I am about a week late for this, I guess, but I’m not one to jump on bandwagons and talk about things because it’s the official week of talking about things, so…there you are. And really, it’s always a good time to talk about love. And it’s almost always a good time to talk about things that are pretty sure to make people squicky. That is so too a word. It’s an adverb.
I have kids. My children currently identify as male. I don’t really care if that’s how they continue to identify, because as the fancy image (from http://travels-in-time.deviantart.com/) says, love has no gender. I don’t care whether they wear skirts or trousers or kilts or sarees. I don’t care if they want to wear a beard or a brassiere. I don’t care which bathroom they use.
When I talk to my kids about their futures, about romance and dating, about marriage and child-raising, I have always, *always* been clear that I don’t care what the gender is of their preferred partners, either. “When you are older and have a girlfriend or boyfriend,” I say… or “some day, the woman or man to whom you are married may…” We have always been very clear, both His Nibs and I, that it really doesn’t matter what sort of genitals the person has with whom our children fall in love.
I took some flak for this, of course. My father one time heard me say something like “the woman or man you choose to marry”, and he later said, “Jesus, don’t say that. You wouldn’t want your kids to turn out gay.” My father is a wonderful man, and when I told him I’m bisexual, he didn’t really seem to care. My mum was a little upset, but she got over it. Both my parents have been very strong supporters of equal rights, and they both have been very strong supports for their gay and bisexual friends. I guess sometimes there’s still a knee-jerk reaction when it’s your own kids or grandkids that you don’t want them to have to face a life of discrimination, loathing, and upward battles just to be able to live the life the rest of us get to live without question.
I told my Dad that actually, I didn’t care if my kids “turned out gay”. That their sexual preference and/or gender identification had absolutely no bearing on how I felt about them. That I would continue to say what I had said because it’s true.
As I write this, it occurs to me that we far less frequently indicate that we don’t care what cultural background their potential life partners have. I mean, we do talk about it, but it just doesn’t come up all that often. Maybe because we assume that’s a given. I think we’ll have a very interesting dinner table conversation tonight.
A few years ago, I read an article about a family who refuse to disclose their children’s gender to their families and friends, and I always thought that was really interesting. Some people claimed it was child abuse, and that response really mystifies me. How is it abusive to let your children determine their own gender identity without outside pressure? That’s kind of the opposite of child abuse. I mean, when we heard about how some communist countries were determining a child’s future career by the time the child turned six, we were HORRIFIED. And this is part of what upsets us so much about
Orwell’s HUXLEY’S* Brave New World. Or at least, it should be. So how can permitting children the freedom to choose the way they wish to become part of society *abusive*?
It isn’t of course. The people who say those things are saying things from a place of fear.
I should also point out that I think it’s perfectly fine to disagree on a personal level (for whatever reason you like) with someone’s lifestyle. I, for instance, don’t agree with the way our neighbours train their dog. I don’t agree with the way some people raise their children. There are some sexual practices or relationship practices/models that I don’t like and/or which don’t interest me. So you know what I do? I don’t do those things, that’s what. Unless you can prove to me that the way someone lives their life is harmful to themselves or others, I kind of try to have an STFU attitude about a lot of things. Sure, I might be a little snarky about it in private conversations, but for the most part, do what you want.If you want me to be a part of it, I will politely decline. But I’m fairly certain my neighbour is not going to ask me to train his dog (although I wish he would); those people aren’t going to ask me to raise their children; and you probably aren’t going to invite me to join in your evening proclivities.
So that’s okay. We can still be friends, even if we don’t agree on some things. If my children end up marrying people of the same gender, they might still invite you to the wedding. And you can say no thank you! That’s okay! If they end up marrying someone Welsh, I will personally remove all the vowels from the alphabet! And again, you can b plt nd s n thks. Heh. Little fun at the expense of the Welsh, there.
Anyway. This is a thing I do. I have no problem explaining my reasoning. And when the kids have friends over who say “God says gay is bad”, I say “I don’t believe that a God like that exists.” And when they say “my mother says gays are going to hell”, I say, “what a sad thing to believe in. I believe that things will only get better in the next life.” Probably, I should be hauled away. For child abuse.
*See comments section: In Which cenobyte Thinks “1984″ and writes “Brave New World” and goes all Orwellian on her Huxley.