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That time Grandma outed me at church

Ever since my church got a new pastor at the start of the year, I’ve actually been enjoying church. I started attending church more regularly this summer, and I’d even venture to say I’ve become more religious about being spiritual.

church

Church.

In a weird sort of way, this has caused me a lot of anxiety these past few months.

I’ve contemplated anonymously calling my new pastor to see his stance on “The Gays.” There is nobody at my church who is openly gay. While I remember there being a lesbian couple who had their children’s Christening at our church years ago, I haven’t seen that family since. I can’t even recall anyone mentioning the word “gay” at church during my entire childhood. While I don’t think my religion would frown on homosexuality as much as other religions, as I’ve done extensive research on Wikipedia, I just don’t know.

So, when I became engaged to V two weeks ago, I knew I would have to face my questions and concerns eventually.

DSC04025

En(gay)ged.

The church I’m a member of is very important to my family. It holds a lot of meaning in our family, as it was the church my grandparents had raised my mom and her siblings in, the church where my parents got married, and where each of my siblings and I had our Christenings, First Communions, and Confirmations. My grandparents were always active in the church, as they were practically founding members, and it was even the church where my grandpa’s funeral was held.

I took my Grandma out to dinner this week to talk to her about how I’ve enjoyed going to church, and how I only wear my ring on the weekend so I wanted to know if she’d be comfortable with me attending church with it, that I didn’t want to put her in an awkward position. She got teary eyed, grabbed my hand, and told me “Grandma loves you, and would never be embarrassed by you! Show off that ring!” I then explained to her that I wasn’t worried about embarrassing her, but rather I was worried about her being put in an awkward position because I’d be coming out and sort of forcing her to come out too.

Fast forward to yesterday.

Yesterday, on her own, Grandma called all of the conservative, religious extended family members I have only seen once or twice in my life to say, “Hi! Kailynn’s gay…and ENGAGED!” in one breath. She was met by a bit of confusion, but mostly happiness because my Grandma isn’t the sort of woman you want to upset. She did, however, get a lot of questions like “Do her parents know?” and “Are her parents happy?”

Today, I went to church with Grandma. I’ve never been so nervous to come out in my entire life– I was actually shaking more than I did when I came out to my family. Maybe it’s the stereotypes of religion + The Gays in my head, but I was inexplicably nervous about being potentially frowned at by my church.

HA. This is what I looked like on the day of my Confirmation, almost 10 years ago.

HA. This is what I looked like on the day of my Confirmation, almost 10 years ago.

The first person who noticed my ring was my youth group leader from my teen years, and she got a big smile on her face, and asked me who the lucky fellow was. I stumbled and said, “Actually, I’m lesbian, I’m engaged to a woman. Her name is V.” My youth group leader looked a bit taken aback and then declared, “Well, it’s legal in New Jersey now! Do your parents know? Are they happy for you?” After chit chatting with her and assuring her that my parents and Grandma were happy for me, and that Grandma actually seems to like V more than me, the Big Gay Church Parade moved on. My aunt and uncle oogled over my ring, and then the service started. Afterwards… well, Grandma got to work.

Grandma literally dragged me around church and shoved my ring finger in a few people’s faces as she said, “Notice anything about Kailynn’s hand??!” When they would say “Who’s the lucky fellow?”, she would grin, giggle, and nudge me so I would say, “I’m a lesbian. I’m engaged to a woman.” I was met with looks of surprise, which my Grandma recognized as shock, but I recognized as shock, potential disapproval, and feigning happiness with no clue of what else to do to make the situation socially acceptable. Then the church ladies got to work and I was asked questions about how I met my friend, what she does, and typical questions about the wedding date, dress, etc. At one point, a man who both of my grandparents were close with seemed floored, and my grandma said, “Put it in a pipe and smoke that, ‘Bob’!”

Needless to say, by way of my grandma– and the inevitable church gossip– I’m out to the church. I’m not sure how to feel about this. I didn’t get the chance to talk to my pastor, but I’m thinking of doing so via email just so he can be prepared if anyone has any backlash– or conflicted thoughts– about the homo in church. Most of the people my Grandma ambushed today are older and old-fashioned, and I’m sure the church gossip has just begun. I don’t know how my church, religion, or Pastor feel about “The Gays,” and, much like how I felt in high school, I am the only person in my church who knows the emotions I’m feeling of being engaged, happy, and being unsure if my love is accepted by my religion.

I guess it wouldn’t be a proper church outing if I didn’t leave thinking about religion, huh?

Happy Sunday.

Day of Silence, 2013

Breaking SIlence flier

Tomorrow (well, technically today I suppose) I will be performing and speaking at a breaking-of-the-silence event for LGBT Youth. I’m still putting together everything I want to say and share with the young ‘uns tomorrow, but I think it’s important to recognize the Day of Silence.

I actually recently watched the one of the first video essay things I made in hopes of gaining inspiration for tomorrow’s event. In the video (Featured below), which is a combo slideshow/ blog-type-thing, I reflected on why the Day of Silence was so important to me in 2008, as well as why it mattered so much. It was really cute how I tried to make it seem like I participated in DoS for my gay and lesbian friends, and that I was a straight ally. It’s not like me being a founding member of the hs GSA, wearing a suit to school, or the fact that I used a song from “The L Word” screamed that I was gay or anything. I was trying so hard to not give away my sexuality in this video. It was such a cute baby dyke moment for me. Who knows? Maybe I’ll inspire some baby dykes tomorrow.

Also. Look at how young I was! I was thin! I had long hair! I hadn’t started waxing my eyebrows yet! This video is a gem, I tell ya.

Have you ever participated in the Day of Silence? What did the experience mean to you?

mixed emotions about Sandy

I’ve spent the past 36 hours reassuring people that I am fine. So, here’s a rambling update of a post for those of you who were wondering about my status in central NJ.

No, I am not injured.

Yes, I have food.

No, my car was not damaged.

Yes, I still have some power and my cell phone is charged up.

No, my family was not hurt or injured.

Yes, I did stay on campus, but my campus has turned into a refugee camp for evacuees from across the state and for evacuees from other campuses, including the one I lived on for three years.

I’m just unsure of how to react to it all. I’m mixed between grieving/guilt and feeling thankful/lucky. I’m surrounded by refugees who may have lost everything, whereas I’ve lost nothing, so it’s an emotional rollercoaster.

My family is without power and I feel really guilty. They’re coming over tomorrow, and my mom wants to watch the news. I don’t think anyone realizes how bad it was until you see the images on tv/ on the computer. It’s chilling. This morning, I felt really guilty about NOT going home by my family, especially when I realized I was better off than they were. Buttttt I felt like I needed to be here for my RAs and whoever else needed me. It’s in my blood to continuously help others, and I think I would’ve gone crazy if I weren’t helping others today.

I couldn’t help but feel incredibly guilty and privileged even more today. If I wasn’t blessed with the opportunity to go to grad school and live on the campus I live on, who knows where I’d be? In a weird twist of fate, I also accidentally live in a handicap-accessible apartment on campus. Due to its handicap-accessible status, there was a generator connected to my room and I had minimal power throughout last night and today before the building’s backup power finally kicked in tonight. If I weren’t in the handicapped apartment, I would’ve suffered like the rest of people on campus. However, the fluke in this system allowed me to take the duty phones from my RAs on one campus and charge them in my room on another so that they wouldn’t be disconnected in case of emergency once the power ran out. My “handicap” privilege was extremely useful here.


Before the storm really picked up, I baked hurricane cookies for my RAs to calm my nerves. Baking is soothing to me.

Also…is it weird that I’m excited to see all the entirely different columns and blog posts that will be posted these next few days? I have so much to say, but none of the words to say it. I’m hoping someone else will be able to find the words for the emotions I’m feeling.

A lot of the individuals being shown on the news have lost their vacation homes, even though a lot of the people living on the Jersey Shore are of lower socio-economic status. How will the world react to this natural disaster upon seeing the media’s interpretation of it? How does this disaster compare to Katrina? Will people make accurate comparisons, or will they be blindsided by the media?

I have so many memories that have made me who I am on the Jersey shore… Some of them suck, but they still made me who I am. Some are even memories I tried to forget, but when I saw the coverage of The Beach Bar being destroyed, or of AC, I started crying. It was so odd to be grieving the loss of memories that have caused me heartache in the past.

I’m feeling like part of my identity died, even if I’m more of a Central Jersey gal than a Jersey Shore Gal.

This is such an emotionally conflicting situation. Oy.

What are you feeling? How has Sandy affected you?