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Sunday, March 02, 2008

Update on Janice Langbehn

I posted about Janice several months ago when I first read her story on line.

Lisa, her partner of 18 years, became ill suddenly as they were about to leave on a cruise with their three children. She was taken to a Florida hospital, Janice followed with the children, and what happened next should never have happened to anyone.

Janice was treated abominably by the hospital. Their first words to her (paraphrasing) were "you are not in a gay friendly place". It went downhill from there. Despite having all the necessary paperwork from her home state, she and the children were given no information and were not allowed to see Lisa who by then was on life support and not expected to recover.

Lisa died a year ago in February and Janice mourns while continuing to raise their kids. The death of a loved one is always difficult, usually heartbreaking, and was made much worse by the actions of so-called caregivers.

I've been wondering if anyone would take up the cudgels on her behalf. Two weeks ago, Lamdba, the best known gay rights legal organization, did. They're suing the hospital on her behalf. I hope they succeed and send a clear message to that hospital and any others who believe those actions are acceptable.

I know I'm repeating what I've said before but I'll say it again. When my husband was hospitalized those many times over the past few years, I was never once asked for proof of marriage. It was taken for granted that I was who I said I was. We can walk down the street or into a store without fear. My friend Janice, my son Tim, and all the other Janices and Tims of this country should be able to do the same thing. Janice had done everything she was supposed to do in her home state which recognized domestic partnership and was still turned away because another state ignored her rights. It happens far too often, even in states which afford some protection and it has to stop. I'm doing what I can by posting the Lamda link here and hoping others pick up on it and add their voices.

On a personal note, we've become online friends and I almost got to meet her last weekend. Her sister was directing "Jesus Christ, Superstar" in the Bay Area and Tim and I planned to meet the two sisters there. Unfortunately, Janice was too ill to fly from her home state to CA. We went anyhow, enjoyed it thoroughly, but I'm sorry the two of us couldn't meet. Maybe another time.

I did meet her sister although I didn't know it at the time and neither did she. I hadn't thought she'd be there that night so hadn't attempted to look for her. Tim and I were taking pictures in front of the theater when a nice woman offered to take one of the two of us. When I returned home, I emailed the shot of Tim and me to Janice and her sister Marilyn. Marilyn replied she was the woman who took the picture. I'm wishing I'd chatted enough so she'd have known who we were. Oh well, it's still a good story made better when I remember that I was explaining to a woman who directed theater productions how to use a simple point and shoot digital Kodak.

COMMENTS:
Anonymous Kvatch said...

That's a tragic story, but one that is all too common in this country.

I can't recall the number of times that I've been told that because we choose not to have children, the Frogette and I are "just playing house"--not trying to call attention to my own situation here, more than pointing that, in America, clinging desperately to one's prejudices is more important than empathy.

The mind boggles

Sunday, March 02, 2008 9:01:00 PM

Blogger The Future Was Yesterday said...

That symbolizes so well (or badly I should say) how America allows itself to be lulled into a stupor, as long as "it doesn't happen to me."

My wife and I are both on our mortgage, yet everything comes addressed to me - everything. The apathy inherent in this country frightens me.

Monday, March 03, 2008 12:24:00 AM

Blogger enigma4ever said...

such a sad sad tale..and Kvatch is right....too too common....and that is what makes it so heartrending...


Now about the Photo...you were karmically meant to meet each.,...such a wonderful thread connecting good souls...

Monday, March 03, 2008 12:26:00 AM

Blogger enigma4ever said...

ooooops Hi Future..we bumped into each other...

Monday, March 03, 2008 12:26:00 AM

Blogger Worried American said...

One of my childhood friends was the daughter of my aunt-in-law's sister. Although no kin either by blood or law, we grew up as "cousins". Such kin-to-kin relationships were common in my family. When we entered adulthood, J.J. "came out" as a lesbian, much to the astonishment and sometimes chagrin of the family. Over the years she was ridiculed often, called an "it" as if she had no gender, and treated abominably. She was a good hearted, decent person whose only "crime" was her sexual orientation. She died of a heart attack several years ago and her partner of many years had no standing either at the hospital nor in the death rituals. It was sad.

Monday, March 03, 2008 10:36:00 PM

Blogger Progressive Traditionalist said...

Hello, Granny.
I've been thinking about this a bit over the past few months, and I think that the whole "gay marriage" movement is a bit misguided.
First of all, it doesn't address the issue directly, but seeks to cure a symptom rather than the illness.
And secondly, due to aiming at the illness, it leaves out a significant portion of others which are affected in a like manner.

What we need is a domestic partnership act that would work as a framework of a contractual agreement, much like marriage.
This would give those straight couples as well that have co-habitated for a length of time some basis in law as to what rights are specifically protected.

The problem, I believe, is one of the predominant model of business ethics. As a people, we lack the power to change that model, but we can limit the havoc on peoples' lives.

And politically, removing the issue from a sub-group to the mainstream should shore up popular support.

It's not marriage that gays need. Marriage is over-rated anyway. What they need is a basis for enforceable legal rights.

I remember a post a long time ago that the Grumpy Old Man did. He was talking about these two gay guys that he knew back in the 60's that both worked for the same shipping company (a British company, I believe).
Anyway, the one died, and the other was bereft, as well as in a position most precarious, for he thought it certain that he would have to sell the house that they shared.
The company gave him their condolences, as well as his partner's pension, which would normally go to a widow. Unasked. They said that they thought it would be the right thing to do.

Think of what we could be like today, if only people did business on the basis of what they thought would be the right thing to do.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008 5:19:00 AM

6 Comments:

  • At Sunday, March 02, 2008 9:01:00 PM , Anonymous Kvatch said...

    That's a tragic story, but one that is all too common in this country.

    I can't recall the number of times that I've been told that because we choose not to have children, the Frogette and I are "just playing house"--not trying to call attention to my own situation here, more than pointing that, in America, clinging desperately to one's prejudices is more important than empathy.

    The mind boggles.

     
  • At Monday, March 03, 2008 12:24:00 AM , Blogger The Future Was Yesterday said...

    That symbolizes so well (or badly I should say) how America allows itself to be lulled into a stupor, as long as "it doesn't happen to me."

    My wife and I are both on our mortgage, yet everything comes addressed to me - everything. The apathy inherent in this country frightens me.

     
  • At Monday, March 03, 2008 12:26:00 AM , Blogger enigma4ever said...

    such a sad sad tale..and Kvatch is right....too too common....and that is what makes it so heartrending...


    Now about the Photo...you were karmically meant to meet each.,...such a wonderful thread connecting good souls...

     
  • At Monday, March 03, 2008 12:26:00 AM , Blogger enigma4ever said...

    ooooops Hi Future..we bumped into each other...

     
  • At Monday, March 03, 2008 10:36:00 PM , Blogger Worried American said...

    One of my childhood friends was the daughter of my aunt-in-law's sister. Although no kin either by blood or law, we grew up as "cousins". Such kin-to-kin relationships were common in my family. When we entered adulthood, J.J. "came out" as a lesbian, much to the astonishment and sometimes chagrin of the family. Over the years she was ridiculed often, called an "it" as if she had no gender, and treated abominably. She was a good hearted, decent person whose only "crime" was her sexual orientation. She died of a heart attack several years ago and her partner of many years had no standing either at the hospital nor in the death rituals. It was sad.

     
  • At Tuesday, March 04, 2008 5:19:00 AM , Blogger Progressive Traditionalist said...

    Hello, Granny.
    I've been thinking about this a bit over the past few months, and I think that the whole "gay marriage" movement is a bit misguided.
    First of all, it doesn't address the issue directly, but seeks to cure a symptom rather than the illness.
    And secondly, due to aiming at the illness, it leaves out a significant portion of others which are affected in a like manner.

    What we need is a domestic partnership act that would work as a framework of a contractual agreement, much like marriage.
    This would give those straight couples as well that have co-habitated for a length of time some basis in law as to what rights are specifically protected.

    The problem, I believe, is one of the predominant model of business ethics. As a people, we lack the power to change that model, but we can limit the havoc on peoples' lives.

    And politically, removing the issue from a sub-group to the mainstream should shore up popular support.

    It's not marriage that gays need. Marriage is over-rated anyway. What they need is a basis for enforceable legal rights.

    I remember a post a long time ago that the Grumpy Old Man did. He was talking about these two gay guys that he knew back in the 60's that both worked for the same shipping company (a British company, I believe).
    Anyway, the one died, and the other was bereft, as well as in a position most precarious, for he thought it certain that he would have to sell the house that they shared.
    The company gave him their condolences, as well as his partner's pension, which would normally go to a widow. Unasked. They said that they thought it would be the right thing to do.

    Think of what we could be like today, if only people did business on the basis of what they thought would be the right thing to do.

     

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