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It is very strange to leave a protected majority, where society sanctions and respects your relationship, to become part of a discreet and insular minority, where you're a target of open prejudice and hostility. Remember, federally recognized gay marriages are only five minutes old.

If you ever want to know what it's like to be judged before you even open your mouth, just walk down the street holding hands with someone of your same sex. Before that, marriage was a solid institution that served and protected heterosexuals exclusively in innumerable ways, both big and small.

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I remember one book vividly: it was called , and each chapter unveiled a different woman's experience after leaving her husband.

Some of the stories were heartbreaking and others were hilarious, but all had to do with the pain of discrimination. When you leave a heterosexual dynamic, you are departing from a safe place and heading out to the land of the unknown and the marginalized, the ostracized and the disenfranchised.

After all, it is one thing to figure out that you are a homosexual (HOMOsexual) when you are a teenager struggling with all the concomitant insecurities that go along with discerning your identity.

It's quite another to come out at thirty-one after you have already come of age, published a book, snorted lines of cocaine in your living room with friends, and driven all the way to Crater Lake in a sedan with a carful of topless lesbians right after having sex with your husband.

Still, the Bay Area is a happy place to discover that your future husband will have no penis.

There seemed to be a gay/lesbian film festival every fifteen minutes or so, and I started attending a great number of these.It was not a very happy time in my life, and I can't say it's particularly easy to write about these things. "But I do sometimes have a paranoid fantasy about pulling out Dick Cheney's fingernails and shipping them along with a box of lemons to Laura Bush." He told me to take St.Nobody wants to think back to a time when your life was lonely and scary, before podcasts were invented and you had to hold up your mini tape recorder to the speakers by the computer and hope the phone wouldn't ring so you could listen to during your third loop around Central Park. John's Wort and a tincture called kava kava root, and even though this detail is in no way germane to the story, I'd like to take a moment to suggest that before you decide to go on heavy pharmaceuticals or to swallow leftover Percoset with your Jim Beam as a palliative for psychological malaise, that you take a gander at the kava kava root."We just keep up the appearance for our parents," the wine seller said. She ran out of the restaurant and never spoke to me again, which made me sad."Otherwise they'll take away the apartment." We flipped through the wedding album for a while. Then we went out on the back terrace where she told me that when she went down on a woman she focused on the responsibility with a laser-like concentration that would be incomparable to any other experience in my life, past or future. I think I had a lot to offer her in the way of friendship, especially since I really didn't have any friends in New York.I tried to stay upbeat about it, but I was born in the late sixties and most lesbians my age had gone through years of torment and angst in the eighties when they were coping with either being completely out as a gay or hiding that they were gay, and these women had their work to do before they could acceptably function in a healthy relationship, IMHO.

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