Wednesday, July 1, 2015

What You're Telling My Kids When You Condemn Marriage Equality

Before I get to the point of this post, I apologize in advance for the following reasons:

1. This is not the positive, feel good post that I had planned on writing 
(I'll do that in another 6 months next time.)
2. It's an emotional and angry post that will likely be offensive to some of you. 
3. I'm going to swear. A lot. If you don't like it, just pretend I'm saying fetch, crud, or darn, or even golly gee cheese whiz.
4. I'm pretty sure there will be several grammatical errors because I'm posting while upset and my editing skills become even more sub-par when I'm in this state.

Anyway, do you want to know what has me so upset that I had to begin this post with an apology?

What has me so upset that I am still shaking even though it happened this morning?

What has me so upset that I am on the verge of tears, and feel like I could break down and cry at any moment (which is not something that happens too often to me)?

And, most importantly, what has me so upset that I am contemplating the purchase of a punching bag instead of the new Urban Decay Naked Smoky Palette debuting in 6 days, 3 hours, 12 minutes, and 24 seconds according to the count down calendar...(Yes, it's THAT serious!)?

Do you want to know, just, what is it that has me so damn upset?

I'll give you a hint.

What is something that seems to piss every single person off at one time or another, yet, we still can't get enough of it?

Facebook, of course.

Well, specifically, it's a link that someone posted on Facebook to an article written in response to the passage of marriage equality that has me so upset.


I read the article this morning, less than a week after the Supreme Court made its decision regarding marriage equality, and unless you live on Mars, you have probably noticed that the shit storm on Facebook that occurred as a result of that decision has remained pretty steady since then.

For the most part, I've been quiet (for me, anyway). I've "shared" a couple pictures that I thought were funny. I've commented on a few posts, but I haven't really come out full-force on the issue. This is mostly because I've been pretty damn opinionated and loud vocal in the past and so it's not necessarily a secret what my opinion on the matter is. I've seen quite a few posts and comments in support of the decision (Good hell, there sure are a lot of rainbow filtered profile pictures out there!) and I've seen quite a few posts and comments in disagreement with the decision. I've also seen posts from some people, pleading for everyone to stop this shit and get back to what's really important on Facebook, YouTube videos of cats.

For the first few days, I tried really hard not to read any of the negative articles I saw being shared because I didn't want to get upset about the same arguments that we've been having for years regarding marriage equality, that include hypothetical goat marriages and poor Adam and Steve.

I have to say, I was doing pretty good at avoiding the negative and focusing on the positive.

...and then this morning happened.

For the second day in a row, I read an article that included statements regarding the validity of LGBT families and the so-called harm done to children who have gay or lesbian parents and it infuriated me, much more than it has ever done in the past. In fact, I could feel my face getting hot and my hands starting to shake as I finished reading it and it wasn't because I was being attacked because of my sexual orientation.

It was because my children were being attacked because of my sexual orientation.

More accurately, they were being bullied.

Bullied? Yes, bullied.

(It may seem over-dramatic to use that term, but if you read the definition below that describes what bullying is, you'll see what I mean.)

Bullying is often defined as unwanted or aggressive behavior towards a person. It must also be repetitive and include an imbalance of power.

I think we can apply all of these to the current situation. The fact is, that children of  lesbian and gay parents are experiencing unwanted and aggressive behavior targeted towards them and their families on a daily basis from the media, as well as from people (often, adults) in their communities. Do you think they want to hear their parents, who they love, being talked about in a derogatory way, just because of who they are, or that they like being told that their family does not deserve the same rights as other families? That seems pretty unwanted and aggressive to me. This behavior towards LGBT families is nothing new, we've seen it over and over, so it also fits the 2nd criteria, which is that it is repetitive. The last criteria, the requirement of the presence of an imbalance of power in this situation is also painfully obvious. We are talking about the power of adults vs. children, and the power of religion and the media versus the power of a child. It's pretty easy to see who has the majority of the power in this situation.

Simply stated, my children, and others like them, ARE being bullied by those who want to assert their religious authority and/or political power over them and their family, who say things that are hurtful and often not true, and who continue to repeat themselves over and over in order to keep the power in their favor.

The people that wrote the articles I read, along with the more recognized Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, Ted Cruz, and many others who are publicly condemning marriage equality and claiming that our families are less than equal to any other family, and that our children are somehow being harmed because of our sexual orientation as parents, are actually the ones doing the harm.

They are acting as bullies, and, whether they realize it or not, they are bullying children and profiting from it.

They are doing so by publicly declaring a lack of acceptance and tolerance for gay and lesbian parents and their children, through the use of statements that support what I mentioned above. This can be considered the same as if they were to declare intolerance for the children directly, because when you condemn a parent to a child, you are saying to that child that something is wrong with them, too. (I learned this well-supported concept in divorce and child custody 101.)

Quite frankly, it's disgusting to me, not as a gay parent, but as a parent, period.

In my opinion, it should bother all parents, regardless of  who they are. 

Telling a child (either directly or indirectly) that their parents and families do not deserve the same considerations and rights as other parents and families, or that they are somehow being robbed or harmed because they have a gay parent, or parents, is much more harmful to them than having a gay parent ever could be.

My children are not being harmed by their mom being a lesbian. They are being harmed by the words and insults used to describe their mom by other people. They are being harmed by people saying that their mom shouldn't be allowed to have the same rights as other moms. They are being harmed by the people that are saying that June 26th, 2015 was the darkest day in American history because their mom now has the right to marry the person that she loves, no matter the gender.

(side-note: Really?? That's the darkest day? I think 9/11 was a tad worse.You know, because a FEW THOUSAND people died tragically, at the hands of terrorists. If not 9/11, what about Pearl Harbor, or any other event that has ended with mass casualties? As far as I know, nobody has died because of a gay wedding, but plenty of people have died because of hate that has been justified due to religious beliefs.)

Now, I'm not asking for people who disagree with the fact that I have been given the equal right to marry who I love, to stand up and cheer about something they don't believe is right ( just like I don't think I should have to stand up and cheer for Crocs). I'm not asking for anyone to change their opinion on what they consider to be marriage. I'm not asking to get married in anyone's religious temple, and I'm not asking anyone's pastor to perform a wedding ceremony as a religious figure (In fact, I strongly support you and your church's right to not do so).

What I'm asking for, is that people think of my children and their feelings, before saying that our family is "wrong" or "against God's plan", or otherwise condemning us, while using religion as justification.

Before saying that I am causing psychological harm to them just because of the gender I am attracted to.

Before making a derogatory comment in front of their 9 year old, who sits across from my son in school, after finding out that his mom has a female partner.

Before claiming that they are any less happier, or that they will have any more problems, than their peers who have straight parents, just because their mom is gay.

My sexual orientation does not make my children, or their feelings, any different than your children and their feelings. They feel the same emotions as your children do, and my heart breaks just as much when I see them hurt and upset, as your heart does when your children are hurt and upset.

My children are not any less, or any more, valid than your children.

Please remember that before you say something that might be hurtful to them, or other children in families like ours.