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In ‘Apocalyptic Times,’ Marching Forward Together

by Jersey Lady

In May 2013, while dancing to the rhythm of a drum circle around a bonfire, Melody Christine Dankemeyer, aka Melody Sage, felt a “prickly rush of energy” through her body. .

At that moment, she turned around and saw Rosco Kickingstone Siragusa beside Rosco Kickingstone.

The two introduced themselves, but Sage had only a short conversation with Kickingstone before dancing and walking away. She was “overwhelmed,” she said, describing her feeling as “the strongest feeling she’d ever had.”

The day after the bonfire, their paths crossed again. Sage said Kickingstone jumped from a tree and broke his leg hours before they met, but it wasn’t difficult to track down.

“I joke that he was easy prey,” she said.

Their second conversation lasted much longer. She told him about her pirate radio show Chicas Unidas, which featured female guests discussing various issues. He spoke of his participation in groups such as Food Not Bombs, which distributes free vegan and vegetarian meals, and the Occupy Movement, which grew out of his 2011 Lower Manhattan Occupy Wall Street movement.

Since then, they spent most of the festival in each other’s company, with Sage often procuring food for the injured Kicking Stone. The activism each learned wasn’t their only common bond.

Sage was 18 when he was raised in Santa Cruz, California, and Kickingstone was 15 when he was raised in San Diego. Kickingstone, who has mixed Native American and Mexican roots, came out as a transgender man.

“Coming out so young” helped me learn to “live and be happy with myself.”

Before the end of the week in Oregon, Sage had his first kiss.

After the festival, they parted ways. Sage, now 34, lived in Santa Cruz at the time, while Kickingstone, now 36, lived in Seattle. But a few weeks later, Ms. Sage traveled to Seattle to visit another friend, and Kickingstone stayed with her for two weeks. On that trip, they sang a lot of karaoke and she accompanied his sister to her 30th birthday party.

Shortly after Sage left Seattle, Kickingstone visited her in Santa Cruz in June 2013. While there, they went to San Francisco’s Pride Celebration, during which they participated in the annual event Transgender Her March in support of her community. They have attended regularly since then.

In the months that followed, they saw other people, but the two kept in touch by phone and text, going to see each other whenever they could and continuing to get close.

“We were very in tune mentally, emotionally and physically,” Kicking Stone said.

In December of the same year, they traveled to Mexico and spent a month backpacking in Chiapas and Oaxaca. By the end of the trip, Mr. Kickingstone was ready to take the next step with Mr. Sage.

But she felt conflicted. “I’ve always been a little skeptical of love,” Ms. Sage said. “Except for my grandparents, there are very few long-lasting relationships in my life.”

In February 2014, after graduating from Mills College in Oakland, California, Sage returned to the city to attend the International College of Cosmetology’s Manicure Program. When Kickingstone brought up the topic of moving there himself, she initially said she didn’t want to be his sole reason for moving.

He assured her otherwise. She “wanted to be with people of color and radical queer people more,” Kickingstone recalled telling Sage.

That April, he moved to Oakland and moved into a house with nine roommates. One of them was Mr. Sage. Ms. Sage finds out he is moving out when the other housemates tell her that Ms. Kickingstone is their preferred candidate. (He applied for the room via Craigslist, not knowing it was in the house she lived in.) Three months later, ahead of the land being built, Mr. Kickingstone moved into another house. .

He and Mr. Sage, who used to live in the same city, decided to stop seeing other people. The two remained monogamous for a year and a half after that, but started dating again in October 2015. Their monogamous period was a way for the two, who were previously in a polyamorous relationship, to “establish trust,” Kickingstone said. He said.

“As someone who is really frivolous and has hurt people in the past, I loved him so much that I didn’t want to hurt him.

That December, they moved together to a new location in Auckland. Licensed by the California Barber and Beauty Commission, Ms. Sage is now a nail artist at local salon Fig & Clover. Kickingstone works as a manufacturing engineer at Slingshot Biosciences in Emeryville, California.

In the early days of their relationship, neither was very interested in marriage. He said he felt the Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage was irrelevant.

“This system has never worked for me,” Sage said. “We queer people have never been seen as fully human.”

But as their romance developed, Mr. Kicking Stone became convinced that what they found was worth celebrating.

“Often, we have to create our own families because our own families don’t accept us or emotionally have the support we need,” he said. “Not that I agree with the whole marriage system, but I’ve always wanted a primary partner to build a family with. Melody is my person.”

But when he shared thoughts with Ms. Sage about their future after her 30th birthday in 2018, she hesitated. Throwing a party that year was overwhelming enough. “Bring it up in a couple of years,” she recalled telling him.

He didn’t have to wait that long. In 2019, the couple helped Ms. Sage’s family plan an 80th birthday party for her maternal grandmother in March, but she came to the idea of ​​marrying Ms. Kicking Stone. rice field.

Sage says: The fact that Rosco and I can hold it together and handle it, of course, that we can have joy together, laugh every day, grow together, and create space for each other is truly special. “

Two months later, in May 2019, Kickingstone proposed while they were vacationing in Hawaii. When considering an engagement, he said it was important to him to give Ms. Sage a ring as part of the traditional proposal.

“Finding love and being in your 30s is a no-brainer,” Kickingstone said. I really don’t understand the daily struggle to live in this world that actively seeks to kill you or take away your rights.”

After an initial delay due to the pandemic, they began planning their wedding, or “celebration of love,” as they called it.

Initially, the event was only a symbolic coalition. But as it got closer, the couple decided to incorporate a legal ritual for purely practical reasons: Ms. Sage wanted to be entitled to the health benefits offered by Ms. Kickingstone’s work. is ready.

On June 18, the couple held an iconic ceremony at Fern Cottage on the grounds of the Kennedy Grove Regional Recreation Area in El Sobrante, California. Led by a friend, it included a pagan ritual of blessing with a crystal and invoking her four elements. : earth, air, fire, water.

At the ensuing reception, they and 50 guests sang karaoke and enjoyed salads and agua fresca from Understory Oakland, a worker-driven kitchen and restaurant, along with a spread of charcuterie and cheese.

Less than a week later, on June 24, the couple tied the knot at the Helen Diller Playground in Mission Dolores Park in San Francisco. Trance Her March has just started as part of the 2022 Pride Celebration. Annie Rose London, friend of the couple and Minister for Universal Life, moderated the event.

Both Mr. Kickingstone and Mr. Sage wore white denim vests with gold studs, rhinestones and iridescent patterns on the back. He paired a fedora with matching white jeans. She wore a white swimsuit, pink tulle her skirt, pink knee socks, platform her sneakers, and matching veil.

Ahead of the ceremony, Ms. London thanked the indigenous Orlon people, the first inhabitants of the land now known as the Bay Area, before telling about 30 friends who attended that day that they It reminded me why we got together. Sage was able to get Mr. Kickingstone’s health insurance.

In her remarks, their officiant said on the same day that Mr. Kickingstone and Mr. Sage exercised their right to marry, the Supreme Court ruled Roe v. Wade.

“Even though I am heartbroken for a million reasons, I am honored to be part of it with love and pride,” Ms London said.

The couple then climbed to the top of a very wide slide, where two witnesses used the newlyweds’ backs as a hard surface to sign their marriage license. I waved the ribbon wand on both sides and it slid down.

“Melody is someone I want to be with in this apocalyptic time,” said Kicking Stone. “I love her in every thread of my existence.”

when June 24, 2022

Where Mission Dolores Park in San Francisco.

undressing code Attendees at the couple’s legal ceremony were dressed more appropriately for the occasion of pride than the wedding. , another friend showed up wearing red boxer briefs.

post wedding march After the wedding, Mr. Kickingstone and Ms. Sage, carrying umbrellas reading “Just Married,” walked through the Trans March and received congratulations from fellow attendees, including one of Ms. Sage’s former professors. I was.

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