Saturday, April 20, 2013

So I Got a Tattoo...

A couple of years ago I got a tattoo in remembrance of my father. Since then I have been interested in getting more pieces done. I have been in interested getting a Boston related piece done for quite some time. I was born and raised in Boston, and it remains a huge part of who I am. This week's events essentially moved the timing of this particular tattoo up a bit. Friday I randomly decided that it was time. A friend and I drove to New Hope, PA and soon after my wrist looked very different.
I have many people express concern that I will regret this tattoo or that it will be impossible to cover. I do not think I will ever come to refer it. Boston is my city. Boston is my home. Boston is who I am. Now, wherever I travel I will always have a piece of Boston with me. And unlike many of my classmates and friends I do not anticipate working in a traditional church congregation setting and therefore do not envision having to cover my tattoo. I am very pleased with it and proud if my decision!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

We Will Endure

I do not know if I have ever felt so useless or helpless or I am not even sure if the proper title to put upon the way I feel yesterday and today. I feel like I should be doing something and yet have no idea what I can possibly do. Yesterday explosions went off in downtown Boston. Thus far, three have died (including an eight year old little boy) and over 140 are injured, many of which have lost limbs. I feel like I should be there, helping in some way.

The Boston Marathon is supposed to be a joyous event. For many organizations it is a chance for fundraising. Millions of dollars are raised for diabetes, pediatric cancer, leukemia, and countless other diseases. It is also an event that attracts hundreds of thousands people to our city and some one or some group of people decided to sieze that opportunity. When I first heard the news my thought immediately went to members of my family who were running in and volunteering at the race. Initially, the reports I heard was simply that there was some sort of explosion, but it did not mention any injuries. And as news continued to come in, and as I realized how serious it truly was I felt unable to move. Things like this usually don't hit me that hard. With school shootings and other such violent and cowardice events, I am sadden and I pray for those affected. But as a resident of Massachusetts. As a girl born and raised in and by South Boston, this hit me hard. Boston is and always will be my home. The thought that someone could do this to my home is devastating.

But they forget that Boston is a strong city. We are a people rich in character and endurance. I generally try to avoid expletives in my Facebook and twitter posts but they has not held true in the past 24 hours. For one, the fact that there is a family that has lost their 8 year old son in addition to their daughter and mother being hospitalized and going through different surgeries for their injuries disgusts me. These children are close personal friends of members of the church that raised me. Our children should not be dying. We should not have to worry about losing limbs when we go to watch a footrace. This is not the only expletives I've used on social media in regards to this tragedy. Someone posted an image of the mascots of the 4 Boston based sports teams (Red Sox, Patriots, Celtics, Bruins) with the subtitle "You Fucked with the Wrong City!" I reposted it. I think it is entirely true. We will endure. You, whoever you are, have hurt us greatly. You have injured many and murdered some. You have also pissed this city, this state, and many others who consider Boston a part of them, off. Remember, we are the city where when Chick-Fil-A came out as anti-gay, or mayor said they would never have a place in our city. We are a city that fights for our own. We are a city that bands together. We are a city that will mourn and overcome. We are called Massholes for a reason. Whoever did this should be scared now.

Cities across the country are praying for us. Athletes with Boston connections are writing "Pray for Boston" on their skates and gloves. Entire arenas are holding a moment of silence for our city. We will endure. The Presbyterian Church (USA) will have the disaster team in Boston in just over an hour. It makes me even prouder to be a Presbyterian. Fourth Presbyterian Church (340 Dorchester St South Boston) is having a prayer service at 7:00 First Pres Waltham has their sanctuary open all day for those who need it. Local law enforcement and the FBI are working together to track down the people who thought it was a good idea to fuck with Boston.

We are Strong. We are Family. We are Bostonians. We will Endure.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Queer is me.

The word queer is a difficult term. For some, it is a painful word. One filled with hatred and homophobia. A pejorative term. For others it is an all-encompassing term to describe anyone in the sexuality alphabet soup. And still for others, it is there self-assigned term of identification. As one who is not a huge fan of labels and yet exists within a world where labels are the norm and are expected, this is the term that I choose to use to identify myself.

I do not believe in the gender binary. I believe that gender is fluid. A person should not be defined by their parts, but rather their hearts. Personally, it is a person’s heart or rather their personality that attracts me and not their genitalia, or the gendered characteristics. Those that are fans of labels might label me as being pansexual or omnisexual. In the past I have dated those that are cis-female and cis-male. I have been attracted to people in transition, people that are androgynous, and people that identify as genderfluid.

I am in a relationship with a cis-man. I will be marrying him next year. So if I am going to be in what looks like your run of the mill heterosexual marriage, why does my sexuality or sexual orientation matter? Sexuality is part of what makes us us. It is an important part of who we are. My sexuality and my involvement with the greater queer community is a huge part of who I am. I am done hiding this part of myself.

When I was fourteen years old I sat my father down and explained to him that I liked boys and girls. This was not taken well. I honestly believe this greatly attributed to the sudden rapid escalation of his alcoholism and thereby his admittance to a detox facility and continuous bouts in rehabs. At the time, the only people aware of my sexuality were myself, the girl I was with, and a friend. Perhaps it was my tomboyish nature or something else that gave it away, but a walked into school one day to find DYKE carved into my locker. Until the end of my time in college I did not tell another person that my interest was in more than just boys.

I am called to ministry. I have no doubts about it. However, my call does not lie within the white walls and stained glass of a church. My call is a bit messier than that. My call is to work with homeless LGBTQ youth. I do not know if my governing body will support my call. But it is a call that I cannot deny for any reason. As one who identifies as a member of the community, one who has dealt in many ways with rejection, as one who was abandoned, as one who was neglected, as one who has dealt with the family courts system, and as one who is now in a place where I can help others, and it a place where God is working in my life to help youth, I must.

Queer is a difficult word. It holds so many meanings for different people. But it is a term that I place upon myself. It is my term. It is the term for the kids I work with and hope to continue working with. Queer is me.