What Makes Me: My Patch Jacket

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I am pretty well known for having this jacket that to this date has over 100 patches sewn onto it. It started in 2007 with my ethnicities, and expanded into other areas of my personality.

I like to say that it’s hard to accuse me of being fake, since I literally wear myself on me every day I put this on. This post is going to show all of the 100+ patches on the jacket, with references if I have another post related to them.

HERITAGE & PRIDE

THINGS ABOUT ME

POP CULTURE REFERENCES

 

LIFE LESSONS & FUNNY THINGS I BELIEVE

ALCOHOL REFERENCES

SEX REFERENCES

Respectfully Submitted,

Lukas Condie

What Makes Me A Health Advocate

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My keyword for 2016 (and beyond) is health. I’ve been ignoring my own for a while, and it shows. This post can only cover so many things in one go, but I’ll give it a try!

Issues I care about:

Vaccination

As someone who was vaccinated on time after I was born (plus having a mom whose professional title is registered nurse!), I’m an advocate for vaccinating children on time. It’s been scientifically proven to curb the spread of curable diseases. Vaccines do not cause autism. Raw Story refutes 6 common Anti-Vax myths.

A friend of mine wrote a book on this subject, and she can defend it better than I can. Check out her book here. Mark Zuckerberg has a book from his club that talks about it.

I believe that anti-vaccination advocates are conspiracy theorists.

Obesity, Proper Nutrition & Physical Fitness

Body image is something that I’ve struggled with since 2001. I am obese, and have been since roughly the 7th grade. While I have sympathy for the “body acceptance movement” I do agree that obesity is still something we need to fight against, and the epidemic continues to grow (pun intended).

With that being said, I feel that it’s an ocean of opposing forces working against getting a healthy body. I have personally experienced how difficult it can be to fight sugar addiction, such as not drinking soda any more. This is at the core of why I believe that corruption has influenced corporate food service. It’s a scary thing to realize that 10 companies control almost everything that we consume in the name of food. What’s scarier is that the market for gyms and fitness centers is so focused on profits that it’s not so much about getting people healthier, but just trying to make a profit. There’s an internet meme that says:

Don’t write one more post about obesity until you can explain to me why a salad costs $7 and a hamburger costs $1.

I can completely understand this. My wallet thanks me when I choose to buy cheap junk food instead of pricey organic vegetables. Furthermore, I’m not a skilled chef in the kitchen, so I’m very unaware of all the great recipes for vegetarian dining out there.

I believe in more awareness of local farmer’s markets and spreading great vegetarian full course options.

HIV and STI awareness

STI rates are skyrocketing. And it’s not just gay men. I feel like not just the millennial generation, but the population as a whole has gone completely flazèda when it comes to safe sex. Honestly, I don’t even have words to offer about what to do, since the current concept of “safe sex education” seems to have ground to a halt when it comes to effectiveness.

For gay men over 40, it’s as if we’ve come back from a war that was far away and distant to most Americans even as it was happening — not unlike the actual wars we’ve experienced in this country in the past decade. -Michelangelo Signorile

I think most people under the age of 35 have forgotten the major AIDS crisis, and the number of lives it claimed. There’s a disconnect where today’s generation feels like it’s all just history now.

Proper Sleep

These days it’s too easy to lose sleep. Our several screens are keeping us awake, in addition to the rest of life’s problems that we constantly worry about. It’s occurred to me that even by having a TV in the bedroom also contributes to the problem. It’s so obvious that sleep is very important to each and every one of us out there. Sleep deprivation is a health hazard.

I used to hate the following quote, now I find it not only accurate, but I believe in it:

“I’m very proud if Grindr has forced us to up up our game. To brush our teeth. Comb our hair. Eat right. Go to the gym. Be a healthy person. Cut back on the smoking. Cut back on the bad things and look your best. We’re men. We visualize. We see before we hear, before we think, before we do anything else. That’s how we are. I haven’t changed that. That’s what our evolution has taught us to do. I certainly go to the gym more because of Grindr. I’m competing with the guy a space away from me on that grid.” – Joel Simkhai, CEO of Grindr, speaking to Michelangelo Signorile.

I’m sure I’ll be adding more to this in the months to come.

Respectfully Submitted,

Lukas Condie

What Makes Me A Unitarian Universalist

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I recently read The Unitarian Universalist Pocket Guide, and I figured it’s about time to make a post explaining my faith system.

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What is Unitarian Universalism?

From the main website itself, Unitarian Universalism is a theologically diverse religion, that encourages people to find their own spiritual path. UU’s have an incredibly diverse mixture of backgrounds, ages, and beliefs. Atheists can be UUs. Jewish folk can be UUs. Christians can be UUs. Each person’s spirituality is unique to themselves, and this religion honors and reflects that.

From the guide:

Because Unitarian Universalists vary considerably in our individual views of spirituality, ministers are accustomed to supporting parishioners in a wide range of theological belief. Whether you are a theist, atheist, humanist, pagan, Deist, nature mystic (the list continues), you find yourself in a category known only to yourself, or you keep changing your mind, the minister will welcome you.

Unitarian Universalists hold the principles as strong values and moral teachings. As Rev. Barbara Wellsten Hove explains, “The Principles are not dogma or doctrine, but rather a guide for those of us who choose to join and participate in Unitarian Universalist religious communities.”

  1. 1st Principle: The inherent worth and dignity of every person;
  2. 2nd Principle: Justice, equity and compassion in human relations;
  3. 3rd Principle: Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations;
  4. 4th Principle: A free and responsible search for truth and meaning;
  5. 5th Principle: The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large;
  6. 6th Principle: The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all;
  7. 7th Principle: Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.

From the pocket guide:

Unitarian Universalism is not attached to particular beliefs; rather it is committed to specific work– striking a balance between openness to differing viewpoints on one hand and fierce advocacy of shared ethical claims on the other.

Furthermore:

Unitarian Universalism is a non-creedal faith. Rather than a common theology, we are bound by our common history, our affirmation of each person’s spiritual quest, and the promises we make to one another about the spiritual values we uphold.

What led me to Unitarian Universalism?

My religious journey started back when I was in elementary school, and my parents took me to the local Methodist Church. Looking back, I didn’t really care too much for going – it was just more work on top of schoolwork. It was another book to read (the Bible), and worst yet, it was “permanent” consequences for making mistakes in life. Luckily, I was never tormented there (for being a closeted gay at that point), while some people had serious struggles with their church, but I wasn’t getting any kind of fulfillment from it either, except perhaps some moments volunteering in the nursery and looking after the children during worship services.

From the UU Guide:

Most people don’t question their social and religious customs. Most simply follow the conveyor belt of life.

This was where I was spiritually until the moment I put high school behind me.

As I entered college for the first time in 2006, I decided to shed my attachment to any religion, and defaulted to Agnostic. I had just enough shred of belief that there was something out there that it was an unanswerable question, so I didn’t fall neatly into the category of Atheist.

In spring 2008, I had a professor who was a UU minister (and happened to be teaching an LGBT Studies course at my school) and I noticed that several local events LGBTQ related were happening at the local UU church. I decided to start reading more about it online, and it really struck a chord with me. I liked how it wasn’t about one set book, that it took different viewpoints together, and was more like a college course on religion and spirituality itself.

In 2011, I started going to a church that was near me (In the meantime I had gotten caught up in the drama of failing out of school and moving to the north side of Milwaukee), and the more I went, the more I started to feel at home there. I related very much to the sermons, the people were very friendly, and I felt like it was a place where I could grow as a person. Not that I dealt with dogma at my childhood church, but I do tend to mentally associate dogma and anger with the halls of a church, having seen so many people use their religion as a sledgehammer on others.

Just before I came to Vermont, I started traveling to other UU Churches in the area (and one down in Missouri when I was there for a weekend), and continued to fall in love with the style and feeling. I’ve even been to the UU Church in downtown Burlington, which is the very Church that “Church Street” is named after.

My biggest challenge in actually going in to listen to sermons and connect with the community comes from my introversion. It’s difficult for me to go into a large room with around a hundred or so other people by myself and get comfortable where I am. I have a dream about meeting someone either romantically or platonically and going to sermons and getting more involved with them. Basically, It’s not something that I know I can do alone, but part of the magic of spiritual community is that friendships are made and it shouldn’t be too difficult to be a part of it.

From the guide:

The sense of awe that kindles the heart of a man when he watches the morning sun strike his bedroom wall and realizes how glad he is to be alive in that moment…

I have moments like this from time to time. This is what gets me out walking, what gets me wanting to see the world. This is what makes me want to listen to other people’s stories, and understand what makes each individual “tick.”

What are my core beliefs as a UU?

The way that I can combine almost all of the core values in the seven principles can be summed up like this:

I listen to as many different people’s life stories, learn from their experiences, and use that information to make myself a better person. From there, I use that wisdom to go out in the world and make a change for the better. 

This applies to even the people I “meet” on television. Many people out there complain about reality television, but what I do like is that it showcases real people’s life stories and experiences. I constantly tell people how I’m a blend of so-and-so and so-and-so, and I mean that. I care about others, and some individuals I meet in life have so much of an impact that I made little adjustments to the way I see life, based on what they’ve told me. Mostly for the better, but I’ve also learned some life lessons from rotten people and what they’ve experienced. At the end of the day, every person has value. Even The Doctor has said:

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All of this is why I have the whole blog series, My Inspirations.

From the guide:

A good sermon can provoke a decision that moves a person in a whole new direction. It can lift up a portion of our lives, holding it in just such a light as to reveal facets we couldn’t easily see before. A good sermon can tug us further down the path toward a difficult forgiveness or remind us of our inestimable value as persons in a world that values little. Sermons can remind us of basic things we’ve forgotten, help us to learn and unlearn, show us how to reframe the seemingly impossible ideals so that we do not lose hope. I’ve heard sermons that have helped me question an easy faith, even wrestle with God.

I’ve had this experience a handful of times. But each time I have it, it’s incredible. It makes me yearn to hear more UU Ministers speak.

In a Unitarian Universalist congregation, anyone can write a meditation, preach a sermon, or lead a worship celebration.

I still have a long way to go as a UU. But the important thing is to keep listening to others, and keep learning.

Respectfully Submitted,

Lukas Condie

What Makes Me An Ally

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What is an Ally?

Ally is defined by Merriam-Webster as:

to join (yourself) with another person, group, etc., in order to get or give support

What makes me an Ally?

There are three main reasons why I call myself an Ally – first and foremost being that I prefer to be a friend with someone before any other titles or identities. Romantic relationships work better (in my opinion) when the two (or more) start out as friends, and build from that baseline. Friends are what define us, they are there for us in our best times, and in our worst times. Very often, it’s during the worst times that LGBTQ Allies are called on for support. I haven’t faced a large sum of stigma for being Gay, but in the times that I did my allies were always the first people to pick me back up.

Broadly speaking, my friends are my allies; they are my support circle that I turn to whenever anything happens in my life, positive or negative.

Ally Week Sign Image

Second, I am willing to connect across boundaries. Within reason, of course. When I look at the world, I see many varied and diverse humans, and the more connected we can become with each other, the better. It’s one of my core beliefs as a Unitarian Universalist to listen to as many people’s life stories as I can, and learn from them. It’s very easy to become friends with someone whom you have plenty of things in common, but even more rewarding when you can be a friend and Ally to someone with whom you don’t share as much commonality. This is where personal labels are troubling, because there’s a ton of prejudice that comes with them. My best documented example of reaching out to someone who is very different from me, but we are sincere friends can be read about here.

Finally, I make a point to try and put other’s needs before my own. This one is also a complicated point, as I’ve been taken advantage of by this fact in the past, so there’s a balance here that needs to be achieved. The spectrum here ranges from picking up extra shifts at work to cover holes, to lending money and material things to friends in need, to letting people sleep on the couch in my living room, to giving life advice when asked.

Respectfully Submitted,

Lukas Condie

What Makes Me An Apple Enthusiast

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This is a more direct and obvious aspect to me, as the above image was my primary online avatar for over a year.

I’m not going to open this one with a talk about what Apple is, because let’s be real: everyone knows what Apple, Inc. is.

My first exposure to Apple products was in 1998 during a summer computer camp called Kids Byte at Marquette University. There were brightly colored Mac Computers that we would use to design movies, and we would use Apple software to film and edit our own videos. Considering that I was in Middle School at the time, I had no idea how much Apple products would become a staple in my life a decade and a half later.

My next exposure to Apple computers and products was at my first college, where the theater majors were very Apple savvy, to the point where non-Apple things were snubbed. I had just transition my music library into iTunes, but didn’t quite realize that it was an Apple thing, since I was doing it on my Windows Laptop.

2012 & 2013 were my “conversion” years to Apple as a tech company. I refused to get an iPhone until it could hold all of the music in my library (which was about 35 GB at the time) so it took until the iPhone 4S before I tried it out. I fell in love, and transitioned to a Macbook when my old laptop’s hard disk failed, and I lost nearly everything I had saved electronically at the time.

Since changing over, I have a much better organization to my electronic life, particularly my music library. Not that I ever expect for my Macbook to fail, but if it ever does I’m far, far better prepared to handle it than when my laptop’s crash permanently destroyed 99% of everything I’ve worked on electronically up to that point.

2014 brought my getting Apple TV, which had a major impact on my Netflix viewing habits, my ability to watch the video version of David Pakman, all of my video podcasts, and thus changed my TV habits for the better. I also switched back to iPhone, having done a brief stint with a Samsung Galaxy S4 when iOS 7 came out and before I understood how to use it properly.

Another thing about how much Apple has been an influence on me: Apple’s podcast suggestions led me to discovering both David Pakman and Armin Van Buuren, both of whom I’ve written about on here.

This article gives a nice slideshow about different tech products that Apple introduced to the world that created a sea change in the tech industry.

Here and here are examples of how Apple is also working on becoming a force for positive change in the environment. While Apple is nowhere near perfect in terms of harming the environment, the fact that the company is working to leave less of a footprint on the planet is something that the environmentalist in me agrees with.

Speaking of progressive and liberal politics, it’s been discussed that using Apple products can be a sign of political leaning as well. The implied political leaning has proven to be true in my case, even though my usage of Apple products has had zero impact on my political beliefs. Instead, my political beliefs have played a very tiny role in convincing me to use Apple products.

This is a famous infographic describing a “Mac” person versus a “PC” person:

Mac Person vs. PC Person

Click on it for a larger version if you need one. Many things mentioned in the graphic resonate with me.

Respectfully Submitted,

Lukas Condie

What Makes Me A Wanderluster

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What is a Wanderluster?

According to Wikipedia, wanderlust is defined as what the above image says: a strong desire to travel and explore the world. In sociology, wanderlust is defined more specifically by someone who is wanting to have more cultural experiences, instead of merely wandering and traveling to relax.

The above picture leads to a wanderluster who is blogging about her life traveling the world and immersing herself in different cultures. I only just recently discovered her, but her blog is great and resonates strongly with me, since I long to experience many of the things she’s been seeing.

How am I a Wanderluster?

My wanderlust began as “sunlust” in my childhood, when I would go with my family on vacation to other states and different parts of my home state. This was more for the relaxing time spent, instead of trying to have cultural experiences. However, it planted some thoughts in my head to make me want to learn about other lives and experiences. The Red Mill of Waupaca, Wisconsin started my interest in learning about history and what came before me. Visiting relatives in South Carolina, Florida, and Washington State all showed me that there is so much in this country that exists outside of the house I was growing up in.

My next big travel opportunity came in 2008 when the Rainbow Alliance that I was a part of at my first college would travel to a regional conference in February. The MBLGTAC Conference was always held at a major university, so while on one level it was showing me different campuses that I didn’t have the passion to reach out to earlier in life, it also showed me different cultures even in the same region of the country that I had known for two decades. That conference has brought me to:

  • Champlain-Urbana, IL (2008)
  • Bloomington, IN (2009)
  • Madison, WI (2010)
  • Ann Arbor, MI (2011)
  • Ames, IA (2012)
  • East Lansing, MI (2013)
  • Kansas City, MO (2014)

The last conference I went to was close enough to Kansas that I crossed the border and very briefly got to see Topeka, KS. Each new city brought a different perspective to me about my own life, and new experiences that I wouldn’t have been able to enjoy otherwise.

One particular conference experience had me cross through the city of Gary, IN. I had first heard about this city while watching a college production of The Music Man, in which one of the songs is about the city. I had done a little bit of research before I passed through, originally getting excited over the fact that the city was a theater reference for me, but eventually it became more about the possibility of a paranormal experience, which I also have something of a passion for. The feelings I had while just driving through some neighborhoods, and the emotions that I felt while quickly taking in the abandoned downtown main street were enough of a moving experience that I’ve always wanted to go back and see the city at night.

This interest continued to build and finally culminated in my permanent move from Wisconsin to Vermont. At it’s core, Vermont is a beautiful state, with so much to see and explore in a tiny amount of space.

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As I continue to live in Vermont, my interest in finding new places to see continues to build. I have a Manchester, New Hampshire trip, a Portland, Maine trip, a Hartford, Connecticut, and a Providence, Rhode Island trip all in the works, and I presume I’ll have seen all four before 2017’s end.

The most famous fictional traveler I know, The Doctor, has been the solid rock that keeps my wanderlust growing. His TARDIS (a time machine that travels in space) stood as my primary avatar as a symbol of my continued interest in wanting to go out and explore more that the world has to offer.

What places do I want to explore, and why?

I have an old, physical diary with a few pages of places I want to explore. On the first page, I’ve listed that in each “place to explore” I wanted to see:

  • A famous “attraction”
  • A theatrical production
  • A Nightclub
  • A local dining establishment
  • A local coffee shop
  • Any local, notable Snopesters that I’ve connected with

This reflects on my personal interests in addition to the broad concepts of travel for cultural sake.

Just for the sake of including it, here’s my current working “Places To Wander To” List:

  1. New York, NY (Having been here on a high school trip, I want to see this city through my more mature eyes and brain)
  2. Pittsburgh, PA (The setting for the US version of Queer As Folk)
  3. Boston, MA (So much of New England history has happened here. Also big Massachusetts place.)
  4. Portland, OR (For a while I wanted to move here.)
  5. Seattle, WA (Having seen this city when I was a child, again I want to see it though my adult eyes)
  6. Miami, FL (Having seen this city when I was a child, again I want to see it though my adult eyes)
  7. Myrtle Beach, SC (Having seen this city when I was a child, again I want to see it though my adult eyes)
  8. Houston, TX (Near the setting for one of my favorite TV series, Reba. I’m also very strongly considering moving here.)
  9. Austin, TX (Another good representation of Texas.)
  10. Los Angeles, CA
  11. San Fransisco, CA (I’m stereotyping here, but this would be something of a pilgrimage for me)
  12. Palo Alto, CA (So much of technology is born here)
  13. Laramie, WY (To physically see the town made famous by a play, which they rightfully feel doesn’t represent them)
  14. Minneapolis, MN (This is supposedly like a sister to Madison, WI)
  15. Denver, CO (Originally wanted to see this because it was “near South Park” but now there’s so much more there)
  16. Salt Lake City, UT (I feel this is the place in Utah I would enjoy the most)
  17. Phoenix, AZ (I’ve been told that Pridefest here is the best in the country)
  18. Escanaba, MI (From my love for the stage play trilogy, beginning with Escanaba in da Moonlight)
  19. Atlanta, GA (Like Salt Lake City, I feel this would be a good place to start seeing Georgia)
  20. Las Vegas, NV (One of the settings for my favorite show in high school, Beyblade)
  21. Hong Kong (Same as above)
  22. Beijing
  23. Kyoto (This is the city where some of the central characters in the Beyblade anime are based on)
  24. Tokyo (Having been so into anime culture at one point in my life, I feel this is a given)
  25. London (I went here before I was able to immerse myself in so many British things. I want to go back, but as a Whovian)
  26. Paris (In addiction to being more aware of French culture nowadays, this was also a brief setting for Beyblade)
  27. Rome (Having worked for a self-proclaimed Italian restaurant, and this being a brief setting for Beyblade)
  28. Berlin (Both a few episodes of Beyblade, and my absolute favorite stage musical, Cabaret took place here)
  29. Moscow (One of the best Beyblade story arcs took place here)
  30. Mongolia
  31. The Amazon Rainforest (I was obsessed with the game Amazon Trail for nearly a whole decade, this is another given)
  32. Czech Republic (As part of my own heritage, I want to see this country)
  33. Copenhagen, Denmark (Also part of my heritage, if I ever decide to emigrate from the US, this would be at the top of my list of choices)
  34. Scotland (Another valued part of my heritage)
  35. Ibiza, Spain (One of the hottest Nightclub spots in the world)

Added In December 2016: Now that I’ve been working in the hotel industry for two major hotel chains and multiple properties, I can say that working in hotels has taught me the skills and given me the tools to make traveling easier and more accessible to me. The “industry” likes to refer to itself as “hospitality” but I prefer to think of the term, “Travel Industry.”

Respectfully Submitted,

Lukas Condie

What Makes Me A Homemaker

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What is a Homemaker?

A homemaker is a person whose main job is to stay at home and care for the household and/or children. Wikipedia once again sums up the definition and gives great examples.

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How am I a Homemaker?

The absolute core and first reason why I identify with this term is that my number one goal in life is to be a husband and father. I would honestly be happier unemployed but happily married and with my children in my life, as opposed to single but in a time-consuming career.

I have always been very domesticated, beginning from in my childhood when I insisted on joining my mother on her weekly trips to the grocery store. In fact, one of the main ways I relieve stress is by going into a local grocer and just browsing around the isles looking for things to have at my apartment or house.

Virtually all of my career up to this point has involved some major aspect of home life. Working in a restaurant has grown my interest in learning to cook for myself, and using proper methods and styles to improve my own meals. I didn’t work in the kitchen, but I did get to observe many different ways that a kitchen is run.

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Working in maid service taught me the gravity of consistent effort it takes to keep a house clean and put together. Everyone has a wildly different definition of what they consider to be a “clean home” and mine has been shaped by learning several different people’s definitions. I’ve taken the time to learn about different cleaning products and techniques, and many people in my life have asked if I’d be willing to come in and clean for them, since my passion for cleaning also stems from my childhood. While being the Stage Manager for my high school Drama Club, I would often find myself cleaning up backstage and organizing things, two qualities that I consider to be my greatest strengths.

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My time in maid service also launched a new interest for me: home decor and design. I’ve seen (what feels like) hundreds of different styles and ways to arrange and fill one’s home. I went into a deep discussion with a former roommate of mine about how a home should be decorated, as I’ve been told my bedroom has “looked like a college dorm room.” It wasn’t until long after that talk did I see for myself exactly what they meant. At the time, I was still mentally a sophomore in college, and my bedroom walls reflected my own maturity. It was when I started seeing how people arranged their personal spaces and what they felt was important enough to frame and put on their walls that I started to have an adult concept of professional home decor and design.

On a broader scale, the concept of homemaker is also evolving. Until very recently, a homemaker was generally overwhelmingly female, and the term househusband was a joke made to show how gendering homemaker to housewife was silly. It’s a reflection on culture as a whole that “stay-at-home-dads” are becoming more of a thing these days. This NYT opinion column even claims that househusbands are the future. Michelle Visage has mentioned on the podcast, What’s The Tee?, that she is happily married to a househusband. This Slate article gives one man’s experience on being a househusband, much of which resonated with me.

The other part of the term homemaker that I really like is the gender discussion that comes with it. I feel like the sexism of the pre-70’s is already well discussed – in my opinion women should choose what they want to do with their lives, no matter if that’s a career or staying at home. This belief is one my my values as a feminist. The gender discussion that homemaker hits me with is the social constructs that come with it.

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The above image leads to the article where it came from. One of the key things this image portrays is of course, a man in a dress. Much of my experience with men in dresses comes from Drag Queens, particularly one who uses that phrase to describe themself. I am not a drag queen, nor do I plan to ever be one, but the concept of being referred to as “mommy” or “mama” is actually something I’m quite comfortable with. I am very comfortable in my cisgender identity, but this particular piece is the bit of gender fluidity in me, which tends to surprise the people that I share this with, since I haven’t met even a handful of men who are househusbands.

Here’s another article from Slate on homemaking. This is related to the gender discussion in homemaking.

Urban Dictionary’s definition mentions male homemakers being as “the lowest of masculinity.” While there are parts of me that I feel are important to be masculine, this is the part of me that cares the least about masculinity. As I’ve said, I’m not the least bit bothered by not appearing to be masculine in wanting a husband and kids that are my primary responsibility. Understanding how much of a threat this can irrationally be to other men, and still sticking with it is one of the personal traits I am the most proud of.

And in the off-chance I ever were to walk a runway in drag, I’d most likely have a kitchen apron on over my dress.

Respectfully Submitted,

Lukas Condie