When I was younger, I never thought I’d be around to be 40 years old. Particularly when I was repeatedly told it wasn’t okay to be attracted to girls, I pretty much figured, suspected, that I wouldn’t last long. This superstition stuck with me. As of today, I made it! 40 years old! Being around is a good birthday gift. It gets better.
When I was 5, I rode a bus every day, for about a half hour each way, to Kindergarten. I lived in the country and went to Kindergarten at a school in a small town. There was a girl who rode the same bus who I paid close attention to every day. She always wore her hair in 2 pigtails and she had a polka dot dress that I loved. She was my first crush.
There was no Lance Bass, no Melissa Etheridge, nobody coming out on the cover of a major news magazine, no gayby boom, no Will & Grace, no L Word, no president saying the words gay or lesbian or acknowledging LGBT people, no Ellen, no DADT or fight to end DADT, no domestic partner rights, no adoption rights, no fight for ENDA, no Prop8, no lesbian mayor of Houston in the news, and I didn’t even know the acronym or the words for the acronym LGBT until my late teens.
The first time, as a young teenager, I told an adult that I was attracted to girls, not boys, I was told that my feelings were wrong and I could pray those feelings away.
The second time I came out, as an adult, I stayed out and I regularly continue to come out, as needed. When someone, in casual chitchat, asks if I’m married, I say yes, the followup question is usually, “What does your husband do?” and I come out again. When someone says my daughter looks like me and asks if she looks like my husband too, then I come out again, both as a woman with a wife and as an adoptive mother, not a biological mother.
My parents love me dearly, my lesbian sister and straight brothers, too, and if someone asks them about their children and grandchildren they likely mention their 6 smart beautiful amazing grandchildren and their 4 successful talented children. They are probably less likely to mention that their 2 daughters are lesbians, or that 4 of those 6 grandchildren have lesbian moms. They are also probably less likely to mention that the 4 children with lesbian moms are all adopted by their daughters, being the biological children of their daughters’ wives.
I could be wrong about that, but I do know straight people, particularly parents of LGBT people, often have their own closet and coming out process that share a lot in common with the experience of LGBT people who lose friendships and family closeness when they come out.
Too many times LGBT people are blamed for the loss of family or friends, and the estrangement within social and familial groups, when they come out. They aren’t to blame. If anyone is to blame, it’s the family and friends who so easily reject a relationship with someone who is dear to them.
make pancakes for our daughter
wake up our daughter
make lunch and pack it in our daughter’s lunch box/bag
remind our daughter to finish eating her breakfast
take a shower
look in mirror (sometimes I forget about this part)
remind our daughter to get dressed and stop reading books and playing with toys
brush our daughter’s hair and continue reminding her to get ready
point to the clock and say, “you only have 5 minutes left before we’re leaving for school!”
check email/facebook/twitter in those 5 minutes
walk daughter to school (unless my wife drops her off)
sometimes stay at her school for their “morning circle” of all the kids and teachers and staff
go to work via public transportation and/or walking
do work that makes money and pays taxes
txt my wife throughout the day
chat with my friends at the office
try not to forget to eat lunch
remember to return the library books
wonder what we can make for dinner and try to remember what’s in the fridge
do work that makes money and pays taxes
pickup daughter from school (unless my wife picks her up)
make dinner and cocktails
maybe, just maybe, get a chance to chat with my wife in between requests from our daughter
make a bath for our daughter and help her get ready for bed
catchup on email/facebook/twitter while she’s in the bath
fold laundry while she’s in the bath
read books to our daughter
my wife helps our daughter get to sleep at night
read a book, read various news sites, watch a movie, make food for the next day, make lists like this one
kiss my wife
(In previous post there’s the text of an email sent to me from a pastor of a church which references the church not affirming a “homosexual lifestyle”)
I’ve been browsing photos that parents have taken of their children. Captions and titles and comments call these children sweet and cute and adorable and lovely and all sorts of niceties. I remember those words being applied to me as a child when adults talked about me. Most of the adults in my life, as a child, were at church.
Many of those adults now would barely speak to me because I’m a lesbian. That one word moves me from a sweet lovely adored person included in a community to a shunned “sinner” not worthy of human acknowledgement.
Many of those adults apparently also stopped talking to and including my parents.
I grew up in a very strict lutheran church that is closely related to Laestadian churches. Women were not allowed to be pastors or ministers. They participated in discussions at bible studies but they never stood up in the pulpit and spoke to the congregation. We were required to always wear dresses to church (something my younger sister hated). Most of the women were housewives and stay at home parents (though that wasn’t my mom or grandma). Dancing and watching movies/TV were strictly forbidden. The only music ever played was religious music and hymns. I was taught that other religions were strictly wrong and that we held the one true truth/faith and were the only people going to heaven. When friends of my parents divorced, when I was a child, I noticed that the divorced couple did not seem welcome any longer in our church. Most men smoked heavily, but most women didn’t. Alcohol was never drunk.
Any wonder I distrust religion?