite like that.

I want to be part of the solution.

What can I do to help? What can I do to combat racism? How can I make a difference? I’m not stupid; I know that the civil-rights movement needed white Americans to see and abhor what was happening to add weight to the fight. A minority cannot win rights from the majority without some help from the majority (basic math). So it was in the ’60s, and so it has been the past decade with gay rights. We wouldn’t have gay marriage in 35 states and D.C. if it weren’t for the support of our straight friends. (Thank you, by the way.)

But as one person, what can I do to help? This is my struggle. I realize I have a tiny podium to share things and try to impact others. I have done that. But what about as I move through the world? As I handle my daily life? How do I say to the black and white Americans I come across that I abhor what is happening and want to be part of the solution?

Last week I read the “Other America” speech that Martin Luther King Jr. gave at Gross Pointe High School in 1968. This is the speech where he says riots are bad but he could not condemn them without also “condemning the contingent, intolerable conditions that exist in our society.” It has been cited a lot in the last few days. In it King calls for an acknowledgement from all Americans that we have a race problem in America.

Well, we have a race problem in America.

We do. We have a system that is skewed. The cards are stacked against black Americans, and the statistical proof of this is sickening. But many people do not (cannot? will not?) see it. This was never more apparent to me than in the past few months. I have spoken to otherwise intelligent, wonderful people who did not hesitate to disparage an entire race. I have moved through work afraid to say anything about Michael Brown for fear that my colleagues might say something to make me respect them a little less. I scroll through Facebook nervous of what I might see.

But how does an otherthan effect change? We can’t wait for voting; besides, basic human rights are not to be voted on. We need “the people” to agree that the system and the rules of the system are geared toward protecting whites, ensconcing them in privilege, supporting them, and helping them flourish. We need the people who don’t see the problem to read and see, to listen and hear.

The laws need to change to provide protections. We need race training for all law enforcement, though I’m not sure how we teach someone that all life has equal value when that idea should be innate; an end to racial profiling; the demilitarization of our police; and lapel cameras on all law enforcement officers.

All these things need to happen, but before they do, the opinions of the majority must change. Right or wrong, it works this way.

So what will I do? I will keep using my podium. I will continue to teach my children about equality, that all stereotypes are bad, that they should question a system that benefits them solely because of their race, and that they should choose friends based on the quality of their character rather than the color of their skin. I will share with the people in my life. I will do so gently with people I like or love, and respectfully with the rest. I will not stop loving or liking them just because they might need help to understand. If we only talk with people who agree with us, we are preaching to the choir. When I pass black and white Americans on the street, I will look them in the eye and smile. I will continue to look for biases inside me. I will keep reading. I will listen to anyone who tells me I am missing something and read things that people suggest I read.

If you have any suggestions for what else I can do, share in the comments. I am listening, as are a lot of white Americans today (and, hopefully, tomorrow and always).

It is butch to stand up and say, “Enough! This otherthan wants to be part of the solution rather than the problem!” Be butch.


All About That … Dinah! Meghan Trainor to Headline

IMG_1837.JPGPop sensation Meghan Trainor is confirmed to headline the highly anticipated 25th Anniversary of the legendary Club Skirts Dinah Shore Weekend, April 1-5, 2015 in Palm Springs, CA.

The 20-year-old singer-songwriter from Nantucket will grace the main stage of the Palm Springs Convention Center during the Dinah’s “Black Party” on Saturday, April 4th, 2015 in Palm Springs, CA.

Club Skirts Dinah Shore Weekend, popularly known as “The Dinah”, is the biggest & largest lesbian event of its kind in the world. Founded and produced by Mariah Hanson, The Dinah has, for the past 25 years, continuously been changing minds and changing lives, offering women from all over the world the opportunity to express their true selves and gain an extraordinary amount of self worth. Considered a bucket list event by lesbians of all ages, The Dinah continues to inspire, provoke and entertain.

With The Dinah, Hanson has created a haven where acceptance and tolerance rule. More than a pop song with an infectious beat, “Bass” is a bold self-acceptance message that shares and celebrates the same life philosophy as The Dinah: be free to be who you are.

“Meghan Trainor is the perfect artist to headline the 2015 Dinah, our milestone year. Her song is a record breaking number one billboard hit, and in addition it invokes a new social paradigm that places less emphasis on the exterior and more emphasis on the fact that we are all beautiful and that that beauty comes in many shapes, colors and sizes. I’m especially proud to join with Meghan in sending out this wonderful life-affirming message to our guests. It’s time. And it’s our time!“ says Mariah Hanson, founder and promoter of Club Skirts Dinah Shore Weekend.

Trainor’s insanely catchy single “All About That Bass” was #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for eight consecutive weeks, rewriting the record for the longest-ruling No. 1 single ever released on Epic Records – dethroning The King of Pop’s “Billie Jean” in 1983 and “Black or White” in 1991, which were on top for seven weeks.

“All About that Bass” has already gone four times platinum and has also become the longest-leading No. 1 by a woman this year.

The unstoppable Trainor is kicking off 2015 with a bang embarking on her first ever North American headline tour, THAT BASS tour. In the meantime, she has already released the second single, “Lips Are Movin,’” from her upcoming debut Album “Title” out January 13, 2015, which is quickly climbing up the charts. Meghan was nominated for “New Artist of the Year” at the American Music Awards and is up for Best New Female Musician at the LOGO NewNowNext Awards.
Hanson’s natural knack for spotting the next best thing in music has transformed The Dinah into the inescapable venue for newcomers to breakthrough. Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Kesha and just this year Iggy Azalea are a few examples of artists who, post-Dinah, systematically went on to hit international superstar status.

The music industry now looks at The Dinah as a pivotal indicator in the success of emerging artists’ careers, and has put the festival on the A list of all festivals. The Dinah has undeniably made a name for itself as not only an important festival landmark welcoming the biggest names in the music industry; but also the MUST-DO Spring event of the Palm Springs festival season.

Meghan Trainor is the first confirmed headliner joining the 2015 Dinah Entertainment Line-Up. Mariah Hanson will be announcing more top-notch performers by the end of the year and early 2015.

April 1-5, 2015 Club Skirts Dinah Shore Weekend is turning twenty-five and taking the landmark event to new heights … from EPIC to HISTORIC!

For more information and/or to purchase tickets go to: http://www.TheDinah.com


World Premiere! Right here!

IMG_1609.JPGCheck out Butch singer songwriter Sofia and her new single and video over at HuffPost where we launched it worldwide today! Watch the video and read the piece there. =:o)

I sought out and landed an interview with an adorable Butch songwriter. Go figure. Check her out, and while you are at it – Be Butch.


BOT’s Box: Mail Call!

Check out this amazing mail call I had today…

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I received a stylish polo from Dapper D Fashions, a sassy postcard from Alpha Harlot, and this rad bow tie – skull and crossbones in wee Santa hats! I’m also particularly intrigued by a package I shall not describe just yet from Berman Innovations.

Thank you so much everybody!


The Dinah 2015: Dinah turns 25!

I’m so excited! I’m going to be there again this year. Are you? I can’t wait to hear the line up! And, I note they’ve spelled all the celebrity names right (unlike me). I’ve so much to learn…

CLUB SKIRTS DINAH SHORE WEEKEND COMMENCES CELEBRATION OF ITS
2015 SILVER ANNIVERSARY:
CELEBRATING 25 EPIC YEARS OF WORLD-CLASS ENTERTAINMENT AS ONE OF PALM SPRINGS’ LEADING SIGNATURE EVENTS

IMG_0753.JPGPalm Springs, CA – The legendary Dinah Shore Weekend, founded and produced by Mariah Hanson under her Club Skirts marquee, has officially commenced the six-months long celebration of its Silver Anniversary.

April 1-5, 2015 Club Skirts Dinah Shore Weekend is turning twenty-five and taking the event to a new zenith.

Twenty-five years of excellence and unwavering commitment to deliver world-class entertainment and top notch customer service that continue as Mariah Hanson and her team commemorate the landmark by honoring the partnerships that have been part of the amazing journey and contributed to the event’s stratospheric success.

A quarter-century ago, Mariah Hanson did more than just kick-start her Dinah. She also and most importantly launched what would become her enduring legacy to both the city of Palm Springs and the LGBT community.

From a small, one-night event at a Palm Springs museum with 1,500 participants twenty-five years ago, to booking lavish locations at deluxe hotels over five days of epic pool parties and world-class entertainment with some 15,000-plus attendees and major corporate sponsors today, Club Skirts Dinah Shore Weekend has evolved into one of Palm Springs and the Coachella Valley’s largest tourism boosters and undisputed biggest lesbian event of its kind in the world.

The natural symbiosis shared by these two iconic LGBT Mecca has continuously been a match made in heaven. More than a tradition The Dinah Shore Weekend has over these past 25 years (and counting) become a Palm Springs institution and one of the city’s most popular spring attractions.

Once the party pied-a-terre of Frank Sinatra and his Rat Pack, who turned Palm Springs into America’s most glamorous destination for the glitterati in the 1950s, the famous sunny oasis has now gotten back in the swing of things to once again reclaim its status as one of Hollywood’s hippest playground and the world hub for major high-profile festivals and special events.

The envy of the world with its 360-days of sunshine, the swanky modern city of glitz and glamour has been attracting a new generation of visitors from young hipsters, international jet-setters to Hollywood A-listers and socialites, who vie for the ultra-chic weekend getaway of martini-sipping, cabana lounging and celebrity sightseeing.

As one of the early pioneers, the Dinah has become one of Palm Spring staple events sharing the spotlight with the likes of the Coachella Music Festival, Stagecoach, The Palm Springs International Film Festival, the BNP Paribas Open Trophy, and the PGA and LPGA golf tournaments –all intrinsically linked to the famous desert community.

In the span of twenty five years The Dinah has cemented its status as not only an event the entertainment industry’s most elite go to but also as a trendsetting event that music industry insiders watch and jockey to book their artists’ performances.

It is the only acknowledged all-girl party that features such a phenomenal line-up of talent to ever to perform at a lesbian event. Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Colbie Caillat, India Arie, The Pussycat Dolls, Kesha and more recently Iggy Azalea, are just a few examples of major recording artists that headlined the epic event while still “unknown” and then systematically went on to hit international superstardom.

While The Dinah has been spearheading music careers, it has, most importantly, also been transforming lives and making a difference in and for the LGBT community. Offering an unparalleled one-of-a-kind experience for myriads of women who come every year from all over the world to enjoy the freedom to be who they truly are without fearing the judgment of others, and gain, as well, a tremendous amount of self worth.

The event has also been serving as a platform to mobilize the LGBT community around humanitarian projects and social issues, famously partnering in previous years with a variety of activist associations and charity organizations such as GLAAD, HRC, NOH8, Love is Louder, Equality California, and The Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Center among others.

The Dinah has certifiably come to represent an ever-growing movement that has crossed over to mainstream bringing more and more visibility to the lesbian community – one that had never existed before.

Now ready to soar to new heights, the 25th installment of The Dinah is already expected to be one of the major highlights of the 2015 Palm Springs festival season.

Club Skirts Dinah Shore Weekend is not just breaking grounds; it is making history!

Club Skirts Dinah Shore Weekend 2015 will be held April 1 through the 5th in Palm Springs, CA. For More Information go to: http://www.TheDinah.com

Facebook: Facebook.com/ClubSkirtsDinahShoreWeekend

Twitter: @Dinahshore
Pinterest/Instagram: #DinahShore
#thedinah25

To learn more about The City of Palm Springs visit: http://www.visitgreaterpalmsprings.com

http://www.thedinah.com

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The Lesbian Mastermind behind The Dinah: An Interview with Mariah Hanson

This interview was published over at Huffington Post on October 13, 2014. I have shared it here for my WordPress friends.

I had the opportunity to sit down and talk with Mariah Hanson who runs The Dinah each year in Palm Springs. As confirmation of her lifetime of success, Mariah will be honored by The Center in Palm Springs with its first ever “Legacy Award” to recognize exceptional work on behalf of LGBT people living in the Coachella Valley. I met her this year at The Dinah and she was charming. I was lucky enough to get to ask her some questions well after the dust on the event settled.

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Tell me about yourself.
I am a very passionate woman interested in all aspects of really discovering all the ways we can grow and be the best person we can be. My event reflects that, working my weekend is like going through EST or a seminar. We really lay the groundwork for people to see how they can make a difference. How they can reach out to people who are on the edge, heartbroken, maybe in crisis, or in mourning. The vibe with my staff is really about making a very welcoming amazing first impression with people and then letting that experience flow throughout the weekend. Think about a fancy restaurant with a famous chef. The first course is fantastic. Then you have to go to the bathroom, excuse yourself, and you go in and it’s disgusting. How do you feel when you walk back to your food? Doesn’t matter how good the chef is now. I may be the face of Dinah, but everyone is important. Even the janitor.

I am definitely an event producer, who loves what I do and feels incredibly honored to do what I do. An individual who, as I grow older, is really enjoying the opportunity that we all have to grow and be kind and make a difference. Making a positive difference in our lives is really important. The journey that we have to take has a ripple effect. I love what I do. And then I ride horses. I am a cowgirl. I drive a Chevy. People wouldn’t recognize me.

How do you feel Dinah has developed?
I think it’s seen an incredible growth trajectory. It started out as a pretty wild three-day party focused around drinking and DJ driven. 24-25 years later it is an international lesbian music festival with film, comedy, live music, and charity. It just has become this amazing event. We gave feedback forms last year at the film festival and the feedback was more events like this – mostly from women in their 30s and 50s. As the event grows there is room to do different stuff during the Dinah.

How do you manage to top the year before?
Well I will tell you my goal isn’t to get bigger every year. The goal is just to throw the most amazing event for lesbians in the world. Other events are changing, more talent that is recognizable because gay events set the bar.

Do you see other event promoters as competition?
No. I see it as a win-win. You are in New Orleans and at that beignet shop – you know what I am talking about – there is a line around the block. [Cafe du Monde] Someone comes to NOLA and sees the line and thinks, wow they are making a lot of money; I want to open a beignet shop. But they aren’t as good at making beignets. So they revert to competitive tactics and send the health department over to the other shop. The other option is to see the line and think that this town loves pastries! Let’s open a bakery and make almond croissants. Second scenario: Everyone in NOLA is going to get really fat and be eating a lot of beignets and croissants. First: competitor will go out of business, not everyone is a beignet baker. Not everyone is nightclub promoter.

Favorite memory from the past 24 Dinah’s?
I’ve got a couple. One is listening to the Pussycat Dolls sing Don’t Cha. Another is talking to Katy Perry’s manager about Lady Gaga; I felt this presence behind me as I was talking to him. It was so strong and I turned around – it was Katy Perry, listening to everything I was saying to her manager. She is absolutely stunning and deserves her success. She has a good heart and is really funny. I was really blown away by her. Mary Lambert this year was spellbinding. I was so moved by her.

Me, too. Have you noticed a change in the crowd or any shifts?
I started producing independently in 2006 and that meant that I could make sure everyone was invited to the party and embrace the diversity of our community. If you go now it is incredibly diverse, people from all over the world, different pockets all over the US that are not as accepting as they could be, but at Dinah something different happens. It’s like walking through the door to Narnia and they just embrace the diversity. It is the most positive vibe over the weekend. It is amazing and thrills me. Look around. Look to your left and look to your right. This is amazing. We have 5 days of the most diverse and beautiful people. I’d like to invite the United Nations to come to Dinah and take notes. We can get along. Our differences are so small in the big scheme of things. It happens organically, but we are picking the seeds that we plant. I don’t allow my staff to be rude; if they are rude, they don’t come back. Customers aren’t allowed to be rude either. Positive seeds – treat every customer like gold. We are planting seeds that foster that kind of garden. So there is a stage that is set, and then it happens organically. Valuing and honoring people who attend the event. We appreciate that they are there and want them to have a wonderful weekend. I can’t take responsibility for the weekend, only for the stage.

I’m not so sure about that, Mariah. Who’s on your dream line up?
P!nk – been trying to get her forever. Bring Katy Perry back. Ok, here is my dream line up: P!nk, Katy Perry, Earth Wind & Fire, Chrissie Hynde, Justin Timberlake, and Dolly Parton. Challenge is that you have to stay relevant.

What is one thing people don’t know about you?
I am a bookworm. And, I do a Christmas poetry slam every year.

How fascinating! We talked about this for a few minutes. Mariah and her best friend recite poetry with each other to celebrate. With that, we moved on to the Lightning Round. Yes or no answers, no elaboration needed.

Favorite beer?
Stella, not a beer drinker. I prefer it on draft. I am a wine drinker – big reds.

Cars or motorcycles?
Cars, unless you say Vespa – in purple.

Rather be hot or cold?
Hot, hate to be cold.

Prefer to wear silver or gold?
Gold, I like silver more than I used to.

Books or movies?
Books. If you ask me fiction or nonfiction, then biographies. Why am I reading fiction when the lives of these people are so much more colorful than anything someone made up?

Straight ties or bow ties?
Bow ties, I have to go with eccentric. But, I am more into dresses and if she wore a tie.

And, with her last answer, I sat up a little taller, straightened my bow tie and thanked Mariah for her time. I have to say that I was expecting her to be different. I don’t know how exactly. Maybe less personal. A little more full of herself. After all, she runs the biggest lesbian event in the world. She gets huge talent to come to the desert to sing for several thousand women. Every year. She is a legend. But not as in old, just as in – it’s The Dinah! She has been running The Dinah since it was actually a golf tournament, with a party on the side (as opposed to the week-long party it is now). She wasn’t full of herself, though. She was funny and charming, and hot. I really enjoyed our talk. I can’t wait to go to The Dinah again next year.

It’s Butch to create something that gives so many lesbians joy, year in and year out. Thank you, Mariah. That’s very Butch. Be Butch.


“Mom, What’s a Lockdown Drill?”

Published today on the Huffington Post, reprinted here for my WordPress friends.

Something very disturbing happened today. My daughter, who is 11 and in 6th grade, participated in a lockdown drill at her school. I got an automated call from the school this morning to let me know that the drill would take place. I appreciated that call because it is the kind of thing that I would like to know. Kids sometimes worry about things. Especially things that they don’t understand – or maybe they do understand, but cannot accept.

I remember distinctly being horrified and disgusted as a child by the awful murder of a woman in the middle of the street while a variety of people looked on yet did nothing. This was the first time in my life that I was confronted with the facts that there was evil in the world; the world is not in fact fair; and sometimes people can be disgusting and repulsive (and I don’t mean the killer). I had nightmares for days. I am sure that my mother could add a lot more detail here, but the bottom line is some of my innocence was destroyed by the crime. I was simply not able to reconcile my understanding of the world so beautiful, filled with Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, Strawberry Shortcake dolls, people who loved and cared for me, and this true horror.

Worrying how she would internalize the drill, I made a note to discuss it with my daughter tonight. And, I did just that. The perfect opportunity presented itself: my son was at baseball practice, and I had time with my daughter after karate.

“Tell me about your day, honey,” I prompted. We played our usual high-medium-low game (which allows me to learn at least 3 things that happened in my children’s days) and she added, “We had a lockdown drill today.”

“Yes, I know. How did it go?” She explained that the alarm went off, the teacher locked the door, turned out the lights, and all of the children got down on the floor. They were to be quiet. My daughter commented that if it was real, they would have all been in trouble because no one was quiet.

I asked her if they explained the reason for the drill. She said it would happen when someone they don’t know walks onto campus. As we began the discussion of what would cause someone to come onto a campus full of children to hurt them, I started to feel sick to my stomach. And ill-prepared.

My son came home during the conversation, and though he is much younger, I couldn’t exclude him. We broadened the discussion to include him. “What is a lockdown, Mom?”

“Why would anyone want to hurt a bunch of kids?”

“What would make someone do that?”

I said something about how I had no idea. About how the people who do such things are hurting terribly and they want the world to hurt with them. About how people who are unstable can be thrown over the edge by the death of someone they love, the loss of their own children, etc. I struggled for explanations.

We talked about why they aren’t supposed to just run. We talked about the fact that the law enforcement experts have decided our best chance is to lock ourselves in and wait – and pray if that’s your thing. We talked about the guidance my daughter got today that if you can’t get inside and you see the killer, you should run as fast as you can. That the killer is trying to hurt as many people as quickly as possible and might not care to chase you.

What? Why is this a conversation that I must have with my kids? How do I balance this with the philosophy that I have that the world is a beautiful place? That people are inherently good? That you will receive from the world what you put into it, but that you must keep giving even on bad and unfair days? That though the world might not operate fairly, you still should?

We talked about the fact that this happens sometimes in schools, post offices, work places. Evil walks among us – though I didn’t say that.

“It won’t happen to us, right Mom?”

Right, baby. It won’t. I think we’d have a better chance of winning the lottery, or dying by shark attack. But, we practice a little just so that you are ready. Like we are ready for earthquakes and how we have a disaster plan, and a backpack.

I explained that we can put as much love into the world as possible. People who do these kinds of things seem to be loners, people who are made fun of. We talked about how many criminals were miserable kids, teased by kids or beaten by parents. I reiterated that the two of them should never be kids who tease others. They are the kids who are kind to all – especially the kids sitting alone. You never know when your kindness to someone might help.

The conversation morphed into a discussion of being teased – which I will talk about later. I moved us on to funny things, and positive life stuff. Like Santa and the Tooth Fairy. I hugged my daughter very tightly, and tickled my son so hard that he farted. Massive giggling ensued. Peace was restored. At least, I hope so. For their sakes.

After they were sound asleep, I slumped into my chair. What the hell? Why is this our conversation? How is it fair that a 7 and 11 year old have to practice what to do if a gunman comes onto their campus to shoot as many children as possible? Why are we having these conversations? Why, in America, are we standing for one second longer the free-for-all access to guns designed for massive-instantaneous killing?

I’ve not been very political as far as guns – besides a few tweets about how people keep misreading the Second Amendment – but tonight’s dialogue about massacres of children has left me sick and repulsed. After Sandy Hook there was a public outcry – a hope that we might capitalize on the public outrage and do something to curb the reprehensible availability of automatic weapons. But, nothing has happened.

There have been more killings. According to ABC recently, more than 50 attacks or plots since Columbine. And still, nothing has happened. It’s time. No more parents should have these conversations. No more children should have to introduce mass shootings into their Santa-Barbie-Minecraft-Lego filled worlds.

It’s Butch to stand up for what’s right, even when it is controversial. Be Butch.


Suck It, Biggots!

Biggots in 5 states are looking at Fox News today and shaking their heads. What the …? Equality is contagious, you see. You can’t start treating people equally – as they deserve – with dignity in one, two, three, four, five, six states and expect everyone else to just lump it.

What did you think? Did you really think that you could just throw enough money at the issue, keep trying to scare people and We would forget? Go away? Accept less?

You see, I demand to be treated equally. I demand that for me, my love, my kids, my family, my friends, my neighbors. But…

I also demand that for you, your love, your kids, your family, your friends, your neighbors. Even though I don’t know you. I may not even like you. But still I demand this. For all of us. Even the biggots.

I want equality for you, too. That’s what America is all about. If you don’t like it, suck it.

http://www.lgbtqnation.com/2014/10/u-s-supreme-court-denies-marriage-appeals-from-five-states/

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