Calling Words – The battle against mysogyny

“Calling words” become action. There is an attack happening on women. That was obvious as soon as the Republican nominee first opened his mouth. The problem is, that the words that this nomine uses to call others towards hatred have begun to have it affect from the ground up. Many of us knew this would happen. While it’s happened before, those of us who are lesbian have become accustomed to a certain freedom and action and receiving legal rights. My friends and I like the freedom.

rosie-the-riveter

Now it is time for us to call words of action out to our women warriors to write calling words. Now is the time call forth others to gather together and fight harder against this insidious repression of women and women’s ideas. While the obvious oppression is against all women, especially women of leadership and power, the more problematic on my mind is how it affects our lesbian community, our queer community, and all women who love women. Last week, the lesbian community learned of the loss of the editor of afterellencom to a company that took over the website and relieved her of her duties. This is a tragic loss to our community in my opinion. It was one of the few safe places I could go online when I first came out.  This does not mean it has to be the end however. afterellen-660x330-500x250

It is good to discover that the original owner of afterellen has been able to move to autostraddle. This corporate takeover is still a sign of things to come if we do not stand up now. I encourage all my fellow writers and bloggers to support our community by writing your own blog about sites still available to our lesbian community. While I am more familiar with after Ellen and auto straddle, I recently discovered two new blogs written by a younger generation. It is a time for us to continues to support the older revolutionary sites, but also to embrace the new. Perhaps it is the time to handle hand over the baton. Only time will tell. For now those of us who have battled for rights for the gay and lesbian community must continue to hold strong. We can also encourage this younger generation to continue the fight so that one day it will no longer be a fight. So that one day we will no longer have to consider a fight for the right to love who we love. Love is love is love is love is love.  Nothing more true can be said and we must continue to share that message.

womens-power-by-outrightIn this day of shootings and riots we forget the power of the word. Yet it must be remembered that it was the words of Hitler that called people to atrocities. It was the words of the fascist the lead whole countries into battle against the in innocent. It is the words of the Republican nominee that is calling forth more hatred more racism and more oppression. We can call forth the words needed to support strong warrior women who will stand up against oppression hatred and racism. As I started this particular writing, my thought is to address the lesbian community because that is the one whose rights (or lack of rights) I know most personally. We have fought a long and hard throughout my life for the right to marry. We only had that right for around a year and a half and already it is threatened.

It is the nature of any battle, that the oppressor while losing will find a way to route what they consider the enemy. I call forth any of you who are being targeted to write words to call forth any meek who will stand up. They may be meek by nature, but they also may have the heart of a warrior. I am from a family of warriors, yet I am by nature a peacemaker. My warrior family would not have put up with the things that I have put up with. I am not sure how they would’ve handled it other than voting, but they didn’t have to worry because they were white and middle-class. That means they did not have to fight, their rights were assumed and taken for granted. While I am a white woman and still middle-class, I have also lived in poverty and felt the effects of oppression. I have lived in communities where oppression rules.lesbian

I have seen firsthand the damage that words of hatred, racism, and xenophobia have on entire communities of people. While most of the meek find it hard to stand alone, we must let them know that they are not alone. They have us and that we will all stand up together against this regime that is quickly taking over our rights as women. Please understand that this is not to call those who continue to be meek any negative name. We need the meek, they are our peacemakers. Because of my own nature, I do understand however that there are those of us who are meek by default. Yet, we have a warrior spirit to stand beside the Warriors in the battle. Perhaps those of us who are from warrior families can support the wounded, take over when they are tired, write blogs and articles books about what we have been through. Words matter.

Words do have power. Words have incited wars. What is more important as I write this, is to let you know that words have also called forth beauty and worlds. Most of my readers understand that I have been a pastor. The power of words that comes to me first is that Christian and Hebrew Scriptures that start out saying that God called forth the world. God did not wave hands or a wand. God did not ask someone else to do it. God called forth. God spoke and it happened. I call you forth to make something happen in the name of women.

yinyang

Please support Lesbian, Queer, Women’s businesses and blogs any way you can. Here are a few that I recommend.

autostraddle.com

Effort-Lez                                       effort-lez

Hautebutch.com


Content Protection by DMCA.com

What should I keep? Books, Letters & Friends

Pile of projects

Things keep piling up. No matter how much I clean, give away, or throw out things continue to accumulate. Thousands of photos stored. Coats that I still might wear. Books I might read again or I might not. The books become friends and we all need friends even if we must dust them off now and again.

Paring down bulky items, I donated two music trophies to Goodwill. They were probably antiques because I hear trophies are no long metal. I took off the plates with what the trophies were for and I put them in some drawer. The purpose in saving them, only a reminder that I once won awards in music. The softball trophy I keep on my shelf still. Most people know about my music and how I used it. Few people know I was once good at softball. It felt important to keep the sports trophy as proof of my identity as a dyke. Silly isn’t it…or sad.

What do I have to prove at my age? Who will care about my memories or accomplishments when I’m gone? My diplomas hang now in the music room at church, my icons of hard work and dedication. My fellow musician, another childless person, is excited for the opportunity to hang her credentials with mine. At least one day perhaps someone will see our contributions as vital to the life of the church.   bookshelves

This is not self-pity to think on these things.  My family is still sifting through the junk accumulated by my pack rat of a dad. He’s been gone a year and a half, almost two. My mother seems to have just as much stuff. When it’s my time to go, I want it not to be a chore for whoever must empty my remaining space. Can I leave treasures instead? Handwritten notes from friends and family. Books that speak of the goodness of life. Things that might matter to a stranger as well as a family member?

My life is strong and I think on these things because I never want to hoard, but also because I live with a 94-year-old who continues to distribute her possessions to the proper family member, someone who would appreciate an item for its history or use. She’s not being morbid about it, only practical. Still, when it’s her time to go, there are things that no one will want; things that are too painful to see and remember loss or things that only she liked anyway.

PorchWhat should I keep in this transient life? I will keep love remembered and forget the pain. I will keep the joys, but also the sorrow for,wherever there has been sorrow, Joy eventually took its place. Sorrow is also a teacher, even if the lesson is not one we wanted to learn. I will hold on to my friends and family members and embrace forgiveness. I never needed those grudges any way.

 

Content Protection by DMCA.com

Happenings in my Writing

Fiddle GuitarsThis was supposed to be a photo of my puppy. I clearly clicked on the incorrect icon. Web design and writing blogs takes a lot of time. So does writing books. I’m excited to say however that my muse has been busy!

Last year, I came out with my first CD, Ordinary Miracles. It was a dream come true. I may have rushed it more than needed. The death of my dad at the beginning of the year muddled my thinking in unanticipated ways. I wanted him to be able to hear it, but at least he knew that I had won an artist’s grant to get it completed. Dad was the one who first helped me start guitar.

 

I’m not sure where my love of writing comes from, although I know another cousin who loves to write poetry as much as I do. I recently completed my first novel and excited about it truthfully. It’s only taken me twenty years to get it finished. My characters are as stubborn as I am. When first starting it, I had a love story in mind. You know the type, typical girl meets girl and life ends happily ever after. Ha! If only that were the truth of it all. Then a character took over my book. I mean really, who

CC0 Public Domain Pixabay
CC0 Public Domain from Pixabay

knew that could happen. The characters and I kept arguing about how to proceed until finally all of them went on strike. The characters wouldn’t talk to me until after I completed the memoir and the poetry. Okay, so I decided to do it THEIR way! It’s a pretty neat story that will be told. I have two more readers’ edits to complete and then it’s off to the publisher.

Of course, the main character is not as young as once anticipated. There are no sexy scenes because, well…it just didn’t happen. The one place I had tried to make something happen seemed forced. That’s just not right to do that. Who wants to put in gratuitous sex anyway. I always want to write about love and how we can be better humans together. I’m hoping that happens in my new book. Check back here to see when you can get your own copy.

If you’ve been to my site, you have noticed that I’m also working on creating a place about music. I’m calling it Robin’s Radio.

Learn Guitar
Learn Guitar

When I get finished creating Robin’s Radio, it will be a place to learn about music and hear tunes that make you happy. Support women musicians. That’s the other thing I hope my new “station” (I use the term loosely) will foster, love of women’s music. Life is too short not to hear women singing about other women.

Creativity is an energy that gets me moving. Whenever and wherever creativity is involved, is the place where I want to be. It’s exciting to be able to focus more on my art, music, and writing now that I’m older. A life lived creatively is the only life I’ve ever wanted. How amazing that it’s now MY LIFE! Because I also support creativity in your life, here’s a cool article I’m going to read when I finish this blog: How to Unleash The Great Perfection of Creativity by Geshe Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche.

 

“Don’t be satisfied with stories, how things have gone with others. Unfold your own myth.”
― Rumi

 

Content Protection by DMCA.com

My Bar Experience

gay flag half mast

“Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t after you.”
~Joseph Heller, Catch-22

First, you must understand how challenging it is for me to post this publically as a religious person. Second, you must know that I am a lesbian. Those things being said, you might want to stop reading if you think this is going to be some kind of erotic or some gay conversion type of reading because it’s not. Go read something else.

I guess I should also say, third – I am in rage about what has happened in Orlando. Raging because it happened in the first place. Raging because the first thing I found out is how the media didn’t want people to know it was a gay bar. Why? It’s okay to shoot gays? Oh yea, and raging because some are going to blame Islamic terrorists when the truth is that this is about hatred of gays and lesbians. Anybody who is different, add your name here:

This shooting is because I, ____________, was different from those in charge.

Who is in charge would logically be our next question? Who indeed IS in charge our the United (or dis-united) States of America? Blame and pointing fingers is all that’s on the news. God, if only we would look in the mirror when we’re pointing! And yes, I include myself in that accusation. I have to say that I am guilty of being afraid of standing up for my brothers and sisters in the gay, lesbian, transgendered community in the past. Not any more.

As a writer, I have tried to write in such a way that I don’t offend anyone while also trying to stand up for my rights as a lesbian. Why? Because I am religious. Why? Because I also live in a rural Southern community and that also means lots of guns. Have I ever been afraid for my life? All the time. Why? Not because of Islamists, or gun control, but because of hatred.

From Celtic Christian Tradition Page
From Celtic Christian Tradition Page

Growing up, I knew I was religious before I understood what it meant that I was lesbian and that lesbian wasn’t acceptable. I’m just one of those people. I tried not to be religious after I lost my pastorate for coming out. That meant for me that instead of studying Christianity (the faith of my upbringing), I began to study Buddhism instead.

Still, I did go to bars. I was terrified the first time I went in college because I didn’t want the Christians to find out and also because I didn’t want to be caught up in an FBI raid. I had never been to a bar so I didn’t know what to expect. Of course, the kind college friends who took me to a bar for the first time were afraid too, but not of the FBI. They were afraid of me. Why? Because I was one of the Christians on campus who was on the Fellowship Team, President of the Baptist Student Union, and I led a dorm Bible study. Oh yeah, and I was a church music major. They were only scared of my condemnation and it must have been a pretty powerful fear because it was three of them and one of me. Still, they took me. I was really tame after all and part of them knew that.

I was afraid the first time I went to the bar in Charlotte also because I was afraid I might like it and then what? Or worse, what if it was awful and I didn’t really know who I was? Imagine my surprise when I went into this bar with loud music full of alcohol (which was a sin to the Baptist tradition at the time), and homosexuals (sinners of course) and all that I felt was RELIEF.

Yes, my first feeling upon entering a gay bar was one of relief. Finally, I was among my own people. Finally, I could relax and not be afraid that someone was going to tell me I was going to be hell (I didn’t understand the power of my inner tapes at the time). Finally, I could just breathe. At the time, I didn’t drink, but I did dance. Oh how I LOVE to dance! I was too shy to ask anyone to dance so only got to dance a few times because I didn’t want to seem aggressive. It was enough just to BE there and be safe.

What did I need to be safe from you might ask? I was raised in a rural community full of faith filled people. Lucky for me, people who grew up mostly spoke the truth when they spoke the truth so I wasn’t around a lot of liars. I was surrounded by good people. Why was I afraid?

One of the things that was spoken regularly in the area where I grew up was the derogatory use of “faggot” “gay” “lesbo” “bulldyke” and the word “homo” or “homo-SEX-ual” (emphasis not mine), on a regular basis. The people who said these derogatory things were in my family, were my friends, neighbors, church members who did not know that I was a homo. I heard every word of hatred. I remember the feelings they shared and how often homosexuals were the brunt of awful jokes. I heard these same “loving” and “good” people say that homos should be shot or gotten rid of. Add to that the religious messages sent that I was going to hell. When I was a child, I didn’t understand this at all. I was a quiet and quite literal child who felt I had not even done anything hell worthy as a kid. All that time, I was listening. All my life I’ve been listening to those around me.

As a result, I began to think and worry that every breath I took was a sin. I apologize for everything (also a challenge of most women). I repented as often as I could of thinking wrong. I have put every thought, feeling, word, etc. under a microscope in my fear of hell, that I began to realize later in life that I was a bit paranoid…and possibly neurotic. Hmmm. I wonder why.

How many times did I go to a bar after that you might ask? Three or four times in college to dance. Three or four times after college to dance and meet friends I made. Twice while in seminary to just feel like myself. Once on my church internship to dance with friends. I would buy A drink when I went, but not more. I did not like the out of control feeling I felt when I went to a bar. I JUST WANTED TO BE AROUND PEOPLE LIKE ME! I JUST WANTED TO FEEL SAFE FROM THE WORLD’S CONDEMNATION!

I capitalize that because I am raging and appalled that our world continues to ostracize people like me when we do not choose to be made how we are. We are born this way. I no longer go to bars, because it’s just NOT my thing and I hated the smoke. Also, I prefer meeting my friends at church. Luckily for me, there was a wonderful group of business professionals in Charlotte who had personally funded a safe place for the GLBT people to meet and make friends. It was a place for those of us who didn’t want to meet at a bar. Of course, as a pastor at the time, I REALLY scared people. Fortunately, God sent a table full of people who were not afraid of me as a Christian and we’ve been good friends ever since.

I go through all of this to simply say that a gay bar, like ANY bar, can be a pick up joint. But a GAY BAR is first and foremost a safe place to meet other people who have been estranged, fired, thrown out of the house. A gay bar can be just a place to make friends who won’t condemn you and who understand you…or at least it was before today.

What happened in Orlando is a hate crime! The massacre was one to kill those who are different. One AP news report said that what may have set the gunmen off was the sight of two men kissing. Which is more dangerous to our society: kissing or massacring? Dancing or massacring? Having fun or massacring?

Gays, lesbians, transsexuals, trangendered, bisexual people have stood for our civil rights in this country. They have also died for the cause like Harvey Milk. There have been family and friends of this community who stood alongside of them. However, until more of our families and friends are brave enough to stand up for their sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, etc., until more straight people stand up alongside the GLBTQIA community, hate crimes will continue. Until all of us stop the hate talk, we will feed the fires of massacre.

I choose love. I choose kindness. Lord have mercy on us all.

 

The Nazis also targeted the LGBT
population. We must not be silent, and
we must not return hate for hate.

“…Then they came for the Jews
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Jew
Then they came for me,
And there was no one left
To speak out for me.”

— Pastor Martin Niemoller

Click to hear Bishop Curry of the Episcopal Church's prayer.
Click to hear Bishop Curry of the Episcopal Church’s prayer.

 

 

Content Protection by DMCA.com
1 3 4 5