A Most Disturbing Conversation

Have you ever had a conversation that didn’t bother you much at the time, but then it haunts you for days – even weeks, months? I had hoped to write an upbeat entry for today – describing some of the events of delving feet first into the blogosphere – but it seems life has intervened.

I had a very disturbing exchange with a friend today – let’s call her C.

To preface this discussion: I’ve already had some problems with C. She’s my age, and she’s getting married in three months to her boyfriend of two years. Since the wedding is approaching soon, and she is by nature a bubbly personality, the wedding is all she can talk about.

Now, I like C very much. She’s kind, and smart, and quirky in a likeable way. We have a lot in common. She’s pleasant to be around.

But, being queer with a capital Q, I’m extremely touchy about the subject of marriage. I’ve been with women for longer than C has been dating her boyfriend, and loved them just as deeply. Yet, as we all know, same sex marriage (and its ‘equivalents’) is illegal in the vast majority of states.

So, needless to say – I don’t like talking about marriage. At all. However, I’ve been brushing off C’s commentary because I understand that she’s caught up in the glamor of the moment. I can forgive that.

Unfortunately, today she decided to talk about her strong Christian faith.

To be honest, I’m not sure what she was thinking when she started rhapsodizing about her soon to be Christian Marriage and the Events that Led to her Conversion. I make it clear (politely) to my friends that I am not fond of Christianity due to certain situations. And honestly, most of the time I don’t have to say anything.

(I am wondering – how do I let this girl know that I cannot handle these subject matters? She doesn’t seem to be taking the subtle hints I keep giving her…)

So – our conversation was brief, but I find that her words are haunting me even now. Here are some highlights, and my thoughts:

1. “I just feel like Christianity is true…”

Really, C? I’m happy for you, but I have stated countless times that I am not, and never can be, Christian. Among other things, I have a hard time fitting into a faith that calls both me and the people I love things like “lost souls”, “sinners”, etc.

I’m pretty alternative religiously, and as a result I don’t share my views very often, except when relevant or I am asked politely. I will discuss religion only in a comparative sense.

2. “Boyfriend A wants to raise our kids conservatively… He says that if we expose them to other faiths, they’ll just be confused…”

This unnerved me a little. Raising children by wrapping them in a tight little blanket of conservatism? Never showing them any other faiths? What happened to exploring, learning, questioning? Isn’t that what faith is made of?

I made a remark in return, something like “If you don’t expose them to other faiths, then they are merely following your belief system blindly. They could become narrow minded, even judgmental. True faith grows out of doubt,” etc.

3. “I’ve considering doing something with girls but… I want to have children.”

And I don’t?

4. “I have a tendency to [like girls]… I don’t want our kids to be that way.”

That way. She really used that term, and it made my skin crawl. If you have to say “that way”, and you can’t outright say the word gay… you’re not comfortable with it. I grew up in the South, I know that sound of disdain.

If you think your kids being gay is a horrible thing, C, what do you think about me?

And since when are children passive receptacles of anything we teach them? Since when do gay parents automatically yield gay children? My parents are the model of Protestant, white, middle-class heterosexuality, and look how my brother and I turned out.

5. “I could never get a girlfriend… I mean, having another woman around the house… what would the children think if they had two [mommies and a daddy]?”

I told her that if that ever were the situation she should tell her children the truth, as much as were appropriate. I don’t know what else to say in the face of that, honestly.

6. “I could never get a girlfriend… The kids would get teased.”

Absolutely. You should curtail your life, loves, and sexual freedom because hypothetically your hypothetical children might get hypothetically teased.

Right. Seriously, at this point, I was tempted to tell her to stop making excuses and just outright say it: that LGBT individuals aren’t fit parents.

7. “It’s natural for women to be more affectionate with each other than men…”

Stereotype. Stereotype. Stereotype. I’m a sociology student, C. Why are you trying to do this?

8. “The Bible says it’s not okay for men to be gay, but it’s okay for women to be. It doesn’t talk about gay women… isn’t that funny?”

To be honest, this one is bothering me the most. I’ve heard all the rest before, but this is one has a brand new twist – the Bible says!.

To be honest, C? No, it’s not funny. You know why it’s “okay” for a woman to be gay? Because there’s a demand for it. Heterosexual men like the idea of two women sleeping together, and it has been fetishized for ages. Also, there’s the persistent myth floating around in society that you, yourself, are perpetuating – that women are just naturally more affectionate with each other, a little kissing and light petting is completely normal for women, and don’t you know, as soon as they get a real man they’ll forget all about it.

It was so okay for me to be queer that I was sexually assaulted in high school. It’s so okay that no one believed me when I told them because, hey, I’d never been with a man so I must’ve secretly wanted it.

No, C, it will never be funny.

And the topper:

9. “Look at women in harems… they do things with each other. I mean, they have to do SOMETHING while the man is away, right? Haha.”

I have nothing else to say.

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