Archive for October, 2008

my thoughts on the whole gay marriage issue

ok. since i essentially get my only advertising from friends’ posts on facebook, i’m a little out of touch with election-mania.  but i’m finally starting to get a taste of just some of the insane prop 8 propaganda that’s out there.

this morning i received an email asking to donate to the no on 8 campaign because the yes on 8 campaign is trying to raise $2 million to pass the proposition because they think that armageddon will actually arrive if 8 gets defeated and gays are [still] allowed to marry (in CA). apparently some people on the right are actually calling the prop 8 campaign more important than the presidential election.  i might be inclined to agree with them, but only because i don’t think the presidential election is all that important.

at any rate, hearing such things (“armageddon”, etc.) inspired me to actually poke around a bit and check out some of the propaganda on both sides of this proposition.  ok i didn’t go too far – mostly just to facebook posts;)  there were plenty there already.

one of the crazy things that caught my eye was this scary yes on prop 8 video using kids to sing about how confused they would become if prop 8 passes:

how does allowing queers to marry suddenly turn these kids’ dad into a woman, and their mom into a man?!

so my opinion on the gay marriage issue has evolved a bit over time.  on marriage in general, i was always opposed from a pretty young age – always saying i would never get married (making my parents think that i would become a nun at one point), that i didn’t need a piece of paper from the state to sanctify any of my relationships.

then in college in oregon, when portland passed what became only a temporary right for gay marriage, i as the leader of the gay-straight alliance at a pretty conservative small-town private liberal arts college, suddenly felt compelled to advocate for marriage rights as a way to promote gay rights and call out homophobia on campus.  i was even a bride in a mock wedding we produced in a fraternity basement, marrying my [straight] best friend.

i admit my politics on marriage issues got thrown for a loop when the whole gay marriage issue hit the front page.

but then moving to the bay area in 2004, within my first two weeks here, i was introduced to gay shame’s end marriage campaign which was probably the most radical thing i had ever seen in my life, and made me quit advocating for gay marriage in any small way (it’s not like i was lobbying or anything).

for awhile i was adamantly opposed to gay marriage (and all marriage).  and it’s another one of those debates i’ve been in with progressives where they tend to find me totally callous and think i’m preventing “progress”.

since then i feel like my thoughts have become a little more flexible on the issue.  unlike some of the radical arguments against gay marriage, i don’t fully buy into the assimilationist argument – ie all queers should fundamentally be non-conformist and stand against all that heterosexual monogamy stands for.

i do absolutely oppose the origins of property co-optation that marriage is founded on, and believe that marriage is inherently discriminatory – why should only monogamous “couples” have the kind of legal rights that marriage allows?  what about non-monagamous relationships and people who choose to remain single?

i believe that legal rights like tax breaks and property rights for married couples are essentially capitalist financial incentives made to encourage individuals to couple, marry, and produce children – more workers to exploit.

and it’s this issue of money around the marriage issue – both the discriminatory financial incentives, and the gross consumerism of the wedding industry – that makes me remain opposed to all marriage.  lisa jervis captured some of my thoughts on the sickening consumer market for gay weddings in her “assorted thoughts on pride weddings and capitalism” article.  it’s been ridiculous to see just how much money there is in the wedding industry, and now that the market for wedding clientele is growing to include gay and lesbian couples, it’s raking in even more profit.

in spite of all this, i do acknowledge the private/public ritual aspect of commitment that some people choose to make through marriage.  i don’t deny non-monogamous relationship’s validity, but i do recognize that for many people, some form of a formal commitment can be a very beautiful step in their relationship and in their lives as an individual.  i have absolutely nothing against this.  and i admittedly tend to enjoy weddings.

so let me make myself clear:  even though i’ve been using the word “oppose” throughout this post, i do NOT wish to deny anyone the right to marry if they so choose.  i will vote NO ON PROP 8, to be sure.  but i do think that the issue of fighting for gay marriage has taken up tremendous amounts of resources in our political climate, when there are so many other injustices with much more dire consequences (war, environmental racism, economic exploitation, to name a few) that should be getting much more attention.

so, i’m not going to spend my money or time on fighting for gay marriage, but i will certainly do nothing to deny anyone equal rights under the law.  and i will happily continue to attend friends’ and family’s weddings when given the opportunity, and support the people in my life to live happy and healthy relationships, no matter what state of “commitment” or state-recognition.  but ultimately, i will continue to work towards a just and sustainable community where state-sanctioned marriage is irrelevant.

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a saturday shopping adventure by bike

my partner jess and i started out our saturday with vegan brunch at fellini’s in berkeley, meeting at the restaurant after jess got off an overnight shift for work.  after french toast and soy bacon, and their fresh-squeezed orange juice (i love that orange juice machine!), we set off on our bikes to browse thrift shops, a yarn festival, antique stores, farmer’s market, and… paint stores.

my bike with a dahlia jess gave me at brunch

my bike with a dahlia jess gave me at brunch

we stopped at some thrift stores first, but not surprisingly didn’t find any furniture for the new apartment.  i’m going to have to be patient on this one.  the searching over the last few weeks has yielded us a sweet old sewing desk, but that’s it so far.

next we headed up north of the university to check out the “color: fiber festival” my friend kasha (from cultivating domesticity) alerted me to. neither of us really needed any more yarn – we’re still trying to figure out what to do with my current stash in the new apartment – but i was excited to check it out, since i’d missed all the other yarn festivals i’d heard about in the last couple years since i started knitting.  alas, the “festival” was one room containing about 6 stalls of local bay area yarn vendors, and a circle of women spinning wool outside under a tent.  all the yarn was beautiful and hand-dyed, etc., and everyone there seemed to be wearing a garment they had knit themselves.  it was all very cute, but we felt awkward, and got literally trapped by one of the vendors who was eager to tell us all about her yarns, and try to make a sale. we made our way out as tactfully as possible after perusing all the stalls, and were thanked for coming as we got back on our bikes.

the color fiber festival

the color fiber festival

ironically, just a block away from the fiber festival, we ran into a couple garage sales around the corner, and i ended up scoring a ball of yarn for 50 cents.  sweet.  i love when things like that happen.

from there, we made our way over to “mixed pickles”, an adorable antique store on shattuck, where we ogled an old bedroom set of two twin beds with matching dressers and night stands, in an olive green color with little painted flowers. i had to drag jess out, convincing her the dresser was not in our price range right now (always a dream-crusher, i am).  we set off hoping that we would find a dresser that was just as good at a nearby garage sale for only 50 cents, but i guess the yarn score used up that bit of good luck.

next we stopped for a strawberry nut milk shake at raw energy, this cute little juice bar on addison st., where jess is a regular.  the owner is so nice, we even got a discount (that’s how often jess goes…).

we took our nut milk over to the berkeley farmer’s market, where we sampled a few fruits, and bought some apples, persimmons, and grapes, and then found a delicious lavender hibiscus lemonade from this vendor who had all sorts of beautiful canned goods.

canned goods at the farmer's market

canned goods at the farmer's market

after the farmer’s market we biked down telegraph, stopping at a few more garage sales on the way (no scores), to a few paint stores in the temescal neighborhood, and brought home about a million samples, which we pored over, with heavy debate, deciding on colors for each room in the apartment.  right now we’ve picked out a shade of teal for the living room, pink for the bedroom, avocado/lime greenish for the arts & crafts room, goldenrod for the kitchen, and a lighter pink for the bathroom.  next up:  actually buying the paint and going for it.  we’ll see how it goes.

lastly, we stopped at a yarn store on piedmont ave on the way home, where i picked up my size 11 needles so i can start my next sweater:

anyway, it was just a nice saturday, that i felt like sharing with those who weren’t there.

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Tying up loose ends…

first of all, we finally got internet service activated at our new apartment (we moved 9/27), so i’ve been without internet access at home for weeks now, and thus-unable to update ye olde blog!  you’d think i would have at least spent some of that time writing, waiting in anticipation to post my ruminations as soon as the DSL kicked in, but alas, i did not.  i did read some good books (one hundred years of solitude and slaughterhouse five, and still working on resisting state violence with the book group i’m part of), and did a lot of unpacking.
ballet sweater by kris percival

kris percival's ballet sweater

AND – i finally managed to finish the “ballet sweater” (pattern by kris percival) which had been sitting around ready to be sewn up since i finished knitting it in july.

the first seams i did were the shoulders, which i accidentally sewed inside out – so i have these big old backwards seams on each shoulder that look ridiculous, but i almost ended up unraveling a whole sleeve when i tried to take out the seam and re-do it, so i opted to just leave them.  i end up leaving a lot of mistakes in my work because of that! oh well.

my ballet sweater

my ballet sweater

sweater back

sweater back

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