Category Archives: Opinion

Salem-based Writer Discusses Identity & Inspiration

Celebrating Women’s History Month 2019

By Domina Alexandra

We all assume to know who we are as people–and who our colleagues, parents, friends are deep down inside. Being all those things and more, the question we sometimes forget to ask, is who are we as women? Are you a feminist? Are you butch? Or do you identify as being femme? Young or old our identity as women–and queer women–is important to our identity.

As a woman and writer, here’s my thoughts. I use to question my identity as a woman, only because I wanted to date them. And growing up sheltered and forced to believe being a lesbian was wrong, I thought, “If I became a man, my problem was solved.” We all handle life experiences differently. We resist who we are as women to please society.

I can say, I am proud to be a woman and it was other women who inspired me over the years to accept myself. Finding my identity as a woman helped me find my identity as a lesbian and writer. It was other queer, and non-queer, writers that inspired me to become the woman I am now! A woman proud to write lesbian fantasy romances.

The first writer I ever read while the accepting myself as a woman was Patricia Briggs. She writes about a world where a woman can be strong and face dangerous beings without having some strong superpower or enhanced strength. As if her character, Mercy Thompson could be any one of us. After reading her books, I knew I could stand on my own two feet.

From Patricia Briggs, I jumped into queer writing, in the midst of acknowledging myself as an out lesbian. Gerri Hill’s book, ‘Hunters Way,’ was all the confirmation I needed to be a proud queer woman. She writes about women of power and voice, leadership and passion. Women who are capable of taking care of themselves. I only inspire to a better writer and woman.

 

I asked Patricia Briggs in March at the Emerald City Comic Con, “How does she escape the world she creates for her characters? That as a writer, I can get lost in that fantasy that is safer than the real world.”

 

She replied, “It’s normal for us as writers to linger and think about our characters from time to time. Do some laundry and stop, wanting to go back to the world we created. We have to leave that world and go back to our own. To spend time with family and friends. To not lose our identity as a person.”

It is easy to forget our personal lives, what defines us, even when writing. It was rewarding to finally meet Patricia Briggs and be reminded of how I came to talk to her in person. It was me finding my place as a woman and a writer!

This Women’s History Month: Ask yourself, who are you as a woman? And what woman inspires you? Domina Alexandra is a writer and EMT based in Salem, OR. She has penned three books, Her Endure, I Belong with Her, and most recently, A Night Claimed. The novels are available for purchase on her Amazon writer’s page.

Bigotry Be Gone

Bigotry Be Gone
by Dean Ellerbusch

In our never-ending quest to educate the ignorant, it is sometimes necessary to respond to unfounded accusations and bigoted opinions. I found myself in such a situation when I read comments on this Facebook post.

LGBT Bigotry

I have redacted names, but here is the text of the original comments and my response:

Comment 1: “Is it anti-LGBT to respect the 4000 year old understanding of what a marriage is? What right of marriage can’t be addressed by domestic partnership legislation? Why must all of society change to suit 3% of the population just because they are loud and obnoxious?”

Comment 2: “They are not changing minds with ideas, they are working with intimidation, bullying, extortion.”

My response:

I’m not sure how you think LGBT people have attained such control over our society and its laws. The LGBT population has been intimidated and bullied for entirely too long. This happens beginning in our school years, following us into the workplace, and on into pretty much every facet of life. We want equal rights—not “separate but equal” rights.

With Domestic Partnership, we are not considered our partner’s family and are denied access to them when they are in the hospital. Blood relatives block us from the legal rights that heterosexual married people are afforded when their spouses die (there are many instances where the “domestic partner” isn’t even allowed to attend their partner’s funeral). Domestic Partnership doesn’t provide tax breaks. We are continually told we cannot adopt or raise foster children. The list goes on.

Regarding traditional marriage, it has its roots in economic gain for the family of the daughter receiving a dowry. There have been—and continue to be—arranged marriages. Adolescent girls have been married off. Even in the Bible, one man could have many wives—as well as incestuous marriages. The Church has taught that Whites shouldn’t marry Blacks. There are so many things wrong with the “Traditional Marriage” argument, that I don’t see how such bigotry is acceptable for sinful, but forgiven Christians.

I don’t believe these facts have anything to do with intimidation, bullying, or extortion. I am simply pointing out inconsistencies to the standard party line. I will leave intimidation, bullying, and extortion to the bigots.

I can only hope I have changed your mind with ideas you claim are the better avenue for affecting real change. I also hope that my reasoned response isn’t received as “loud and obnoxious.” Rather, let it be known that I am Out and Proud.

EDUCATE and STOP THE HATE ~ Tenacious Dean

One Spokanite’s Perspective

Page 82 Issue #3 Proud Times Magazine – Equality Marches On!

I was born and lived most of my life in Spokane. I served in the Navy and have lived in other areas, but I always seem to come back to the Inland Empire. I am sure I have made my last move; my partner and I are settling in nicely. Prior to entering my relationship, Spokane had been (and still is) a very lonely place to live. It is rare that anyone extends a hand to a new person or invites them into their clique. Spokane and the surrounding areas have changed little since I discovered I was gay in Jr. High School. It has a limited number of bars, a huge closeted community, and frayed “out” community. Many of the LGBT community raised here move away because they find it very hard to live “out” in the area comfortably. They run for the anonymity larger cities like Seattle or Portland provide.

While selling real estate, I learned that the Spokane Metropolitan Area has the largest number of churches per capita—more than any other metro area of the same size this side of the Mississippi. The Universalist Unitarian Church, Westminster UCC, Unity Church, One Spokane, and what is left of the Gay Metro Church are supporters of the gay community. The majority of other churches are anti-gay and anti-same sex marriage and they are not afraid to voice it. Many gay men and women living in the area wouldn’t dare to show up at a gay gathering, bar, or openly support anything gay for fear of repercussions from their church.

Spokane is a “bedroom community” of the worst kind. Many in the community are sleeping around, but would rather not have a relationship or be “out.” Some of the locals in our community live in semi-open marriages with straight women for appearances sake and status in the community. I have met, chatted with, worked with, befriended, or dated numerous men that are in loveless marriages in order to fit in the community or are staying because of their kids. I know. I used to be one of them—years ago. While they will tell you they are happy, they admit to me that they are sick and tired of the charade, but have no idea how to get out intact without losing everything, alienating their children, etc.

There is very little sense of community here, mainly because of the reasons I’ve already covered and a few more. Money or financial status plays a large factor as well. There are a lot of haves and have nots. If you’re not making $40K or more a year here, most singles will not give you a second look. In addition, most gays in the area that are out, they are in cliques and are very leery of outsiders.

I’ve found one of this area’s biggest problems arises when there is someone willing and open enough to put forth the effort and engage the community in events, they usually wind up doing most of the work to make it happen; no one else wants to offer support. Those who do these things generally do them until they burn out or simply give up.

Inland Northwest Bears is the first gay group I’ve been involved with that is solid. While there are some singles, it is easy to see with this group that their first order of business is “socialization and community support.” That is a commodity that is hard to come by. Yes, we have singles. Yes, they are on the prowl. But, the difference is that the bulk of our membership is mature and—for lack of a better way of putting it—play by the rules. They are simply happy and secure in their relationships and have no ulterior motives. It makes the group a comfortable ensemble and for that I am thankful. My partner and I are still new to the group, but we have thoroughly enjoyed each and every outing and all the folks we have met at them. We would like to attend more events, but our schedules (and the fact that we have a teenager at home) make it tough sometimes. But, we attend when we can.