My husband and I have had our shots and started going out in public for fun again! After more than a year of staying home and staying safe, I have put away my sweatpants, pulled out my skirts (it's too hot for pants already), painted my toenails, and broken in my cute slides and high heels!
We are grateful for the privilege of being able to go out and have fun safely. We understand that not everyone else enjoys that privilege, including those undergoing chemotherapy or taking certain kinds of lifesaving medications that render Covid-19 vaccinations ineffective. We understand that some people have disabilities or health conditions and a lack of access to accommodations. We know that some people simply lack transportation to get anywhere, or leisure time to go out. And even among the able-bodied and financially free, there are those who have to be careful where they go in public due to threats of social violence--gendered harassment, racism, nationalism, homophobia.
We live in a culture stacked with people who have just enough gender and racial privilege that they can grow up without learning basic emotional regulation and coping skills, yet not privileged enough to have their basic emotional, physical, and mental health needs met. You know, Karens of all classes and tiny-brained Kens obsessed with their vroom-vroom and boom-boom toys because they never matured past the Terrible Twos. They're always ornery and dissatisfied, but they feel powerless to better themselves or their living circumstances, and they don't want to fight the actual powers that oppress them because they either totally fear or aspire to be them one day, so they take their frustrations out on scapegoats--their kids, their romantic partners, strangers who look perfectly happy not being them, etc. Adult diaper babies can be extremely dangerous, especially when times are tough or the weather is hot.
When my husband and I go out in public, we remember to appreciate our privileges, and we take care to make space and accommodations for others who don't share all of them. We still wear our masks indoors and have our public fun outdoors. We take opportunities to include, affirm, and look out for people who can't relax in public as easily as we can. As the world opens up again, we will not allow it to be overrun by rude, intolerant delusionals. We'll be out there too, diluting the hateful crazy with some friendly crazy.
To facilitate this shift toward a more mobile and public lifestyle, I'm getting my "pandemic shag" hairstyle trimmed up in a few days, and my husband has started growing back the vigorous beard he shaved off in spring 2020 for the purpose of more effective masking. Below, we are pictured on an anniversary date in Florida in the Before Times. I'm wearing the crazy-quilt "Florida Woman jacket" I bought at a souvenir shop and recently wore out to dinner with a bunch of weirdos and hermits celebrating the end of our isolation. (Alice the Archivist complimented it!)
My husband and I like to spend a lot of time at home and with family, but we've also enjoyed going out on occasion on a fun date or meetup with friends, ever since we got together back in October 2004!
And every summer, we remember good times going out to Pride celebrations with gay friends who relished the special opportunity to swan about in colorful outfits, showing affection, and enjoying the same level of affirmation and safety that my husband and I are allowed daily just because we present as straight and white.
We wish that every couple could go out and cut loose, minding their own business and focusing on each other, without worrying about judgment or hate crimes.
In an old blog post about our engagement, which took place before marriage equality in our state, I wrote:
Our happiness was only marred by the sadness we felt that friends of ours were denied love in many ways... through social stigmas, unfair laws, international borders and visa difficulties, and family shame. We feel that everyone deserves to love and be loved. We even discussed not getting married as a protest for our friends who are not allowed to marry by law. ...I believe that every American should have a right to openly show affection for a romantic partner and to marry another consenting adult without legal difficulties based on the dogmas of any particular religions. I believe every couple and every family should have the right to full legal benefits, respect, acceptance, safety, freedom, liberty, justice, and the pursuit of happiness.
As I wrote that, I was working for two grassroots organizations that collaborated with each other and other groups to advocate for marriage equality and an anti-discrimination amendment. Both campaigns have been successful, and social attitudes have rapidly, increasingly affirmed the human right to love and be loved regardless of gender or sexual orientation.
That is something to celebrate--and so is the rollout of effective vaccinations against Covid-19! Michigan had a rough last surge there, but now our cases have plummeted to nearly nothing again. The weather is beautiful. The parks and restaurant patios are open. I hope you can find a safe place to go out and enjoy yourself and your loved ones where you are not only tolerated but celebrated.
Happy Pride 2021!