CHS Crow | Jeff & Chris, Sarah, Shane, Carissa & Angie — ‘My whole life, I’ve fought for it’

This week, the crow learned this bird’s political affiliations aren’t particularly unique. Yay for that.

 

JEFF, 35, and CHRIS, 35

Jeff and Chris (right)

How do you think the results of tonight’s election will affect life for those of us on the Hill, and for you personally?

Jeff: I’m not sure what Obama’s going to do, but at least we’re moving forward, not backwards. As far as the initiatives, marijuana legalization will push police force towards actual crimes. And we’re so hopeful for 74!
Chris: We’re expecting a child, so we want 74 to pass so our child won’t be a bastard. Of course, we say that in joking terms!


Do you know if you’re having a boy or a girl?
C: A boy.

Congratulations! Do you have a name picked out?
J: Yes, but it’s a secret! We haven’t even told our parents.

How long have you guys been together?
C: Sixteen years.
J: We met in college, at Cornell. We met through an LGBT student group. After college, we lived in New York City for a while before we moved here.

What brought you to Seattle?
J: A lower cost of living, for one.
C: And I’m from here originally. I always knew I wanted to come back and live here, which is why I wanted to go to school on the East Coast.

Do you guys live on the Hill?
Jeff: Yes, up on 15th.

What do you do for a living?
J: I’m an architect.
C: I’m in property management.

A lot of couples these days—gay, straight, whatever—wrestle with the decision of whether or not to have kids. Did you have a process for making such a big decision?
J: We actually did a retreat four years ago. I figure, corporations do that, and we’re worth it as a couple to figure out our direction. After putting up all these charts and thinking, “Hmm. What are our priorities in life?”, we came to the conclusion that having kids was one of them.

Do you have a surrogate?
J: Yes, we have a surrogate down in Oregon.

Capitol Hill seems like a great place for same-sex couples to raise a family.
J: One of the things I love about Seattle so much is that when we moved here, Chris’s mother said, “Maybe you should get a bigger house with a bigger yard, so someday when you have children…” I want to raise my kids in this neighborhood. There’s such a great energy here.

At this hour, it’s looking like 74 is going pass. Do you have any plans to get married when the law goes into effect?
J: We probably will have some sort of a ceremony before the baby comes. Back in 2004 we had a commitment ceremony on the Cornell campus. After 16 years together, getting married almost seems like a formality. It’ll be nice to finally be able to say, “this is my husband” in public. It won’t be like we’re posing or lying. It won’t be like, “Oh, your pretend husband”…
C: Yeah, We already had the big party back in 2004. There were 150 people there—it felt like a marriage ceremony, even though it wasn’t legal. This time, we’re just going to have a smaller party.

Any other thoughts on the election, life on the Hill, or anything else?
C: One interesting thing about the election is that my parents, who live in Seattle and have almost always voted Republican, voted for a Democrat for President. Last night, we were having dinner with them, and they raised a glass and told us they were voting for Obama.

Do you think their opinion was influenced by fact that they’re going to be grandparents to a child with same-sex parents?
C: I think that played a big part in it. It’s not something abstract for them. The question is, “should the government recognize your family?” And they realized the Republicans weren’t going to do that.

 

SARAH, 26

How would you describe the atmosphere here at Wildrose this evening?
People are dancing, they’re happy. I’m SO happy—I’m overjoyed. I’m proud to be gay, and I’m proud to live in a state that supports my rights.

Do you live on the Hill?
I live in Redmond. But I wanted to come out here to celebrate everything I believe in and everything I’ve worked for for so many years.

How do you think the election will change life on the Hill, or for you personally?
It validates everything we’ve struggled for, and I think it’s fantastic that so many people have fought so hard for everything that’s come into the picture tonight. I think it’s absolutely beautiful.

Do you have any plans to get married?
Personally, I don’t. But I think it’s awesome and important that we now have that civil right. We should’ve always had that right, and now the law is going to give us equal rights. That means so much to those of us in the LGBT community.

Did you participate in the Approve 74 campaign?
My whole life, I’ve fought for it. I didn’t participate in any of the rallies or anything formal, just day-to-day testament and advocating for it.

What line of work or you in?
I manage corporate cell phone stores.

Any other thoughts on the election?
I think it’s great for women and women’s rights, too. It’s hard to predict what’s going to happen exactly, but I think it’s all on the right side.

 

SHANE, 23

What brings you out tonight?

I just wanted to come celebrate. I’m straight and I have a wife and kids, but I just love the fact that now everyone can be married, and have the same civil rights that I have.

Do you live in on the Hill?
I live on Beacon Hill.

Do you hang out in this area very often?
Yeah, there are a lot of good restaurants around here. I used to go to Seattle Central, so I know the area pretty well.

You mentioned restaurants—any places you would recommend?
I don’t know the name of it, but just a few blocks away there’s a great Mexican place.

I think it’s called Rancho Bravo, but, shhhh! I think the name is some sort of State Secret.
Yeah, there’s no sign or anything. But the food is great.

How do you think tonight’s election will affect life for people in this area?
I think things will run much smoother, on the whole. As for 74, it will let people know that they’re respected and they’re wanted. Seattle in general is democratic and a great place to be, so it fits well for us. And I’m so glad Obama was elected for four more years. I’m really relieved.

Were you very worried that the election would go the other way?
I was. If Romney had won, I don’t know what I would’ve done.

Are you a Seattle native?
I was born here, but I grew up in Bellingham.

How does life in Seattle compare to Bellingham?
Bellingham is a diverse place that’s a lot like Seattle. The difference is, 30 minutes east of Bellingham it’s all white people, and a lot of them are very conservative.

What line of work are you in?
I’m in the healthcare field.

As such, how do you feel about the healthcare issues in the election?
I hope that Obamacare comes through, and that everyone will have health insurance. Making sure people have equal access to healthcare and education—those are the two most important issues facing our country.

Do you have any other party plans tonight?
No, I’m just going home to my family. My kids are four and five months, so I don’t do a lot of late-night partying these days!

 

CARISSA, 36, and ANGIE, 33

Angie and Carissa (right)

What brings you guys out tonight?

Angie: To celebrate!
Carissa: This is the epicenter of the party, where it’s emptying into the streets!

How do you think the election tonight will impact life in Seattle, or your lives personally?
C: I have friends who live in Texas, but they’re planning to come here in April to get married. But they were waiting to see if the marriage referendum passed.

Do you guys live on the Hill?
C: Close, in the Central District.

Are you Seattle natives?
A: I’m from Tampa, originally.
C: I grew up on Whidbey Island.

Do you hang out on the Hill very often?
A: Yes. All the time.

Do you have any favorite places?
C: Century Ballroom, for West Coast Swing Dancing. It’s pretty awesome.
A: Also, The Cuff.

The Cuff? I always thought it was mostly….well, for the men-folk.
A: It is, except on Fridays, they have country line dancing and two-step.
C: It’s a sweet crowd.

I grew up in the South, so when I think “country line dancing,” my next thought isn’t “gay leather bar.” But that sounds hella fun.
A: You should totally come to The Cuff on Fridays, if you like line dancing. It’s all people dressed like rednecks—like the kind of people who would normally want to shoot someone like me, but they’re at The Cuff, and they’re line-dancing. It’s so cute.

Did you go to any fun parties tonight?
A: We were at the Lobby for a long time. It was packed. Then, we were just in the street.
C: The gays know how to party!

May I ask what line of work you guys are in?
A: I work for the phone company, I supervise a team of people.
C: I’m a life coach and a wellness coach. I help people improve their lives, and be happier.

What sort of advice would you give someone who wanted to be more well and happy?
C: Figure out what you really like to do, and do it more.

I really like watching TV and playing video games. Are you saying I should do a LOT more of that? Because, I’m totally down with self improvement…
C: Hmmm. Maybe not!

Any other thoughts on Capitol Hill, or life in general?
C: I’ve lived on or around the Hill for 12 years, and I love that you have such a sense of community. I grew up in a small town and it reminds me of that; I love that aspect of it.
A: I like the resiliency. A few years ago, we all had to move to Georgetown because rent is jacking up, but Capitol Hill kept its essence, even though it’s getting so much more expensive.

Did you move to Georgetown during this exodus?
A: I didn’t, but…

You mean, like, a metaphorical Georgetown.
A: Right!

With gentrification, do you think the Hill is going to remain the “alternative” place, or is that going to become somewhere like, say, Georgetown?
A: I feel like it’s kept its essence so far.
C: Capitol Hill on a Saturday night is a lot like Belltown. You see a lot of straights, a lot of girls in short skirts… But what I love about tonight is that the crowd is so diverse. It warms my heart.

 

More CHS Crow:

Marguerite Kennedy is a freelance writer, semi-professional thumb wrestler, and recovering New Yorker who currently resides on Capitol Hill. She blogs at www.marguerite-aville.com, and does that other thing @tweetmarguerite.

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4 thoughts on “CHS Crow | Jeff & Chris, Sarah, Shane, Carissa & Angie — ‘My whole life, I’ve fought for it’

  1. Ha Ha. Don’t want their kid to “be a bastard”.

    All hail the enthroning of the hetronormative gays. If you ain’t married, it just ain’t real. Where kids are picked on and other parents shun the unmarried because they are one of “those” gays who party party and sleep around. Poor child’s home is going to break up any day now because they aren’t state sanctioned.

  2. Legalizing gay marriage doesn’t make it *mandatory* for same-sex couples, or anyone else. Plenty of straight people, including many parents, choose not to get married for whatever reason, and they aren’t shunned from society, esp. on Capitol Hill in 2012. Marriage equality is something to celebrate, not a reason to bemoan the fact that some people will want and choose to live differently (i.e., “heteronormatively”) than you or I may want to live. I’m certainly not judging any gay couples who don’t run out and get married, any more than I’m judging my 60 year old aunt who has been with her male partner for 30+ years without being married. In the end, it’s about freedom and choice, and not having the choice be made by default due to inequality in the law.