In the UK, it isn’t so much. Every year my sister and I got a pumpkin each to decorate (she always went for the biggest she could find, I went for the smallest: read into that what you will), and I usually put one in the window when I worked for the construction company, making ours the only building on a drab little industrial estate that had any sense of festive occasion (I also decked it out for Christmas, and it was spectacular). But pumpkins aside, Halloween mostly passed me by during childhood. Continue reading →
So last week AJ finally persuaded my to buy a Macbook. My HP Windows laptop was a couple of years old, slowing down and getting temperamental (although that was probably my fault for never cleaning out the fan…), and after it gave me two shocks in quick succession, I decided it was probably time to look for a change.
Except I don’t like change. Continue reading →
The early queer rights movement was flawed for many reasons. Not only did it marginalise the most visible members of the community — who had historically born the biggest brunt of discrimination and persecution — they also opted for a soft approach to addressing civil injustices which rankles with hindsight. Most of the early arguments in favour of decriminalising homosexuality posited that queerfolk led sad, miserable lives, and deserved society’s pity, not its contempt. The advocated tolerance, not acceptance. Queerfolk should be allowed to move freely in society, but nobody envisioned them ever being fully part of it. The idea of queerfolk being fully integrated into society was beyond the pale, and too much for the early activists to hope for. Continue reading →
So, AJ Rose and I are officially Mrs & Mrs. Because I entered the US on a fiancee visa, we had a deadline by which time we had to get married, which meant less planning a big event and more rushing to the courthouse. The US government doesn’t do romance. 😉
My family and a couple of friends flew over from the UK and have been here all week. It’s been a non-stop round of shopping trips (cheese in a can needs to be seen to be believed) and visits to the zoo, crazy golf, and goodness knows where else. We’ve also eaten our own weight in
AJ and I got the license the week before, and not even the fact I’m on it as “Mr Aaron, Groom” could piss me off. We were married by a judge who was very nice, even if he did race through the ceremony at the speed of light. Another (same-sex!) wedding party got a bit overexcited and barged in during our wedding but they soon hurried back out again. And when we came out of the courtroom, one of the employees started applauding us (although she didn’t have much luck getting the people waiting for *actual* court to join in).
And then we were married 😀
Seriously, the response on Facebook, Twitter, here on my blog, everywhere, was overwhelming for both of us. There wasn’t time to thank everyone personally (and I lost track of all the notifications after about ten minutes) but we read all the comments and just… thank you.
It’s finally here!! Three years after we first spoke, two years after we first met, a year after we started the fiancee visa application, today AJ Rose and I make honest women of each other.We’re going to the
chapel courthouse and we’re going to get married! Woohoo!
For hundreds of years when being queer was criminal in western society, the public face of queerfolk was the most visible members of the community, those who were unable to hide by passing as heterosexual and consequently, those most often brought before the law. Trans* individuals, cross-dressers, and those who eschewed the gender binary were obvious, easy targets. When the political climate became unbearably repressive, and the civil rights movement to emancipate other minorities took off, one of the first acts of the community was to change the image of queerness in the public consciousness. Continue reading →
The original Pride flag was flown at the San Francisco Gay Freedom Day Parade on 25th June, 1978. It had been designed by Gilbert Baker, an artist and designer who made silk banners for gay rights and anti-war protest marches. The flag was inspired in part by Judy Garland’s “Over the Rainbow” (Garland had died a few days before the Stonewall uprising), and originally contained eight colours, each with a different meaning, the idea for which came from the Flag of Races used during the 1960s civil rights marches, which consisted of five horizontal stripes in red, black, brown, yellow, and white.
Thirty volunteers hand stitched and dyed the first two flags for the Freedom Day parade. Continue reading →
Through the 1960s as homophile organisations started to form in defence of queerfolk, the community which was only just forming began to fracture. Societies like the Mattachine wanted to present an assimilationist approach to queer emancipation, representing the white, middle class, straight-passing men who politicians and lawmakers would relate to and find most sympathetic. It wasn’t these men, however, that were being targeted by the police and rounded up by the dozen, but the butch women, effeminate queens, cross-dressers, and trans*folk who were the most visible and obvious targets for prosecution, and the easiest to turn into folk devils and scapegoats. It’s no surprise it was those members who first fought back and put queer emancipation on the political agenda. Continue reading →
The hundred-year period leading up to 1970 was a hugely significant one for queerfolk. From a series of small, disparate socio-sexual communities with no real sense of wider identity or framework for understanding their orientation, to an established subculture with a naming convention, identity, and political presence. In response to a repressive legal atmosphere in the UK and USA, “homophile organisations” such as the Mattachine Society and Daughters of Bilitis were formed with the aim of politically liberating queerfolk. While other rallys and marches had been organised in the past, it was the uprising following the botched raid of the Stonewall Inn in New York which really provided the catalyst for the modern Pride movement. Continue reading →
Born to an upper middle class American family living in England in 1912, Hay was raised in Chile, the son of a wealthy mining engineer and his Catholic wife. While an infant, Hay contracted bronchial pneumonia which left him with permanent scarring on his lungs. Shortly afterwards, his father lost a leg in an industrial accident, which resulted in his resignation and relocation of the family back to California. In 1919 Hay’s father purchased a farm just outside LA. While Hay Snr. secured the family’s income by trading on the stock market, he refused to spoil his children, and Hay Jnr. grew up working on the farm like any other labourer.
Hay resented his father, calling him “tyrannical” for the regular beatings he meted out — beating Hay believed stemmed from an attempt to “cure” him of his effeminate behaviour. Continue reading →