Monday, February 16, 2009

A Womyn's Diary

The New York Times recently ran a story about Alapine, a lesbian community in rural Alabama. Home to 20 women ranging in age from 50 to 75, Alapine is truly womyn's land. Men may only visit. Moreover, straight women may not live there. The story highlighted how critical a matriarchal way of life is to these residents, and how such communities could be doomed since they appeal much less to younger lesbians.

After reading the piece I was moved to imagine a day in the life of an Alapine gal. Here's a diary entry I rustled up:

11:00 p.m., Friday, Feb. 27, 2009

I woke up at 6:00 this morning, which is a damn sight better than 4:00 like I've been doing. Looks like Sylvia really knows her way around those homeopathic remedies. I'll ask her if she has anything for corns.

Took a long walk through the woods with Gertrude and Alice B. (corns be damned). Gertrude would chase squirrels all day if she could. We ran into Joyce walking Cleopatra and Boadicea. It's dogs that have it the best around here! All that room to run, and all of us old dykes to fawn over them.

On our way home Gertrude spotted one of the chickens, and that was all she wrote. She chased it up Diana Drive and down Athena Avenue. Well, did Cynthia have something to say about that! It took me a century to calm her down. Told her Gertrude had just put the "free range" in free-range chickens.

Beth came out to see what the fuss was about. Damned if she wasn't toting a shotgun. What a mistake the army made kicking her out in the '60s for being a lesbian. She could've won the Cold War by herself.

Beth took the opportunity to tell us she'd changed the gate security code again. I'd like to know how a bunch of seniors can be expected to remember a new code every week!

This afternoon I got brave. I sat down to write a poem for tomorrow's community full moon circle. After an hour I gave up on anything rhyming. The free verse I wrote, well, I hope it's good. I've never read a poem out loud before! I'm as nervous as Cynthia's chicken! Of course everyone will be supportive to the teeth, but still.

Sandy announced the topic for discussion at the circle will be "Menstruation—Do We Miss It?" Not sure what I think of that, but it makes a change from discussing communication styles and past lives.

I got e-mails from both Andrew and David today. They sound like they're both hurting in this economy. I'll say this for our no-males policy. It's gonna keep my sons from moving back in with Mom!

Betty told me her daughters complain that she isn't a "normal lesbian," whatever that is. They hate saying that their mother lives in a lesbian commune. They don't understand her attachment to nature. She doesn't understand their attachment to money, so I guess everyone's good and confused.

Thank the goddess that Ruthie works in town. She brought me some more Krispy Kremes today. Manna from heaven.

I tried a new recipe for this evening's potluck. Shrimp and grits. The girls seemed to like it, those that eat shellfish. Bernie's fig bars were out of this world. I swear, if she didn't cheat at canasta, she and I could get involved. She can bake and build houses. What's not to love?

It's 11:30 at night. An hour ago Shirley and Charmaine next door were arguing. Now they're making up. Gotta ask Bernie if she knows how to soundproof a double-wide.

Monday, February 2, 2009

The Leading Lesbian

It's a tough name for non-Scandinavians to pronounce or spell, but I promise to learn it. Cross my rainbow heart.

Johanna Sigurdardottir is the new prime minister of Iceland, and she's openly lesbian. It makes me want to wave the hat I bought 25 years ago in the Reykjavik airport.

That actually would be appropriate, as Sigurdardottir was a flight attendant and must've been in that airport countless times. So wave I will, to salute Iceland. While Björk sings in the background.

Iceland's new leader was a union organizer for flight attendants, and became a member of parliament in 1978. She's been in government a long time. Most recently she served as social affairs minister, before being tabbed to sit in the big chair.

The big chair could be a hot seat. The worldwide economic crisis hit Iceland like a horde of Vikings in pinstriped suits. The banks collapsed, the currency swooned, and inflation and unemployment are surging.

Protesters pelted the former prime minister's limo with eggs. In this nation of only 320,000 people, recent anti-government protests drew thousands. Police used tear gas for the first time in some 50 years.

This is the happy backdrop to her taking power. Remind you of someone? Maybe things had to get so bad for a black man to lead America, and a lesbian to lead Iceland.

Or maybe not. Like Obama, people have a lot of faith in Sigurdardottir. Polls give her high approval ratings. "It's a question of trust, people believe that she actually cares about people," a political scientist told the AP.

Besides being popular, she has another thing going for her as she takes on this ridiculously hard job: She's temporary. If the job sucks or she sucks at it, she's outta there before too many eggs can decorate the limo.

Sigurdardottir will be prime minister until elections are held, probably in May, when her Social Democratic Alliance Party isn't expected to do well enough to keep her in power. I wonder whether realistically she can make things much better or worse in that short amount of time. She can be a calming influence. Assure Icelanders that their island isn't sinking into the sea.

No matter how she performs, she'll always be the first out lesbian to lead a country. She'll always be a trailblazer for gay folk the world over. She'll always be the answer to a trivia question.

Actually, she'll always be a bit of a trick question. Sigurdardottir isn't the first out gay person to lead a country. Technically she's the second. Per-Kristian Foss, Norway's finance minister in 2002, served as his nation's acting prime minister when both the prime minister and foreign minister were abroad. But Foss's tenure as prime minister was so short he didn't even have time to put his feet up on the furniture.

It's telling that the first and second openly gay heads of government come from the same part of the world. Scandinavians seem to be farther along in their thinking than the rest of the world. Maybe it's something in the water—or fjords and geysers.

Sigurdardottir entered into a civil partnership in 2002 with journalist and playwright Jonina Leosdottir. How will Leosdottir be referred to? As the civil partner? The first lady? The first lesbian leader's first lesbian lady?

Oh, and did you notice that both women's names end the same way? Come to find out that most Icelanders derive their last name from their father's first name. Icelanders address each other by their first name. If I understand correctly, that means Sigurdardottir will be called Prime Minister Johanna.

Works for me! Now I don't have to learn that name after all. Whew.