In the first place - I had my date… and it went very well. She's super nice - and we had a great time. (Can I just say how *awesome* it is to use 'she' instead of 'they'…..). (We also went for a long walk on the PDX waterfront Saturday night and then out for dinner again ..... so those are all good signs).
Back to Friday night: So we had a great date and then I went out and went dancing with my usual group of friends . I cannot *tell you* how awesome it is to walk into a club and see a great group of girls (all totally hot, btw….) throw up their arms and welcome you with hugs….. it wasn't just six months ago that I would walk into that *same* club and get a water and sit on the wall, by myself.
At this point, the bouncers at all three of local hang-outs know me by name (mind you, I *do* bring them VooDoo donuts, and they tend to like that.... :), and even though I don't drink most of the bar tenders know me because I always leave $5 on the bar even though I only get water and it's free. (After working for years as a waitress, you just don't know how much ONE great tip can make your night and put you in a better mood.... so I try, when I can, to tip well.)
The months when I first came out seem sooooo long ago now. The third friend I came out to was Chloe - and, thankfully she accepted me immediately…. I have the best friends ever - right? Totally…… Anyhow, we were talking about how 'catty' some of our current (straight) female friends could be. How drama starts up and girls… in general - can be kind of nasty to one another and she asked me if I was worried about possibly finding that within the lesbian community.
I mean - it's a fair question, right? Nothing but girls - everywhere you go. AND - girls who were competing to *date* one another…. surely that has be to a lot of back biting and hair pulling right? (well,… there *is* hair pulling - but it's usually super hot when it happens. lol) I have to admit, I was pretty worried about that. I'm the first one to agree that large groups of women can be…. intimidating - and the idea of trying to break into an entirely new community of them was kind of frightening.
I mean, let's face it… I'm not your 'typical lesbian' (though, I must say, I have *yet* to meet anyone 'typical' within my wonderful community) - I mean, I didn't come out until 37 - *after* two marriages to men. I have two kids, whom I conceived 'traditionally' and carried. Oh… and then there's this whole funny sign/internet sensation/HuffPost whipping post/Book/Blog thing….. so, whatever I am - it's NOT AT ALL 'typical'.
May be they would reject me?
May be they would find me …. too odd, too weird… too 'public' to be one of them.
May be they would laugh at me and keep me out of their 'inner circle'…..?
However, that's not what happened. Not. At. All.
One of the things I found on Google was a meet up group for lesbians. I went to the first event I could get to and I met this girl….. Mia. She's this crazy fun girl who's always kayaking or hiking or going on this crazy long 30 miles bike rides…. she LOVES life - and posts about a zillion pictures on facebook a day - all with her great smile and a bevy of friends…. and I was lucky to find myself counted as one.
Our connection was almost immediate, and she asked me for my number and invited me to the next outing… shortly after, I found myself on the short list of people she invited to everything. Through her I met Torri, who is *the* ultimate Sporty Dyke… she plays football (the *real* kind with pads and sh*t) and softball (what lesbian besides me doesn't…..?) and is totally adorable…. she's always posting pictures on facebook that make me swoon…. and then one crazy night at Gay Skate, we met the fourth person in our group: Bella.
It really was like add water: instant friends.
It was instant and suddenly these three wonderful, great and diverse women filled the giant gaping whole in my life and in my heart. In the end, I had only spent about.... two weeks "alone" before I started making genuine friends.
When I had The Boy, it was SIX MONTHS before I made another solid 'Mommy friend' who also had a 6 month old. I don't know why.... but it just did. You have to join MOMS Clubs and MOPS groups and stuff to try and find other Moms to make friends with...
Being a lesbian.... all I really had to do was walk into a room of other lesbians and introduce myself. That just blows my mind.... it really does.
If there was *any* sign I was hoping for from God that I was doing the right thing…. I had found it with these three girls very quickly. He brought me three diverse, wonderful, fun-loving lesbians who took me in, became my friends and accepted me. All of me.
Kind of freakin' awesome.
Shortly after that Keller was added to my life, followed by Keebler (both of whom the children *adore*) and Macks and several others...... it's like everywhere I went: there was a new friend to make. I really *cannot* express to you how much I love the LGBTQ community in Portland.... it's *amazing* and I'm thrilled every day to go out and be apart of it.
But the children...... yes - let's talk about the children. lol
The Boy had a loose idea of what being 'gay' meant... but just like we've never discussed male/female sexual or romantic relationships, we've also never discussed homosexual ones. He understands that you can have two Moms or two Dads or a Mom and a Dad.... or - in our future case: a Mom, a Mom, a Dad and a Mom. hahaha (or at least I freakin' hope so.....)
However, trying to explain to The Boy and The Girl that they are going to meet people who might look like girls are boys, but are actually not girls or boys.... which made me realize that without even trying: I had taught them gender roles. Roles I now have to un-teach them.
For one, it's important that they understand how a person chooses to dress has *very* little to do with what kind of person they are. More importantly, the gender a person is born into *might* not be the gender that they identify with: and that's okay, too.
For instance, Brandon Teena was female-male transgender. Individuals who identify as transgender sometimes take hormones and have surgeries to bring their bodies to a physical place where their heart and mind are, and sometimes they do not. Being out in my community, I have met some fantastic people who identify as transgender and knowing the inner struggle they have faced, and the social/outer struggles they continue to face - it's become a serious focus for me as a parent to educate the children properly about gender identity- and that it's much more flexible that what they might think.
Recently, a blog reader emailed me and asked what the "q" meant in LGBTQ. I can answer this question, however, please understand that 'labels' are something most people don't enjoy having, so while I'm trying to explain things I will be 'labeling' but *not* all labels apply to everyone, nor do they want them too.
It's become commonplace in the community that the 'Q' stands for QUEER.
Queer being the label for people who don't feel that fit into the current definitions within the LGBT community - but also... the 'q' can stand for people who identity as 'gay' or 'lesbian' but will date a person who identifies as transgender.
I have met several people who identify as transgender males (this means a person born a female who identify's their gender as male - again, some have surgery or take hormones and some don't) - and they are totally gorgeous and wonderful people..... if you need another example: Chaz Bono or Daniella Shae.
(This is different from a Butch lesbian, just for the record).
Sadly, hate crimes are *most* prominent and ugly against members of the transgender community. Which is heartbreaking.... but it happens out of fear and people not fully understanding what being transgender means.
For me, it means that I have to do a better job raising children who are *aware* of the human spirit and recognize that in other people - that they look for kindness in deeds and words and not at what 'gender' a person is.
For instance - if a woman loses her breasts to cancer does that make her "less" a woman: of course not.
By that same token.... have a penis doesn't make you a man. (Trust me on that one... bwahahaha)
But in all seriousness, gender is something we are born with - what really matters is how we see ourselves and what matters EVER MORE is that the world support us and embrace us for who we *want* to be.
I was lucky..... I walked straight into having three of the best friends any one lesbian could ever have.... and I plan to practice that level of acceptance with my entire LGBTQ community - and teach that to my children as well.