You can't hate someone whose story you know.
Dare to know the story of those who are different.
“The tiniest story in your life can deeply touch another.
You cannot know the effect your story might have.”--Sark
This is our last newsletter of 2006. In 2007, newsletters will come from our Stand UP Speak OUT website. Don't worry... those of you who are on our newsletter list will continue to automatically receive them.
In this newsletter Update:
- Our legal wedding in Canada, including photos!
- Canadians continue to lead the way... Prime Minister Harper's motion to re-open marriage equality issue defeated
- BE REAL Documentary... We will host a screening in February 2007
- Newest Stand UP Speak OUT Wind Changer honorees
- Drum Roll... Unveiling our new Stand UP speak OUT website
- The holiday season brings opportunities for pain/growth for GLBT persons, including us
- New Podcasts... We have posted two more podcasts - one with Peggy Campolo, and one with Rev. Dr. Mel White
- Making a Difference & New Year's Resolutions... consider a donation to Stand UP Speak OUT, Inc.
Our legal wedding in Canada...
To all of you wonderful folks who wrote to congratulate us, THANK YOU! It feels so great to be celebrated by so many!
Still Lovebirds, after five years, and three weddings!
Rylee Joy was the ring-bearer! Here she is being very patient and attentive as Roby gets our rings out from the pouch Rylee was wearing that hung on a rainbow beaded necklace. Notice the beautiful rainbow colored scarf on the ottoman, given to us while on our journey, by our friends, Dean and Gary in Mason City, Iowa.
Our happy family!
(L-R) Back Row: Kathy (State PFLAG chair for Washington) & Robert Reim, Anne Adkins, Kendra Adkins, and Yvonne Manville
Don't you just love Rylee Joy's rainbow scarf?
Our celebration dinner at Sam's Cafe' on the waterfront in White Rock, BC
(L-R) Hal, Dotti, Roby, Kathy & Robert
Hal & Barbara (the owners of Sam's) had the beautiful roses & balloon for us!
What wonderful people they are and the food is fantastic!
We received a kind note from Yvonne, the marriage commissioner:
Hi Robynne and Dotti:
Hope the rest of your evening went well. I really enjoyed marrying you both, and thank you very much for my rainbow bracelet. I think your story about how you met, got together and realized your destinies together is quite amazing. Not the least of which is that it all started on Dec. 8th, my birthday, and I turned out to be the wedding commissioner you chose. Uncanny how life works out, isn't it.
Do take care, both of you, and have a wonderful healthy life together.
With regards, Yvonne.
Yes, it was December 8, 2001, that we met five years ago, On December 8, 2006, we received our marriage certificate from Canada. The great thing is that Canada has their act together. One of us didn't have to sign as the male, as we did when we legally married in Portland, Oregon on March 7, 2004 (it was voided a year later and they sent us a $60 refund check). We always laugh about that! The truth is that we applaud the courage of those commissioners in Portland. The situation was that the commissioners on the City Council in Portland, who realized that the law at that time only said that "Marriage is between two consenting adults," were simply seizing the day. We are glad they did. The only problem is that the paperwork still said "Male and Female" because there was no time to change it. They explained to us that they realized both parties of a couple were of the same gender, but that one would have to sign as the male and one as the female (no matter that it might be two men or two women). We looked at one another, dumbfounded. Finally, Roby came up with a solution. Rubbing her chin, she said, "Well, I have two chin hairs. I could sign as the male!" (: And so it was!
It feels really great to look at our Canadian marriage certificate and see "Female" for both! Aren't the small things just the best?
Prime Minister Harper's motion to re-open marriage equality issue defeated
Dotti: We love weddings! In September, I was fortunate to have officiated at the wedding of my dear friends, Laura Driscoll and Linda Mitchell, who live in Surrey, BC, Canada. It is interesting to observe that although they live only 15 minutes from us in Canada, their marriage is legal and ours is not because we live in the United States. People often ask, "Why don't you move?" It is a fair question. The answer is, "Yes, we could do that, but we would prefer to Stand UP and Speak OUT in own country. We feel that we, as individuals, can make a difference, and want to inspire others to do the same." There is nothing that gives us greater joy than to see others use their Power of ONE to create change. We will not deny, however, that Canadians offer a great model for equality and justice for all of us.
After more than a year of facing the threat that equal marriage would be taken away, Canadians can breathe easy and rejoice: on December 7, 2006 Members of Parliament rejected Stephen Harper’s motion to re-open the divisive equal marriage debate.
The article says, "Most MPs, like most Canadians, have come to understand that equal marriage doesn’t harm anyone, it only makes life better for some. They have come to understand that a generous and inclusive definition of marriage actually strengthens the institution. They have come to understand that the only reason to exclude same-sex couples from civil marriage is discomfort, resistance to change and moral judgment. And they have learned that voting in favour of equality feels really, really good!!"
Click here for the entire article.
We love to share about any of our three marriages any time we can. Why? It gives us the opportunity to talk with people, and educate about the lack of marriage equality in the United States. You can't imagine how many supportive people say, "Wow...I didn't realize that!" when learning something new about the rights and privileges they have, but we don't. It isn't just those opposing marriage equality who aren't educated. Sometimes, our allies are not educated either. We can't assume that they fully understand the ramifications that impact us.
This reminds us of when we seized the opportunity on Beliefnet to share about our July 31, 2004, wedding. Click here to see that.
Molly McKay is another person who is talking about marriage equality every chance she gets. She has a very unique way. She is wearing a wedding dress to engage people in conversations. Deb Price of the Detroit News recently wrote about Molly. Great story! Click here to read!
BE REAL Documentary, celebrating the rich diversity of the lives of gay people in America. We will host a screening in February, 2007. Producers/Directors Bobbie Birleffi and Beverly Kopf will attend the screening and speak afterwards! That night, we will honor them as our most recent Stand UP Speak OUT Wind Changer Honorees.
Bobbie and Beverly are both life partners and business partners. Click here to read more about them and this fabulous documentary they produced. Their documentary mirrors a huge part of our journey, encouraging our community to be real and live authentic.
Click here for details on that upcoming event!
On the Stoli BE REAL website, they say...
If you know that special someone whose life story embodies what BE REAL is all about, we encourage you to nominate them (or yourself) to be featured in our next BE REAL project.
Please consider clicking here to nominate Two Women & a Poodle, Dotti Berry, Robynne Sapp, and Rylee Joy (please put Berry-Sapp as the last name since we are legally changing our name). We want to carry forward our message of living authentic, and standing up and speaking out to make a difference in our society, empowering others to do the same.
You can use this link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6WmBMg-JZ40
to a six minute video (from our PFLAG NW Conference speaking engagement and put together by one of our documentary filmmakers, Kathy Kiefer) to include in your message. Just speak from your heart... that is all we ask!
Drum Roll... Unveiling our new Stand UP speak OUT website
Last year, our Stand UP Speak OUT website was a static one page explanation, with a link to our Gay Into Straight America website. Now that our official year long journey is complete, we have revised our Stand UP Speak OUT website since we will be doing additional projects. Click here to see. There are rotating headers with pictures of a variety people from our journey...from 98 year old Eva to transgender friends. We hope that you will continue to follow and participate in our projects, and choose to make a difference in our society.
We wish to extend a very special THANK YOU to our documentary filmmaker and dear friend, Kathy Kiefer, who is doing amazing things to create change in the world. Her most recent act of kindness includes paying for our Stand UP Speak OUT website for a year! Thanks, Kathy! We love you!
The holiday season brings opportunities for pain/growth for GLBT persons, including us.
Like everyone, we receive opportunities every day to either react in fear or respond in love to situations, particuarly when it relates to family. Click on our blog and read the last few entries to read how we turned a painful situation into one we used to serve as a mirror for more clearly seeing ourselves, and allowing us to love Roby's Uncle and Aunt, who wrote an email that felt hurtful. They were letting us know the reason they chose not to attend the family dinner at our home. Part of what they said was:
"We believe that your relationship together, your marriage, and your travels for the purpose of promoting the acceptance of your gay lifestyle, are contrary to God's Word."
Again, click on our blog, and read what happened... the rest of Roby's Uncle's email, along with our response is there. The reactive response would have been to defend each point that was inaccurate. After processing through our own feelings of pain, we took a different route. Sometimes, we don't realize other gifts that may come our way because of our choices when we do that. In this case, the real gift was the bridge our response created between Roby and her mom, after Roby shared the email from her aunt and uncle (her mom's brother), as well as our response. All of that is in the blog. Siimilar to when we shared last Christmas about the situation which occurred with Dotti's Mom when we were not allowed to stay at her home because of the signs on our purple suburban, this situation gave us the opportunity to use the mirror to claim the gift of who we are. Click here if you missed that newsletter from last year.
Dotti: Since last Christmas, I have continued my long time action of making weekly calls to my Mom, sharing myself and my life with her. Since that incident, where Mom's fear prevented her from having us stay for Christmas, we visited a couple of months later when we flew in from Washington D.C. to speak at Georgia Tech. No Suburban with signs meant no problem! (: In addition, we recently got together with Mom in October at my Aunt Dot's in Kentucky. Several days ago, Christmas presents for both Roby and me arrived in the mail. As you will see from the newsletter last year, she gives what love she can express through gifts of baked goods and thoughtful gifts, even when she is unable to move through the fear of what others will think of her (and us) when they see signs on the vehicle saying, "GayIntoStraightAmerica.com...Two Women & a Poodle."
Recently, Mom was talking about her neighbors across the street were going to be married. I said, "Are they the ones who lives where Ms. Elliott lived, or where Mary and Joe lived." She replied, "Oh, the ones in Ms. Elliott's house already got married. This is the other couple." I replied, "Well, Mom, this is a great opportunity to share that your daughter recently married in Canada. Mom...it's time."
We hope that sharing this current situation, as well as last year's, will help others in some way as they face a similar one this holiday season. In the midst of others' hurtful actions, the key question is, "How can I process through this situation, and come out on the other side feeling empowered?"
Tips for moving through phone calls/emails/letters from friends and/or family that attempt to diminish who you are:
"Feel" your feelings... in the present moment, state whatever comes to your mind to a safe, listening, ally person who will honor you by saying, "Yes, I can understand why you might feel that way." It is important to go through this process (even yelling and screaming at times if you have the need) in order to move through the pain.
Notice where (what part of your body) you feel the painful feelings (our bodies tell the truth). This is also helpful if you can't yet language what you are feeling. Breathe deeply in through your nose and out through your mouth, noticing where you feel your pain in your body, over and over again, until the pain dissaptes.
Journal your thoughts about the situation... write a letter (that you don't send) to the person/s who initially harmed you with their words. Detail your reactive thoughts and feelings. Don't censor yourself. Write it as if it is what you truly want to say to them. Allow this process to move you through the pain.
Feeling, writing about, and bearing witness to your pain allows you to move through the grip it has on you. Now work on ways to positively self soothe in other ways (in addition to deep breathing). Take a walk, listen to good music, take a bubble bath, do some stretching exercises.
Once you feel and own your pain, you can begin to use this process to serve as a barometer of what still needs healing in you. Look at that, and see how and/or to what extent you have given away your power to others to define you and decide whether or not you are OK.
Recognize that others' fear, expressed through words that attempt to diminish you, is a call for love. Give them the best possible gift for Christmas...the gift of who are, your authenic self...and express love back to their fear. Love always eradicates the dark shadow of fear through its illuminating light.
Quote of the month: "What you think of me is none of my business." -- Ashley Judd while appearing on The View. Her quote can come in handy to keep in mind if any of you receive a negative letter or email from family members who do not celebrate the gift of who you are.
We have posted two new podcasts - one with Peggy Campolo, and one with Rev. Dr. Mel White, founder of Soulforce.
Click on this link to listen!
Making a difference...
We received the kindest email from Dean Genth and his partner, Gary, in Mason City, Iowa (they are the guys who gave us the beautiful rainbow scarf), congratulating us on our marriage in Canada. Dean is going to be one of the adult chaperones for the 2007 Equality Rides that the Soulforce youth are doing again in March and April. Following is part of what he wrote:
Dear Dotti and Roby:
You are correct that I'm getting very excited about the Soulforce Equality Ride. Will you be coming to Minneapolis to help us with the Bus Launchings?
You must know how much you two have inspired me to make this journey. You two will really be two of my "soulmates" on this Soulforce journey. Thank you for being such good role models for us.
Love and Hugs,
Dean and Gary
New Year's Resolutions...
Since this is our last newsletter of 2006, we will mention New Year's Resolutions. In our newsletter last December, we did the same. We believe that what we offered last year is still a great idea!! It really supports the Power of ONE to make a difference! So, we are repeating what we said last year.
Why not use the normal “New Year’s Resolutions” routine in a different way this year? Use it as a time to write down “Ten Ways I can Stand UP and Speak OUT” in order to create greater justice and equality for ALL people, and make a positive impact in our society. Rather than being defiant, this action is the exact opposite. This is a call to action and is about claiming one’s personal power.
Additionally, please consider a donation to Stand UP Speak OUT, Inc., as you look for ways to pay less tax this year!! Let us help you with your situation! (: Seriously, funding is going to be a key element of continuing Stand UP Speak OUT projects, such as the Great American Roadcast. We will officially kick that off in September, 2007, traveling to cities who are part of the League of Cities' program, "We are building an inclusive community." We will speak and do podcasts with everyday people, politicians, ministers, groups, high schools, colleges and universities, and corporations. Click here to contribute, helping us spread the message of the Power of ONE and Living Authentic!
From the real and true adventures of two women and a poodle,
on a life-long mission to transform ourselves and the world,
one person at a time!
Life is an adventure… Enjoy the ride!
The light in us honors the light in you! -- Dotti, Roby & Rylee Joy