To The FemmeMobile! Away!











{December 17, 2012}   I’m just going to pretend like I’ve been blogging all along, mkay?

So, my cousin posted this thing on Facebook.

Wait, back up. You should know that both sides of my family are socially and religiously conservative. That one set of cousins (as in, the children of one particular aunt) has broken with the family conservative-Catholic beliefs to say, “Actually, maybe teh gays aren’t all that bad. In fact, they might not even be ‘teh gays’ but be actual people. WE SHALL TREAT THEM THUSLY.” A few of the others simply are loving and I don’t actually know where they stand on religious-political issues, but they do talk to me about my life and ask me with big beaming smiles about Quin, so I have no problem with them. (This is a little contrary to what I’m about to say. I’m still puzzling it out.)

But. There are another set of cousins that are really anti-gay marriage. They post anti-gay marriage things on Facebook periodically. Mostly they’re consumed with pro-life stuff, so the gay marriage stuff doesn’t come up so often, but now and then…

One of these cousins posted some speech the Pope gave with the comment, “Thank you Pope Benedict!” The speech was, in part, a reaction to the school shooting. The title (which pretty much captured the story) was “Pope Says: True Peace in the World Requires the End of Abortion and Gay “Marriage”.”

Because clearly abortions and gay marriage were on that guy’s mind when he shot all those kids.  */snark*

Anyway, it wasn’t the Pope’s statement that bothered me — I know the Catholic stance on both those things — it was my cousin’s sharing it with the comment, “Thank you Pope Benedict!” It was her making that statement despite knowing I’m gay and in a long-term relationship.

I wasn’t sure what to say. Whether to let it slide as her opinion she’s entitled to, or whether to step forward. That’s a hard line for me to see, the difference between opinion and bullying, and worse, she’s family. I don’t want to create family fights.

I very nearly said nothing. My mom raised us while keeping the peace in the family. She said (and this was true) it was so that we could make our own decisions about whether or not we wanted those family members in our lives, without her burning our bridges. But what I learned, and am slowly unlearning, is that you should keep the peace in the family AT ALL COSTS.

I’m also a big believer in complicity by silence. Er, not that you should do it, but that it happens all over. I’ve been working really hard not to be complicit by silence. To speak up if I hear someone being hassled or bullied, and to call people on it when I hear hateful or predjudiced language being spewed. But here’s the thing: at what point am I being complicit by silence vs just acknowledging that people have their own beliefs?

And here’s the other thing: is it even good for me? I think it’s good for society for people to speak up. But I did speak up yesterday, and I didn’t sleep last night. I was in a state of high anxiety most of today, thinking about her possible responses and my possible responses and whether or not I was going to catch flack at Christmas, where I’ll see her, and so on. (As it turned out, she didn’t respond at all.)

BTW, my response was: “You know… I just don’t think the downfall of civilization is caused by my loving and possibly marrying my girlfriend. That action would, however, stabilize and give more support to her two kids’ lives, which seems to be what Benedict wants, anyway.”

So… I guess I’m actually here asking for opinions. When do you speak up? When would you like to see people speak up, in an ideal situation? When “should” comments slide? I’m still not sure if I did the right thing or not. I can’t say I did the wrong thing, but I can’t say I did the right one, either. It doesn’t help that this is family, so there’s learned and familial issues there, anyway. But at least if I had a better understanding, I might feel more confident about saying something vs keeping quiet.

At least I have realized one thing for sure: I no longer have qualms about inviting some of my cousins and not other cousins/aunts and uncles who aren’t supportive of gay marriage, should I ever get married. And I’m finally realizing that if that creates family rifts… I’m okay with that. I’m not even doing it because I feel angry at them, which I expected. It’s more like, “Well, why would I invite them? They would be there out of obligation, not because they were happy for me. I want to share it with the people who would be happy for me. And if they’re angry because I didn’t count them admist those numbers, I’m sorry for that, but I don’t think I’m wrong. And if they are happy for me, and are sad they didn’t get to share, then I’ll apologize and we’ll bond. Or we won’t.”

It’s kind of freeing.

J

Advertisements


That’s a tough situation. I think that you did the right thing. You spoke up for yourself, but you didn’t do it in an antagonistic manner. You were clear, direct, but said it in a respectful way. That’s the best way to handle emotionally charged situation. Also, you’re totally right to only invite people who support and love you to your wedding. A marriage needs to get off to the right start, surrounded by love and happiness.



This is something my partner and I were discussing the other day in regard to the Phelps. I think there should be some kind of ban, some places that are sacred and shouldn’t be used for politics or religion (like the funerals of soldiers and children). But she said the problem with that is that they are allowed to say what they want to say. We, as gays, are allowed to parade down the city streets every year, and there are certainly groups who would keep us from doing so. She thinks it’s a slippery slope situation. Maybe she’s right. And when it comes to family, it’s even more of a quagmire, since you have to deal with them to some degree. I think you do what keeps the peace for the brief time you need to deal with them, and then unsubscribe from their posts on FB: sometimes silence is a far better weapon than reaction.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

et cetera
%d bloggers like this: