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Holding Hands in Public
(Mouse Over)

(Kim: I hope you don't mind that I post them (below).)

no

(Kim: I'm sure you're right about most of what you are say.)

yes

(Kim: Now I have to figure out how to make a drawing.)

that's your problem (she says with love and sincerity)


Dear Kim,

I love your drawing of the merging or perhaps relating of Christian and Jew.

I am less pleased with some of the commentary.

I don't know if you are aware of this or if it is deliberate, but a lot of what you write to me comes off smug and condescending As if you are better at living your life than I am and that I am lacking.

Perhaps it is "just" an issue of language. But just is a big condition.

In some instances, you have established certain terms and concepts, i.e., masculinzing truth, actually using the expression male chauvinist, generalizing about lesbians, etc. So, in order to dialogue with you, in some of those instances, I either contest or expand upon what you have put forth in order to respond.

I use your terminology and then down the line, you criticize me for the same language.

I.e. talking about being a lesbian couple.

It is naive and/or perhaps arrogant for you to presume that any relationship exists outside certain social realities or power differentials. You and Linda don't have to call yourselves a straight couple. That is the norm. Most people assume that couples are straight. You have a certain amount of comfort zone and privilege here, buddy, to which you are not owning up.

If you and Linda were separated and trying to figure things out, you would probably get a lot more support than we do.

Whether or not I want to marry Pseudonym is besides the point. I would like the option, which I do not have. To have equal protection under the law, to have access in medical emergencies, to have familial and social acceptance .And mostly to be taken seriously.

My brother has told me that homosexuality is unnatural and he is uncomfortable around it. My brother. Not some rube with no real exposure to diversity. My brother, a full tenured professor living with a woman to whom he is not married. My brother, a world class scientist whose name shows up regularly in the New York and L.A Times. My brother, who I love.

This is my life, Kim. And this sort of thing has splintered my family.

Pseudonym is so freaked out about what people think or potentially losing jobs that she often will not hold my hand or be demonstrative in some of the most basic social settings. She is afraid of being pegged as a lesbian and maybe making current or potential clients uncomfortable. And that is real. A lot of people are uncomfortable.

I used to care. I don't anymore. But my social reality and perhaps level of self acceptance is different from hers.

This is a very different reality than almost any straight couple I can imagine.

As far as whether or not I have always struggled in relationships, because that is my alleged expectation, I think most people struggle in relationships. Look at how much you are struggling in your capacity as dean. Even people who are highly compatible disappoint or have expectations that cannot be met from time to time. That is the human condition. And to think otherwise seems naive to me.

I don't object to our having a difference of opinion, especially if you are interested in growing and learning instead of passing so much judgment on what I say. I object to your tone. I am trying to write from a very open place with you. To see if I can have a conversation that is really honest with another who is so different. And our ability to have a conversation strikes me as important .As if, if we cant figure out a way to talk, what hope is there for people with much different and perhaps more impactful issues.

Sometimes, I feel that you truly miss the nuance of what is being expressed. And instead of asking a question, you make a statement. And then what you come back to me with sounds formulaic or even EST-y.

Your condescension is having the effect of shutting me down. This morning, I do not feel like writing to you. I feel that unless I choose my words very carefully, you will throw this victim stuff out or tell me who you think I am. When you do not know.

The funny thing is, within almost all of our more provocative
correspondences, at the same time that you piss me off, you say something else that is a nugget, a real gem. Like maybe the issue is that Pseudonym and I are more lovers than friends. And I think you may be right, For people to do well together, they have to be a friend to each other's interests.

I know I risk alienating you in sending this but it is the truth from where I sit on this Tuesday morning, DEC 6

Later,

Joan

Tuesday, Dec 6, 2005

12:38 PM

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