Posted: 18 April 2005 in bitter old woman, DC, queerlife
Tags: , ,

We spent the weekend thick in the grip of suburbia at a flower and garden street festival. It was packed with young couples looking at potted plants, pushing baby strollers, tugging pretty red toddler-filled wagons, and sipping lemonade. We took it all in, after all, it was a beautiful day, I love to garden and my little sister, who is the straightest straight girl ever, was with us. What I didn’t understand was that there were so many thirty – something lesbian couples. They were everywhere – some hauling their own kids, or pregnant, some standing just a little too close as they walked, some wearing visors, birkenstocks and horribly not stylish clothes. They were invisible to the straight eye, I imagine. After all, the official state outfit of Virginia lesbians is camouflage. Not the brown and green spotty sort, but the blend and don’t notice me brand.

But, this is a bloody red state. It’s a southern state, despite its location on the map, and beyond conservative. Even the liberal heavy portion near the capitol is outweighed and overwhelmed by the rest of the heavily religious, fundamentalist, narrow rest of the state. I don’t understand why so many lesbians live here. I understand that they might live near-in to the government buildings, but out there in suburbia? Part of me rages that they have no excuse. That they should take a stand, and take their kids out of Virginia. Why do they give their tax dollars to this state? Why do they stay when they could be kept out of the hospital when their partner is sick? Denied the insurance if she dies? Their kids could be taken? Why stay in a place where your relationship will never be recognized and your civic leaders are making every effort to keep you from having the same rights as your neighbor?

Of course, I live here, thirty – something, coupled, and very very queer, so I gripe here with the understanding that I’m a hypocrite. Obviously, I wish I could live in some sort of gay utopia. Massachusetts, perhaps. Vancouver. But, D and I work in DC and in August, I’ll be working in Virginia and so we live here. It isn’t as if we don’t know that Maryland is much more forgiving, but it isn’t as close as you think it might be and we’re one of thousands of people who work in DC and commute from another state daily. I want to move to Maryland – both as a way to live in a more welcoming place and silently point out to Virginia that they shouldn’t get anything from me if they can’t make it a hospitable place for me to live. In fact, it twists inside of me that I can’t do the right thing. I’m having trouble reconciling convenience, complacency, predictability, familiarity, and, right now, happiness, with my values. It’s not a good place to be in.


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