Synopses & Reviews
Untangling the Knot: Marriage, Relationships and Identity, an anthology of essays and creative nonfiction, delves past the mainstream focus on marriage equality — beyond the knot — to examine the broad scope of issues facing members of the LGBTQ community. The collection sheds light on what marriage equality actually means for queer communities. By confronting the concept of tradition through personal discourse, this volume seeks to create conversation amongst the diverse members of the LGBTQ community and their straight allies to prompt a larger, grander, and more realistic vision of what marriage equality really means for those living in the United States. Untangling the Knot: Marriage, Relationships and Identity includes the voices of many individuals who are underrepresented in the modern discourse surrounding LGBTQ rights, and these unique perspectives may change the direction of that conversation for good.
About the Author
Carter Sickels is the author of the novel The Evening Hour, a finalist for the 2013 Oregon Book Award, the Lambda Literary Debut Fiction Award, and the Publishing Triangle Debut Fiction Award. He is the recipient of the 2013 Lambda Literary Emerging Writer Award, a project grant from RACC, and an NEA Fellowship to the Hambidge Center for the Arts. His short stories and literary essays have appeared in a broad range of periodicals and anthologies, from Appalachian Heritage to The Collection: Short Fiction from the Transgender Vanguard. He's been awarded fellowships or scholarships to Bread Loaf Writers' Conference, the Sewanee Writers' Conference, the MacDowell Colony, and VCCA. He teaches in low-residency MFA programs at West Virginia Wesleyan University and Eastern Oregon University. He lives in Portland, Oregon.
Table of Contents
- Introduction • Carter Sickels
- We Are Not Like Everyone Else • Ben Anderson-Nathe
Explores the complexities of family forms and the failure of marriage as a construct to address these forms.
- Sophrosyne • Pamela Helberg
Explains how marriage equality will not mean an end to internalized shame that results from external prejudice.
- Televised • Emanuel Xavier
A call to remember the Stonewall Revolution and the impoverished in the LGBT community, a group largely ignored within the marriage equality movement.
- We Were a Pretty Picture • Ariel Gore
Discusses the failure of marriage, family court, and other institutions to address global concerns within the queer community.
- TBD • Jeanne Cordova
Acknowledges the current power of marriage in our society, but questions the legitimacy of that power, and explores her concerns that winning or losing the centralized issue of the right to marry will nullify the progress of the LGBTQ movement.
- Changing My Mind • Francesca Royster
Discusses the powerful effect that her parents' divorce had on her understanding of relationships and marriage, and how her acceptance of self and coming out led to a loving relationship and the adoption of her daughter.
- The Days of Emerald City • Casey Plett
Explores the difficulties of navigating identity and established relationships while transitioning.
- Erasure • Trish Bendix
Describes the refusal of her wife's relatives to acknowledge her as a part of their family.
- So Much More than Paperwork • Chelsea Rice
Deals with the difficulty of proving her partnership in a state that has no marriage equality or domestic partnerships while she struggles with bladder cancer.
- Sakura, Ayame • Ryka Aoki
Discusses how marriage equality, though desirable, will not heal the brokenness of those in the queer community who have been traumatized by life.
- The Boys Club • Tucker Garcia
The story of a moment when the author is confronted with the lack of acceptance he faces due to his identity.
- Allegiance • Fabian Romero
Explains their personal rejection of marriage in light of colonization, assimilation, exclusivity, and the more pressing social concerns of the LBTBQIA community.
- Six Point Win • Penny Guisinger
Highlights the ways in which marriage laws, though critical, do little to address the issues faced by LGBT individuals living in communities that are not accepting, regardless of the legal status of relationships.
- Be De Pride • Minh Pham
Candid writing about being part of the Vietnamese American community and gay.
- Wedding Bells • Joseph DeFelippis
Addresses the reality that many LGBT families are threatened rather than serviced by marriage equality laws by detailing several nontraditional family structures that will not only fail to be recognized by marriage equality, but face eradication.
- We Have Cancer • Meg Stone
The author reflects about the advancement of status and rights for those married under equality laws while working through the struggle as her partner fights cancer.
- Diagrams and Neologisms • BR Sanders
Discusses the inability of the term "marriage" to encompass non-binary family structures.
- Shaping a Bronx Reality • Charles Rice-Gonzalez
Explores the early momentum of the marriage equality movement, and how many members of the LGBTQ community felt it was one small issue that did little to address the major, core issues that they faced in day-to-day lives of LGBTQ individuals.
- On Marriage Equality • Jackson and Kristopher Schultz
Discusses the paradox of needing the legal protection provided by domestic partnership or marriage and their personal rejection of the institution, as well as why they consider the LGBTQ community's focus on marriage equality misplaced.
- The Empire Builder • A.M. O'Malley
The author's story about her train ride from the Midwest to a new life with her girlfriend in Oregon underscores the means by which members of the LGBTQ community have long created families of their own absent societal expectations or legalities.
- Unequal Wedding • Regina Sewell
Addresses the difference between marriage equality and genuine, cultural equality, and states that marriage laws will not and do not mean an end to prejudice.
- In a Small Town • Everett Maroon
Addresses many issues, including LGBTQ youth homelessness and health care for the transgendered.
- Beyond Having • Sailor Holladay
Explains that marriage may not only be undesirable, but also beyond the reach of many poor queers. The piece explores other domestic arrangements that may be more fulfilling and less exclusionary.
- When Outlaws Marry • Judith Barrington
Discusses her own marriage and her ambiguous feelings about the institution, as well as her fears that younger generations will fail to remember the cost of achieving marriage equality.
- Turbo • Mel Wells
Deals with the strain of growing up in a highly religious community that voiced condemnation of homosexuality, the process of leaving the Mormon faith adhered to by her family, and the search for true identity and an accepting community.