Heather and Vanessa

The following article came to me from a Porterville resident. I was asked to share this story with you in hopes of shedding some light and possibly receive some advice from the community as to what the couple should do, if anything.

Vanessa Bazaldua and Heather Sisemore are embarking a new journey in their relationship. They are pregnant! While most of us in the community find this an exciting time for the couple we unfortunately still live in a society where this type of news is not as celebrated by everyone else.

Hey, Melissa,

I was wondering if you could do me a favor. Me and Vanessa had something crazy happen to us last night. And we want to get this out. Or want to know if we should get this out. We wrote a little article on it. So if you could read it and send advice. Greatly appreciated.

On Saturday November 12th at approximately 2300 hrs. My girlfriend and I (Vanessa) went to a QuinceƱera, invited by her friend Gabriella Garcia, at the Kings County Fair Grounds. Currently being nine weeks pregnant I was feeling very nauseous, so I asked Heather to please accompany me to the bathroom. She joined me in a small stall to comfort me, rubbing my back and holding my belongings. After being in there for fifteen minutes maximum, Heather had suggested we go and get some food to see if it would ease my stomach. Before I could even move away from the toilet a security officer was knocking on the stall door. Heather being the closest answered to them telling her that we needed to exit, because I could not be in there, referring to me as a male. After Heather politely assured them that I was a female, she then proceeded to tell them that I was pregnant and not feeling well, also noticing that they had cleared out the entire bathroom. One of the officers then made the remark of "are u sure she is a girl?" Heather again made it clear that I was a female, pregnant, and she was my girlfriend simply taking care of me. Even then, they told her we couldn't be in the same stall, so they asked her to please wait outside. Heather then said she would not leave me alone, and asked if she could please stand outside the stall with the door open. They refused, and a guard then told me that there was nothing wrong with me so I had to leave. I was then very upset and offended, and in tears. As I exit the bathroom, a lady was commenting to a security guard, saying how gross we were. After hearing that, and seeing the guard didn't even hesitate but to agree, I told her I was a pregnant female with my girlfriend, trying to have privacy so that they wouldn't have to see me throw up. After going to the car, bewildered by what had happened and feeling very harassed. Heather went back to talk to the security guard, who she repeatedly told I was a female, and he still continued to call me a him or a boy, and told him that we felt very offended. He then said he was just trying to do his job, and said someone had reported to him that there were two boys in a stall for a long time, she then asked him why after making it very clear to him that I was a female he proceeded into kicking us out, he repeated with "I'm sorry, I was just doing my job." Heather then told him, that his job was to check and see what was going on, and after seeing it was two females, one of them being sick, to make it known that there was no boy in the restroom and that they could be at ease.

Now I understand that not everyone agrees to our lifestyle. Nor are we trying to push our lifestyle on anyone else. I understand that some may confuse me as a boy, by my short hair and my manner of dressing, but I don't mind reassuring people I am a female. Never have I felt as harassed as I did that night. As if I was a human with a deadly disease, that was very contagious. I know that I can't change what happened to me that night, but I want to make sure this is known, and make a difference, so when the day comes and it happens to someone else, they are treated differently, with dignity and respect.

The couple experienced great ignorance this past weekend. It is not fair that any member of our society should have anxiety upon entering a restroom for fear they will be ridiculed and questioned. I get so angry knowing this happens. It strikes a personal cord for me and just wish some people could expand their mind just a tiny bit.

Aside from the events that transpired for them this past weekend, both families of the couple are very open and happy about the pregnancy. The baby's due date is June 15, 2012 and the couple will be registering for domestic partnership in the near future. A big congratulations to the happy couple!!