As a newish resident of Ward 5, in Washington DC, I’ve been loosely following the race for our Councilmember as the September, 14th voting date comes closer. I’ve seen the number of street signs increase on lawns on my runs around the neighborhood. Months ago I became curious about Kenyan McDuffie and his stance on marriage equality and the recently passed approval of gay marriage in DC. I tweeted a question at him and after some back and forth due to technical issues, received a confirmation that he does indeed support same sex marriage (SSM). As I already knew that Harry Thomas had been an advocate of SSM this year when it counted, I knew that I had another candidate to at least consider. Recently I’ve been seeing signs for Delano Hunter. A little bit of digging revealed that he did not support SSM in any way and even went to far as to take money from NOM. Being a frequent user of Twitter, a few tweets revealed that he seems to talk out of both sides of his mouth, stating via his Twitter feed that

“There is much room in the SSM conversation for mutual respect and genuine open mindedness. What I’ve noticed at times is advocates on all sides that promote positions that do not take into account the complexity of this issue. There are ways in which we can provide equality and respect religious convictions and traditions. It’s just gonna take honest dialogue, openness, and compromise.”

As NOM’s sole purpose is to  campaign against gay marriage, guess who’s supposed to compromise? Delano Hunter says that he won’t move to overturn gay marriage in Washington, DC but clearly thinks that we’ve reached an adequate state of compromise. I find this curious as being married in the district still affords married, same sex couples little or no federal protections including social security spousal or survivor benefits, hospital visitation outside of the district, tax-free rollover for a non-spousal beneficiary for 401K retirement plans, etc., which are just a few of the examples of why localized SSM marriage laws are still not enough.

So based on this, you can imagine my surprise this morning upon waking to discover that the Washington Post has chosen to endorse Delano Hunter of the four candidates running for Ward 5 Councilmember. The article states,

Mr. Hunter is not a supporter of marriage equality, but he is not the homophobe his critics make him out to be, but rather someone who thinks there is a way to provide equality for gays while respecting the beliefs of religious groups. He said he would not seek to change the law.

It is this type of statement that truly drives home my second class status. I feel as if I am expected to respond by saying “Thanks for letting me live in this neighborhood with you fine, straight folks!” or be pleased that he’s going to be upset if someone tries to burn down my house because I’m gay. The message is really, it’s not okay to hate gay people, but it is okay to bar gay people from something that straight people don’t even have to think about. It is as if it is expected that I hate myself just enough to be grateful that I’m “welcome” and not question that an individual can represent my interests but not respect my right to love, to build a home, to raise a family and have that investment protected like any other couple. To know that if something happens to me I will be able to be seen in the hospital by the person I share that home with and I will be able to put provisions in place that protect that family in my absence.

Look, I don’t know anyone who enjoys mere toleration. Gay people live in Ward 5.  There are three other candidates for Ward 5 Councilmember. Harry Thomas, Kenyan McDuffie, and Tracy Turner all support marriage equality – pick one.


clinton speech

Originally uploaded by l@in.

Today, Joanna and I met up with a friend to go see Hillary Clinton’s final campaign speech at the National Building Museum. We waited in the hot June sun with hundreds of others snaking around the building until we finally got inside. Fortunately we didn’t have to wait in the heat for too long, though we couldn’t see much from the second floor. We did hear the applause for Terry McAuliffe as he arrived and joked amongst ourselves that perhaps Bill had stopped off for a snack at the Burger King nearby as we watched the clock and waited.

Clinton is great speaker. She certainly did not disappoint today as she managed to address the disappointment of her supporters, the historic nature of her campaign, the need for full inclusion in the Democratic Party, and throw her full support under Barak Obama as the presidential nominee in a concise and eloquent manner.

I won’t lie, I’m genuinely sad that she didn’t get the nomination. I believe she is the best candidate for the job. I am also sad that this election will not send the first woman to the White House in a position other than First Lady.

I am, however, heartened by her speech. In hearing it live, as well as having time to reflect while awaiting her arrival I realized that there are important take-aways from her campaign. These points are especially pertinent to me as a woman. It’s difficult to explain, but I do feel that this election process has exposed the very serious cracks in the foundation our nation was built on. Sexism and racism are still present in our collective psyche. They are easy issues to ignore or try and overlook because they’re difficult to deal with. They’re messy, and personal, and emotional, but in order to really deal with them, one must do it head-on. It requires dialog both internal and external. There is no excuse for either, but I do feel as if sexism is easier to ignore. I heard a pundit on tv once I returned home this evening talking about how the idea of a glass ceiling was a “ridiculous” idea. Granted, the man was on Fox news, but I was still shocked that he said it. Shocked that he thought that was an okay comment to make as if months ago almost every news poll was asking the question if America was ready for a female President. They asked the question if we were ready for a black President too, and frankly I’m just kind of appalled that we’ve got to ask the question, even though it’s clear that we do, because we’re not sure about the answer.

Anyway, it’s a lot to process. Seeing Clinton speak this afternoon was inspiring to me. She was confident and gracious and conceded without being defeatist. I think it’s a good lesson. It got me thinking about what I might do to change my thinking about failures, both small and large, and how to work towards success in my own life. I came up with points made in Clinton’s speech today that I think would be helpful to me.

1. It’s okay to be proud and vocal about your accomplishments.

One of the first comments I heard about the speech today while watching the news was that she talked about herself a lot. My first thought was well… yeah, it was about her campaign. But then I really thought about it – she is able to talk about her own accomplishments without being self-aggrandizing. I think that’s important, especially for women, because I think we’re taught to down-play what we do and wait for someone else to congratulate us for our accomplishments, which ultimately, doesn’t do anyone any good.

2. Don’t stop just because other’s think you should.

People have been advocating that Clinton drop out of the race for months. If she had, we may never have seen just how much support was out there. I think it’s a good lesson in not giving up, trying your best, and having faith in yourself and your goals.

3. Just because you fight hard, doesn’t mean you’re going to win.

I think that sums it up. Along with this though, I think it’s easy to assume that because you didn’t win you weren’t good enough to win. In actuality, that’s not always the case.

4. Be thankful.

Clinton was thankful for the opportunity to run for President, for her supporters, her family and friends, and for the opportunities afforded her. It’s cheesy, but it’s easy to forget to be thankful.

5. Be gracious, exhibit grace.

Throughout the campaign, and even before really, I have always been a little amazed at Clinton’s graciousness. The speech she gave today must have been extraordinarily difficult, but she did it very well. I feel as if the ability to do this is born of a little hardship.

But that’s it. It was a good race. Now, time for a Democrat in the White House.

Today is Blogging for LGBT family day.

For me, almost every issue of this nature is both personal and political and the two are ever intertwined. Currently in 31 states there are no legal protections if you’re fired because of your sexual orientation. In numerous states there is no second parent adoption. And yes, kiddies! Virginia is far, far from gay friendly. Usually if you’re not married and applying for a loan where there needs to be a credit check, each individual is required to pay whereas a married couple pays a single fee together. And if you’re gay and married, good luck with those federal taxes.

On a strictly personal level, referring to or not referring to your partner in the workplace is always a fun conundrum. Everyone else seems to have no issue bringing up their husbands, wives, children even when the context is completely inappropriate. Do you take your partner to the holiday party, the company picnic? What if you have kids?

On the upside, California finally did the right thing. New York inches in that direction. And it’s nice to have friends who email you about how cute you and your partner’s kids would be, and at the end of the email realizes – hey wait! You guys can’t have biological children. Because, to her my relationship is completely natural, and she wants to be an auntie.

There’s a great post on Queercents about traveling as a family. Pandagon also has a post up. Hopefully by the end of the day other big feminist blogs will post as well.

This is the best thing ever. Yay, Philly!

City, Scouts battle over discrimination policy

“A battle between Philadelphia and it its local Boy Scouts council is likely to end this month, when the scouts’ lease on their 80-year home at 22nd and Winter Streets runs out May 31.

The building, built and maintained by the scouts over the last 80 years, sits on city property and has previously cost them $1 per year to occupy.

However, if the Philadelphia Boy Scouts council, called Cradle of Liberty, hopes to retain the building, it must agree to pay market rate rent – about $200,000, according to city officials.

At issue is a Boy Scouts’ national policy toward homosexual men, who are barred from serving in leadership positions in the organization

Tonight I adapted this awesome recipe for Dark Chocolate Cranberry Blondies and delivered it to Hillary HQ for the volunteers calling voters in Texas and Ohio.

the recipe with my adaptations:

3/4 cup butter, melted
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 kosher salt
1 cups milk chocolate chips
1/2 cups dried cherries

Lightly grease 8 x8 baking dish.

Melt butter in pan, remove from heat and cool. Stir together butter and sugars. Beat in eggs one at a time, followed by vanilla extract. Stir in flour and salt, mixing just until no streaks of flour remain, then add chocolate and dried cherries. Pour into prepared pan and spread evenly with a spatula.

Bake for about 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean and the top is a light golden brown. If using a 9×13, the brownies may be slightly thinner, so be sure to check them early; it is better to check once or twice than to have overdone blondies.

Cool on a wire rack before slicing.

Again not my recipe, but the way I adapted it. I think it turned out very well.

I made some calls to voters on Saturday, and was amazed that many of the people that I talked to weren’t aware of the so-called Texas “two step” process. Others regretted that they couldn’t make it to the caucus because they had work. What a really screwy system. Regardless, tomorrow should be an exciting day.

Go Hillary.

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