All American Marriage!

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A few years ago I was privileged to perform a wedding ceremony (as I do from time to time) for an older couple who wanted to marry in one state because their same-sex marriage would be legal. Because it was not legal to marry in the state where they lived as a couple for decades, they were, along with friends, trying to start a small movement: marrying in a legal state and then moving back in order to buck the system so that one day all same-sex couples could legally marry in America.

Such a day is here.

Now we can say that all traditional and same-sex marriages in America—not just one state, or four, or 37—are legal.

All marriages are now American.

There are no longer second-class marriages to be spoken of quietly, as if those wanting to be married have done something wrong with the one they love, and they have to wait for a vote or court to allow them legal rights that almost anyone else can have.

Here’s to America! Here’s to cake! Here’s to marriage!

 

 

Make a Relentlessly Neighborly Meme!

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SOMETIMES IT’S JUST ABOUT BEING A GOOD NEIGHBOR.

Actually, that’s what it’s all about, sociologically, anthropologically, geopolitically speaking.

With so much drama in the world today, someone gave Julie Baker guff about her backyard ornaments, and it caused a stir, and then an internet explosion, and then I made this meme, and then I got to interview her for the Good Men Project.

Please read and share my interview here and support Julie on her website.

And please, take the above meme, make your own version, and share!

You May Already Be A Superhero!

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F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote of the pre-Gatsby James Gatz, “So he invented just the sort of Jay Gatsby that a seventeen year old boy would like to invent, and to this conception he was faithful to the end.” It’s this concept – that a seventeen year old would create a larger-than-life figure to grow into – that is the basis for every superhero tale from Gilgamesh to Harry Potter.

To celebrate Avengers: Age of Ultron (and ALL the new superhero movies, books, and graphic novels), it is prudent to look at the archetypes that make every meta-human, mutant, demigod, and Time Lord worth their weight in adamantium. You are probably living an origin story right now, and soon you’ll have more responsibility and power than you hoped for.

For starters:

You’re probably living in the city, an ambiguous 20-something, and single.

You’re probably an orphan of some sort, and with a sad or mysterious story about being so. If you live in the country, you’ll soon be somehow called into the city to meet some great fate, whether it be a dragon (or dragon archetype) or some interstellar artificial intelligence/alien. Either way, no superhero stays in the country (or country of origin). Almost every fight ends up on Earth, in America, and usually in New York City. So just move to New York City.

You’re an introverted and somewhat – or totally – nerdy teen with a propensity for all things S.T.E.M.

Is there a girl (or boy) who you just can’t get? And are you a misfit or reject of some sort? Just wait – you’ll be bit, zapped, or injected with gamma-rays or something radioactive, or your mutant powers will grow as your puberty finishes. Just wait for an owl to deliver a letter from a balding man, or a long-lost father to invite you to the dark side.

You happen to be a Goddess, God, Demigod, Planetary Traveler, Alien, Other-worldly royalty, or Inter-dimensional Being.

Do you have a legacy to uphold here on terra firma, while also fighting for your throne back home? You might just be on your way to join a superhero team or save Earth from the demons or villains who also happen to be from your home world. Or you might be orphaned on Earth. Or you might just hide out here because we have all the good movie and fast food franchises. Any way you slice it, you’ll probably get the same billing as the normal human with the bow and arrow.

Originally published on The Good Men Project – finish reading here!

Sex, Gender, and Manhood: Lessons From Bruce Jenner’s Coming Out

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What we can learn from Bruce Jenner’s coming out and where we’re headed as a society regarding our transgender friends and family.

Bergamot Ink logoAt sixty-five years old, Bruce Jenner might be doing for the transgender movement what years of political posturing and movements couldn’t quickly accomplish for women, minorities, workers, and the LGBQ community during the initial years between inception and accepted societal acclamation. He – still a he during Diane Sawyer’s interview Friday night on 20/20 and soon to be identified at his request as a she after living as a transitioning woman for the next year – is helping win over the media, parts of society, and hopefully the GOP (and mainstream churches, is that too much to ask?) to a worldview that accepts transgender people without reservation. As a national celebrity, Christian, Republican, and former accomplished and world-acclaimed athlete (and not to mention senior citizen), Bruce Jenner just became the greatest figure for the movement and at the same time probably one of its most polarizing figures. Diane Sawyer’s interview with Bruce Jenner on Friday night was the perfect marriage of a historic and cultural moment for years to come. Here’s what we should be taking away from this watershed moment.

1. Hopefully Jenner will make good on his idea to take the pleas of the Transgender Community to Senator Mitch McConnell and House Speaker John Boehner.

As transgender issues come to the forefront of society including the military, marriage, public policy, and health care coverage, all politicians and lobbyists will need persuasion toward the defense of the transgender community concerning children, teens, and adults, including military personnel and prisoners. The national discussion on same-sex marriage has just become commonplace in America, only after two national elections where it was at the forefront of debate. Only recently have we seen a shift in cultural attitudes towards same-sex marriage, and it took forty years or so to get to that point. And already – in what seems like less than a few years of media attention including film, television, and documentary, we’re seeing major magazines carrying lead stories regarding trans-youth as well as a whole week of NBC coverage on the stories of transgendered children of differing ages.

2. Sexuality is who you go to bed with, while Gender is who you go to bed as. 

While even this proverb guides a discussion on gender and sexuality issues, Jenner’s interview touched on the fact that he was and is not gay and was (and is) very much attracted to women, although, at sixty-five he considers himself “asexual” although very hesitant to think about fully transitioning into having, as Khloe Kardashian encouraged him to embrace, a “vajayjay.” Maybe Jenner was being cute with Sawyer. It’s taken years for Americans to understand that we feel platonic, romantic, and sexual attraction from a very young age which eventual puts us somewhere on the straight/gay spectrum. Even Jenner seemed like he was still wrapping his head around being a woman but not being attracted to men. This will take time for mainstream moderate American society to process, but perhaps much younger viewers are already getting it. Judging from comic Amy Schumer’s recent “Amy Goes Deep” segment on her show wherein she interviews self-proclaimed transsexual pornography actress Bailey Jay (who is “married to a straight man”), Ms. Jay explains her life as a transsexual very clearly, and that’s that – in a two minute interview on a comedy show we get more clarity than two hours of Jenner and Sawyer hemming and hawing about certain issues. But it’s not always that easy, and not every sexual or gender identification can be summed up in a short segment. Younger audiences may just get the whole transgender and transsexual identity crisis (or lack thereof) because, well, they’re younger and without the years of traditional society heaped upon their frontal lobes the way the baby boomers had it.

3. A world-class athlete, celebrity, Christian, and Republican man just told Diane Sawyer, “I am a woman.”

Wow. What does a post-WASP American society do with that? What does the scientific community do with that? What do the politicos do with that? Is gender now whatever we want to call it or is it a fixed thing? Even for the most progressive heterosexual liberals, this is cause for discussion and research. As a straight male, husband, father of three, and high school teacher, I’m extremely interested in learning about humans, the brain, and identity. Jenner claims he has a female brain, but scientifically, apart from the fact that male brains have the Y chromosome and female brains don’t, there isn’t much difference that we know of. So is it all nurture? Is it all chemical? These are some of the questions science will have to answer, and until then we have overwhelming testimonies of those who have felt, since their first feelings, that they were identified as the wrong gender.

4. No matter how much fame and fortune you have, if you don’t feel whole as a person, then you don’t feel whole as a person.

Bruce Jenner is the one percent of the top one percent of the world: he has worldwide fame and accomplishment, popularity, riches, has had three marriages and has fathered ten children. What else is there to life? What potential has he not filled? The answer is that there, all along, in his own brain, he needed something else, and that something else has been the acceptance, of himself and by himself, of that as a woman, pure and simple. For him he needs to feel and be as the “her” Jenner has always felt to be. This is far beyond the “abomination” verses in the Levitical law that Jenner and most religious Americans will cite, in that, at the end of the day, this is a real identity issue and needs to be treated as one for all people…

Please read and share the rest for free at The Good Men Project Bergamot Ink Weekly Column and thank you!

I’m Very Sorry For Destroying the Earth and All the Plastic…

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WITHIN THE NEXT FIFTY YEARS OR SO, or depending on who wins the next several national elections in any of the G8 or G20 countries, we’re finally going to have World Environmental Peace. Sure we’ll still be waging war on each other over things like land and water and religion, but as humans we will hopefully and finally stop our insane daily dependence on non-sustainable products and start to clean up the last hundred-plus years of air, land, water, body, and ocean pollution. Everything that will be made will be renewable or biodegradable and non-harmful to the next seven generations of Earthlings. When that day comes we’ll all be driving air-and-sun-powered cars and living off of wind-and-solar grids while balancing near-carbon-free diets for our bodies and businesses. The air will be clean, the water pure, and the carbon unspent. Until then, however, I have a few last Future Clean-Earth Bachelor Party-like requests. First, I want a sandwich wrapped in wax paper, then wrapped in plastic, taped, and then put in a large plastic bag so I can throw it all away after the roughly thirteen minutes it takes to eat it. I also want a separate bag of chips and a tiny plastic cup of yogurt with a plastic spoon, so I can then throw it all away (along with a waxed-paper cup that can’t be sorted, topped with a plastic lid and straw which I will not recycle).

Read the rest here at the Good Men Project

 

And read almost everything else Jeremy has written here and here.

 

5 Brilliant Ways To Name Your Stupid Blog

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CONGRATULATIONS on joining the masses of former English majors, home chefs, and stay at home parents who think their opinions are either relevant, insightful, or funny! You are (or will be soon enough) a blogger, the lowest common type of writer out there. There’s a dog on the Disney Channel who is a billionaire off of this already, and somehow you are stressing about finding kitschy pictures to annotate your paragraphs with.

We welcome and love you – the blogosphere can be a safe place. Often though it’s a hellscape of paranoia and anxiety and posting and editing at odd hours, hoping your small raindrop makes a wave in the universe of oceans of words out there.

We want to help you name your newest blog that will either go nuclear-ly viral or fold within six months. The name, however, can be something you’ll spend forever thinking about until you realize that literally a million people have already done this and done it better than you could have thought to do. Or not.

 

Finish reading here on Sammiches and Psychmeds

When To Love Your Neighbor In America

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Bergamot Ink logoThis will hopefully be the last thing you’ll ever need to read about any controversy surrounding same-sex marriage or LGBTQ orientation and the freedom of businesses, fraternities, colleges, organizations, and people with money to discriminate against humans who may not be heterosexual and may want to enter into the lawful institution of marriage.

But I’m going to go out on a limb here and predict that it won’t be. If this essay is shared successfully, we can – together! – end any and all debate regarding whether or not we as humans should willingly differentiate against people based on a narrowly defined set of mystical (or actual) laws.

You can already hear the lobbyists and speech writers preparing talking points based solely on this essay. I’m so proud. We’ve come a long way in just the last twenty years here in the West in terms of our views on religion and homosexuality (and the two being compatible), but we still have probably millennia to go if the last millennium has taught us anything. Each election cycle, both sides of the political aisle find new ways to hold onto old ideas regarding the same issues. It’s what we do best. –

Read the rest here and thank you!

And catch up with my weekly column here. 

Why I’m Letting My Girl Be A Girl

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I’ve decided to let my girl be a girl.

I’m also going to let my boy be a boy, and my other girl (who, at this time is still a baby girl) be a girl. If they want. I don’t know what else to do. “Let” isn’t the most accurate word – I have no control over these things in the long run, and letting my five year old daughter be herself (whoever that is) and be a girly girl at that is just part of her figuring out everything about being alive. And I should mention that it’s my wife and I raising these beautiful children, herself not an admitted girly girl, not ever. But as a man, a former boy, and a general over-thinker, I’ve come to the conclusion that no matter what I do to keep my daughter from wanting to play princess and wear pink and purple all the time, it’s not going to work. It’s not something we put on her or lead her toward — it’s just something she picked up on during her five years around other girls and boys and the variations of masculine and feminine in between.

Read the rest of the article here on The Good Men Project’s Bergamot Ink

Dear Octomom, I Choose You

Screen Shot 2015-04-09 at 9.17.44 PMOCTOMOM, I LOVE YOU. I choose you. I contemplate you. It’s you I think about when times are tight here in the First World where we can have babies on top of babies and they don’t starve or suffer, at least not like the other worlds here on Earth. And you do it all without network television money, book offers, or best-selling cookbooks. Octomom, you’ve kept it real.

But not you, Kate Gosselin. And not you, Michelle Duggar. You two I also honor in my quiet moments of desperation, wondering how will we find money for these kids or how will we pay for college or the next auto repair bill. And you do it all with more than three kids, which is my beautiful lot in life. And hell, the Duggars are still counting when my wife and I have decided that we’re done.

Finish reading this piece on Sammiches and Psych Meds – and thanks!