May 14, 2012

LGBT Heroes Linda and Gloria Bailey-Davies Profiled In Washington Post

Straight people have done a pretty damn good job of destroying the institution of marriage on their own. If anyone wants to learn about how to make a loving and committed relationship work, they should get to know their LGBT neighbors.

In the Washington Post, reporter Eli Saslow profiles Gloria and Linda Bailey-Davies,
who were plaintiffs in the landmark Massachusetts lawsuit that resulted in the state allowing same-sex marriage. Read about it by clicking Read More below.

In the documentary film For The Bible Tells Me So, the filmmakers interviewed the gay rights crusader Rev. Dr. Mel White. Dr. White may be best known for being a contestant on the 14th Season of Amazing Race, in 2009, and he’s a man that I have long admired. He is the founder of Soulforce, the organization devoted to social justice and civil rights, devoted to promoting the acceptance of LGBTQ people through dialogue, and creative forms of nonviolent direct action.

For many years, Dr. White worked for Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, and Billy Graham. He wrote their speeches, their sermons, and he was the ghostwriter of their books.

During one interview in the film, Dr. White recounts an experience he had while making an appearance on CNN’s Larry King Live.

“When I was on Larry King Live, somebody called in and said, ‘What do you guys do in bed?’ Larry hung up on him and said, ‘that’s none of your business.’ And I said, ‘We’ve been together in the same bed for 24 years – we’re like everybody else, we sleep in bed. And King said: ‘Once they find out you’re as boring as we are, it’s all over.’”

We all know that gay marriage is not about what goes on in our bedrooms. We’ve heard that the world is going to end if marriage equality is the law of the land, we’ve heard that society will change for the worse, and that the institution of marriage will be destroyed.

I think straight people have done a pretty damn good job of destroying the institution of marriage on their own, but that’s beside the point. Considering the challenges that the LGBT community faces every day, it’s amazing that we have long term relationships at all. If anyone wants to learn about how to make a loving and committed relationship work, they should get to know their LGBT neighbors.

A recent newspaper article does this very thing, and introduces their readers to a couple who could be anyone’s neighbor. The Washington Post profiles a couple who were plaintiffs in the Massachusetts lawsuit that resulted in the state allowing same-sex marriage. After reading the excellent piece, I immediately thought of Larry King’s remark that “once they find out you’re as boring as we are, it’s all over.”

I’m not characterizing Linda and Gloria, or their marriage as boring, because they are anything but boring. I would actually say that their lives are more extraordinary than ordinary, which makes the article worth a read. The reason why I thought of Larry King and the “boring” remark, is that gay and straight couples have more in common with each other, than our straight antagonists care to acknowledge or recognize.

In the piece entitled “As gay marriage debate rages on, Massachusetts couple enjoys married life,” Eli Saslow writes:

Linda will drive them to the barbecue, because she always drives. Gloria will close her eyes and sleep in the car, because Linda drives too fast. Linda will mix up her stories in a rush of nervous excitement, so Gloria will squeeze her hand as a signal to calm down. They will finish each other’s sentences and maybe each other’s plates, because that’s what happens after 41 years.
                       
At the barbecue this Sunday afternoon in Boston, the two women plan to reunite with six other couples to mark their collective anniversary: eight years since they won a joint lawsuit against Massachusetts and became the first gay couples to marry in the United States. In a country still divided by the concept of gay marriage, these eight women and six men have the most firsthand experience.

For them, gay marriage is just marriage, and marriage has been its own journey of emotional extremes. One couple is preparing to send an only child to college. Another filed for divorce. Another is retiring and moving out to Cape Cod.

And then there are Linda and Gloria Bailey-Davies, 69 and 64, authorities even among this group, with their last names hyphenated and their lives intertwined. They share a house, a boat and a cellphone. They shared a business until retiring on the same day six years ago and moving to live full time in Orleans, Mass., a quiet town of 6,000. Linda has a tendency to interrupt and can “act like a spastic mess,” Gloria said. Gloria “sometimes feels like she has to fix and take care of everyone,” Linda said. For almost a decade, they were too competitive and too maddened by each other’s tendencies to play tennis on the same team in doubles. But they have spent only four nights apart in the past four decades because, Linda said, “We love each other, and I would never want to spend my life committed to anyone or anything else.”

This is what President Obama has decided he is for.

I encourage you to check the article out. I have to thank Linda and Gloria for sharing their amazing story, and hope that more newspapers and media outlets, continue to profile couples like Linda and Gloria in the future.



straight talk in a queer world.





 

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