Through the rants comes even more chaos.
Freedom of speech. It’s a very good thing. Until that freedom is split and becomes: freedom of speech provided you hold only one specific point of view.
There is so much talk of disenfranchisement, I wonder if people even know what it really means. Are not most of us disenfranchised one way or another? And ultimately, as the tide sways, don’t most of us encounter it at some point.
The original order of things is becoming less and less accepted. The traditional is thrown out. The long honored now reviled. That which was originally accepted as the norm is becoming threatened and eventually, those with traditional views are now the disenfranchised. It’s true.
I have generally been one that likes to give the benefit of the doubt. The person that tries to consider all angles. The one who likes to provide mercy and grace to the whole picture.
Lately, I have felt silenced on social media.
I find that many of those in my web of acquaintances and friends on the information super highway, hold startlingly opposing view points from my own. And these folks are vocal, my how they are vocal.
I tend to hang back. I try not to comment or don’t enter my perspective into the on-line conversation to be read in front of hundreds if not thousands of souls (aside from this forum) because truthfully, I feel that my opinion places me precariously into that category of people that just might lose friendships because of all the divisions lately.
Still, I honestly believe that there are certain basic life principles we are born to and should attempt to uphold. While change can be a good thing, and while I recognize that fighting for what’s is right is important, I also feel that certain concepts and ideas should be upheld and cherished while not every subversive angle should be endorsed just for the sake of being open minded and supportive of every and all ideas.
See, right away I sound closed minded.
But I do have concerns about, for example, two little black girls being raised by gay parents. Even though one of the parents was a close high school friend with whom I shared a stage in Hello Dolly (I was Dolly, he was Horace Vandergelder- and a mighty good Horace was he). I see these little girls whom I have watched grow up on social media, from the time they were brought home as tiny little baby girls. Now, they are about eight and eleven years of age. Two sisters with adorable eyes, beautiful smiles and these two men who are head over heels with them and I am sure taking such good care of their basic needs. But what of their need for role models that show a traditional view, a mother with her feminine instincts and their need for her guidance. Is their love and support and complete and utter attention, enough? Probably- yea, it probably is enough… as I write that I think back to my own father and his lack of attention. I get the argument that gay parents can make better parents than heterosexual male/female parents. On the surface, I totally see that the nurturing and the genuine desire to make their lives better and important and vital, is likely right there- stronger than most.
But there is this other element that concerns me; the element of being valued for being female.
Granted, I have just my narrow circle of immediate experience to lean on for this insight. Yet, as I think of my own young adult years with my pack of gay men friends that I hung with most days (they felt the safest in my world). They were part of my posse throughout my college years. I loved those guys – they were my brothers. But I also remember the not infrequent side talk that made me feel that as a woman, I was very unattractive and that my gender grossed them out. Again, these were college aged gay men. But some of their comments over those years did impact me- they made me feel less valued. It was other men that had them gushing and I felt redundant and unnecessary in their world.
So my general experience with men included: 1) abuse from men who were attracted to me and 2) disgust by men who were friends but swung the other way and 3) boredom from men who supposedly loved me and were meant to nurture me (Dad).
So back to the question: when young girls are raised by gay men, do they get a dose of how precious they are to men or rather, and more important to the world? Then my question- is any girl given that sense of value? Is this a ridiculous train of thought? Pointless? Still, do they get a sense of their value and input on heterosexual relationships – do they get any value on their own lifestyle in contrast to the one of their parents?
Then I have this other association with alternative lifestyles which offers up a family dynamic comprised of a teenager daughter with emotional and mental challenges, for which she is going through her own inner turmoil. This processing is challenging enough for her, but add to this challenging life drama that her father makes a life decision to honor himself first and he proceeds change his genitals to match his inner lust and bent towards the workings and machinations of a woman body. He goes from Kevin to Kathleen. And that this same father will marry another man who has become a woman as well and that these two adults will now raise this teenage daughter together while she is figuring out her own hormonal temperament and needs and future goals. Well, that alone is enough to throw me on the couch! The notion that his needs go before his daughter’s needs feels completely wrong to me. And, the idea that the daughter must understand the father first- that’s not my idea of a good parenting skill. See, he has this teenage daughter, and just because society is pushing towards a wholehearted acceptance of all people regardless of what is filling one’s head and emotions, (well now- even that sounded bad as I typed it out), it still feels wrong to me. It feels wrong to me because this is all in the name of accepting ever diverse expression, and as we do so, we side swipe our children and push them to take it all on. To accept all of this as normal.
I come to this from a different angle myself. One of those men I describe above is my ex-husband. My ex is now a woman, married to a woman who used to be a man and both raising the new love’s daughter who has special needs to top it all off. And now she must move in the circles of the extended community of primarily all transgender people – she has few heterosexual adult acquaintances other than those she encounters in school. Is this what we are going for in our society of acceptance? This is OK?
When I have shared my story with others, how my marriage fell apart, I am amazed at how few see the deep scar in my soul from the experience and instead go straight to praising and honoring my ex-husband who rejected his male self and pushed to reinvent himself as a woman. The elbow in my side as I am pushed aside makes me marvel at where we have come on this planet. And I still don’t feel what these folks are feeling. I feel marginalized for being me.
Sure I understand that these souls have struggled with their own demons, perhaps most of their lives. That they have felt less than. But what I don’t understand is the pushed aside feeling I have of being from the old world, dare I say, a traditional soul- a female, a heterosexual, conservative, spiritually connected to my maker, deeply feeling love for my fellow man kind of a person. But because I am not onboard with killing fetuses, embracing every kind of erotic love story, supporting immediate gender re-assignment even at a very young age- I feel silenced. I can’t express what I feel as I will be labeled closed minded, racist, misogynistic, hateful.
In my youth, I witnessed the feeling others had of being less than others because of their gender and sexual orientation. Of not being recognized by the world as a whole. Of not being able to present oneself in an every day setting with one’s true love- back then, at least where I lived, there was not a lot of single gender couple hand holding going on- at least not out in the open.
Still, now that the door has been opened, I am not sure it’s really a good thing. At least not completely.
Back in the day, in my early twenties, I marched at my share of gay pride festivals- holding that sign that said: “I Love My Gay Friends” and I was proud of being there, proud of them. But later on, as I saw yearly gay pride festivals go on- as I walked into gay bars with my supposedly not gay husband who wanted to see the drag shows, it became a norm I was uncomfortable with. I was feeling less and less relevant in the world. Being a woman was no longer a celebrated thing. And I wondered, was I ever really celebrated in the first place? My father certainly never showed me any attention, never made me feel precious, worthy of spending time with. Looking back now, I realize that was just his personality. But it had an effect on me.
The abuse too- that’s a story of its own.. not with my father. But, regardless- the abuse, it also impacted me. I began to want to be invisible – to not be seen. To be hidden. To be safe.
That’s when the weight began to pile on. And, the weight served as a veil. No one was all that interested. And later on, as I wanted to pull off the veil, I got scared. And to this day, I waver on whether the veil is serving me or not. I am on a new program of health. The goal is health and weight loss is the bonus. But, am I ready for the weight loss? Do I really want it? Will I be able to handle it? I think this is a question many women who carry around an extra 50+ pounds have dangling around their shoulders; only, they may not even know it. I know it. I know it because I remember what it felt like about 20 years ago when I lost all the weight. I remember the rubber necked men at bars as I walked in. Evidently, once the weight is off I am not that hard to look at. Men noticed me. And then, the weight came back on. Hmmm.
But I digress.
A few nights ago, I was watching TV, surfing through the channels. I came across a show that offered up a 5 year old little boy sitting in a pedicure chair in a salon next to a woman who may have been an aunt or a nanny- not sure. There he was, in a cute little rob wearing his hair back in a headband and talking in a voice that emphasized him trying to be a little girl. He was going on about something girlish he wanted to do that day. I missed some of the dialogue because all the while I was thinking to myself: what about guiding this little boy towards his male self (not pushing, guiding), help him to connect with his male side? Did the parent (I realize this is a TV show) provide the son with any kind of encouragement to develop his masculine side or was it that the minute the son showed any sign of liking dolls, did the parent subsequently push him towards having more girl toys and working towards make-up and Barbie high heels and a dress to complete the equation? I do realize parenting children with different propensities can be challenging and that parents want to do everything for their child and want to show the child acceptance… in most cases. But still, are there strategies for parents to assess the child’s curiosities without pushing them over the cliff in that direction for all time?
It’s a tough question. Gender identity. It’s only one aspect of my own struggle for understanding of the world and how it is today. This topic shows up in our personal lives, it shows up at work, it shows up on TV and it shows up in politics and government. Our world is changing. And yes, we have to move with the times. I also feel that all sides of the conversation should be honored- not just those experiencing the change on a more personal level.
So much more to say on this, and perhaps I have said too much.
I am, like most souls, trying to figure out life. Ever evaluating my own moral compass and values vis-a-vis the world… and wondering whether the magnet is a lie.