Often, when surrounded by appreciably younger people, one can feel even older. This was not our experience while in the company of the young people at the Sacramento LGBT Center’s Q-Spot youth group. If anything, we felt younger and more vibrant ourselves.
What a wonderful place for LGBTQ youth to go for support, education, camaraderie, and fun!
Col.Pat and I arrived early to set up for our presentation. The lower level/basement meeting room was alive with 10 or so kids laughing, sharing and enjoying each other’s company.
The group participants range in age from 13 to 23. We had an audience of close to 30 interested people that evening. We shared some highlights of our lives and our 30 years together. Our story includes living under the ban on gays in the military and being invisible as a lesbian couple during Col.Pat’s long military career.
All eyes and ears were focused on us with rapt attention and respect. Thoughtful questions were asked and many thanks given to us for being there.
We asked the group to join us for a picture after our talk. About one third of the kids felt comfortable being photographed. The others may have still been struggling with coming out to family and were not ready to deal with possible negative repercussions. This act of caution opened our eyes to the fact that, even with the great strides made in LGBT rights and education, there is still a huge stigma to being LGBTQ in today’s world.
We look to this generation as the future (and current!) leaders in the continuing campaign for LGBTQ equality. We hope we have given them enough encouragement and a background of history to continue the process.
This experience has infused us with a renewed energy to continue to move equality forward. Thank you Q-Spot for the rejuvenation!
You may be wondering why this fierce and relentless creature is staring you in the face here on a blog about the adventures of Col.Pat and Barb. Worry not for us, for we have taken precautions to keep this devil at bay.
I’m referring to the preventable, and often curable, affliction of colon cancer. We have seen this killer descend upon friends and family alike.
Col.Pat spent a year of her life taking care of her sister, Betty Ann, who was diagnosed with Stage IV colon cancer. For someone to have their first encounter with this dreadful diagnosis at Stage IV means they have never availed themselves of the life-saving testing available via a simple colonoscopy.
Betty Ann was diagnosed at the age of 70 and never saw her 71st birthday. Col.Pat was by her side during that horrific year to aid and assist her beloved sister through the odious path this disease puts one on. Too late for surgery, the treatment of choice, in Western medicine, was a horrific course of chemotherapy. The end result was death, not health.
No one, as they say, would want their worst enemy to suffer through this agony. And no one has to. A colonoscopy is only as unpleasant as the preparation for it. You’ll spend a day considering the porcelain throne as your closest friend. A thorough bowel cleansing is the prerequisite to a successful procedure.
Please don’t let the devil of colon cancer have its way with you. Make an appointment now! The life you save may be your own.
Marriage Equality became the law of the land on June 26, 2015! Now, finally, we all are able to have our cake and eat it too!
I’ll take you through the history of our marriages leading up to this landmark date.
Col.Pat and I experienced our first wedding on March 10, 2004 in the majestic San Francisco City Hall. She was 71 and I was 51 years old. We had been in a committed relationship for 20 years. A rather long “engagement”.
As we stood in front of Mayor Gavin Newsom’s office and repeated the words of the almost angelic officiant, we were both brought to tears. This simple ceremony and act of commitment was beyond our imagination until Mayor Newsom opened the city and county of San Francisco to marriage equality for the LGBTQ community. This was the first occasion of official same sex marriages and happened about two months before Massachusetts made marriage equality legal on May 17, 2004.
The San Francisco weddings lasted only a month but it put the fire in our bellies to work even harder for the rights we knew we deserved. 4000 couples flocked to the city to participate in this monumental event. Our participation in these first bold steps on the long road to Marriage Equality will always hold a red letter place in our lives.
Our California sanctioned marriage took place on September 29, 2008. Marriage Equality had arrived to our state and we knew the threat of Proposition 8 could remove it in the coming November election. Our fear of the potential loss of our rights moved us to action in a rather short window of time. We, and over 18,000 other same sex couples did not have the luxury of long term wedding planning. No matter–it was glorious!
My mother and her significant other, Jack, witnessed this remarkable milestone as they accompanied us to the County Clerk’s office in Auburn, California. A divine backyard reception followed. The well wishing group of friends and family enjoyed the delectable cake, pictured above, made by my sister Phyllis. Champagne flowed and a rainbow painted the evening sky! But a thunder cloud lurked in the distance
Col.Pat and I will be interviewed by Beth Ruyak on her one hour program, INSIGHT Thursday, July, 9, 2015 at 9am Pacific time on Capital Public Radio
This program airs live and is available at www.capradio.org/insight to hear on demand.
Listen in and give us your feedback.
Col.Pat and Barb
Welcome to the first of many blog posts to come. Col.Pat and I are excited about the new possibilities to share our thoughts, feeling and activities with all who are interested in LGBTQ life and little-known military history.
Head over to our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/SurvivingTheSilenceMovie to learn more about our exciting film, “SurvivingTheSilence-Love and Impossible Choices”.
We are currently in production with Cindy L. Abel, the director of award-winning documentary “Breaking Through”
We’ll share some behind the scenes tidbits to whet your appetite for the future release of “Surviving the Silence”.