I don’t post pics of my any of my children on social media, or here on the Huffington Post. And not because I don’t want to, but because I can’t. It’s not safe.
In 2011 I became an advocate for LGBTQ children. It isn’t something I set out to do, but something that happened quite by accident. But when it did, I embraced it, and not just for my gay child, but because of the countless children who wrote to me. Children from all over the world sent me their messages of fear, violence, and pain. They shared their stories with me, and the horrific acts perpetrated on them not just by peers, but by their families, even their parents. They thanked me for loving my own child, and nearly always ended their messages with “I wish you were my mom.” And I nearly always responded, “Sweetie, I wish I was your mom, too.”
So, for more than five years, my husband and I made the decision to keep writing and sharing the story of our family. It brought people hope. And hope is important, especially to those children who have no reason to have any at all.
It has also brought hate. People have threatened to kidnap our children. People have threatened to beat me to death. People have threatened to rape our gay kid―so he would know what gay sex was like and no longer “want” to be gay. He was 8 years old when that particular threat was made.
We have not let these cowards stop us from bringing that hope. But we’ve also had to keep our kids safe. So we’ve kept them off social media. We have hidden not just their faces, but their names as well. Because the threat to their safety is real. And now it is astronomically worse.
Our country has elected for vice president a man who thinks all gay children, children like our son, should be given conversion therapy to ”cure” them of being gay. This typically involves electroshock. He believes the government should be funding this torture, despite the fact that every credible medical association has condemned the practice and stated it is 100% ineffective. But still this “therapy” is happening EVERY DAY to children in this country. If this man had his choice it would happen to my son.
I am angry. We live in the Midwest and in a red state. I am furious that people I know would vote for such a man. I am allowed my anger. I am allowed my hurt. I am allowed my fear. But when I express this, I am told to calm down, and to stop being so melodramatic. I am told to “stop drinking the kool-aid” the media is feeding me. Well, fuck that. This isn’t rhetoric. This is reality.
When I point out the views of the new government-elect, these people tell me “but I don’t think that way.” So what? That doesn’t matter. What does matter is that they voted for someone who does. By putting those people in power, they are implicitly condoning―and expressly endorsing―their actions.
I am allowed to pissed off that people think I should now break bread with those who voted for someone who is a direct threat to my child. I’m allowed to be offended that even people who claim to love my child valued their pocketbooks and privilege more than that child’s life, my child’s health, my child’s safety, and my child’s future.
That’s not what love is.
I am allowed to not forgive them.
And I don’t. I don’t know if I ever will.
To all those scared LGBTQ children out there, I have this message:
I am so sorry that this country chose not to protect you. But those of us who truly love you will work hard to keep you safe, so that you can continue to grow into the extraordinary adults you are already on your way to becoming. We will not abandon you.
To the people who are so offended by my anger, I have this message:
Please feel free to be pissed off at me if I ever vote for someone who thinks your child deserves electroshock torture in the vain attempt to “fix” something that’s not a problem. I’ll deserve it.
To the new government-elect, I have this message:
If you try to come after my child, be warned, you will have to come through his mama. And she’s one thick bitch.
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