In recent times, a long-time friend of mine has noticed that I post a lot of gay stuff on my Facebook. I’m going to call her F.
F uses this piece of rather obvious information as evidence that I’ve changed, and I’m not the same person she used to know…
I accepted her criticism, and accepted F’s statement that I’ve changed. Because it’s true. I’m more outspoken, more active, more confident in myself and more comfortable in my own skin.
I apologised for changing. I regret making that apology. We should never have to apologise for growing.
What I don’t think F realises is that she has changed in the 10 years we’ve known each other too.
My friend is straight. Recently, her child started school – a Christian School in one of the “God in every part of the curriculum” senses. Which is fine. A bit surprising, but fine.
Since this happened, My friend has been spending a lot more time being involved in the church, from where I sit it seems to have built her confidence and given her a feeling of acceptance, and both of these are good things!
But she’s also started complaining about how much gay stuff I post, that “I’ve become my sexuality” and more.
Recently, on one of my posts about gay marriage, she wound up commenting that kids shouldn’t be exposed to homosexuality, that they should be able to retain their innocence. When queried about whether they should be exposed to heterosexuality, in that case, she said something along the lines of “heterosexuality to a point, but homosexuality, no.” (this is from a few days ago and I can no longer find her comments) She expanded on this saying that her child shouldn’t be exposed to “sex, gay, or porn” early on. Essentially, there was no kissing, or any kind of public display of affection for gay couples, no matter how benign, so that she didn’t have to explain “gay” to her child.
Being told I have to be less “me” around her child? hurts.
Being told that she views my very nature as similar to “sex… or porn”? Hurts.
All of this brought home to me that gay parents, on top of the usual “my child is going to school for the first time” jitters, also have to deal with how the kids are going to react to their child having two mothers or two fathers, how the other parents are going to react to their child having two mothers or two fathers? I have asked myself on more than one occasion “is it fair for a child to potentially cop flack just because I love men rather than women? Should I really have children?” And my answer is: “Yes. My children will be part of a new generation where gay is not taboo, and they will be loved beyond measure.” How do I know gay won’t be taboo? Because I’ll be influencing that generation. I’ll be teaching my child about the intrinsic goodness of all human beings.
When I get a husband and a child or two, and send my child to school, would my child allowed to talk to F’s? What if he mentions having two dads? Or would my child’s day to day existence threaten F’s child’s innocence? Would F’s child be allowed to come over and play if our children like each other, or would my home life threaten F’s child’s innocence?
What about seeing Dylan Jr, my husband and me in the street after school? Would that threaten F’s child’s innocence?
In this country, you have the right to bring your child up based on your religious and personal values. But that right ends when it impedes my right to go about my life in a way that would be deemed entirely appropriate if I were straight. If you’re pressed to explain, couldn’t you just tell your child “Dylan Jr’s Dads love each other like Daddy and I do” and leave it at that? If you’re in the anti-camp-camp then perhaps “Dylan Jr’s dad and his friend live together in a life of sin.” or whatever little hateful thing floats your boat.
So no. I won’t turn off my “gay” for the sake of your child.
There is nothing more or less innocent about being gay than being straight, and we, GLBTIQ folks, shouldn’t have to bear a day-to-day burden for uptight straight people’s discomfort. And we won’t.