I was on Midday with Dan Rodricks on WYPR/Baltimore. Here’s the podcast.
Congratulations to Maryland where Governor Martin O’Malley expects to sign the bill this week that will legalize same-sex marriage in the state. As in Washington state, which also recently voted to legalize same-sex marriage, opponents have said that they will try to repeal the law via referendum in November. Obviously, there is still a lot of opposition to marriage equity, but what interests me is how a broader range of people are stepping up to support it. In Maryland, the healthcare workers union (SEIU) joined the cause. In Washington, major corporations like Starbucks and Google are supporting marriage equity. Here in Minnesota, same-sex marriage is not legal, but there will be a Constitutional amendment on the ballot this fall to make sure it stays that way. The Roman Catholic Church is gearing up in support of the anti-gay marriage amendment, but the Minneapolis Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America — the nation’s largest ELCA synod – voted recently to oppose the amendment. Increasingly, the ground is shifting.
Valentine’s Day is for celebrating love, so it feels fitting that I will be on Midday with Dan Rodricks (WYPR-FM) in Baltimore, where same-sex marriage is currently the subject of hearings in the state legislature. After failing to pass a year ago, same-sex marriage seems poised (almost, almost) to become law in Maryland, but still its fate rests on a handful of legislators.
It’s not clear yet what will happen in Maryland, but what is clear is that the needle is moving. Multiple public polls show that support for marriage equity has passed 50%. Support among young people is far higher, coming in as high as 70%.
The needle is moving and it is doing so largely because more and more people – old, young, Black, white, urban, rural – know someone who is gay or lesbian. As a Los Angeles Times op-ed pointed out today:
The number of Americans reporting that they know somebody who is openly gay tripled between 1985 and 2000, reaching 75%. One study in 2004 found that among those who reported knowing someone who is gay, 65% favored either gay marriage or civil unions, while only 35% of those who reported not knowing any gay people supported them.
The truth is that, when you find out that people you know, people you love, people you work with, people who sit near you in church or next to you around the Thanksgiving dinner table are gay, it’s much harder to demonize them. And that is the real force for change.
A few days ago, I was on the air on WGDR, the community radio station broadcast from Goddard College. I was speaking with Merry Gangemi, host of Woman-Stirred Radio, a “multicultural queer journal.” It was a great conversation, and Merry asked some really good questions, but the coolest part is simply that the show exists. Public radio, overall, does essential work (of course I say this; I work in the industry and listen incessantly). But community radio fills this wonderful, creative, dynamic niche that the larger stations sometimes miss. Community radio really allows people whose voices often get overlooked to be heard, regardless of whether the programs generate enough “cumulative audience” or fit into a tidy program format. This is a critical part of what public radio is all about — and it is the part that is most vulnerable to funding cuts.
I had a great conversation with Heidi Holtan, host of Realgoodwords on KAXE/Grand Rapids, Northern Community Radio. You can hear it here. I’ll be in Grand Rapids on September 29 for a program at the public library.
I was a guest on Your Call, a call-in talk show produced by KALW/San Francisco and hosted by Holly Kernan. The other guest on the show was Judy Appel, Executive Director of Our Family Coalition, which serves LGBTQ-headed families in the San Francisco Bay Area. It was a good conversation, touching on the legal issues facing LGBTQ parents, how to build welcoming schools, and the many different ways that LGBTQ people are creating families.
The StarTribune (Minneapolis/St. Paul) writes:
The subtitle of St. Paul writer Amie K. Miller’s book — “A Memoir of (Nonbiological Lesbian) Motherhood” — might not be lyrical, but it’s clear and straightforward, just like the book itself. When Miller and her partner, Jane, decided to have a child, it was Miller who was supposed to get pregnant. But things didn’t work out, and so it was Jane who gave birth to their daughter instead. Miller’s funny, loving and painful book (a finalist for a Minnesota Book Award) is a very honest look at motherhood: how a child changes a relationship; how difficult it is to stay home with a baby; how nervous and paranoid young parents can be about everything from diapers to diseases. But Miller’s story has the added complication of trying to figure out her role in all of this.She’s a mother, but she did not give birth; her partner was pregnant, but Miller is not a father. She’s a stay-at-home mom, but she’s missing her career. Miller walks a fine line beautifully in this book, writing about her own strong self-doubt and confusion, but writing about her family with tenderness and love. Don’t let the subtitle throw you; this is a book for any parent. – LAURIE HERTZEL, BOOKS EDITOR
She Looks Just Like You is a finalist for a Lambda Literary Award, otherwise known as a Lammy, so in late May I’ll go to New York for the awards ceremony. It’s billed as the “most glamorous LGBT literary event in the country.” More than 400 people show up to celebrate LGBT literature, which is pretty awesome, really. But what to wear?
Saturday night in Saint Paul: more than 700 people turned out for the Minnesota Book Awards ceremony. It was a great event and an amazing celebration of the (it-ain’t-dead-yet) book. She Looks Just Like You was a finalist in the Memoir category. The award went to Bonnie Rough, author of Carrier, which is a beautifully written book. But it is, as they say, an honor to be nominated. On my next-to-read list is Split, a novel by Swati Avasthi that was a finalist in the Young People’s Literature category. There are lots of other great books that made it to the finalist list; I look forward to checking them out.
You can vote for She Looks Just Like You in the Minnesota Book Awards Readers’ Choice poll. Just go to TwinCities.com to cast your vote.
If you’d like to meet the finalists, please come to the Readers’ Choice event at The Loft on Friday, March 18 (7:00 p.m.). I’ll be reading from She Looks Just Like You and many other authors will be reading from their books. It’s free and should be a fun event!