I don't know why love and family has to be so threatening to others. Your questions about what will we lose next and when it will end is sobering and chilling. If only people could learn to live and let live. You'd think they would be happier not having to worry so much about everyone else and just live their own lives. That need in some to impose, control, determine, judge, rule, dictate is disturbing, disruptive and damaging to so many.What is so upsetting about this need to “impose, control, determine, judge, rule, dictate” is that it’s done in the name of good and hurts so many people.
I’m re-posting this essay to give it a little more visibility, and in the hope that more folks will read it and understand what it's like to be lesbian or gay and to live in a red state.
Take care all.
Silver, signing off for the weekend
You wake up in the morning, rushed as always and get your 10-year-old son out of the door to school. He’s fed, on time and even has his math homework stuffed in his backpack, all of which is a miracle of sorts. After he’s gone, you pull on your winter coat and gloves and hope the car will start in this blasted cold. When you finally get to work, the phone calls and the meetings are a relief. You’ve been a single parent since breast cancer killed your life partner three years ago, and the challenges you face at the office are nothing compared to the challenges you see at home.
Or perhaps…You’re late. You’d promised you would be at the hospital a half an hour ago, and even though 30 minutes doesn’t sound like much, you regret every instant you aren’t with her. But the bills are piling up now that you’re down to one income, and you had to work late. Your son needed attention before you took him to a play date. When you dropped him off, you had thank the mother and father of your son’s friend. You had to update them on your love’s condition, pretending all the time that you don’t feel the razors cutting into you heart as you speak.
Or perhaps…You’re alone. Your son is in college now. You just gave him a toolbox for his birthday so he could fix up his rented house. He comes by once a week for dinner. (Got to make certain he has those necessary fruits and vegetables). You hear about books and classes, papers and finals, new ideas, frustrations and hopes. He’s funny and caring. He even saves his money. You wonder in amazement if you did something right as a parent, after all.
And you wake one morning and pick up the newspaper…
Or you turn on the radio…
Someone who’s never met you says he knows you. He says the fact that you exist, that your son exists, your late life partner existed is so vile, so threatening that he’s coming after you.
He has to make certain that the son you love, the partner for whom you sacrificed could never, ever be called a family.
He has to guarantee that the legal and financial benefits given to other families are kept from yours.
He gets what he wants. His ideas are written into the Kansas Constitution. Your family is so horrifying, it seems, that protection from it must be burned into our most basic law.
And you tell yourself to take a deep breath. You tell yourself it’s OK; you’ll survive. Your people have always gotten by, living in the cracks of society, if necessary.
And then you pick up the newspaper…
Or you turn on the radio…
And this man who was not with you when you when you sat up all night holding your infant son when he was sick … and you held your life partner’s hand as she was dying …this man says he’s coming after you again.
It’s the children he wants now, or maybe your job, or your friend’s job.
The problem, you see, is that you aren’t doing exactly what he wants you to do, you're not working in the job he wants you to have. You wonder what it will take to make this man feel whole, to make him feel safe.
Will he have to harass your son for no other reason than the fact that he was born into your family?
Will this man have to orphan children?
Take away jobs?
Will it satisfy him if you, your mortgage, your overworked exhaustion, your skills, your talents, your love and your friends are finally run out of this state?
And you wonder what you will lose next.
And you wonder when it will end.
This is a rather rough follow-up to Being A Target.