Today I sit in my comfortable and unafraid in my home, I am not in any danger outside of a really messy diaper today. Yet I have watched the growing storm of protest and counter protest occurring just outside my walls both literally and figuratively Social media has become a battleground and many of us are still confused as to what happened to our country to have fallen so far. I have no answers and according to some I should just sit down and shut up because I am not a marginalized person.
How do I as a white male whom by all appearances who is so blandly "normal" as to make vanilla seem spicy and exciting act? Well folks its confession time to the larger world, I am not the bland individual that I have seemingly been so successful in masquerading as to the larger world. Lets start with one of my personally "sarcasm" favorite topics, religion. I am NOT christian, in point of fact, I am a heathen to be technically correct. I worship and follow the Norse Gods, yes those Norse Gods and no not the ones from the comic books either.
During my first combat tour in Iraq, I found myself praying to my "perceived" identification as "Christian" to help me make sense of the insanity I had found myself in daily there. Yet no small voice came, nothing happened I felt hollow and empty. I went to my Chaplain and described what was happening to me, he spoke to me gently saying "You are having a crisis of faith." This was even more disturbing and frightening to me as I felt adrift when I needed my faith the most.
I made it home and eventually was stationed at Ft. Huachuca, Arizona in 2004. For the next hear or so I watched myself try to reintegrate into a "normal" life of a stateside soldier. 2005 was an eventful year for me as I found my first marriage beyond anyone's ability to fix. Thus I joined yet another statistical grouping in America, those marriages that end in divorce. So yet another blow came to my identity and faith that had already been shaken to its core.
Mutual friends of mine asked me if I would attend a pagan group with them and finally I said yes. It was largely to get myself out of my doldrums and into interactions with other human beings. The first moment I walked into the grove, I hadn't been sleeping well due to stress and nightmares for a while, I felt a peace I had never felt before. While the ceremony went on and I kept silent as I watched and listened to the goings on, I felt something whisper to me and I looked up to see a Raven fly overhead, the voice continued to speak inside my mind.
It was that day I swore upon the oath stone that I had been chosen by my patron God, Odin. This may seem silly to you but it is what I felt and saw that day. I have never looked back since. Yet this is not the only place I break with convention or what is expected of me as a white male in America. In that same time period post divorce I had found myself directing a local branch of what was then the Camarilla Fan Club in Sierra Vista, AZ.
In 2005 we had our International Conclave Convention or ICC in Phoenix, AZ. That year also saw a major hurricane hit the United States so in order to help inspire our domain to give as much as possible to charity, I made a wager. I wagered that the could not raise a thousand dollars or more to donate to the Red Cross in support of their relief efforts. I lost my wager as they raised over 1,200 dollars for that organization.
My payment for that loss was to appear in public at opening ceremonies at the convention in full drag. At the time there were several coordinators, all males, who were making the same statements as I yet I was the only one to show up in full drag and even role-played that night as a female character to cement my honoring the wager. Ask anyone that knows me I don't go in for half measures nor do I hold back in keeping my word.
I spent weeks learning how to walk in heels as a woman walks, yes I spent hours learning how to swing my hips. I went shopping for the full kit, including women's undergarments, ladies you have my respect and I too want to beat the bastard that invented the underwire bra to death because that shit pinches like hell.I even did a few practice runs as well prior to the event, risking my security clearance and job to honor my wagers.
Here is a pic of me at that event;
I went to that event, armed out of acknowledgement of the dangers I could potentially find myself in due to my appearance as woman but clearly a man underneath. So I can understand why Gays, Lesbians, Bisexual, and Transgendered people could be afraid of Trump and those who voted him into office. I researched my role and completely got into character and for a few moments I saw into a world that I still only barely scratched the surface of. Yet when I took off the dress and make up I had not changed, I was still employed and enjoyed the benefits of being white and male in the worlds eyes.
That single event by no means makes me any kind of expert on those groups or issues that they face daily. I will never know what it is like to be a Muslim in this country or to be Black and yet still treated as some kind of second class citizen simply because of my skin color. So I can only stand along side them and other groups that are fearful for valid reasons. To say that they don't have at right or a reason is to be a hypocrite of monumental proportions.
Yet I am about to break silence upon something that at this point I feel as though I have no choice. I am bisexual and I have slept with at least one man in my lifetime. Who and why is no one's business and that I will NOT ever share to anyone. This is my first open and public declaration of such and thus I recognize that many will be angered and hurt especially my extended family who did not know this about me.
It pains me to see anyone marginalized and disenfranchised for a simply difference of faith, race, or sexual identification (gender as well as sexuality). I have sought to live my life honorably and faithfully adhering to a code that was taught to me by my parents. To be honest, forthright, and treat everyone equally based upon their character alone. To that end I will raise my children whom I have been blessed with the same way I was raised.
I will stand in defense of my fellow human beings to be who they are as they are without limitations other than they do no harm to themselves or others. I am no one special or unique in who I am, I am simply human like the rest of you. Yet know this, I have yet began to fight for what I believe in and I believe in the inherent goodness of all humankind. I believe in the promise of our nation as dedicated to the inalienable rights of "Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness." I believe and honor the ones who have come before me and fought for those same things.
I am not afraid, I am not cowed, and I will not be silenced by ignorance or hatred ever. I stand with everyone who desires to be free to choose for themselves a life that is their choosing. I accept responsibility for my obligations as a human being and citizen of the United States, I ask you to answer that calling every day and do not hide yourselves. I love you all and stand with you against those things that would deny us our hard won freedoms.
I believe...do you?