Non Sequitur – A Birthday Request

My birthday is coming this week. I’ll be 39.

Save the date for next year. There will be a celebration.

But for this year, it’s pretty low key. Back in my 20s I set the standard that I only celebrate the Zeros and the Fives with parties, but the rest of the birthdays pass by with small-scale celebrations.

It’s been a really strange week. On Thursday night I got an email from a coworker whose recently former ex boyfriend had been found dead in his apartment. He’d been battling addiction and losing, which had prompted their breakup – but she was torn up about ending their romantic relationship and trying to remain his friend. Over the past year, she’s come to me for counsel more than once because she knows I’ve been in a similar situation.

And now her experience is that much more similar.

Then I found a couple of new podcasts for my commute. One is RISK! – a storytelling podcast. The other is the Savage Lovecast which people have been telling me about for years.

Both of the episodes I listened to this week featured a story about a young widow and the struggle to reconnect with your sexuality – stories that resonated with me deeply. Then I read a post in one of the facebook groups I participate in and another young widow shared her story, which also had similarities to mine.

And then yesterday, I saw the article from a young widow who wrote an open letter to the people criticizing Patton Oswalt for announcing his engagement so “soon” after his beloved wife passed away (like, nearly 2 years ago).

It just seems like that subject keeps trying to pound its way into my head, and all in the course of the six days after I signed escrow papers to begin the process of transferring ownership of my home, where my own widowing took place.

I’m not like, devastated. In fact, I have found all of the stories I’ve heard this week to be uplifting and generally comforting. It does feel nice when we realize we’re not alone, even three and a half years after it happened.

Hearing their stories doesn’t just remind me of what I’ve lost. It shines a great big light on what I have gained, as well as makes apparent what I’d had all along. It reminds me to appreciate everything I have every day that I have it.

Well. That wasn’t the post I was planning to write.

Honestly, I thought this was going to be the post where I asked people to donate $3, $9, or $39 to one or more of a list of charitable organizations I would like to benefit from my 39th birthday.

I guess that post got away from me.

A few weeks ago, I asked my friends to share with me some of the charitable organizations that they feel are doing good work in marginalized communities – specifically for LGBTQ+ and POC. I wanted the recommendations to come from those who have, or continue to benefit from the services these organizations provide. As someone who works in the nonprofit sector, I know better than to trust the website or the PR….

….I trust the people that are being helped.

In addition, yesterday someone had posted a video to an IndieGogo campaign that I thought was worth funding, and doesn’t have much time left.

So below are the links to the organizations that were recommended to me by the very people these groups exist to support. And if you are the type of person that is inclined to give gifts for people’s birthdays, then I would ask that you consider making a contribution to one or more of these organizations for my birthday.

You don’t have to tell me if you did or didn’t – but if you do, I would love to share my appreciation publicly in a future post.

The Relational Center The Relational Center exists to promote the essential importance of relationships. When we value our connections with others and with the environment, we create the necessary conditions for health and sustainability. So our work promotes personal, interpersonal, and social practices that help people build strong, resilient relationships. Our programs provide healing support, a space for community building, and tools for leadership.

Los Angeles LGBT Center Since 1969 the Los Angeles LGBT Center has cared for, championed, and celebrated LGBT individuals and families in Los Angeles and beyond.

Lambda Legal Lambda Legal, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, is a national organization committed to achieving full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people and everyone living with HIV through impact litigation, education and public policy work.

Trevor Project The Trevor Project is the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) young people ages 13-24.

And the IndieGoGo Campaign that only has a few days left:
Woke Girls Woke Girls is a new line of fashion dolls and chapter books that celebrate the power of today’s American girls. Through empowering representation of girls from marginalized identities and stories which finally portray them as the magical heroes that they are- Woke Girls shows girls that even when the world is unfair, they have the power to love themselves, stand up for what is right, and build a better world.

I will be making a personal contribution to each of these causes myself. I hope you will consider joining me.

Let adults be adult (rant)

About two years ago, the adult industry was under attack. By banks. They were shutting down accounts of known adult performers. Last year, my local dungeon had to go cash only for a night because their credit card processing account had been shut down, despite it being a registered charitable organization. Why? ‘Cause of the adult activities going on.

Look, I’m gonna show my bias here. When he was alive, my husband was a high-level executive in the adult industry and a multiple award-winning adult filmmaker for many years. So, yes, during a non-zero portion of my life, I indirectly benefited financially from the adult industry.

But even if that weren’t the case, I’d still be biased. I’d be a biased adult.

Over the past few days, several fundraising campaigns created by an adult with adult interests for a cause that provides support to countless animal rescue organizations around the world were shut down.

This isn’t a rant about the people who reported the campaigns. You had your reasons, whatever they were. Other people are gonna rail on you.

This is about a system that gave a shit about those reports. A system that says “Oh no, we can’t help starving animals if the people who are helping them donaughty things in their bedrooms at night!”

That’s ridiculous. It’s RIDICULOUS.

I’ve got another bias. I work in the fundraising sector. I have for many, many years. Several years ago, my two worlds collided. At an adult convention, one of the owners of a toy company who’d heard that I do fundraising for a living told me they were having trouble finding organizations that would be willing to accept contributions from an adult toy manufacturer.

ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME? Like, my mom is the most prudish, naive and conservative woman I know and even she had a vibrator growing up. She might be the only woman in America who used it for her back, but STILL. She HAD one.

So I went back to work, where they knew what industry my husband worked in, and I asked…”Hey, so this company wants to do a fundraiser and give us the money. Are we okay with accepting it?”

And my boss wasn’t sure. I mean, part of her wanted to say yes but then she was all worried about what the other donors would think. So finally she said, “Only if can treat them as an anonymous donor.”

I wish I could have stood up to her then. I wish I could have convinced her that a legitimate, tax-paying business that wanted to show philanthropic spirit and give back to ANY cause should be WELCOMED to do so and not shoved under the rug.

So what if they make dildos?

We’ve come a long way as a society. Even though it was an atrocity, the fact is a book about kinky shit was a bestseller and turned into a major motion picture. People know this stuff happens, and they’ve KNOWN for a long time.

We’re all adults. I don’t see why we have to pretend we don’t care about animals or the environment or cancer or education or hunger.

If I want to donate $25 so that a reputable 501(c)3 can go out and save a whale, or clean up a beach, or give medicine to people with AIDS, then why the fuck is the financial sector telling me I can’t because I like it when my boyfriend spanks my ass before he sticks his cock in it?

Fucking hell. When is the world gonna grow up already?