Uncle Roger's Notebooks of Daily Life


My life is, to me, ripe with frequent challenges, occasional successes, spontaneous laughter, adequate tears, and enough *life* to last me a lifetime. To you, however, it surely seems most pedestrian. And therefore, I recycle the name I used previously and call this my Notebooks of Daily Life. Daily, because it's everyday in nature, ordinary. These conglomeration of events that are my life are of interest to me because I live it, perhaps mildly so to those who are touched by it, and could only be of perverse, morbid curiosity to anyone else. Yet, I offer them here nonetheless. Make of them what you will, and perhaps you can learn from my mistakes.


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Monday, June 01, 2009

The Ballad of John and Marco

John came from a fine family -- his faster was a respected businessman, his mother was active in the community, and they were all prominent members of their church. At school, John was a decent student and popular with the other kids.

Marco's family, on the other hand, was not as well known and certainly not as popular -- his parents were two men. Even though they lived in California, a state generally thought of as progressive, their small farming community was not as open-minded as other parts of the state.

So although Marco was nice to the other kids and a good student, he was not part of the popular crowd. Neither boy was what you would call a troublemaker, but neither were they interested in politics. That all change, though, after the passage of Proposition 8, which took away the right of same-sex couples to marry.

After the election, John took more notice of Marco. John's family had been big supporters of Prop 8 and John figured that Marco's family was somehow wrong -- an "abomination" even. So he started telling Marco that. He dogged him at recess, at lunch, and after school. He said that Marco's family wasn't a real family, that they were all going to hell, that they were freaks. He called Marco a faggot, a homo, and a whole host of other names.

Marco went to the principal, but the principal said that there wasn't much he could do -- if Marco had been Black or Hispanic or disabled, there was a policy to cover it, but since his dads' marriage wasn't really even legal, Marco would just have to put up with it.

Marco talked to his favorite teacher, one who had encouraged him and treated him fairly, but was told that he couldn't get involved because the teachers were not even allowed to acknowledge that gays existed, let alone stand up for them. The other students' parents would storm the school if they found out a teacher was promoting or even protecting an unnatural lifestyle.

Marco asked his counselor for help, but the counselor explained that being gay was a mental disorder that could be cured. He said Marco should get help right away before he became gay because the homosexual life was one of depression, drug abuse, and often suicide.

In desperation, Marco approached the teacher that every knew was gay but who was firmly in the closet. Marco was told that he couldn't help because if anyone thought he was gay -- not that he was, mind you -- he could lose his job and he needed that job.

Marco thought about all this while he faked being sick in order to get out of going to school. He wasn't surprised that there were lesbians and gays who turned to suicide -- if they were treated the way he was and didn't have loving parents like he did, certainly depression would be an issue.

He didn't understand the whole "I can't talk about you; you don't exist; lalalala (fingers in ears)" mindset either. Surely there are plenty of far more unpleasant things in the world than a committed, caring gay couple that they talked about in school. Nor did he understand the desire or need to hide who you are -- if you can't live your life in a way that makes you happy and celebrates who you really are, are you really even alive?

Luckily, Marco's dads really cared about their son and understood that something was going on. So, after letting Marco play hooky for a couple of days, they sat down and discussed this situation with him. They made a plan to meet with the principal and school district administrators to get the policies changed and to provide support for LGBT kids and children of LGBT parents. They downloaded information on making schools welcoming and teaching kids tolerance. They planned on starting a gay-straight alliance club.

But, as kids often do, Marco did things his own way. He waited for John after school the next day and when John began harrassing him, Marco beat the living crap out of him. Then Marco told John that unless he stopped, everyone in the school would know that John got beat up by the son of a gay couple.

After that, John and Marco got along fine and when the other kids found out what John had been up to, their roles reversed -- Marco became the popular one and John became the outcast. Because the other kids really didn't care that Marco's dads were gay.

And that, is the moral of the story -- the old folks can hang on to their prejudices and bigotry because they're going to die soon. The kids don't care. Children are the future, in more ways than one. What seems like a big deal to us -- like mobile phones or digital cameras or these internetty tubes -- is old hat to them. Change is coming. As a wise man once said, "it's going to happen, whether you like it or not." Because the kids just don't care.

The above tale is completely false, but, sadly, also completely plausible. The hope for the future, however, is very much real because as more and more youngsters come of age, the more voters there are that are perfectly used to gay and lesbian actors, politicians, news reporters/commentators, athletes, musicians, and, perhaps most importantly, friends.

This story was also written quickly, needs to be fleshed out, and ripped apart by a good editor, but I think it has potential; perhaps I'll have a more finished, polished version for next year's Blogging for LGBT Families day.

This post is part of Blogging for LGBT Families Day.

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