By: Lisa Regula Meyer
This past week was Miss E’s second birthday, and her first birthday since the Supreme Court’s decision on the unconstitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act. That means that her daddy and papa have double the reason to celebrate- entering the wonderful world of the terrible twos, and being recognized as a married couple not just by their state and community, but by the federal government, also. That’s twice now that they’ve gone to visit Papa H’s family in Holland and come home married.
As per my usual (if twice can be counted as “usual”), I celebrated with a simple photo and status update on Facebook honoring the day she came into all of our lives. Funny how the digital age changes ritual and ceremony, isn’t it?
As many things do in today’s world, much has changed about my FB friend set in the intervening two years, namely, I’ve added a lot of extended family members to my circle of trusted people. For the most part, that’s a great thing and I am *so* happy to have a way to reconnect with my kin. We didn’t have much of a connection with one side of my family as I was growing up; both families were more than a jaunt away, and with his own business dad was always busy at home. “Reconnecting” is overly generous; it’s more like finally making an initial connection with many of them.
In any case, you can imagine my surprise at the number of entirely clueless folks who had no idea why Miss E’s birthday was an important day in my life, or what I was celebrating. All right, with some people I was less than surprised. Part of it was my own fault; I don’t broadcast the fact that I have one child but three live births to my name to all the world on a regular occasion. That’s not my style, to make a big deal out of everything that I do.
The real surprise was the vitriol. And the condemnation. This came from a very select few, mind you, but it was still my family in one way or another. It’s one thing to hear about bigotry against LGBTQ individuals, it’s quite another to have family telling you that you’ve created a monster. Or that I aided and abetted a pedophile. Or that god will curse my soul (granted, this comment had far less impact on me given I’m an atheist). Or that I was an abomination against nature.
Intellectually, I can laugh at all of these charges because I know they’re quite near crazy. But emotionally, they still cut. If only our head and heart would work together more often, eh?
I realize for darn sure that the guff I received was a far spot away from what is experienced by most members of the LGBTQ community. For that I’m both thankful and horrified. If I can suffer such comments for my part in creating a family, what does the actual family go through? Do we really value bigotry and hate so much above family and kindness? It was a rude awakening for me, and one I hope not to experience twice. Is it any wonder that vulnerable teens can not stand the pain and rejection from family any longer? What does it take to put love and simple decency above these judgments? Is it really so important as this to make your opinions known?
Whatever the answers to these questions, I’m content in at least knowing where I stand with people. I prefer not to deal with negativity that I don’t have to, and take what chances I get to reduce my own stress level. The day after Miss E’s birthday was a big stress reduction day for me, as I chose not to have certain people in my life anymore. And I’m OK with that.
So think twice the next time you’re going to tell someone about whom you care exactly what’s on your mind. I know most of the readers here won’t need that reminder in this situation, but it’s a good general idea- think twice before speaking. Is what you’re about to say worth hurting someone you love? If it is, then by all means say it. If not, at least consider keeping your tongue tied, and maybe reconsider why you were about to make that comment in the first place.
Let’s put love above hate, shall we?