Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Why I'm Going To Keep Talking About LGBTQ Rights (or How To Shorten Your Christmas Card List)

So, I know, people are tired of hearing about emotions and elections and want to move on and "get over it." I'm feeling the need explain the depth of my feelings, because maybe it might change a mind, and if it doesn't, well, maybe it might mean I'll have fewer Christmas cards in that pile I forget to send out every year. I'll try to keep it as short as I can.

For the next 4 years, my government will not have my children's backs. My two eldest are LGBTQ teenagers who already have felt the backlash of this election--they've already faced kids who feel emboldened to put them down (though, in my next post I will talk about the positive activism that both schools have embraced in the wake of it.) The next President's cabinet is stocked with anti-LGBT crusaders. Now you might respond with "I suffered through 8 years of Obama, you'll survive Trump," and this is where I have to buckle down. You have every right to feel that President Obama's policies didn't do good things for you. Some people do feel that way. But the next government will treat my two LGBT kids (along with many friends and close family members) like they are less than people. Like their rights aren't as important as anyone else's. Like it won't matter if they can be fired from a job or refused service simply because they are LGBTQ. Like they shouldn't be able to marry, co-parent, or even bury their own spouse.

So what I understand, at last, is that in the absence of a government that supports them, I have to step up. I can't any longer turn a blind eye to qualifying statements about them. For instance: "love the sinner, not the sin." It seems simple. But it's a hidden qualifier--I've yet to see anyone saying about a divorcee "love the sinner hate the sin." I've yet to see about a rape victim who hasn't married her rapist (yes, that's a definition of marriage in the Bible, too), "love the sinner hate the sin." Why? Because those qualifiers are absurd. My children are human beings who are intelligent, kind, and strong, and yes, are imperfect, too. But loving another person of the same sex is not what makes them so. Loving another person is not keeping anyone from practicing their religion, any more than NOT being a polygamist (again, also one way that marriage is defined in the Bible. Look it up.) does. If you think it does, if you can look me in the eye and say that my kids do not deserve the same right to love, marriage, and happiness that every other person does, that a gender-fluid person doesn't deserve the same love and dignity that a cis (physically born into your gender) person does, that a person shouldn't be able to love another consenting person of the same sex or a trans person or a gender-fluid person, then you may not want to read further and probably we will never have anything more to discuss.

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I'll attempt to put it another way: I try not to equate the struggles of LGBT people & people of color--they are, for the most part, different struggles. I see them as sometimes similar, often differing, mostly because people of color cannot choose to hide in plain sight (which no one should have to do, but which is possible for LGBT people who fear discrimination.) So they are different struggles with some parallels. Except in the case of marriage equality. Obergefell v Hodges fell back on the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment just as Loving v Virginia did, because those Constitutional rights were apparent even to the Supreme Court. And yet, I know people who, if I asked them if a black man should be able to marry a white woman, they would say, "Of course!! What is this, the 1950s??" They would be offended that I asked. And yet they cannot see the same absurdity in the question about a same-sex couple. To me, you're then saying that every other person (whether white or person of color) is equal--except LGBT people--they aren't. (And no, I don't think people of color are treated equally. They aren't.) I cannot say that I love and support my children and then say it's ok for anyone to say they are unequal.

In that same vein, no less than three people this month have said "I don't need to know what goes on in their bedrooms. I love them."

But love doesn't happen in the bedroom. Love happens with a look, or two hands holding, or a hug or a kiss goodbye at the train station. I have kissed both parents hello and goodbye on the lips for my entire life, and I kiss my husband of 18 years goodbye 3 times every single time I leave him. No one bats an eyelash. I kiss in front of my children--I always have, so that there will be a good role model of a loving relationship for them--and I haven't done that for fifteen years so that they can spend their adult lives hiding their own love, because love is not something that should ever be hidden.

Author's Proof: "Love Doesn't Happen In The Bedroom"

So there it is. It may feel like it's unfair for me to draw that line in the sand. But I can't protect my children from a President who condones racist, homophobic, misogynistic speech, a Vice President who thinks it's beneficial to use shock therapy to "convert" gay people (to what? The Church of Straightdom?), and a cabinet who has done everything from vote to make it illegal to have "gay sex" in your own home, to declaring that homosexuality is the same as pedophilia or bestiality, if I can't start closer to home first.

In the words of Lin-Manuel Miranda, "You will come of age with our young nation, We'll bleed and fight for you, We'll make it right for you..."


  1. Great points and those that at least don't respect your views don't need to get a holiday card let alone be part of your inner circle. I am going to remain optimistic about our next four years and believe that somehow we will survive I don't believe our youth are going to sit idly by and let this clown destroy all if any little progress we have made. I believe there is going to be a lot of cages rattled but people will finally wake up. Best of luck to all of us and thanks for sharing your story. :)

    1. Always happy to hear from you, Mari! I hope the New Year finds you and your family well. I have hope, too...I just think I have to temper that hope with actions. 💗