Monthly Archives: September 2014

Being Civil is a Two Way Street

In 2004 I publicly acknowledged that I loved another woman. I was a recently divorced mother of two and the choice to live authentically wasn’t a difficult decision to make. I wanted my children to understand that being honest wasn’t just a buzzword, but a distinct way of living requiring direct actions and words.

Of course I wasn’t so naive to believe that my involvement with LGBTQ political actions and social activism wouldn’t have backlash in my personal life. I also understood that having children presented more risks and worries, as many citizens in the great state of Utah feel fit to make commentary on our life style in restaurants, bookstores, and grocery stores. When my son and daughter were 6 and 5 we (as a family) were picking out children’s books in our local Hasting’s. A large man in his 50’s towered over my 5’1” frame and stated, “Fucking dykes.”

This is only one illustration of the numerous times my family has been confronted by ignorance and hate. Before you say, “well, its not everyone who feels this way” I must stop you. Unless you’ve been marginalized or are part of a minority group, how do you know? How can I (or you) possibly know who does and does not hate me, or my family, because I love another woman? Each time we make a decision to leave our home and enter a public space we run the risk of being diminished by words of hate or actions that instill fear.

In all of this I’m told, time and time again, to remain civil. Even large groups like HRC and Equality Utah, who claim to be champions or defenders of LGBTQ people, have told these communities to remain civil and start conversations. The problem, as I see it, is that these groups that spout out hate disguised as religion are not interested in talking or coming to understand our lives.

Proof of this lies in last weeks “Stand For the Family Conference”, held at the Utah State Capitol. Family Watch International hosted the event and Eric Ethington wrote a great expose on the complications of these groups, to include their ties to other hate groups.

Equality Utah also released a statement, after the organizers of the event utilized gay fathers and lesbian mothers pictures with their children, telling the room full of people the inherent risks these children face by being raised by gay parents. The statement by Equality Utah reads, in part,

“We are deeply concerned after learning that photos of our community members with their bright and beautiful children were used as anti-marriage equality propaganda at a rally at the Utah State Capitol yesterday.

It is a disgrace to use our families for a misguided and debunked view of what is best for children. It is one thing to disagree with the freedom to marry, it’s quite another to go after loving parents and their children at a political rally. That is not an example of the family values in which Utahns take deep pride.”

The problem with this statement is …. THIS IS NOTHING NEW! Why now? Why are we now angry that our children are being used as propaganda? Did Prop 8 not prove that religious organizations and hate groups would be willing to use our children as scapegoats? Our children have been the center of an argument that extends past my “coming out.”

Did Equality Utah, or any other LGBTQ organization, not see the writing on the wall when we have been pushed out of political debate? Hell these organizations were placated by discussions with church leaders and asked that all supporters be patient as a dialogue was being created with the hopes that the next legislative session would see non-discrimination laws passed state wide. How did that work out for you? Because for me, it didn’t do jack shit!  It did not help ease the burden of my increasing medical costs, though my partner had benefits she could not extend to me. This cow towing did nothing for my sense of security for the future.

Be civil? Why? Who does that benefit? The oppressor or the oppressed? Being civil is a two-way street, however LGBTQ people have been asked to remain on a one-way street of civility and patience. We have been asked repeatedly, by allies and foes, to be patient and to be kind. Fuck you. Fuck you for asking my kids to remain silent in the face of hate. Fuck you for your brand of love and fuck you for not standing up for ALL OF US throughout the last decade I’ve been involved. The general public and my “own” people have shunned me. It is about damn time you take a stand that matters, not one that will garner more donations and political clout.


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