February 25, 2011

Maureen

Maureen, age 9
Pasadena, CA (1957)

I'm here on the right with my BFF Cheryl, who I realized much later, was my "girlfriend". We're snuggled up together here, and we used to hug and kiss every time we met. At our age in that era, people thought it was "cute". I really loved her, and asked my folks if we could adopt her, even though she had parents.


She was my first real "crush" - and though I didn't know why, the way I loved her was "different". Several years later, my next crush in high school was recognized for what it was by the nuns. And my parents got a letter informing them that my classes had been changed, due to an "inappropriate friendship," and my dad didn't know what that meant.

But here, with Cheryl, I knew I was in love and it felt wonderful.

In the 1950's, no one used the word "gay" yet, and I didn't know what a "homosexual" was. But I usually had at least one "girl-crush" every school year. And by the time I was in 9th grade, in an all-girls Catholic school, all the girls would get together and giggle about boys - and I would be looking at them.

Today, as I look at this photo, I wish what I felt then had been recognizable and accepted. After a marriage, kids, abuse, and a nervous breakdown, I finally came out to myself and others at age 48. At that time, I had met the love of my life, and she was a transgendered woman.

Now, I am a Witch and a Unitarian Universalist. My church recognizes same-sex unions, so I married my wife 15 years ago. Today, I am happily settled with my life partner, openly gay, and Pagan. And with children (from the first, disastrous marriage) and grandkids who love and accept Mamo and Nana for who they are.

After all the angst I experienced, I would like to tell gay kids that it definitely gets better.

Maureen's first, famous-person same sex crush:
Audrey Hepburn
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Gigi Hear Us Out!: Lesbian and Gay Stories of Struggle, Progress, and Hope, 1950 to the Present Gender and Culture in the 1950s: WSQ: Fall/Winter 2005 (Women's Studies Quarterly) Sexual Personae: Art and Decadence from Nefertiti to Emily Dickinson

6 comments:

The Typsy Gypsies said...

Hey Maureen - I love this post. Being straight myself, I'm confused by the term "transgendered", even after searching for a decent definition on the internet. What does this word mean to you and your wife?
Wendy

Randuwa said...

Loved your story!

Will said...

I hope that the smile and apparent joy of the girl on the right has been fully reclaimed and lived into.

Julian Fitzsimons's Civics Blog said...

Really good story, but it wasn't Audrey Hepburn in Gigi. That sounds oddly nitpicky, but I am obsessed with old movies, so when I read that last bit, it stuck out like a sore thumb. If you meant the title character, it was Leslie Caron in the role. Otherwise, great story!

S Kay Murphy said...

Hurray! Great story, Maureen! So happy to hear that you are the person you were born to be!

Naomi Walsh Montana said...

I love this picture..It tells the story of pure happiness.
When someone makes you smile like that how can you think that it is anything but good>