June 27, 2013

Gay Marriage... And Your Health?

 And She Loves You Right Back!

You may have thought that the Supreme Court decisions yesterday ending discrimination against gay marriages were nice, but not really relevant to your quest for better health and fitness.

But hey, would you like to lower your blood pressure, shed excess belly fat, be happier, lift stronger and live longer?

Bear with me as Cranky Fitness yet again manages to take a topic that might seem to have nothing to do with health and fitness, and attempts to uncover the amazing secret health benefits hidden within!

Yeah, so this is really a post written because I was SO HAPPY about the decisions yesterday that I had to blog about it.  As you can see from the photo above, I am the luckiest human on earth to have a wonderful wife and supportive family. And finally, federal legal recognition.

Things looked quite gloomy on the civil rights front until very recently. Not that long ago most states were falling all over themselves to amend their constitutions as quickly as possible to make sure no gay people could ever, ever see equal treatment under the law.  And many of our supposed liberal political allies, including President Obama, were right on board with that sentiment.

What changed?

The cultural climate.  Social attitudes.  Media messages.  Institutional policies and priorities.  Water cooler conversations.

(And sure, the Supreme Court justices are not supposed to be swayed by stuff like that but you know damn well they are.)

So what created this sudden and amazing change in the cultural climate?

You did!  Thank you, Cranky Fitness readers!

You came here without giving a hoot whether the Lobster was a boy or a girl and supported me for who I am and offered community and encouragement and made it easy to be "out." From the very beginning.

You and others like you grew increasingly tired of hostile work environments and policies, casual hateful remarks, discriminatory local laws, divisive politicians, and intolerance on all fronts. 

I wasn't sitting in a cube in your office building to see how you helped create a climate where a scared gay person could finally bring a partner to a company picnic and stop pretending he just hadn't found the right woman for 30 years. I wasn't in your church to see how you helped the congregation become more accepting and inclusive.  I wasn't at your dinner table to see how you handled a teen's comments about the faggot who got beat up the other day behind the bleachers.

And some of you are gay, and live in places where that could get you fired or bullied or ostracized, and I don't know exactly how you found the courage to tell more friends, family members and people in the community.  But you did, which forced them to realize that their attitudes were hurting people they cared about, not just a few random screaming drag queens they saw in some parade on the news.

Anyway, I'm not sure how you all turned the tide but you did and I am so grateful!!!! 

So what does this have to do with health and fitness?

Well, let's see: looking around the nation, it seems we have a lot of people who are not taking care of their health and do not have strong, energetic and disease-free bodies. They are stressed and often sad and ashamed of themselves.  So why don't they have the motivation and ability to make the necessary changes to become fit and happy?

Could it have anything to do with the cultural climate?  Social attitudes?  Media messages?  Institutional policies and priorities?  Water cooler conversations?

Can you imagine how much easier it would be to achieve our health goals, for unfit and fit alike, if there were safe bike paths and trails and grocery stores and restaurants full of healthy stuff? If enough people stopped consuming junk so that retailers stopped carrying so much of it, and there was just a small special section for it behind a curtain, sort of like where porn used to be back when there were video stores?

What if no one bought magazines or watched tv shows that told women that they should be skinny and "beautiful" above all else? And that women who don't look like underweight and possibly malnourished models should fear eating food at all and hate their bodies and be embarrassed?

What if we looked around and all our friends and neighbors and coworkers were exercising and eating healthy food.  And were sharing stir fry recipes and exercise tips rather than commiserating about the size of their thighs?

Ooh, and what if it was considered totally normal to set aside a chunk of your day for stress reduction and working out and even napping?

But that would take a lot of people challenging norms and speaking up and boycotting and having different conversations at work or at PTA meetings, planning commissions, boardrooms, or at family gatherings.  Is it really possible?

That would take a lot of courage.  It's hard to stand out and speak up.  Changing societal attitudes takes a really, really long time.

Doesn't it?

Oh dear, I'm sounding all preachy again! What do you guys think? Mostly I'm just REALLY happy today! Back to health and fitness next week, I promise!

78 comments:

  1. I love this post :) What a happy happy bloody awesome day! xxox

    ReplyDelete
  2. I'm happy for you (and lots of my other friends) today!!!
    I think that everyone of us should be able to make any choices we want without fear of being judged!!!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Truly beautiful post!

    I'm lucky to live in Canada where we've been a little ahead of the curve on rights for same sex couples however there's lots to be done and even more to be done to create a cultural climate where everyone feels comfortable. I was in Chelsea NY a few months ago and loved the feeling where couples (men and men, women and women, men and women, soccer mom's with babies, multicultural couples, you name it!) were all just walking around comfortable, arm in arm if they wanted, but comfortable and normal. Because it is! It was fantastic. But really made me realize that even in my beautiful forward city of Ottawa there is so much room to grow! This is what everywhere should look and feel like!

    And I absolutely agree, this is the same type of cultural shift that needs to happen with healthy lifestyles. I do think it's happening, but very slowly. But I guess that's how all cultures change.

    Ok, I'm going to step down off my soapbox now :P

    Really, truly great post!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Loved this comment Steph! And Canadians are awesome and just generally nicer to others I think. For what it's worth, we visited Ottawa a few years ago and didn't encounter anything but friendliness; what a great town.

      thanks so much!

      Delete
    2. Glad you loved my city!! It really is a beautiful place :)

      Delete
  4. When the British parliament voted to legalise gay marriage here a little while back, my first response was "What? It wasn't legal already?!" How such an obviously unfair situation persisted so long in supposedly enlightened, forward thinking Europe* is beyond me, and I gather the dinosaurs in the House of Lords are still trying to reverse it... Pathetic, really.

    Anyway, it's awesome to see both the UK and the US finally dragging themselves a little closer to equality! About bloody time!

    *Not wishing to suggest that the US isn't enlightened and / or liberal of course. Parts of it, anyway. Ahem.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. For "liberal" read "forward thinking", and please excuse my lousy editing... *sigh*

      Delete
    2. Shadowduck, feel free to suggest that the U.S. isn't as enlightened as the UK because while there are exceptions, I think it's generally seems true! Though sounds like you have the conservative element as well. Things are moving forward though, and I agree, about bloody time.

      Delete
  5. Actually, I had no idea you were gay, but it makes no darn difference to me.

    I'm thrilled that the US is slowly coming to its senses, at least when it comes to gay rights. Unfortunately, there's still a crapload of work to be done on allowing women to control their own bodies (go Wendy Davis!!!!).

    I'll just leave you with the words of my son, who was 9 or 10 when gay marriage was legalized here in Canada: "What's the big deal? Shouldn't anyone who wants to get married be able to get married?"

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yay another enlightened Canadian... we came SO close to moving there after some particularly traumatic Bush election, I can't remember if it was the first or second. Only weather kept us down in the U.S.

      And you have a very wise son!

      Delete
  6. That photo got me misty, just like a lot of things have in the past day, as I see relief in many of my friends' eyes. Hooray!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Well said! Fat / thin, gay / straight, white / black, funny / not-funny... it shouldn't really matter a darn bit. We are PEOPLE. And people deserve respect, tolerance, and love NO MATTER WHAT.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yep, I'm with ya LGGR! And I'm especially glad you mentioned the not-funny, for all those times my attempts at humor miss the mark. :)

      Delete
  8. The conversations are happening. Everything has to go from "ridiculous idea that will never happen" to "well, what if we look a little closer at that" to "well, of course it's that way" -- the path is the same, it takes time.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're right messymimi, these things generally take a long time... I'm just not known for my patience!

      Delete
  9. Your post had me bawling...had to wipe before I could type. AWESOME from start to finish!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aw Kimberley, thank you so much, you're gonna have me bawlin' too!

      Delete
  10. Replies
    1. Wish I'd been there to take it, but I'm on the wrong coast while the Lobster is visiting her mom. Would have planned it differently if we'd known this was coming!!

      Delete
  11. Well as it happens my gym is known casually as "the gay Y". The thing is it is also the home of a massive immigrant services centre and a high school for students that have behavioral problems and services for the homeless and impoverished and a physiotherapy centre for people who can not afford or do not qualify for free physio. It should be called the inclusivity Y.
    As a result it is the best place in town for anybody who looks different or acts different than the norm to hang out or for that matter anybody that just wants to be in a great place with great people.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Your "Gay Y" sounds like an amazing place Cindy!! "normal" is so overrated. :)

      Delete
  12. Finally, right?!? Loved this heartfelt post and picture so much. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Shelley!!!!! And yeah, finally!

      Delete
  13. I am so happy for everyone! Finally, "and liberty and justice for all" will not taste so bitter. Great post Crabby!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much Liz! Our country has had a very interesting interpretation of the word "all" in that phrase throughout its history. Always wonderful when it gets closer to the truth!

      Delete
  14. YAY and Hooray!! I love, love LOVE the picture. And the post and the step in the right directon for all. xo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aren't they great? The went to the Castro last night and EVERYONE wanted to take their picture and random people were coming up to them for hugs and kisses. Sounded like quite a night! Yay indeed!

      Delete
  15. Thrilled for you, Lobster and so many of my friends and family. One of my favorite quotes:

    "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." Edmund Burke

    Peace & Love
    Christina

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Excellent quote Christina! Cranky Fitness readers are not only supportive and inclusive, they are mighty well-read. Thank you!

      Delete
  16. I am so very pleased for you !
    And what a fantastic photo !

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Fliss, appreciate you stopping by!

      Delete
  17. This is great news for all of us!!

    ReplyDelete
  18. BEST PICTURE EVER. Truly. Just makes me feel great looking at it.

    And what a WONDERFUL blog piece to put everything in context!

    My belief is that there is ALWAYS possibility for positive change. Even when it seems all hope is lost and things are going down the drain... suddenly something wonderful, right and good happens and VOILA!

    Along with being monumental - this particular wonderful, right and good happening isn't simply a "nice to have" or some kind of "luxury". It is a necessity - just as much as it's necessary to have air to breathe. So, I and thinking we can all take a moment now to quit holding our collective breath and exhale :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. PS - Made me cry.

      Delete
    2. Love that you are always open to the possibility of positive change, anon, 'cause I'm beginning to sense that openness and hope can do some weird thing to impact reality. As a longtime skeptic and pessimist, it's been a little hard for me to get my cranky mind around.

      I was NOT thrilled when the decision was first made to get the issue to the Supreme Court when it still had a conservative majority. I thought it was the dumbest move ever, because at that time I expected the ruling would go the other way, and we'd be stuck with declaration that discrimination against gays was totally constitutional. Supreme Court decisions are rarely overturned and when they are, it can take decades.

      As it turned out, I was totally wrong about that! And I've never been so happy to be a bad prognosticator. Wednesday I woke up unusually hopeful and skipped a lot of needless worrying by not predicting the worst.

      And yes, a big happy sigh of relief!

      Delete
  19. I was thrilled to hear the news and I'm on board for the next objective. During the past year I've been in grad school (which hasn't allowed me to work out as much) so my goal has been body/self-acceptance. I've been talking to anyone who will listen about the fact that I went into this year knowing I'd gain weight, but that I'm still taking the opportunities as they present themselves to eat well and be active - it's just that those opportunities are fewer. So I'm presenting it as a lifestyle vs. a situation where I 'was' healthy and 'now' I'm not. I'll do more health stuff now that I'm done with school, but it won't be a giant lifestyle shift.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Unknown, OMG, do I have this right? So you're weren't: beating yourself up constantly and hating your body? Going on some extreme diet to make up for the reduced activity options? Deciding you were Officially Sedentary and therefore there was no need to seek opportunities to take care of yourself? That sounds downright unAmerican! Thank God. :)

      Love that you are spreading the word about health and self acceptance.

      Delete
  20. I love that photo too! So sweet. How lucky you both are to have family that loves and accepts you for just who you are.
    I think this topic very much relates to fitness for a lot of people. Because when people can't be who they truly are or have to do it only by losing family, etc... well, that can make a person hungry. Lord knows it isn't the only reason. I'm straight and have had it very easy in those ways and my "pre-fit" status is not at all related...
    but I also know people who feel alienated in their own bodies and that's just no way to live. It's almost impossible to be truly healthy in such turmoil.
    It just occurred to me (back to *me* again, sorry).. but I'm thinking how good I had it and that I gave myself permission to be whoever I wanted to be sexually or as a person... permission to be anything... except fat. I've rejected myself my whole life because of it.
    must ponder further...
    I'm SO glad you're happy and that you have the Lobster.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Tree, thank you so much for those awesome insights. LOTS of parallels I think in the two situations. How do you move forward without self-acceptance? And how much harder is it to find that when you are met with resistance, condemntation or ridicule for trying to move forward?

      And "I gave myself permission to be whoever I wanted to be sexually or as a person... permission to be anything... except fat. I've rejected myself my whole life because of it."

      Wow. That is indeed something to ponder. Rings so true for so many women.

      Delete
  21. What a fabulous post.. and a wonderful day. I'm so happy for you. So long overdue. But.. yay! Oh and that photo is just gorgeous.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Hilary! I am grateful to the person on the BART platform who took their picture on the way to the celebrations. KILLS me that I wasn't on the same coast.

      Delete
  22. Love the post, very happy about this week's decisions, and I hope that the cultural tide continues toward courage, health, and acceptance.

    However...I do have to take exception with the "anorexic models" description. Anorexia is a serious psychological disorder that incorporates extreme self-loathing and shame. No fashion model, despite her skeletal/underweight/unhealthy appearance, is medically "anorexic," and the word should not be thrown around as an adjective. Someone suffering from anorexia hides inside baggy clothes and sees rolls of fat when she looks in the mirror; an anorexic would never parade herself down a runway in a bikini or pose for sultry fashion photos -- their body dysmorphia and feelings of shame would never allow it. While fashion models may deliberately starve themselves and use very unhealthy methods of keeping their weight down to maintain their careers, that is done by choice...not because of a mental health issue.

    /off soapbox/

    ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Totally agree that I should be more careful with the use of the term anorexia. I was using it broadly and in a cultural context, not clinically. Thanks for pointing that out.

      I'll edit accordingly. But I still think it's screwed up that the supposed body ideal in so many media images is to be undernourished and underweight!

      Delete
  23. Replies
    1. Thanks Diana! I'm afraid I'm emoticon-challenged, but I totally appreciate the excited ice cream cone!

      Delete
  24. *pops open the champagne and smiles at the great post*

    ReplyDelete
  25. This world will eat you up and swallow you whole if you let it. It`s a joke to care about such menial things!

    ReplyDelete
  26. I FRIGGIN LOVE THAT FIRST PIC!!!!!!!!!! I was so happy about that ruling! After the day before with the overturning of the civil rights voting act & we know the consequences of that, well, I was not optimistic about this one. So glad it was better news & GREAT NEWS!!!!

    What scares me Jan is the continuous fight from that segment of the religious right that rules the House part of the Congress & the continuous BS that put out there all since this President hot office in my opinion. Yes, it was there before but my feeling is much worse since he was elected.

    If we can't get back to separation of church & state than we are in trouble. I think we need to dump a lot of the idiots that re in Congress now & try to get back to a Congress for ALL PEOPLE without religion getting in the way....

    Sorry for the rant! :) Drives me crazy & those people that are fighting alot of equality hate Jews too.... me - Jewish...

    ReplyDelete
  27. That is indeed a great picture. The decision warms my heart.

    On the health front, attitudes to tobacco use have changed so much in just the last ten years, surely attitudes to body acceptance are also ripe for change.

    Mary Anne in Kentucky

    ReplyDelete
  28. I'm happy too! We've got a long way to go but nice to see things moving in the right direction. And I love your picture. The Lobster's mom is a beautiful woman, in all regards.
    Gaye

    ReplyDelete
  29. What a lovely post, unfortunately I live in a country where gay marriage is not legal, pathetic. We would need to go to neighboring country to do so, but then it is still not recognized here. I love my country but I hate it that they live my life for me.

    I am truly happy for you and love the photo

    ReplyDelete
  30. I love this post so much, and I am also so happy about the things that have happened in the past week. When I think about the progress we've made in terms of gay rights just in my lifetime, it actually makes me feel - dare I say it? - optimistic about the future.

    Also I think you can definitely draw a clear line between social forces and poor physical and mental health. After all, if you are constantly fighting your entire society just for the right to exist, you're likely to be stressed out, tired, depressed or anxious, prone to self-medicating with alcohol and what have you. A more just society is definitely a key aspect of a healthier society, in sooo many ways.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Death Ride GrandmaJune 30, 2013 at 11:55 AM

    Can't believe it took me so long to comment. We were busy celebrating with family - including our daughter and her wife, and now we're on the road that will take us to the Death Ride in 2 weeks (yikes! ) so computer time has been limited.

    But what a wonderful outcome! And it is reassuring that many conservatives agree if only because they don't see it as any business of the government's. So the group that may fight going forward is much smaller.

    I finished college just when many people were beginning to leave the closet behind forever. Tales of the City was a newspaper column, not yet a book. I am grateful that this has evolved so beautifully while I am here to see it.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Thank you everyone so much for stopping by the last couple days and offering such positive thoughts and perspectives!

    And sorry not to get a chance to respond personally; I'm a little behind on things, but I'm looking forward to seeing some of you tomorrow for the next Goal Support Post.

    Thanks again!

    ReplyDelete
  33. Love your photo and love your down to earth blogging. I like your writing style and some of your stories really have me smiling

    ReplyDelete
  34. OMGOSH THAT IS REALLY YOUR MOM?!
    this may be my fave post ever.

    xoxox

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's the Lobster's mom, sorry to be confusing! I was on the wrong coast for Castro street celebrations.

      Delete
  35. Sorry for my late comment, I'm on vacation right now!

    Yay for gay marriage and gay rights in general. People have to get out of their comfortable, closed-minded little world, and realize that we all deserve the same rights.

    My kids are 7 and 9 and already aware of the existence of the gay community and of the fact that everyone's rights should be the same.

    My friend's son, who's 7, recently told his mom that when he grows up, he wants to be in a homoparental family! He plans to marry his male best friend, and to adopt kids. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  36. ((Lobster and Cranky)) Healthy relationships are KEY to physical health and fitness, so hell to the yeah gay marriage is all about being healthy!! I admit I wasn't real hopeful about DOMA being struck down, but after my home state of Minnesota "legalized" (I hate that word when it comes to civil rights...they should be a given, not legislated...) gay marriage, which surprised the living bejeepers out of me, I believed anything was possible. Yay for water cooler conversations in the Supreme Court building! LOL Great post, and for the record, I'd wear a sign that said "I love the Lobster and Cranky." Lobster's mom is lovely!

    ReplyDelete
  37. Thanks so much HSH and Lynn! Seriously, the support of Cranky Fitness readers from the very beginning has been so incredible, and I KNOW you guys are out there spreading the message of love and acceptance. Love you guys!

    ReplyDelete
  38. It took me a while to figure out that Lobster was a girl. It didn't change how I felt about your blog and such. My oldest son is gay. Though I don't pretend to comprehend everything about what that means, I was happy to hear that one more step was made for gay rights. And I don't think it will lead to people marrying their dogs or other four legged pets.
    I wish I could be 'out' about my son. Living where I do though, I am hesitant to explain why my 30 year old son is not married with children. I don't talk about religion or lack thereof either. Someday though...as you say, hopefully this milestone was another step in the right direction of needed social changes. As long as we keep it two steps forward for every one step back, we will progress!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey thanks Sherri for your support, and I totally hear you on how different things are in different parts of the country. As long as he knows you love him that's the important part!

      And I suspect it will get easier over time for parents to be open about it. Baby steps add up!

      Delete
  39. It's interesting to see how accepting kids are of the idea of having same sex parents but it shouldn't surprise us either as prejudice is learned. I think eventually we will come to see gay marriage in the same context as racial and gender equality issues. Those issues were just as controversial in their time but those rights now enshrined in legislation are taken for granted and considered to be self-evidently true.

    ReplyDelete
  40. smiles...it is a wonderful day we are finally getting around to...and i am glad that the climate changes enough for us to get there...another step on the way you know....

    congrats on your POTW over at Hilary's

    ReplyDelete
  41. Hi,

    I visited your blog because Hilary made it a Post of the Week and I am so glad I did! I have heard over and over again that the more of us that come out and live our lives openly, the more attitudes and perceptions will change. I am sure that this has helped build equality too. This is a wonderful post of celebration - and you even pulled off the connection to health.

    Well done! :)

    ReplyDelete
  42. Thanks Brian and Gary! Isn't Hilary awesome? I'm so flattered to make the POTW!

    ReplyDelete
  43. I like your conclusion. It does take a long time to change societal attitudes , but that doesn't mean we should give up. You argue in a powerful way for equality Keep at it.

    ReplyDelete
  44. Fabulous decision, fabulous day and fabulous post!
    LOVE that pic too.
    And congrats on your POTW from Hilary.
    jj

    ReplyDelete
  45. So happy to be able to get married to my partner finally. Going to have a huge party!

    Thanks for this article, it is very touching.

    ReplyDelete
  46. Thanks so much you guys!! (And sorry for the delay in getting back here). I ALWAYS read comments but don't always revisit older posts).

    And congrats Buff Guy James!

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for commenting, Cranky Fitness readers are the BEST!

Subscribe to comments via RSS

(Note: Older Comment Threads Are Moderated)