Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Gendered spaces or ...

When you assume you make and ass out of you. So I just saw this bit about Yahoo's oh so classy display of tech chauvinism. Yes, it prompted me to post after months of silence. Because women hackers, I feel ya and it completely sucks to be in a space that ignores you exist. The thing is, there are plenty of female hackers, queer hackers, and even straight male hackers that just aren't into the whole lap dance thing. But in the eyes of yahoo, do they exist? Hells to the no.

As a dude who planned his wedding and the wedding of several friends as well as a male quilter, I feel ya! It's not just the obvious things like having lap dancers. It's all of the things that lap dancers say about who counts in that space and who does. I'm not a hacker, but here's my experience when J and I went to wedding expos and talked to vendors:

Having vendors LOOK PAST ME for my nonexistent female fiancee - "Where's your fiancee?"
Everything labeled as for the bride - Bridal Suite, Bridal Massage, Bridal pre-wedding brunch
Everything labeled for a woman - Something SHE will love. Making the day memorable for HER.
Pepto bismo pink for every product under the sun
Having a separate space for "the guys" to watch guy things like football, golf, etc.

The thing is, I spend money. For my wedding, I spent a considerable amount of money. Apart of the issue of social justice, you folks are losing money. For those folks who planned the yahoo hackers gathering. Get the blinders off. Men give a damn about their weddings. Women do computer programming. You're leaving money on the table by ignoring us and offending us.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Dropping a bomb

It's been a while. I finally decided to break the radio silence for this question. For all of you straight couples out there - why is to so necessary to have single gendered wedding parties with the women all next to the bride and the men next to the groom? Seriously, I just don't get it. Most of the people J and I are close to are women. Therefore, most of our wedding party were women. But beyond that, I wonder about the siblings. Shouldn't your sister or brother be standing up with you? In several weddings I've been to, the groom's sister stands with the bride and the bride's brother stands with the groom. Why? is there like social pressure from parents to make it so?

Thursday, February 19, 2009

REALLY ending the radio silence

Sorry everyone, I'm not like Scotte who posts like five times a week. For some reason I just couldn't figure out what to write. Rebecca Mead's One Perfect Day still pissed me off. There are still awesome weddings happening. In fact you have to take a look at this one. Seriously. THEY DID IT THEMSELVES. And it looked a zillion times more elegant than most weddings that spent mad cash.

A more thorough analysis on those weighty subject will be forthcoming but I wanted to give my two cents on an even weightier subject - marriage rights. More specifically, expanding the rights of the unmarried. I think the fatal flaw in all of this same-sex marriage business is that privileging of a married relationship over all other things. We shoot ourselves in the foot when we think marriage is the end all and be all.

There's an article in the Washington Post about the popularity of France's civil unions law, or PACS, among STRAIGHT couples. Yes, straight couples are forgoing marriage for PACS. It appears heterosexual marriage has been doing a good job undermining itself without the help of us gays. Heterosexuals PREFER the legal union without the marriage baggage.

I'm saddened to see a bill in Utah (HB 160) was killed in committee because it does precisely what I think a true "marriage' law should do, expand the rights of couplehood beyond those with a romantic relationships. My relationship with J is no more special than a parent to a child, siblings, or even roommates. As France shows, there are a lot of heterosexual couples who don't want the baggage of marriage. I've heard of this specifically for senior citizens where they don't wanto t lose the social security benefits of a previous marriage to get married again so they end up shacking up.

As much as I love weddings and value my married relationship, I do think there's something wrong with saying the devotion J and I show to each other is worth more rights and privileges than any other twosome. If we have learned nothing as folks living the alternative lifestyle, it should be that family comes in all shapes and sizes. Given that one spouse can die before another, the constellation of people taking care of us at the end of our lives looks less like Ozzy and Harriet and more like the Golden Girls.

Monday, December 22, 2008

I'm Back!

Sorry about the long silence. It's been hard to write anything post election since our marriage may be invalidated by the state. By the way, Attorney General Jerry Brown is urging the CA Supreme Court to invalidate Prop 8. THAT, Barack Obama, is being a fierce advocate.

Along with the crappy thing that happened, Mr. MC and East Coast Rebecca got married! The bride and groom look smashing! I had to get them to do my first post-wedding interview.

When we last were talking about actual weddings and actual wedding planning, Mr. MC and East Coast Rebecca were on the cusp of their wedding. Now 52% of people in California say Boo to same-sex marriage, we can go back to frivolous talk about flowers and caterers because seriously after having over half a state tell me my marriage doesn't count, I REALLY want to talk about flowers and caterers. Let's check in with the happy couple post wedding:

From the pictures, you two looked gorgeous and happy. How did the weather hold up? Fall in Washington, DC can be spectacular or it can be a cold rainy mess.

ECR: It was the first really cool day of the season, which was a little colder than we'd hoped. We warned everyone that fall can be unpredictable, though, so all the ladies came prepared with wraps and whatnot.

MMC: Yeah, but we wanted a fall wedding and our day definitely felt autumnal. It was lovely.

Do the day go as planned? Was it comfortably elegant? Did the vendors do what they were supposed to?

ECR: Things went mostly as planned. There were two big sources of pre-wedding panic - my dress wasn't at the drycleaner when we went to pick it up (it arrived within 45 minutes, but that was definitely an "oh shit" moment), and my parents and I got caught in terrible traffic on the way to the venue and arrived an hour after I'd hoped to be there. Turns out it was Howard University's homecoming.

I think it was very comfortably elegant, classy but not stuffy. And the vendors were great.

MMC: I have to admit I was surprised when my expert event planning wife was unaware of the Howard homecoming and then chose a Mapquest route that went ... right past Howard. She was being driven by her dad, who doesn't know DC at all, so that made it interesting. Luckily I was able to look up a Google map and talk them around their traffic jam.

Tell me about the ceremony. Had Mr. MC seen the dress before or was that a surprise? Mr. MC, what were you thinking when you first saw East Coast Rebecca? How were you feeling Rebecca?

ECR: A friend from Philly got ordained so that he could be our celebrant, and he did an absolutely brilliant job. We had trouble finding two appropriately long readings for the ceremony, so we chose an assortment of shorter readings (as well as a couple of longer ones) and assigned them to friends right before the wedding. Each reader just stood up in place to do their bit. It worked really nicely, much to our delight.

As soon as I got to the venue, I felt great - a little wound up, sure, but I was happy and excited and ready to see everyone.

MMC: Basically I was the one human within a 200 mile radius of the bride who had not seen the dress in advance of the day, so yes it was a surprise. Although I don't know if surprise is the right word. It was a beautiful white wedding dress. Surprise! I guess if it had been a hot pink pantsuit, that would have been a surprise. All I know is that she looked beautiful. Like, whoa, beautiful.

What about the reception? What did you serve and how was the vibe?

ECR: We did the heavy hors d'oeuvres thing, and we provided seating for maybe 80% of the attendees. This meant that folks ate when they wanted, talked, danced, ate more, etc. as they saw fit. It made things a bit more casual, which I prefer to a big seated dinner.

The food included beef brisket, roasted chicken with cider jus, New Orleans style shrimp (in a spicy butter sauce), autumn vegetable tarts, and a hot potato-apple salad (with optional bacon). In lieu of a cake, we had a dessert buffet with tiny apple crisps served in shot glasses along with other treats. The caterer also passed mini ice cream cones. They were totally the hit of the party.

MMC: The vibe was indeed chill and yet festive. We didn't do some of the more traditional reception mainstays. No introductions, no toasts, no garter or bouquet toss, no cutting of the cake (no cake!) and we did our "first dance" without announcing it, so for a while it was just the two of us off dancing to Stevie Wonder alone. It was great. We did the music by iPod and it worked well. Only had to attend to it 2 or 3 times all night. Eventually the music got jumping and there was some serious dancing going on; everything from Al Green to Miley Cyrus. Yes, Miley was a hit...

What were the happy surprises? Those moments that everyone remembers but aren't in the script?

ECR: Neal told me he would send a child to fetch me when it was ceremony time, and I was shocked and delighted to see the adorable blonde head of Aidan, a kid I used to babysit, peering around the door at me. That was awesome. Also memorable was our celebrant's welcoming family, friends, and "Rebecca's gays." People are still laughing about that.

Oh, although it wasn't part of the wedding, my friends from home had a big banner printed with Rick Astley's face on it and "Rebecca and Neal - 2-gether 4-ever" and put it on our hotel room door.

MMC: Yeah, Aiden rocked.

Anything you'd do differently?

ECR: Pick up my dress earlier and ask the photographer to do more formal pictures of Neal and me.

MMC: Not wait so long to pop the question.

Finally, how was the Halloween party? Any memorable costumes? Or did people half ass it?

ECR: It was a good time, but I must admit it was tough to get properly enthused coming off of such a monumental event the previous week. No memorable costumes, I don't think.

MMC: I don't even remember what I wore. And yes, we should have skipped the party this year. But next year it can double as our anniversary party!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Let us realize the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice

First the rain. There are tears in my eyes and I write this. The joy of an Obama victory is tempered by the sadness of a likely passage of California Proposition 8, a ballot initiative designed to take away legal recognition of my marriage to J and tens of thousands like it.

Here's what I said this morning in reaction to this devastating news.

There are a Defense of Marriage Ballot Initiative in California in 2000. A mere 8 years ago, that proposition passed by a 65-35 margin. Eight years later 48% of our state supports the legal recognition of same-sex marriage. As every poll shows that young people overwhelmingly support legal recognition for same sex marriage, I think it will take another 8 years to win back marriage rights. In the wake of the Emancipation Proclamation, African Americans faced another 100 years of Jim Crow.

We share this sadness with our brothers and sisters in Florida and Arizona who saw similar measures upheld. We are up against a right wing infrastructure that requires its members to tithe 10% of their income to the church. This is a right wing infrastructure that tells its members how to vote from the pulpit. We were up against a right wing infrastructure that was pretty comfortable lying about teaching gay marriage in schools. That's a lot to be up against.

We LGBT folks haven't done our work as well. African Americans voted overwhelmingly for Prop 8. I ask, why should they not? Have LGBT leaders spoken up against drug penalties, police profiling, affordable housing, and unequal distribution of education resources? Have we marched for immigrant rights? Supported unionization efforts?

Was our ground game the best it could be? My experience volunteering for the No On 8 campaign had me, J and West Coast Rebecca stand in a BART station for "visibility." There were 50 other volunteers directed to do the same that we encountered. I think an overwhelmed campaign didn't have the resources to have us phone bank, door knock, and canvass. In contrast to the No on Prop 4 campaign that was focused strictly on phone banking, No on 8 seemed to expend a lot of volunteer resources on "visibility." Hindsight is 20/20 but let's do this better because there will be a next time.

Finally, the sunshine. We elected a mixed-race African American president with families members who are white, immigrant, Asian, and working class. We expanded our majorities in the House and Senate. We defeated ballot initiatives in California, South Dakota and Colorado which would have severely restricted reproductive rights. We lived through 8 years of a Bush administration to come out on the other side with a Democratic President and Democratic majorities.

I can only quote Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., a civil rights leader and COMMUNITY ORGANIZER: "Let us realize the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends towards justice."

Monday, November 3, 2008

I will not shut up about this until tomorrow night

One more thing about Prop 8 and the whole anti-same-sex marriage kerfluffle. For those who are all worried about changing the definition of marriage, it's been changed. For the better. Multiple times. If you are such a big ol' Bible reader, you should know that the definition of marriage in the Old Testament was a man and a woman and another woman and another woman and another one. Also, the old definition of marriage essentially required that the husband pay the bride's father for the right to marry her. You are all worried about the slippery slope argument about allowing incestuous marriages and multiple spouse marriages. It has been changed to the one man one woman definition. It's been changed for people of different races to be married. What makes you this THIS change is the bad one?

Monday, October 27, 2008

Protect Marriage, Protect Love

I’m not posting much these days because these seem to be perilous days for my marriage to J. Proposition 8, is coming up on the ballot and it would invalidate all same sex marriages in California. We’re leading by the slimmest of margins but the right wing continues to throw millions into this election. I hate this because there so much more we need to fight for. You know, marriage should even be an issue if we had universal health care, comprehensive child care, and a truly progressive tax system. Marriage shouldn’t be an issue if all people were allowed to designate someone, anyone to receive their life insurance, gym memberships, and pensions. Who am I to say that my marriage to J is a more important relationship that a son taking care of his elderly mother, best friends living Golden Girls style, or two siblings?

You see, for all of the right wing whining about marriage being redefined, it’s ALWAYS been redefined. Look at the Bible folks. Biblical marriages weren’t defined as one man and one woman. They were one man and multiple wives. GASP. Since the time of the Bible marriage was redefined, and for the better I might add. Marriage has been redefined time and time again to allow for the fact that women are thinking human beings, people of different races don’t pollute each other’s gene pool, and kids still in school might now have the best judgment to choose their life partner. Think back to the middle of the last century. I ask you, does marriage looks exactly the same as it does now in terms of responsibilities, relationships, and care of children?

I know I’m preaching to the choir here so I am asking the small choir of readers to sing (metaphorically). If you live in California, vote no on Prop 8. If you live outside of California, call your friends and loved ones there and tell them to vote no on Prop 8.