Finding Church

I’ve been a member of my church for about five years. I started going shortly after I first moved into the neighborhood. I’ve wanted a church to call home for a very long time, but as a youth did not want one that prescribed a belief system I could not get behind. Mostly, I’m talking about Christianity.

When I was in high school, those were still the days before the cross-Canada legalization of same-sex marriage. I was starting to explore organized religion after my studies in individual spiritual systems left me feeling unfulfilled, and an unidentified nagging pushed me onward. I decided to attend a local United Church and loved it. The friendliness, the singing, the shaking hands. It wasn’t overly preachy. I couldn’t wait to dive all the way in.

I had many chats with the church’s youth pastor and eventually the subject of confirmation classes came up. I only had to clear up one thing.

“How important is the belief in the divinity of Jesus?” I asked.

“It’s the core of our belief system,” he told me, slightly bewildered.

I thanked him for his time and never went back. I would find Church elsewhere. Continue reading “Finding Church”

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A Bisexual’s Secret: I Am Intimidated By Women.

(Originally posted on March 27, 2013 at I Dig Your Girlfriend.)

I’m bisexual, and the prospect of dating a woman terrifies me. It’s probably the main reason I took ten years to finally accept myself and come out. I knew I wasn’t just straight-but-not-narrow when I was fourteen. But the few times I hesitantly reached out beyond the fear of rejection in high school, I was shut down – and painfully. It was easier to just focus my attention on boys and pretend I didn’t notice girls.

I also have the worst gaydar ever.

Honestly, I even have trouble sussing out whether straight men are hitting on me or not, so the idea of trying to read signals from a lady gives me serious anxiety. The awkward, hurtful experience of confessing a crush to a straight girl is something I don’t want to repeat at this point in my life.

Getting involved in LGBTQ events in Edmonton has been helpful, since I have met women I can say with certainty are attracted to other women, but not all crushes pop up at lesbian events. Sometimes they show up inconveniently at work, or at school, or at church. Men confuse me as it is. Continue reading “A Bisexual’s Secret: I Am Intimidated By Women.”

Our Progress Since 1959

I recently got back from vacationing with my wife. Among our many adventures in Nova Scotia, we stayed at the inn where she proposed to me, as is usual with our trips out east. The little inn shall remain unnamed, but they offer a small glass-door cupboard of books for guests to borrow, with a request to return for others to enjoy.

There were three or four shelves in a cupboard about two feet wide, so there weren’t a whole lot of books. It’s quite an eclectic mix, I must say. There were a few titles by L. Ron Hubbard, and several books in other languages. There was a 2006 – 2007 copy of Sunday Missal: Living with Christ and a small Lizzie McGuire chapter book.

But this immediately caught my eye: The New Illustrated Medical Encyclopedia For Home Use.

This beauty had four volumes, and looked old. I thought for sure it would be an entertaining read.

I brought it back to our room and delved in. It was published in 1959, back when having a medical encyclopedia for home use was a good idea and wouldn’t lead to chronic hypochondria.

The index was quite entertaining by itself.

themenopause
Not just any Menopause; THE Menopause.

Some of the information I encountered was progressive, and some of it was dated in that it was sexist, offensive, or incorrect. Or all of the above. Continue reading “Our Progress Since 1959”

Reflections

(Originally posted on June 25, 2013 at I Dig Your Girlfriend.)

What a week it’s been.

I typically try to keep my blog topics queer-themed, but lately I’ve been thinking more broadly. It’s all been big picture stuff – life, the universe, and everything. I’ve spent this past week in east coast country; breathing fresh air, being moved by nature, and having intense conversations with people I don’t talk to nearly enough.

Being here, off work and surrounded by family, friends, and scenery I only see once a year, disrupts my routine in the best way. It forces me to really see my life like an objective observer. It’s a time-out, during which my only priority is to figure out where I am and where I’m headed.

It can be so easy to leave things as they are in life. Routines feel safe and comfortable and uncomplicated. Human beings resist change by nature. But this past year has taught me that moments of change are the moments when we really live. Continue reading “Reflections”

No Monsters Here

Mothers-in-law are seemingly the stuff of nightmares: they are the antagonists of horror stories told between friends and coworkers, and as villains in pop-culture, right up there with evil step-mothers.

I’ve had my share of horror stories concerning the parents (especially mothers) of people I’ve dated. I dated a Filipino guy in high school, and his mother would lecture him – right in front of me – about how he should be dating a nice, Catholic, Asian girl. I am neither Catholic nor Asian. It was about as awkward as you’d expect.

My only multi-year relationship (aside from my wife) was with a Canadian-Indian son of immigrant parents. His parents refused to acknowledge me once we started dating, and for two and a half years I was not allowed at his house. He would never tell them when he was with me. His parents frequently pressured him to not only leave me, but also tried setting him up with other women.

This was all before I came out – imagine the reaction if I had been openly queer, too! So it only makes sense that wading into the queer community’s dating pool was a little intimidating, especially concerning parents of prospective partners. Continue reading “No Monsters Here”

Bisexual Monogamy

(Originally posted on May 7, 2013 at I Dig Your Girlfriend.)

I’ve noticed something since coming out, and I’m not sure if I should be bothered by it or not. I can’t say it’s a trend – can two people be a trend? – but coupled with other bisexual experiences I’ve read about, it seems to be a thing I can’t escape by the very nature of my sexual orientation.

I have officially dated two people since coming out, both of them have been men. Both of them knew I am bisexual, both of them knew my experience with women is limited, and both of them kept insisting I should explore my sexuality by dating women on the side.

I suppose now is a good time to clarify that I am very much a monogamous person. I can’t even casually go on a date with one person one week and a different person the next, unless I’ve completely ruled out the first person. I think I make this clear, as a general rule, to those I get beyond the point of casual dating with. I can’t focus on more than one person at a time to that degree; trying to maintain and further intimate relationships with multiple people would exhaust me.

Yet since coming out, the men I’ve dated have insisted I should carry on with what are essentially – in my mind – affairs! There have been arguments about it, like these straight men know what’s best for me as a bisexual woman and I’m obviously deluded about how bisexuality works. Neither of them wanted a free pass to also date women on the side, and neither seemed bothered by the idea of me forming intimate physical and emotional relationships with women. Continue reading “Bisexual Monogamy”

Telling Mom

(Originally posted on May 11, 2012 at I Dig Your Girlfriend.)

I love my mother.

I came out to her eight years ago, in an email, with practically the whole nation of Canada between us. I had only come out to a few people by then; people whose reactions I could more or less predict with confidence. But telling Mom was proving to be a challenge. Months earlier I had tried to do it in person but chickened out.

I was genuinely unsure of what she would say. She grew up Catholic in a tiny east coast community where gays might as well have been mythical creatures. It’s only now that I can look back and realize that I grew up that way, too.

There was nothing special about the day I decided to tell her. I guess I just felt ready. But I wasn’t brave enough for a phone conversation, so I laid it all out in an email. I reread it a few times, and then I hit “send.” I tried (unsuccessfully) to get a good night’s sleep. Continue reading “Telling Mom”

Microaggression

(Originally written on April 3, 2015.)

The other day Mo and I had to take our new car in for service at the dealership where we bought it last year (it shall remain unnamed). We got the usual oil change, and our winter tires were swapped for summer tires. I dropped the car off at the dealership in the morning and as I waited for the shuttle to come back to take me to work, I realized I had forgotten my purse at home. With some texting back and forth with Mo, we figured that the shuttle could pick her up after work instead of me, and then she could cover the bill.

The shuttle driver was an older gentleman who got talking with the other customer in the van about ice fishing on the drive over. When we arrived at my stop, he asked if he would be picking me up at the same location. I told him no, he’d be picking up “my fiancée”. I told him where she works, with mild emphasis on the pronoun. He then asked, “so when will I be picking up your friend?”

Microaggressions like this serve to remind me that not everyone is as accepting of my relationship and my identity as my family and friends have been. It wasn’t scary, and it didn’t ruin my day. It was definitely awkward, though. The driver refused to acknowledge the relationship I had specifically spelled out for him. People tend to take pride in their relationships. Amberly isn’t just my friend, she is my best friend. In having that title, a certain meaning and history to our relationship is conveyed to people who don’t know her. Mo isn’t my friend, she is my fiancée. She is the woman I intend to marry, and spend the rest of my life with. If you are in a heterosexual marriage, and you introduced your spouse to someone, and that person then called him or her your “friend”, do you think you might be a little confused? Miffed? Maybe offended? Would you correct the person?

There are many places in the world where being queer is very dangerous, and looking at our closest neighbour, I can see that living in Canada – even Alberta – is preferable to much of the United States. But the way politics are, and the stances that the right-wing political parties in Alberta have taken on some recent issues like religious freedom, and gay-straight alliances in schools, I am wary of things changing for the worse. How big are the steps between no gay straight alliances in schools, and being turned away at my doctor’s office when treating me violates the religious beliefs of my doctor?

In the end, we got a ride with one of Mo’s coworkers, and didn’t need the shuttle. We wouldn’t have taken it even if we had.


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A Wife By Any Other Name

It seems to me, especially given my own experience, that women can get away with homoerotic behaviours far more than men can. Before – and since – coming out, I’ve made comments about my attraction to women and have had it accepted without the batting of a single eye. Many women talk about their female friends as girlfriends in a completely platonic fashion. Even confessed crushes have been brushed aside with nonchalant waves; intense feelings of attraction towards women apparently being a common occurrence amongst even the straightest of women. Continue reading “A Wife By Any Other Name”

Copycat Queer

Fifteen years ago, I became a vegetarian.

I’d never really liked meat, unless it was a neatly trimmed chicken breast or the hyper processed junk you get at McDonald’s or other fast food places. Juicy homemade burgers made me gag. I had little interest in steak. I hated pork, and would nip tiny bites into the back of my mouth, swallowing them whole just to avoid tasting it or feeling its texture.

We had family stay with us during summer when I was young – aunt, uncle, and cousin. For medical reasons, they had adopted a vegetarian diet, so we provided as much vegetarian fare as possible. Before this, I had no idea you could opt out of eating meat. I learned a few years later from my cousin that my mother had taken her aside to ask her not to encourage me towards vegetarianism. But the desire not to eat meat was already strong in me. I became vegetarian shortly after their visit, to my parents’ dismay. Continue reading “Copycat Queer”