Six weeks ago, when I sat down with my Rabbi in anticipation of my upcoming Bat Mitzvah, I was most nervous to tell him that I was in love with a WASP—who happens to be the kind, caring person I’m marrying.
Before I could be officially accepted into the religious education program—which would consist of six sessions with Torah discussions, guest speakers, lots of falafel, one community service project, one full, 24-hour Shabbos, and the option for a (very reform) Bat Mitzvah (something I, while Jewish, had never had)—I had to get the Rabbi’s approval. Keep reading »
In a move I can only call brilliant, Starz Entertainment Group art director Suzanne Heintz shunned the traditional marriage and family life in favor of something far more unconventional. For the last 14 years, Heintz has been living with her strong but silent husband Chauncey and her never-rebellious teenage daughter Mary Margaret as part of an art project she calls “Life Once Removed.”
We’ve all been there: being needled by friends to “put yourself out there,” being pressured by family members to “settle down and have kids.” Enduring the same indignities, Heintz was thinking about her single life, walking past a retail liquidation store that sold mannequins when she said she realized, “I can buy a family!” And she’s been photographing their life together ever since — traveling all over the world with her family of “mute quadriplegics” and loving every minute of it. If that’s not unconventional enough for you, Heintz also has a real, live-in boyfriend of seven years, but has no interest in marrying him. Yet, she plans to renew her vows with Chauncey this June in front of friends, family and mannequins. Keep reading »
After my traditional engagement to my high school sweetheart fell apart, I was faced with the prospect of another devastating loss: the deportation of my best friend Emir. Desperate to stay in America, Emir tried every legal recourse to obtain a green card, knowing that his return to the Middle East—where gay men are often beaten and sometimes killed—was too dangerous. In an effort to keep him safe and by my side, I proposed to Emir. After a quickie wedding in Las Vegas, we faced new adventures and obstacles in both L.A. and New York City as we tried to dodge the INS. Our relationship was further complicated by the fact that my mother works for the State Department, preventing immigration fraud. In my memoir, The Marriage Act, I delve into the changing face of marriage in America and look at the emergent generation forming bonds outside of tradition—and sometimes even outside the law.
Below is an excerpt:
I remember the citrus salads and late-afternoon Cosmopolitans in the sunny outdoor courtyard of the Abbey, our favorite West Hollywood gay bar. I remember how strange it felt to walk to his apartment rather than drive even though he lived only three blocks away from me. I can’t remember the precise instance when Emir first brought up the verging-on-problematic visa situation. It might have been at a sushi restaurant, or over lunches at the Abbey, or while in line at what the boys around the neighborhood called “the gay Starbucks” on Santa Monica. Emir wanted to stay in the United States past this year to avoid going back into the closet in Emiristan and living with his father. In order to stay, he had to find a job before his visa expired in December, a year after graduation. I told him I was sure he’d find something and I believed it; Emir was creative, intelligent, outgoing, and capable. The possibility that he might not find a way to stay did not cross my mind during those early conversations. Keep reading »
“You would be in better shape if you had a German wife,” I tell my husband.
I’m sure this is true. Not only do the Germans have a fondness for fitness, but they generally don’t take a lot of shit. As an American, I am more susceptible to his feeble pleas that pizza has been classified as a vegetable, and both our waistlines suffer for it.
“You would be the funniest person in the relationship if you had a German wife,” I tease him. Keep reading »