Love

25 07 2013

Today is our 26th Wedding Anniversary. It is a happy day, mostly, but there is a part of me that just can’t totally celebrate. I am sad that 26 years ago, same-sex unions were not legal anywhere on earth. Denmark was the first country to legally recognize same-sex unions in 1989. That was two years after our wedding.

I know that my relationship is not any different from any of my friends who are in same-sex relationships. They love just as deeply as my husband and I do, yet, they are made, by society, to feel as if their love is somehow lacking. Their love is a “cheaper” version of love than a heterosexual couple experiences. Their love doesn’t deserve to be recognized or celebrated – and that is just absurd

So, it is a bit hard to be 100% happy and excited on this anniversary knowing that every single day people are being denied equal rights in this country simply based on the gender of the person they love. I know things are moving forward. That is encouraging, but for those waiting today, the pace seems much too slow.

Today, I also look back on who I was 26 years ago. I was so ignorant, but had no idea. I never questioned the things my church was teaching me about homosexuality, or anything else. I remember some controversy because a woman had been teaching a class on Wednesday nights and they made her stop because people were upset about it. I can remember as a teenager that did not sit well within my soul. But I was shown scripture about a woman not teaching a man and so that was that. I have no idea why I didn’t question it. I think probably I had the wrong impression of God. I thought God was a MAN who would not want to be questioned. The God I knew then was a different God than I know now, only He hasn’t really changed, I have. I now know that God is the God who wants us to be genuine. He wants us to yell and scream and question, as humans that is the only way to figure out how deep our faith is and why it is even there. We must wrestle with God just as Jacob did.

Dear sweet Jacob. My Jacob, not the bible Jacob. My sweet queer son Jacob. Twenty – six years ago I didn’t even know I would have a son, much less a bisexual one. What a journey. What a gift. I have no idea who my son will fall in love with. He may fall in love with a woman, and then the world would all be OK with it. He may fall in love with a man and then some in this world will never see him as equal. The problem is, whether he falls in love with a man or a woman, he is still queer. He isn’t changing, the perception of him is. I could care less who he falls in love with. I just want him to be free to love and for his love to be seen the same either way. Love should not be cheapened or discounted just because someone does not understand it. With all the hurt and pain in this world, love should be something that is celebrated 100%, in all relationships.

I hope as each year goes by, we see more and more equality and freedom to love. Love is a gift to be celebrated.

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Energy

22 07 2013

As a person, I only have so much energy to spread around. My energy supply is not endless. I can not just give endlessly, although it would be nice.

I am always willing to give anyone a chance, and then even a second chance. Once it become obvious that they are not seeking to actually hear a different view and just want to argue, I am learning to walk away. I have always been a person of perpetual hope, I always believe people and things can and will change. It is a hard lesson for me to understand that people must want change. I could talk until I am blue in the face, but they will not hear anything I say unless they want to. And let’s face it, some people just don’t want to hear anything that differs from their point of view.

The other day I was upset about some Christians who were spreading their ignorance about marriage equality. My son very wisely looked me in the eye and said, “Mom. There is still a group of Christians who are racist. They use scripture to back up their beliefs and say they love God. They are the KKK. You are NOT going to convince the entire world that being queer is OK.”

I have a wise kid. So, from now on, I will recognize my limited energy and try to use it in places where it will make a difference. And as hard as it is to do, I will walk away from the ignorance and hope that someone else will come along that they will choose to listen to. Letting go can be very freeing indeed.





Breaking Stereotypes One Boob at a Time

4 07 2013

I understand bisexual stereotypes, I used to have plenty of them myself. I could not for the life of me understand how anyone could be attracted to both sexes. I suppose that is because I am a straight up, heterosexual woman, no pun intended. I now understand bisexuality as a much more beautiful thing. My son doesn’t really see gender, he sees deep into someone’s soul. He is attracted to people depending on their inner beauty, not their outward appearance.

This brings me to today’s topic. It is interesting that most people’s perception of bisexuality is that they would just hook up with anyone. I am sure there are bisexual people who do, just like there are heterosexuals and gay people who do. What cracks me up about my kid is that if someone is dressed very provocatively he won’t even give them a second glance. Last night we were at a rodeo, there were plenty of short shorts and cleavage. One cute girl passed  by who did have quite a bit hanging out up top, if you follow. I said, “She is cute, Jake.” His response: “She probably has an STD.” Of course, I laughed pretty hard at that, but then this truth struck me. The truth that he breaks most of the stereotypes that I have ever thought or heard about bisexual people.

Don’t get me wrong, he is a 20-year-old man and can appreciate a beautiful body just like the rest of us. I think as humans we don’t need to be ashamed of our bodies and we certainly are weird as far as the amount of sex that is used in advertising in this country yet no one is actually talking about sex. It isn’t healthy in my opinion, but that is a topic for another day. I am talking about breaking stereotypes here. I can assure you that I now know several bisexual people and all the ones I know are just as picky about who they date as my kid is.

Could it be that bisexual people actually have it right? They are looking at the soul of people and looking for beauty there. Nothing superficial or shallow appeals to them, they are seeking true inner beauty. And here I had lumped them all into the slutty, whore category for years. Shame on me.





Smack back to Reality

30 06 2013

Our little Montana town just had an entire weekend of celebrating diversity and raising awareness for equality. It was a great weekend. It was the kind of environment where a person could feel pretty safe to be themselves. Of course what do I know, I am straight. One of the reasons I love these events is seeing same-sex couples openly holding hands, putting their arm around each other, or kissing. All of the things that heterosexuals just take for granted and do in public all the time.

i_love_my_gay_son_button-p145368007344911094en8go_400When we left the rally, we stopped at Costco for a few items. I was still wearing this button. I often wear this button, but seldom have I worn it when my son is present. Yesterday it was just the two of us. This is how the shopping experience went. By the time we had walked fifteen feet into the store, two different people had read my button and then looked at my son with disgust. Granted, it was a Saturday at Costco so there were a lot of people in the store, but still, it seemed excessive. When these things happen my Mama’s heart wants to protect my baby(even if he is 6 foot tall). I looked at Jake, he looked at me, and I asked, “Should I take off my button?” To which he replied, “Hell. no. who cares what anyone thinks.” Well, I really do love my son, so I kept it on.

The looks continued throughout our fifteen minutes in the store. They varied from curious stares to revolted glares. I had two smiles, so that was nice. At Costco they always have a person who checks the receipt as you are walking out the door. I am not sure I really have the words to describe the young lady who was working in this position. After reading the button as I approached and held out my receipt, she looked like she had just eaten an entire lemon, rind and all. She actually hesitated to take the receipt from my hand, as if she might catch something. She would not make eye contact and actually looked off to her right away from us. I have lost friends over my stance for LGBT rights, I have been told I am going to hell and all sorts of things, but this was the first time anyone acted like I was going to give them a disease.

It was a good experience. As a straight person, I have never had anyone act like that towards me, yet this is something LGBT people encounter many times over in their lives. After the amazing Interchange weekend, it was a great reminder that there is still work to be done. There is a reason I speak up and stand up for LGBT equality. Because there are still a lot of people out there who are ignorant and confused. I don’t mind being one of the people who will continue to remind them that our LGBT friends and family members are not going away. I don’t mind a few dirty looks, or even a few harsh words. All people deserve to be treated with dignity and respect, and I will continue to say it!! Even if I say it with a button.





Crisis

19 06 2013

I have been contacted by three different people this past week whose families are in a crisis. What kind of crisis? “Coming out” or the consequences of “coming out” crises. I am thankful for my own journey so that I have something to tell them and to share hope, yet, I can not help but wish things were so different that a kid “coming out” as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender would not create a crisis at all. How did we get to this point as a society?

There were same-sex relationships WAY back in history, in many cultures. How did this happen that we have come to 2013 and people are pitted against each other like vipers depending on which side of the issue you stand on? How did it happen that people with good hearts and loving souls will cut off relationships with friends, family, or even their own child or parent because of their sexuality. When did it become so very wrong to be different? Or is it just that someone is different in a way someone else finds disgusting that bothers people? Then we can ask: “Why do people find homosexuality to be so disgusting anyway?”

I know the answer to that for me. I was told over and over again that it is disgusting. Leaders in my church talked about how gay men had sex with a disgusted look on their face as if they might throw up. I am sitting here in my living room with my 11-year-old singing and dancing on the other side of the room and I am wondering what was wrong with those people anyway? When I was her age, why did an adult at a church even talk to a group of kids about homosexual sex acts? It really does make me wonder who the real pervert was.

Speaking of my 11-year-old, she is appalled that anyone would consider judging someone for who they love. She gets downright irate about it in fact. She knows nothing of judging people for who they are or who they fall in love with. She is around same-sex couples and heterosexual couples frequently and to her they are just “Bob and Jim” or “Bob and Jane”. They are just people. So, I know for a fact that kids are not inherently disgusted by same-sex relationships. I don’t even think she has considered what they are doing in their bedrooms, at least she has never asked about it yet. I don’t really think anyone is concentrating on what their heterosexual friends do in their bedrooms, but somehow if a couple happens to be gay, we have the free reign to think about what happens in their bedroom and feel disgusted? I don’t think so. I have heard it said and I happen to agree, the person thinking about what people are doing behind closed doors really is the one with a problem.

I don’t have the answers to how we got to where we are now. I could speculate and blame a certain religious group, but it wouldn’t change anything anyway, so it doesn’t really matter how we got here. What matters is what are we going to do? Will we begin to fight for the kid who is being bullied and called “Faggot” right now in the hallway at school? Will we begin to fight before it is too late and he kills himself seeing no other answer? Will we speak up and make sure that our LGBT friends and family know that we support them?  You know the answer for myself – yes, I will. Will you? Someone’s life just may depend on it.





Work Meeting Gossip

4 06 2013

I recently found out that a group of former co-workers discussed our family at a business meeting. Inappropriate? yes! More specifically, they discussed the fact that my son is bisexual. One lady even went on to talk about how disgusting it is that he is in ministry with the church. Funny thing – I found this out two weeks after this same lady had asked my husband a very large favor – one of which my husband was willing to do for her, but she had already found someone to do it when he returned her phone call.

You see, we were not just in business with this group of people, they also professed to be our friends. This is where the pain comes in, yet, is it good to know the truth, even if it is painful. An actual friend shared this story with my mom. A friend who has a gay relative and happened to be at the business meeting that night. Want to hear something ironic? One of the people at that meeting that night also has a queer child, but they don’t know it. The kid has shared this secret with me, but not with their family yet. It feels like karma in a way, and that almost makes me want to laugh, yet, it is just too sad to laugh. I know that there will be much pain in that family ahead before healing can take place.

When someone out right judges my kid I tend to go to a place of wanting to compare morality. My son is yet to be in a serious relationship. Yet, two of these women are divorced. Jesus had a whole heck of a lot to say about divorce and not one word about homosexuality. So, that is where my anger takes me – to a place of wanting to shove their own immorality in their face. After a few days or weeks, and some serious prayer, reflection, and just some plain ole deep breaths, I realize that is not the right way to go about this. First of all, they would still walk away believing my son is an immoral, unethical, pervert. They would just be very angry on top of all those beliefs. Secondly, it is not my place to judge them anymore than it is their place to judge my son. I don’t want to be known for judgement. I want to be known for love.

After several weeks, I have come to a place of forgiveness. Although I still feel sad by the betrayal and will not be allowing these people into my life again, I do feel that I have forgiven them. I realize that they really do think they are following God. That also makes me very sad. One day, they will realize that the few Bible verses that they are clinging to about homosexuality are being interpreted wrong and were written about pagan worship rituals and are not talking about committed same-sex couples. When that day comes, we can be acquaintances, but we can never be friends again.

Friends come to you directly when they have a question or a concern, they don’t discuss you in a group of people at a party, a business meeting or any other setting. Friends love you and stand by you, even if they don’t understand what you are going through. I luckily have a lot of real friends, and through this journey they become more precious to me every day.





Short Story

30 05 2013

I was asked to give a short statement about why I believe in equality to Fair is Fair Montana. Here is what I wrote:

Grabbe 3 sepia

“For most of my life, I believed that homosexuality was both a choice and a sin. I was raised in a very conservative church and state in the south. About ten years ago, I began to have a switch in my thinking. I realized that what I had always been taught about homosexuality did not mesh with what I was learning to be true in my relationships with gay friends. My faith is very important to me, so I was still confused about how to rectify the scriptures regarding homosexuality. At that point I began my own research of what the bible really says about homosexuality. I was very surprised to find out what I had been taught and had believed most of my life was not even close to the truth. My faith has grown so much through this journey.
As life usually happens, the rug was swept out from under neath me during this process as my own son told us that he is bisexual. I regret that he didn’t feel comfortable coming out earlier due to my own homophobia. He had to carry that burden alone for many years. I am very grateful to be his Mom and to fight along side him for equality. I have three American children who are all proud Montanans. I believe that all three of my children should have the same rights. That is why I speak up for equality in the great state of Montana which I dearly love.”