We won! Celebrating while sick

June 27, 2015

Yesterday was a big day here in the U.S. The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) issued a ruling that makes same-sex marriages legal throughout the country!!!!!

Are you done dancing your jig yet? Ok, let’s continue. This is huge news. SCOTUS also issued a big ruling for health

Equal Marriage Celebration Rally

Equal Marriage Celebration Rally

insurance coverage in this country several days ago. That’s huge too, but it doesn’t have the same kind of emotional impact for me. There weren’t celebrations all over the country for that (at least, not as far as I know.) So today I’m writing about the equal marriage ruling.

This is a good thing for our entire country. Many of my heterosexual family members and friends are saying that, too. But as a bisexual woman, that feels very personal. I’m currently single. Maybe one day I’ll get married, and when I do, it might be to a man or it might be to a woman, but whoever I marry, that marriage will be recognized throughout the country!

I have many friends who woke up yesterday knowing that their marriages were only recognized in some states. A few hours later, those marriages were recognized in every state! This has a lot of legal, financial, and logistical implications. I won’t get into hospital visitation rights, adoption, travel, or taxes right now. And there’s still a lot of work to do to gain housing rights, end LGBT youth homelessness, end employment discrimination, etc. You can see a good partial list here. So yes, next week we need to continue to fight, but right now we need to celebrate!

I spent the morning on Facebook. I hated to be alone – I just wanted to hug someone! I was bouncing up and down in 11535803_10152997661181169_4394317502946977616_nmy chair, crying and laughing at the same time. I’d stop crying, then read something like “Love wins!” and start crying tears of joy all over again. We finally had marriage equality!

This wasn’t quite a surprise. I knew this ruling was coming. I was watching the SCOTUS blog, and was disappointed each day when they didn’t rule on this important case. I expected a win. But when it came, the emotions were shocking and overwhelming. I could hardly believe it! We won!

So there was no question I had to celebrate. A large group of organizations had gathered together to host a rally and a celebration on whatever evening the ruling was issued, so obviously it was going to be yesterday. But here’s the thing about adrenal problems: any stress is a problem. That includes good stress. As I told my dad a few weeks ago, winning the lottery right now could leave me bedridden. So while this was a fantastic day with glorious news, the emotional excitement of the morning at worn me out. I could feel the chest congestion, the difficulty breathing at times, the roughness in my throat. My body had started to rebel.

I debated. I debated a lot. I knew that going to the celebrations could have really bad results, but how could I not go? I was protesting at the State House here in Massachusetts in 2004 when the legislature tried to work around the Supreme Judicial Court’s ruling to make same-sex marriage legal in this state. I was there when they finally delivered the vote that would lead to the first marriages in May 2004. But in May 2004, I didn’t feel well enough to go to City Hall and see the first marriages taking place. I was there, though, in 2012 when we celebrated the SCOTUS ruling that invalidated DOMA, the Defense of Marriage Act. This meant that the federal government would recognized all same-sex marriages, an enormous victory! So even if your state didn’t recognize your marriage, the federal government would.

And here we were in 2015 and I wanted to celebrate. First things first, I sat on the tv with some knitting and a movie and I forced myself to relax. It was tough not to go online, but I knew I needed to calm my emotions. After I rested, I made a 6-27-2015 1-09-45 PMsimple plan: I would get takeout for dinner, then go to the first rally. I would skip the more boisterous celebrations. As much as I wanted to go to them, I knew it would be more than I could handle. And if at any point on the way to the rally it felt like too much, I would come home, because celebrating on my own, or on the phone with loved ones, or any other way, would be good enough. It wasn’t my first choice, but it was the right choice.

In the end, I made it to the rally. Where I once saw opponents holding truly hateful posters, I now saw waving rainbow flags. There was a huge rainbow flag on the gate to the State House! I almost cried all over again. I heard amazing speeches, saw the cheers, and felt fantastic, though tired. So I found a place to sit. I didn’t cheer out loud, only in my head, and I took it easy. It was a necessary compromise, and one that I don’t regret at all.

I can’t begin to explain how meaningful yesterday’s decision was to me. Everything I write here is woefully inadequate. But the energy yesterday was perfect. We all understood each other. Strangers hugged and cheered together. I hugged my friends, simply saying, “Can you believe it?” and “What a day!” and we all understood. No explanations were necessary.

And now, as I type this, there is a rainbow stripe at the top of my screen, because apparently WordPress is in on the celebration. My Facebook feed is filled with celebratory notes, excited words, memes, articles, videos. Profile pictures are rainbow-colored or bi-colored (I went with bi colors.) My straight friends and family are celebrating just as much as the queer ones. Just as it should be. Because yesterday, we all won. And in my own way, I got to celebrate that, despite my illness.

My body and your religious beliefs

June 30, 2014

A few years ago the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) ruled that corporations are people. Yeah, no kidding. Today, it ruled that those “people” can deny birth control coverage to their employees. Yeah, again, no kidding.

If you’re not familiar with these, you can read about corporations being ruled “people” here, and you can read about today’s horrible decision on birth control coverage here. Go ahead, I’ll wait.

Welcome back. In case you didn’t read all of it, the basic idea is that health insurance in the U.S. is usually provided by companies for their employees. Yeah, that’s messed up, but it’s a discussion for another day. The federal government mandated that this health insurance coverage has to include preventative care, including things like cancer screenings and birth control. Birth control is incredibly controversial here in the U.S. (Maybe I’ll talk about my opinions of misogynistic policy-makers, pundits, and loudmouths another day.) A couple of family-owned companies sued, saying that birth control pills, IUDs, etc. could be assisting abortion (even though medical science says otherwise) and that therefore they are against the owners’ religious beliefs. They therefore believe they should not have to provide coverage that includes birth control pills, IUDs, etc. They argue that since it’s about their freedom of religion, they shouldn’t have to pay the penalties, either. And the court bought it. Or, at least, 5 male justices bought it.

The decision was written so that it was clearly meant to be narrow; it should apply only to these particular businesses and only to birth control. But we all know that the door is now open to any other business that wants to sue. And if the court rules that birth control is an “acceptable” religious objection but that pork-based pills or transfusions or whatever else isn’t an “acceptable” religious objection, then they’ll be showing preference for one religion over another. They can’t have that. So where would the line be drawn for healthcare coverage denials?

I have been railing against this ruling on Facebook all day. I am pissed off like you wouldn’t believe. In order to keep my cortisol levels from skyrocketing, I won’t get into this here today. I just want you all to be aware of this ruling. And to say that I believe this, above all else, to be true about the state of healthcare today for those who are not wealthy enough to afford care without insurance coverage:

Who should make decisions about my healthcare:

  • Me
  • My doctors/healthcare providers

Who actually makes decisions about my healthcare:

  • Me
  • My doctors/healthcare providers
  • My health insurance company
  • My disability insurance company (by denying a claim, they take away my health insurance)
  • My government
  • My employer
  • Pharmacies (for example, Walgreens now insists on calling doctors to personally verify prescriptions for opioids)

See the problem?

What do you think about this ruling? How does it make you feel? And who else makes decisions about our healthcare? Who did I forget? Please share in the comments!

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