A Pre-Inauguration Story (With Curse Words)

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I pulled into the parking lot of a theatre with my girlfriend (partner? I never know the best moniker for the woman I love) the Friday before the election. (I feel as though it will forever be referred to as “THE election.”) We parked at the exact same time as our friend and her 12-year-old goddaughter. We got out, walking towards each other sharing greetings, at the same time a man stopped on the sidewalk. He began shouting at our friend, “You fucking bitch! Who the fuck do you think you are?!?” He was beyond angry and continued an obscenity-laden tirade aimed at our friend.

She kept walking towards us, not breaking eye contact, then glanced at her goddaughter, presumably to comfort, then smiled and nervously laughed, “I don’t know what that’s all about.”

We began making our way towards the theatre, while the man continued his outburst from the sidewalk. Nobody in the parking lot – was there even anyone there? – jumped in to offer support.

Then, he stepped off the sidewalk and began coming towards our friend, shouting obscenities. And every single alarm in my body went off.

I stepped between them. No hesitation.

I snapped my fingers and pointed my finger at him – like a mother to a child having a tantrum. (Or a lesbian to a barking dog. Frame of reference is important, friends.)

“Absolutely not. Not OK. Unacceptable.”

These were the phrases that came out of my mouth.

Absolutely not. Not OK. Unacceptable.

He seemed momentarily stunned. Me, in my searsucker blazer and heels (I was wearing fucking heels), snapping in his face, shocked him to silence.

Then…

“Who the fuck do you think you are?!?!” he spat out.

I stood my ground. “Move along, sir. Move on,” I responded. “This is not OK. Move on.”

He turned and slowly walked away. Not happily. He was muttering obscenities, but he moved on.

Now, I know that this had a much better ending than it could have had. He could have become physically violent. To be fair, I was prepared for violence. I had a posse of three behind me. Two and half, really, ‘cause one is only 12-years-old. And, honestly, our pal probably could have handled herself. (The woman conceal carries in her fancy purse for crying out loud.)

But when he stepped off that sidewalk everything inside me said, “He is a threat. Stop him from moving closer.”

As the 45th President’s inauguration nears, I can’t help but liken it to that evening in the parking lot. Up until January 20, he’s been on the sidewalk, but post-January 20, he’s walking towards us.

I am on high alert. I am preparing for what comes next.

But…in the meantime, it’s back to work.

I’ll volunteer more of my time. I’ll give more of my money to the organizations who are doing the work. I’ll make more phone calls and write more letters. I’ll also continue to look for commonalities and work towards common goals.

But I stand at the ready to step in when I see the unacceptable. And I’ve been practicing my snap.

Umm…Waiter, There’s a Hair in My Politics

OK…so far, I have stayed far away from the Taco Haven brouhaha because a lesbian taking this one on is real cliché.

Think about it. Let that joke sink in. Yes? And…go…

Here’s the deal: I love tacos.

(That’s what she said.)

But, seriously. I love them.

They encompass my major food groups: carbs and cheese. Boom. Right in a neat little package.

Give me a potato, egg, and cheese taco, and you will make me very, very happy.

Now, you may disagree with this. Your favorite taco may be potato, egg, and bacon. A. Because bacon is scrumptious, and B. because you’re lactose intolerant.

I, on the other hand, am a vegetarian, so bacon is not so much something that I eat.

But here’s the deal: there are more things we agree on in this taco – potatoes and eggs – than there are on which we disagree.

With me so far?

Now, let’s say we’re out for breakfast. You order your taco; I order mine. Inside mine, however, is a hair. Game over.

I mean, a hair…? In your taco…? That’s not OK.

And while you may offer me a bite of your taco…

(That’s what she said.)

I can’t eat it because of the stupid bacon.

And, really…I can’t stop thinking about the hair. Now, even you’re thinking about it. The whole restaurant is now abuzz with the fact that I had a hair in my taco. Everyone is looking at his or her taco and wondering if it has a hair in it, too.

See…a hair taints everything you eat. Could be the most magnificent taco EVER, but you find a hair in it, and the whole experience is overshadowed by that one single hair.

So, now, the leap…

The “men in girl’s bathrooms” argument is the hair.

Borrowed from San Antonio Express News.

Borrowed from San Antonio Express News.

We’re going along, having a perfectly legitimate conversation (read: taco), when BOOM…a hair.

We have a fundamental disagreement about bacon and cheese. You think the nondiscrimination ordinance somehow took away your religious freedoms, and I think your “religious” argument is based on prejudice. I won’t change your mind; you won’t change mine. You’re lactose intolerant, and I’m a vegetarian.

But you should be just as disappointed in the hair in our discussion as I am. It ruins the ENTIRE taco – the potatoes aren’t good anymore; the eggs aren’t good anymore; hell…even the brilliant tortilla is tainted.

Actually, this is the state of our politics today.

Hairs.

We don’t discuss the things we agree on anymore. We can’t even dialogue on that which we disagree because a small faction of our community dropped a hair into the conversation, and we keep talking about that.

  • Abortion Hair: 20-week abortions.
  • Gay Rights Hair: Pedophilia.
  • 2004 Election Hair: Swift boat.
  • 2008 Election Hair: Obama was born in Kenya.

There are more, but you get the idea. Hair.

It’s become the thing that everyone is talking about, and it shouldn’t have been in the taco in the first place.

So, let’s get the hair out of our tacos and go back to just having breakfast together – maybe not at Taco Haven ‘cause this is really more about their support of the hair – but somewhere else.

We live in San Antonio, for crying out loud. There are plenty of taco places. I know some great places to get a taco.

(Again…that’s what she said.)

Open Letter to Councilmember Diego Bernal

September 4, 2013

Dear Councilmember Bernal,

Wow! Who’da thunk that an ordinance making it harder to discriminate against our citizens would be so divisive? You have had your work cut out for you over the last couple of months, but more specifically in these last couple of weeks.

Now, contrary to the most recent claims by District 9 Representative Elisa Chan, who believes there has been a “lack of public process,” I am delighted with the public input — both positive and negative. The overwhelming participation in the crafting of this ordinance has been exciting to see, especially for a city that lacks participation in local elections. I hope that this process translates to more votes in our next municipal elections as more people have come to realize the direct effect our city leaders can have on our daily lives.

Ms. Chan believes there are “three main reasons this ordinance is so divisive: 1) lack of public process; 2) lack of clarity in the proposed NDO; 3) potential infringement of freedom of speech and freedom of religion.”

While I could summarily pick apart each of her arguments — I mean, those three “reasons” are part of the Shiny Object Politics that have made this ordinance in particular so divisive — I choose instead to give you my own list of reasons.

Because It Makes Good Economic Sense

Businesses that have this non-discrimination ordinance in place will be hard-pressed to recruit members of the LGBT community to their companies if the City doesn’t have this standard ordinance in place. Perhaps this pleases certain members of our society — why recruit more of “those people” to our city? — but a business who can’t recruit won’t choose San Antonio for its headquarters. That’s logic. Examples of businesses who already have non-discrimination clauses in place are USAA, Rackspace Hosting, and Spurs Sports and Entertainment.

Because It Makes Good Political Sense

With less than 25% (give or take a few percentage points) of our Boards and Commissions filled, we can’t afford to lose out on capable candidates who want to serve our city because they are not included in a non-discrimination ordinance.

Because It Makes Good Military Sense

As a “Military City,” we can’t afford to show members of our armed forces that while the federal government recognizes all classes, we, as a City, do not. Yep, that’s right…the military is no longer a “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” organization. They are now the organization that releases statements like the following:

“Every person who serves our nation in uniform stepped forward with courage and commitment. All that matters is their patriotism, their willingness to serve their country and their qualifications to do so. Today’s ruling helps ensure that all men and women who serve this country can be treated fairly and equally, with the full dignity and respect they so richly deserve” (Released June 26, 2013, Statement by Secretary Hagel).

And finally…

Because This Isn’t About Acceptance, It’s About Discrimination

“Just because I disagree with the lifestyle choices of the LGBT community does not mean that I dislike them. Similarly, just because one opposes the proposed NDO does not mean that one is FOR discrimination!” This is part of Representative Chan’s opposition to the NDO as written in her letter to “District 9 Residents and Friends” dated September 3, 2013.

Let me be clear: I don’t need your acceptance. I am comfortable with who I am as a human being without your stamp of approval. I would simply like an affirmative vote on an ordinance.

You see, whereas Ms. Chan might merely “disagree” with my “lifestyle choice,” which ultimately would never sway her decisions about me while in office, there are perhaps others who are not as evolved as she is, that will allow their opposition to my “lifestyle” to discriminate against me. Perhaps this will translate to my denial to a city commission. Mayhaps this will come to fruition in a city contract I am not given. Or this could play out after an application to work for the City of San Antonio is denied.

#NDO4SAThe non-discrimination ordinance, which has been updated to read as such, “It shall be the general policy of the City of San Antonio to prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, veteran status, age or disability, as set forth in the Divisions following, unless exempted by state or federal law or as otherwise indicated,” makes it impossible for those who may not be as adept as Ms. Chan in separating their personal and public lives from discriminating against me.

We are a city on the rise, and you are a representative of that city. Here’s hoping we can rise above this anger and vitriol and just make good policy sense.

Sincerely,

Molly Cox

Resident, District 1

Ginormous Lesbian, Unfortunate Last Name

Year 2

Two years ago, there was a phone call – “There’s something wrong with your father – his breathing is labored, and he’s not responding to touch or sound,” and then, approximately 12 hours later, he quit breathing. I watched it happen. I was on the phone with my brother, who was incredulous, “Well, can’t you get them to stop it?!?” And my voice – only it didn’t sound like me – “He’s dying…there’s no stopping that.”

It’s fuzzier now. Two years later.

I don’t remember everything like I used to.

It’s been two years, but the anxiety still creeps in.  The sadness started a week before this day rolled around. It’s not as horrific as it was last year, but it’s still there nonetheless. I was told that your body reacts to grief. These “anniversaries” are inside you. You’ll be walking down the street, and you feel something is wrong and realize, “Oh! Today is THAT day.”

So…I knew it was coming. I tried to prepare myself better this time around.

I’ve been preoccupied with this non-discrimination ordinance in San Antonio and the utter lack of compassion I’m reading from those who oppose it. I find myself really missing my dad on this issue.

My ultra-conservative father would have found this type of dialogue so non-helpful.

Here’s the deal: my dad and I never spoke about the fact that I was gay. To him, it was an unimportant piece of who I was. I was smart, and I could make him laugh. These were the important pieces. Who I loved – although clearly important to me – didn’t matter to him. I mean, he wanted me happy, but he wasn’t concerned who was contributing to it. This was true for my whole life. He didn’t want a relationship with my partner; he wanted a relationship with me.

A discussion around someone’s private life didn’t interest my father. Hal Cox, the serial husband, knew he had no business telling people whom they could and could not love. A man who had been married and divorced four times was always so shocked by the discussion around gay marriage – “Let them be as miserable as the rest of us” was his favorite argument. Umm…thanks, Dad…?

Now, two years after his death, the tide has changed. More and more people are talking about “the gays.” More specifically, they’re discussing my sex life. That’s really what it is. The people who are so anti-gay are mostly concerned about the things that happen within the confines of my bedroom (or the kitchen or the couch – let’s face it, straighties, gays are a lot like you.)

My father would be mortified. I am his daughter. Not only did my sex life never enter into his mind, the fact that other people are concerned with it would have made him so uncomfortable.

However, this societal swell of gay talk would have forced us to have a conversation.

I never talked to my dad about being gay because it was unimportant to him.

But who I am is important. And before my father died, I was never able to be fully authentic with him.

While being gay is not something that defines me, it certainly makes up who I am. And while my sex life is not now, nor will it ever be, your business, whom I love is important. Because the person I love makes me better and happier and more open and centered. And really, that’s kind of important. And while it is entirely too sappy – my father would quickly deflect and change the subject – it is important to know about love. Perhaps, if we led with that, we would be less inclined to preach hatred.

ImageSo, on this, the two-year anniversary of his death, I am saddened that he is gone – there is, and likely always will be, a hole in my heart where he was. I know he still sees me as smart(ish), and I probably still make him laugh (and his was a good laugh), but I am also certain that he sees me happy (or gay…see what I did there?) and fully authentic.

Abortions and Angry Time with Google

Uh oh…she hardly ever blogs anymore and when she does it’s always while standing on a soapbox. She’s not a blogger; she’s an angry elf.

Oh…I’m angry.

If you’re not abreast (pun intended, as we are talking about women’s issues) of the debate going on in Texas, let me first ask “WHAT the WHAHHH???”

And then let me summarize…

texasBasically, during a special legislative session called by Texas Governor Rick Perry (I’m a huge fan </sarcasmfont>), redistricting and abortion were added to the agenda (other topics, too, but I won’t bore you with all of them). During this special session, while multiple bills were filed, it is Senate Bill 5 (SB5), by state Senator Glenn Hegar (R-Katy, TX), that is making the headlines. SB5, in a nutshell, would make abortion illegal after 20 weeks, while also establishing new requirements and regulations for those facilities that perform abortions. More specifically, it would force the closure of 37 of 42 clinics, which currently offer abortion services in Texas. That leaves five (FIVE) clinics in the entire state of Texas.

——————–

A friend of mine had her 11-year-old daughter call me one day because they were driving through the East Coast, and she was complaining about all the time they were spending in the car.

“How long have you been in the car?” I asked.

“7 hours,” she replied.

“How many states have you driven through?”

She listed three.

“For reference, if I got in my car right now and headed north for seven hours, I might not even make it across the Texas state line.”

She responded, “Well, that’s unfortunate.”

—————-

Basically, it’s a big state. So, FIVE clinics that would provide this service would be like only one food truck vendor at San Antonio’s NIOSA.

You can read more about SB5 and the surrounding controversy here. Or here. Or here.

Look, I could now write a research paper on all the statistics I found on abortion, (like these) but I don’t want to lose focus on why I’m angry.

*Disclaimer: I got some of these stats from the Guttmacher Institute, which we all know to be an evil arm of that horrific Planned Parenthood organization.

But I do want to address some statistics that this bill addresses:

  1. Fewer than 0.5% of women obtaining abortions experience a complication, and the risk of death associated with abortion is about one-tenth that associated with childbirth. (For more information, click here.)
  2. 98.5% of abortions occur in the first 20 weeks of pregnancy. (For more information, click here. Or here.)

These are actual facts. I know facts can be difficult to understand. Hell, we have elected officials who claim that rape kits – you know, the things that collect DNA for authorities – can actually “clean you out,” meaning there is no need to worry about getting an abortion ‘cause you can’t get pregnant. No…seriously…that happened.

We are creating legislation to make it nearly impossible to get an abortion due to the less than 2% of abortions that happen in the time frame that is most troubling to Republicans and the less than 1% of complications arising from the procedure.

This is when I start having heart palpitations.

Remember the gun debate? You know, every time a mass shooting takes place, one side of the aisle screams, “WHEN ARE WE GOING TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT GUN CONTROL?” While the other side screams, “YOU CAN PRY MY GUN OUT OF MY COLD, DEAD HAND.”

Then, the conversation becomes one that discusses the statistics.

“Tobacco use kills more people per year than firearm homicides.” Or “according to the FBI, the #1 weapon used in violent crimes is a baseball bat.”

So, Republicans refuse to entertain a debate on exercising more control on the nearly 27,000 gun homicides that happened between 2009 and 2011, but want to restrict legislation due to the estimated 18,000 of 20 or more week abortions that happened between 2009-2011.

Now, I’m not silly enough to think that I’m comparing apples to apples on this. (And, quite frankly, I suck at math, so all those numbers could be wrong.) What I’m trying to show is that the 20-week abortion clause is a shiny object designed to make you think that Republicans are concerned about fetuses. Moreover, the more stringent restrictions on clinics clause is a shiny object designed to make you think that Republicans are concerned about the well-being of women during the procedure. But they are simply shiny objects.

Because this bill is solely designed to make abortions next to impossible to get in the state of Texas.

Do not be fooled by propaganda.

Do not be conned into thinking that this is about human life.

This is a religious and partisan argument that ultimately makes women’s lives harder.

So, hell yeah, I’m angry.

You want to restrict abortions? Say so. Stand in front of the people you represent and say, “I think abortion is wrong, and I don’t want anyone to get one.”

Allow your constituents to make their decisions based on clear information.

Don’t purport to care about women’s well-being.

If you did, you’d start talking to young women AND young men about contraception rather than just abstinence only.

If you did, you’d start talking about preventative healthcare and family planning.

If you did, you’d refrain from adding additional restrictions to social programs.

Let’s call this what this really is – an opportunity for Texas to summarily end abortions in its state.

So, you do not fool me. You just make me angry.

An Apology

Confession: churchies make me nervous.

For clarification, a “churchie” is someone who self-identifies as “born again,” a “follower of Christ,” someone who “found Jesus,” and/or anyone who describes him/herself as “religious.”

I am not proud of this confession, but I share it now as we move into hearings on marriage rights, which is generally argued on religious beliefs.

Here’s the deal…churchies are the people who say things like the following:

On marriage equality: “Basically marriage will be completely destroyed, families will be destroyed, children will be hurt by this. And freedom of speech and freedom of religion, including in the pulpit itself, will absolutely be bulldozed over,” Mathew Staver, Dean of Liberty University’s School of Law.

After the Aurora, Colorado massacre: “We don’t have a crime problem, a gun problem or even a violence problem. What we have is a sin problem. And since we’ve ordered God out of our schools, and communities, the military and public conversations, you know we really shouldn’t act so surprised … when all hell breaks loose,” Mike Huckabee, former Governor of Arkansas.

On marriage equality: “Anything other than a man marrying a woman is two disturbed people playing house,” John Hagee, senior pastor and founder of Cornerstone Church.

After the Newtown massacre: “The question is going to come up, ‘Where was God? I thought God cared about the little children. God protects the little children. Where was God when all this went down?’ Here’s the bottom line, God is not going to go where he is not wanted,” Bryan Fischer, American Family Association.

These are churchies.

Let’s be clear: I grew up Catholic. My grandma’s best friend, a man I deemed my “other” grandfather, was a Catholic priest. I was 10 when I received my first bible. I was wrestled out of bed every Sunday for the Catholic dance – stand, kneel, sit, kneel, wine, kneel, sit, stand. I never felt connected to God in a Catholic church. I remember feeling closer to God during conversations with my grandma than I ever did sitting in a pew, robotically reciting the prayers I had learned in CCD class.

After my parent’s divorce, my mom took us to a Lutheran church. It was here that I went to church camp, sang in a choir, and joined a youth group. Church was fun and filled with volleyball and lock-ins. It was also here that I began hearing about “totally twisted perverts” – the homosexuals who could destroy life as we knew it.

I stopped going to church when I was a teenager. I haven’t returned. Well, I go when required – weddings, funerals, the occasional family outing.

Churches (and the churchies) make me nervous. And here’s why…

The God I have come to know – the one that asks me to be the best me – is not the God that these churches (or churchies) speak of. That God is scary. He believes we are all sinners – hate the sin, not the sinner. He is vengeful and spiteful. He shows his wrath by helping kill innocent children or desecrating cities due to homosexuality. The God of the churchies needs a mediator to hear you – a priest who can tell you what your punishment is for the sins you have committed. Churchies stand outside military funerals and claim their God kills soldiers because “God hates fags.”

I am not trying to get into a religious discussion – that can’t be done in a blog or on Facebook. I am happy to go to coffee and have a legitimate dialogue, as I have been known to do with many a Christian.

What I do want this blog to be is the start of a change. For me.

This is an apology to you, my Jesus lovin’ Christian friends. I apologize that I allowed these churchies to cloud my assessment of you. I am sorry that I let a select few corrupt my views of so many.

It is not your fault that a few of you are extremists. It is not your fault that a select group of you seem unloving or judgmental. It is not your fault that the loudest (and generally angriest) of you are generally the only ones heard.

Perhaps it’s because only recently have I actually met a few of you that helped me redefine what “churchie” means: that being a Christian means loving all and being the best you. It means having a relationship with God outside of your relationship to others. It means being comfortable enough in that relationship to not need to make others feel like their relationships are less than. Being a real Christian means that you spend your days being the best you and understand that others need to be the best them.

So, while you may not catch me at church every Sunday, what you will see is me being my best me.

More importantly, you will see me change…’cause we are nothing if we can’t evolve.

It’s taken me a while to figure this out, but I know that you will forgive me…it’s kind of what y’all do.

PS. Heard of the Reformation Project? It’s kind of awesome.

The Boy Scout Challenge

Dear Mr. de los Santos,

I accept the challenge – made in your recent editorial in the San Antonio Express News – to help the Boy Scouts of America accomplish incredible things for young people and the communities we serve.

Indeed, I have looked through your list of merit badges and believe I can be of service to you in more ways than one.

  • I rescued and now care for five dogs, (don’t ask), making me the perfect person to help a young scout receive his Dog Care Merit Badge.
  • I own my own business, whereupon I work with nonprofit organizations on capacity building, increasing their ability to effectively serve more people, so I can certainly help answer questions and offer guidance for an Entrepreneurship Merit Badge, and may even be able to help a scout tackle your Citizenship in the Community Merit Badge.
  • I have been on stage since the age of five and spent four years teaching young children and teens the art of theater, so I kind of have some expertise for the Theater Merit Badge.

These are just a few, but I didn’t want to lose out on the Humility Merit Badge. (I don’t think there is one, but there should be.)

gay badgeHere’s the problem: I can’t actually accept your challenge, Sir. I can’t help the Boy Scouts of America help “young people grow into good, strong citizens” because your organization has a policy banning me – an “avowed and open homosexual” – from participating in your organization.

To believe that this conversation about gay rights – rather human rights – takes our focus away from our nation’s children and what is in their best interest shows how out of touch the Boy Scouts of America Corporation is from our nation’s current narrative. It is difficult for me to understand, then, how your organization is able to help young people grow at all.

When you reduce the conversation to one that is about doing what is best for our nation’s youth, then I ask you to be prepared to answer questions about your organization’s disservice to the very population it purports to represent.

Every day that you uphold your discriminatory and simpleminded policies is yet another day that your organization shows your scouts that it is acceptable practice to blindly discriminate against a sector of society based on misinformation and a lack of understanding. This does not do what is best for our nation’s children.

Every day that you proclaim to be an organization that provides youth “programs of character development and values-based leadership training,” while upholding a policy that asks for the “open” and “avowed” homosexuals to stand down, is a day that you show that lying about who you are is better than being open and accepting about who you are. This does not do what is best for our nation’s children.

To teach discrimination and a lack of acceptance doesn’t bring up good, strong citizens, but rather a group of young men who are close-minded, lack diverse life experiences, and, quite frankly, miss out on meeting some amazing individuals that can teach them incredible things about the world.

Your organization is currently at the center of a nationwide debate – not because of your work with young people, but because of its discriminatory policies and its unwillingness to see them as such.

Please don’t reduce this conversation to an Either/Or Proposition – either you’re concerned with the best interest of children or you want to talk gay rights. As a good, strong citizen, I believe this is a Yes/And Proposition. I am both concerned with the best interest of children and believe that means they need to understand human dignity.

So, I offer you a challenge of my own: I challenge you and the Boy Scouts of America to rethink your concept of “good and strong citizens.”

I argue that in an effort to be both good and strong, we should know that there are people who are “different” and good at the same time. I argue to be good and strong, we should learn from people and embrace diversity. A good, strong citizen questions antiquated policies and learns from, then rectifies, mistakes.

Let’s lead by example – a good, strong example – and truly help accomplish incredible things for young people and the communities we serve.