Here’s a Problem Divorced Straight People Don’t Have

Monday, Seth came in to the dining room where we were all sitting around after school, and announced that bats are the mammals who have the highest incidence of homosexual behavior (it turned out he’d been reading The Book Of Useless Information in the bathroom). I told him about penguins and that book about the two boy penguins who raise an egg. “Banned, I suppose?” he said in a worldly-wise tone.”  Then we talked about other birds and mammals who also exhibit homosexual behavior. “So, it’s natural – it’s in nature?” he said, completely stunned. I suppose he thought that Tex and I and Tracy (my ex*) and her partner had made up homosexuality explicitly to torture him.

That day, we had a family meeting about going to a production of a local youth theater troupe, True Colors, who put on plays about it’s ok to be Takei and every other form of how you express your love. This in celebration of a grant I wrote for the middle school GSA having been “unanimously and enthusiastically” granted in full by the town Education Foundation. Owen had been at the GSA that very day, and had had a blast. When I told them about the grant, Seth said, “Mom, you’re changing the world!” Later, Seth and Tex got to talking and Seth finalized the difficult decision to go with us last night to the play, sacrificing a baseball game. Which is NO SMALL SACRIFICE. We went out to eat first, and at the restaurant he asked me if I thought the play was going to be “super gay”. I told him that was the point.

So here’s the problem divorced straight people don’t have: the different ways of being gay. Tex and I are out all of the time, and we are proudly out, because not to be is too incredibly painful. We aren’t ashamed of being queer, we talk about being queer, we have queer things in the house, we are just darn queer queer queer all of the time. Tracy, on the other hand, while she is out, has great quantities of guilt and shame about being a lesbian, and she is completely unable to hide this fact from her children. And Seth picks right up on it. So when he’s here, he’s forced to go along for the ride – these are who his parent and step-parent are, they are queer, they are proud, and much of their lives revolve around queerness. Just like any other child, he has to live in the world of his parents; that is the way of things. But at Tracy’s, she’s always cutting him slack, “Oh, he just gets tired of all the gay gay gay, and he just wants to live a normal life.” Woah, mixed messages, right? Poor guy. Seriously, Owen just skips along, living on the love and not sweating the small stuff. Seth? Oof.

This morning Tex and I were talking about it, and she said we’ve just got to keep verbalizing it for Seth—for both boys. There are different ways of being gay. There are different kinds of gay people, just like there are different kinds of straight people. This of course, is good advice. But I’ve been wondering if I’m listening to Seth enough. The other thing Tex said this morning, resignedly, was, “Well, I guess Seth is really straight. I support and love him, and I guess I’ve known it all along, but it’s really coming into focus now.” She worries he’ll turn into a born again Christian or something to punish us for not being straight – he did ask us last night, before the play, why we’re gay. I guess I wouldn’t be surprised if he did something like that – for a while. He’s too nuanced and has too good a sense of humor to do it forever, though. That is my mother’s prayer. And he’s too caring of a person. His whole life he’s seen every member of his family work for the common good in their own quirky ways: his grandparents are teachers, I’m a teacher and agitator, Tex is an agitator, Tracy is a social worker, her partner is a doctor, and etc. We may be gay, but we want the world to be a better place for everybody. And I have to hope that even with Tracy’s anxiety and fear, that is the strongest message he’ll take away from his decidedly abnormal and completely normal upbringing.

*her pseudonym changes from post to post

Published in: on May 25, 2011 at 11:21 AM  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Hello there,
    New to this blog but I followed a blog of yours quite some time ago when your kids were babies, then somehow I lost track of you! I have thought of you off and on but wasn’t near a computer at that moment and then, I’m sorry to say, I simply forgot for quite a while.
    I can’t unfortunately recall the way we “met” online… Maybe via iVillage? Maybe when I was with Sandy in a long distance relationship? (She in Ontario, Canada, me in Maine). I broke up with her in 2009. We were together 7.5 years. She had a major problem with lying however and honesty is a must have for me!
    Anyway, I just wanted to say hello, wish your family well but also point out that as one myself, your statements regarding born again Christians aren’t accurate in my eyes. No more so then I would be accurate if I lumped ALL parents of triplets, queers or tourists into one mold.
    I consider myself for instance, very nuanced, tolerant and caring. I go out of my way to help others even IF I don’t share their beliefs or wouldn’t have made similar choices. I TRY to love unconditionally but being human , I fail at times unfortunately lol. I don’t attend church because I don’t drive, and can’t get to one. I used to go 2 to 3 times weekly while growing up and into young adulthood. I am not a judgemental person –and try to avoid doing that at all costs because it’s simply not up to me to judge someone else! I live, love and give sacrificially because it brings me joy.
    On another note, I caught covid back in January. Started out mild (I’d had my first booster but not yet my second at the time, wore masks, sanitized, avoided going out etc) but then got progressively worse very quickly! I was given a positive test result (was tested Dec 31st) on January 3, was sick in bed starting early that morning. Got worse and suddenly couldn’t breathe on January 8th, was brought to hospital by ambulance. The doctor on duty actually sent me back home saying that despite having covid, “your lungs aren’t all that bad. I think you’re on the road to recovery OR, if not you will be in a day or two.” I was so incredibly sick! Doc was wrong. In “A day or two” I was NOT on the road to recovery. My oxygen dropped to 79, I kept falling asleep and if my gay friend Jonathan hadn’t felt an urge to come check on me, I’d have died within hours. I couldn’t stay awake. Ambulance brought me in again –this time on high flow oxygen. The admitting doctor on duty that night told me “doc never should have discharged you the other night. You had pneumonia THEN. You are VERY sick!” Ya think? LOL!
    I never prayed so hard in my life. I couldn’t even clean myself I was so had off. Only when I was discharged did I learn I also had “Acute Respiratory Failure brought on by Covid” as well as Acute Kidney Injury. I hope you and your family managed to avoid it!
    Take good care. Lori

  2. Lori, so good to hear from you! Thank you for the update and thank you especially for your kind and gentle pointing out that my comment about born again Christians was disrespectful. I absolutely agree with you, and appreciate that you took the time to write. I’m so glad you’re feeling better — what an ordeal! Hmm, and I’m also not sure when and how and where we know each other from. Maybe your blog (do you have a blog?)? At any rate, all the best to you and yours, and thanks so much for stopping by! xottf

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