What do you do when someone thinks you’re a sinner?

by

You see that area on my sidebar encouraging you to ask me questions? It links through to a site called formspring, where you can leave anonymous questions. Rest assured, this isn’t a plea for attention, but a story.

A couple of weeks ago I got this comment/question:

I like you&want to be your friend.Afraid you won’t want to be my friend when you find out that I believe acting on homosexual feeling is sin.Will I have to keep it a secret to be friends or can we all just get along?I can accept you but can you accept me?

And my response:

I really respect you for asking this.

That being said, no, I don’t want to be friends with someone who thinks my life is a sin. Nor do I want to be friends with someone who has to keep such a big secret, because that’s not fair to either of us.

In fact, it makes me feel a bit awkward as I hope no one I do currently consider a friend has this belief. If you ARE a current friend and feel this way, it would hurt me, but I do wish you would say so. If you aren’t yet a current friend, I’m sorry, but I don’t think I can compromise on this.

I think there is a difference between acceptance and friendship. I try to be a very open, accepting person – but I do have lines.

Happy to talk to you if you ever want to explore this further.

And there followed two more anonymous questions…and then an email. With a five page letter attached.

The kicker? This is a person I’ve chatted to a lot on Twitter. We’ve also emailed a bit  in the past. I really liked this person, and would have had no qualms about hanging out with her/him.

It’s interesting. Like a flip in perspective – I’ve found that people who are militantly anti-gay find it harder to be so once they know me. And in this case, I find it harder to just not advance into a friendship with someone who has radically opposing views to mine.

I’ve given this a lot of thought, and am edging towards a decision. I’ve not emailed the person my thoughts yet as I am still clarifying them. I had lots of biblical perspectives and interpretations to show her/him, and then I thought – Why? Why am I going to submit an argument/discussion based on a text that I certainly do not believe is literal truth?

Why, in fact, should I have to justify my life at all?

To this person’s credit, she/he was not judgmental. I was telling TMD about the line in the letter that was something like, ‘I see you living a public sin without repenting’ and it sounded worse than it was in the letter. If anything, this person was simply explaining why they believed what they did. Fair enough. I found it kind and considerate and…yes, misguided.

They compared homosexuality to any other sin – you know, casual sex, gluttony, gossip. The difference is that those other things? They are choices. I don’t feel my sexuality is a choice. I never have.

But you know what? Even if it WAS a choice, I don’t think it’s a bad choice. Certainly not a choice meriting use of the s-word. I won’t rip apart her/his faith, as it is important to them and  that’s fine. Do I understand wanting to be the sort of Christian who believes we are all sinners? No. But it’s not for me to argue with that person – and you know why? I don’t want to.

I have spent a goodish portion of my post-coming out life defining myself in opposition to people who think there is something inherently wrong with me. I don’t want to live like that anymore. Is it insular to want to surround myself with people who don’t have any big hang ups about gay people? Perhaps.

But when you live in a society that is heterosexist at the least, and homophobic as a matter of course – and in some places, homophobic enough to KILL gay people, well. I want my life buffeted by people who are more than just tolerant, who are accepting of me, of my life, of my family.

I can choose not to fuck around, not to gossip, not to steal a candy bar.

I guess what I’d like heterosexual people who believe my marriage is a sin to think about is this:

How would you feel if someone told you your marriage was a sin? That loving who you loved was inherently wrong? That acting on that love was perverse, gross, unnatural. That children should certainly not be raised by a man and a woman because, yuck, there is no way people like that should even BE around children. They probably sexually abuse kids, in fact.

The only way to really be happy is to love someone of your own gender, and if you choose to be a deviant and love someone of the opposite gender? Pray about it to fix it. Or just abstain from ever entering into a relationship. I know you think you love your husband/wife, but your marriage is a sham and I can’t believe you want special rights. If you HAVE to have sex with someone of the opposite gender (because surely that’s all it is – deviant sex – not a relationship), keep it in your bedroom and don’t talk about it, for god’s sake.

If you wear a wedding ring or talk about your husband, ugh, you should lose your job. Why are you trying to push your weirdo beliefs on the rest of us? If you want to hold your husband’s hand in public, hell, you’re asking to be stared at or had mean things said in your direction.

And please don’t whine to me about how your family is rejecting you because you love someone of the opposite gender. You have brought this upon yourself.

You are just shadowing the norm – two men or two women together, raising children, and it’s just sick and sad.

(I’m not implying the person who wrote me the letter said these things, but I AM saying they are the way I live. My sexuality is at the forefront of my mind because I come out EVERY SINGLE TIME I meet a new person. That’s thousands of little risks a year. Think on it.)

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50 Responses to “What do you do when someone thinks you’re a sinner?”

  1. tysdaddy Says:

    Life is too short to hang with people who will always see you as deeply and willingly flawed. There is no respect there . . .

  2. Freechildhood Says:

    That person is being judgmental. They are passing judgment on your very identity, and doing it on the basis of religious standards that are subjectively interpreted and far from universally held.
    It’s not insular to not want toxic people around you. I’m a hetero female and actively avoid homophobic people because they are not the kind of people I want in my life.

    • existere Says:

      I agree they are very subjectively interpretted – and not just the way readers of the bible understand and make sense of it, but the very translations that are used. Not to mention the cultural context it was written in.

      I have many Christian friends who use their brains and think critically about the Bible – and none of these people offer judgment, only support.

  3. Christine LaRocque Says:

    So much here, to think about to discuss. The bottom line for me is, I always choose my friends based on the person and have never shied away from a situation that might be uncomfortable for the sake of it. That sounds so flip I know, and I’m certain I can’t do a good job of describing it via these comments. Oviously, a person’s beliefs or sexuality or any number of things contributes to what makes them up, to who they are. But sometimes it isn’t. Sometimes it just is. Does that make any sense at all?

    Good for you for tackling it head on here, I would have expected no less. But the more we discuss and share and understand, perhaps the more who will come to understand and accept.

    • existere Says:

      I need to reread your comment. Ha.

      Are you saying I shouldn’t NOT be her friend because she thinks I’m a sinner? Let me know if not.

      I have thought long and hard and still don’t know. I don’t mind that he/she’s Christian, I don’t mind that her faith is so big a part of his/her life. I sort of want to have a friendship with her, but at the same time I don’t know if I could ever been 100% comfortable. I know I don’t want to expend time and energy arguing, at least not right now. I do like debates and informing people and all that jazz, but right now? Raising two babies, coping with trying to recover from some pretty severe physical problems….seems like my energy is better directed.

      Hmm. Lots to think about.

  4. anonymous (but I'll put my email in so you know who I am) Says:

    This makes me pretty sad. When I was in college I had some feelings that I struggled with. The thought of a sexual relationship with a man repulsed me, and I felt and thought things about women that I struggled with due to my upbringing. I knew my feelings would not be accepted. I wrote countless poems about it, I wrote pages and pages in my diary about it, because I was trying to understand how I could feel these things that everyone told me it was wrong to feel. I spent hours, days, actually years, trying to analise my feelings and the thoughts I was having – to try to figure our WHY I couldn’t stop feeling this way.

    In the end I met someone, a woman who was slightly older who I could just not stop thinking about. I guess I was infatuated with her. When we got to know each other better, we both knew there was something between us. But neither of us acted on it for over a year. Until one day she turned up at my house, soaking from the rain, and she just grabbed me and kissed me. It was the most amazing experience of my life so far at that point. She blew my mind, the feelings I had experienced were suddenly blown up 100x and there was no way that I could stop them.

    I knew that I wanted her, and I wanted every bit of her – not just sex, but not just friendship, I wanted EVERY bit of her. I wanted to hold her hand, I wanted to kiss her in public, I wanted to know every little bit of her – I wanted to talk to her until early hours of the morning, I wanted to ask her question after question and spend hours listening to her voice. I wanted so much more than what we had had up until that point.

    But I didn’t get any of that. I pushed her away. It is possibly one of my biggest regrets in life, although I would not change what I have now with my husband and my children, as I have come to understand that that disgust and contempt that I felt toward men was a result not of my sexuality but because of a lot of issues I had because of some serious shit in my earlier life. It’s a long story not really to go into here.

    I came to understand later, that I had loved that woman. Amber was her name. I loved her, and wanted her, and it felt so right and natural, but when I thought about it. I would beat myself up and tell myself that it was wrong. Because all of those things that you typed there in bold had been so deaply ingrained in my mind through my upbringing and those around me. I was so scared of what others would think or say, I knew they wouldn’t accept me as I was, but I also could not accept myself that way. I don’t put full blame on to other people. I wasn’t ready to accept that part of myself. I felt guilty and at the same time as feeling SO right when she kissed me, I felt like it was wrong 😦

    I do regret the way things ended with Amber. I wish I had been open enough to explore those feelings further. To have a relationship with her. To attain and experience all of those wonderful things that I daydreamed about having with her… I wish it had gone differently.

    Now, years down the line. I have come to accept that my sexuality is a part of me, and a part that I can’t and don’t want to change. I love women, I do. I am in love with my husband and the life that we have is good.

    But I realise now, years too late, it doesn’t matter WHAT gender a person is when you feel that way about them. When you feel that wonderful, it can’t possibly be anything but right and perfect. It can’t possibly be wrong.

    It’s the worst feeling in the world to feel that part of you is wrong. To know everyone else feels that way just makes it worse. I had to contend with my family and friends publicly declaring how wrong they thought the way I felt was, even though they didn’t know (and still don’t know!) that I felt that way. There was no way I could come out through that, even to myself at the time.

    Now I have accepted myself for the way that I am and I’m happier for it, although it hurts my heart that I couldn’t have done so earlier.

    I can 100% understand why you would want to surround yourself with people who accept you and your way of life. Why would anyone want to be surrounded by people who think their way of life but also in a way the very essence of their identity is wrong? It’s horrible to know people feel that way about you. And nobody should have to put up with that.

    • existere Says:

      Wow, what a powerful and personal experience. Thank you for sharing.

      I think there are probably SO MANY PEOPLE who have had a similar one, and my heart hurts for everyone who ever has – myself included. Society is hard programmed to see heterosexuality as the norm, and it certainly is literally the majority. I think the problem comes when people can’t see the other side of the story – and how hard that expectation of the norm makes it for people who feel differently.

      Much love to you.

  5. Joni Rae Says:

    This world is filled with people who hate, people who judge, people who are cruel to each other. I think if you can find someone special, someone you can laugh with, love with, and keep each other happy and cared for, that is a wonderful thing.
    I don’t understand why people feel they have the right to question or judge how another person lives their life.
    You are not anymore flawed than the rest of us. Love is love. I don’t care what bits and pieces you and TMD have.

    • existere Says:

      ‘bits and pieces’ – love this.

      You are right. Anyone who finds a real love is a lucky person indeed, and their children are lucky. I know you have found such a person, and I am glad for you, glad for me, glad for our friends in similar positions. Thanks for being my friend.

  6. Kristin Says:

    When I was in University I was one of the organizers of the campus queer club. By a funny set of circumstances some of us queers wound up befriending several of the members of Campus Crusade for Christ (sounds a lot scarier than it is). Many of them worked with us to create bridges between the two communities and create space for being both queer and Christian. However one day I was sitting in our office chatting with one of them and found myself being told, “well yes I do believe you’re going to hell but it’s not for me to judge.” I really felt like I’d been kicked in the gut. I had really liked this person and she had always seemed so kind and sweet and intelligent. I told her that I couldn’t be her friend. There was a big argument and tears of anger and frustration on my part.

    I’ve heard this, “you’re a sinner but it’s not for me to judge” line before and my answer is that if you truly believe it’s not for you to judge you would not be presuming to know how God might judge me (fortunately I don’t believe in a God that passes judgment but that’s not the point here). The only being who can decide who is and isn’t going to Hell is God.

    Being willing to be friends with someone who’s life you don’t understand and believe is a sin is one kind of acceptance. But being friends with someone who thinks that there is something sinful or wrong about who you are and how you live your life is not respecting someone elses values, it’s accepting someone else intolerance of you. It has the potential to eat away at your self-respect and self-love. Especially when you’ve gone through so much to be able to live your live on your terms with pride and love.

    If this person expressed interest in reaching a more truly accepting perspective I would go ahead and be their friend but if not, you deserve better.

    • existere Says:

      Accepting intolerance…and eating away at my self-respect and self-love. THIS IS EXACTLY HOW I’VE BEEN FEELING, but couldn’t manage to articulate it to myself or TMD when we were talking about this. You are a graceful writer. Thank you for giving words to my feelings.

      • existere Says:

        Oh – and I too was in a similar club in uni, discussing the point where Christianity and sexuality intersect. It was interesting, but I ultimately left it.

  7. CJ Says:

    I just heart you even more now. You go girl!

  8. Gnome Says:

    I’m in the process of writing a comment to an earlier entry (takes me a while!) but saw this and just wanted to respond. I found your piece very powerful and moving, as well as the comments above.

    What angers me about the ‘homosexual = sin’ attitude is the implication that ‘heterosexual = pure’. Of course there are gay people who do wrong, and straight people who do right. But it is not because they are gay or straight. For me, sinning comes down to doing wrong by others; willingly causing them pain and suffering. In the last few years my life has been torn apart by two heterosexual people who chose to pursue their own selfish desires rather than honour the marriage vows and family bonds. They have caused absolute devastation to many lives – that, to me, is sin.

    You and TMD generate love and warmth, both for your beautiful babies and all who are fortunate to know you. I struggle to see how that fits any definition of sin

    • existere Says:

      I agree with you 100%, Gnomey Gnome. I don’t particularly like the concept of ‘sin,’ but can get on board with the idea of bad decisions and hurtful actions. And we’re all certainly capable of that, though hopefully most people try their hardest to do right. But these decisions and actions are CHOICE, and I certainly don’t feel my love for TMD is a choice.

      And you’ve gone that step further to point out the tremendous love and warmth we surround ourselves with (not to be big headed, but you know…ha!). To think that was wrong is just, well, crazy.

  9. Pshouseblog Says:

    Well articulated. I’m glad on the one hand that you know who this was. But on the other hand, with them being your friend “despite your sexuality” you’re going to be faced with them levelling disdain/judgement/horor in other people through time. And by friending someone who believes they are *right* (right religion, right gender, right sexuality, right race een perhaps) you will look like you approve of their behavior, their levelling of judgement will be “acceptable” even more because “well, I have gay friends! So I’m not discriminating against people based on their sexuality- I get along with all people, In hopes that they will see the light through me.” Speeches. Not guaranteed that that’s how it will go but it’s my belief that anyone who thinks they’ve got it right (and you don’t) isn’t in it for the friendship.

    • existere Says:

      Well, I feel like maybe I’m naive. I’m certainly not about to renounce my heathen ways and become Christian, and I think this person does know and understand that. But I think you are right – not only do I not agree with their views, but I worry about all the young people and adults in this world that are deeply hurt by views like this. I don’t want to approve of these views.

      Thanks for this.

  10. Jen Says:

    Beautifully written! Being a lesbian has helped shape the woman you are, the wife you are, and now the mother you are. You’ve always been a great friend and I am proud of who and what you are.

  11. Christy Says:

    This is so wonderfully written. My heart goes out to you for this and so many other things. I have to say that I feel bad for the person you are speaking of. They are closing themselves off from so many wonderful people and experiences because of their closemindedness (wow is that even a real word?) and their closeminded upbringing.

    • existere Says:

      I don’t think this person is trying to close themselves off. I think they may be trying to open themselves up, but ARE rather stuck in some views. Like, for instance, sexuality is a choice…and a choice on par with other personality traits. That angers me. It’s not that I don’t think people who are different can’t have an opinion, but it’s like say I was going to assume something about being black. If a bunch of black people told me I was wrong and explained WHY (and to take it further, if my belief -WHICH IT IS NOT- is that it was only ‘skin’ and no more) and that their skin was much more to them (and the way society reacts)…..well, I would have to bow to the actual firsthand knowledge of black people living in black skin. I don’t know if this makes the sort of sense I want it to.

      But a straight person persistently thinking they were right about an area of gayness, despite multiple people pointing out otherwise? That shit is stupid.

  12. ShannonL Says:

    Wow, what a difficult situation. It was very brave of this person to come clean with their true feelings, but that said I don’t think I would be able to be friends with him/her.

    I think your response to the first question was perfect. You’re right, there IS a difference between acceptance and friendship, but this is about who you ARE, not one single act (like stealing, cheating, etc.). It’s not a bad habit that you’re trying to break. How can you truly be friends with someone if they think you are a sinner, are strong in their beliefs and not willing to change? You can’t, in my opinion.

    I definitely don’t think you have to justify anything. And it’s sad, but I just don’t see how this would be a healthy friendship. Whatever you decide to do, good luck to you.

  13. Lauren Says:

    “Is it insular to want to surround myself with people who don’t have any big hang ups about gay people? Perhaps.”

    When I read this I immediately thought about the parallels with racism. There is no way I would choose to be around anyone who is racisit. I just wouldn’t consider it. Any respect I previously had for them would be gone, instantly. Once upon a time mixed race relationships were considered wrong, disgusting, a sin and I am lucky enough never to have encountered anyone who thinks along those lines.

    I do not think it is insular of you, I think it makes sense to have people in your life who you can respect.

    • existere Says:

      Yes, this makes perfect sense to me. I do not know why I didn’t think of it like this – or I think I DID, but then that got wiped out when I took into consideration other things…thank you for this, at any rate.

  14. Adelas Says:

    The thing that crossed my mind which I only saw mentioned once in the comments (by Christine, near the top) is the idea that sexuality is only one part of a person, along with many, many other things (intelligence, sense of humor, organizational skills, physical coordination, artistic or musical taste and/or aptitude… or lack [of any or all] thereof… as a few examples).

    As a hetero, maybe my perspective is different since I don’t deal with those daily comings-out that would make it loom larger, so, YMMV. But I liken it to when my husband says “she is a reader”: it kind of does define me, yet it doesn’t define the entire me…

    • existere Says:

      I disagree. My sexuality IS who I am. It is not a personality trait, it is core to my identity and how I perceive the world.

      • existere Says:

        Because it is ME, it is my marriage, it is my children. These are my life. And I am sort of insulted that they could be compared with ‘being a reader’, though I do definitely see where you are coming from. I think that some straight people may not realise how central their sexuality is to their being. That’s because they don’t have to think about it, they don’t have to receive disturbing comments about it, they don’t have to fight for equal rights about it.

  15. Jenni Williams Says:

    The letter pisses me off and I think you handled it with far more grace than I would have. I think it bothers me on many levels.
    First I was ALMOST conned into thinking like that. After I lost Kai I turned to religion. Ended up in a evangelical group of women who LOATHED gays among almost everything that wasn’t like them. I wanted to fit in. I NEEDED to belong some where after losing a child, but I couldn’t do it. I grew up around a lot of gay couples, they were freaking awesome people and were more functional than my straight parents. I didn’t belong there.
    Secondly, my marriage was considered a sin for a LONG time. To many it still is.
    No one gets a say in who we love. If they think it is a sin, that is their problem. I think being a judgmental ass is a SIN.

    • existere Says:

      This is the thing – my best friend is one half of the best couple ever, and they happen to be a mixed race couple. It BLOWS MY MIND that people did, or still do, have a problem with this. I guess despite the huge amount of racism in the world, things have moved on so much in the past 60 years or so that it gives me great hope.

      I like that you used your brain when trying to make religion fit into your life. I agree with all you’ve said.

  16. Winnie Says:

    When I first read these Q/As on formspring (yes, I follow you everywhere now 🙂 ), it really threw me off because I didn’t understand how someone can believe you are doing something that is against the scriptures, yet what to be your friend. However, now that I’ve thought about it some more, I am starting to realize that one of my best friends thinks I’m a sinner as well.

    But the key to maintaining our relationship has been that he has never been judgmental towards me. He is there for me whenever I need to talk to him, even if it regards something that I’m doing that’s a “sin.” He has been so supportive of me and everything I do, even if it disagrees with his personal beliefs.

    I know that living with a boyfriend or premarital sex is COMPLETELY different from your sexual orientation. I honestly don’t know what I would do because I am not gay and don’t have to worry about my sexuality. I don’t know if you’ll continue your friendship with this person. But I hope that whatever you choose will make you happy and satisfied with this situation.

    • existere Says:

      What a lovely unbiased comment. I think you have a few key phrases – one of them being ‘I don’t have to worry about it.’ Somewhere else in my crazy comment replying I brought this up – I don’t think straight people have to think about their sexuality the way gay people do.

      I would argue that ANY person in a minority group can put themselves in my shoes. Obviously you may not know what it is to be gay, but take for instance my bestie: she’s mixed race. She has gotten racist comments and judgment her entire life, from the time she was a child. She can empathize with me when I talk of being a minority, because so is she. Of course, her skin colour puts her right out there and in a way my appearance hides my sexuality as I don’t ‘look’ gay. But I guess her minority status is more socially acceptable than mine…ugh, not that we’re comparing.

      I am getting all floopy, but what I’m trying to say that anyone who has ever been on the outside, who IS on the outside may understand.

      I don’t consider myself all that ‘outside’ anymore. I’m very, very out and very, very okay with who I am. I like me. Other people like me. I’m confident and self assured of myself, at least in regards to this issue. But all this discussion is reminding me of the terrified, angry 19 year old I was….

      • Winnie Says:

        It’s interesting that you would bring up race… for me, I normally don’t think about my ethnicity. Because I grew up in a predominantly Caucasian community, it’s easy for me to not consciously remember that I’m different. When I look in the mirror, I see me – and most of the time, my race isn’t included in that. I’ve struggled with that for so long because I don’t understand how I can forget so easily.. Maybe it’s because my race doesn’t receive much negative stigma…

        But it doesn’t have to be race. You’re right; I have been on the outside more times than I can count, especially in certain social circles where I have rarely felt comfortable.

        But then again, I didn’t grow up thinking my race is a sin and morally wrong. I know others have, and I sympathize, but I have never been in a same-race relationship and I have never received negative comments from peers because of it. Sure, my parents don’t exactly approve, but they accept me and my decisions.

        I DO know that if anyone made a fuss about me being in a relationship with someone outside my race, I would tell them they’re being a jerk and not talk to them again. For me personally, I don’t see any problem with it, and I have spent too much of my life fighting that kind of racial nonsense to put up with it in one of my friends. To my knowledge, no one I know has a problem with it (sans parents). And I think that having a friend who thought that about me would just bring me down too much.

        And perhaps being mixed is different than being in a mixed race relationship. And maybe being in one kind of mixed relationship is different than being in a different kind of mixed relationship. I’ll bet that your bestie and I have had very similar experiences and very different experiences.

        Like I said, I don’t know what you will choose. You seem to be in a such a different place in your life. You are wonderful and beautiful and your family and babies are beautiful. I love reading your blog/facebook/formspring because I feel like I’ve gotten to know you so well. 🙂

        • existere Says:

          I think I immediately jump to race because it’s something lots of my friends HAVE struggled with. That being said, we lived in a certain large world city that was booming with race problems just boiling away under the surface, at least in relation to the young people we all worked with. Any most of my pals, bestie excepted, grew up in that city. I think a lot of them have dealt with white women clutching their purses when they walk by, being followed in stores – all that ridiculous bullshit.

          I think I also jump to race because in a way it seems like an obvious comparison to me. We’re all born with a certain skin colour (whatever cultural or familial or personal meanings – or not – that might be attached to it), and we’re all born with sexuality. Or blue eyes. Or one arm. Or or or, you know??

          I would like to meet you in person. I reckon you’d be someone you could have a lot of fun with, but also some seriously good conversations!

          • Winnie Says:

            Ah I see… I’ve never had a personal experience with racism like that, although I’ve heard stories from my friends about it. I come from a city where the concept of being multicultural doesn’t really exist except when it comes to people who come from a place south of Country A. I think part of it has to do with the ethnicity I am, and the fact that there’s isn’t as strong of a negative stigma as with other races.

            I think we would have a fabulous time together in person. I would love to meet your family and play with your babies and chat about anything that comes to our minds!

          • existere Says:

            Yes, I did wonder if people of different ethnicities get different reactions. I know my family at home is racist (sigh), and they certainly say different stuff depending on where people are from. UGH.

  17. boo Says:

    i was going to write so much, then read the above comments and realised that it was all already said. i don’t want to be simplistic but i do believe that love is no sin.
    funnily enough though, i was going to ask you today if you get defined by the whole SPD thing. i was introduced to people today by a friend (who calls me hopalong. how we laugh) as this is boo, she has arthritis and can’t walk. this shits me. do you get introduced as this is existere and she has a wife? or this is existere and her pelvis is dicky? why is it that it can’t just be this is boo and she makes kick ass brownies? am fed up with all the definitions.

    • existere Says:

      Well, Arthritis Boo, I don’t know. I guess how we are all defined is (sadly) done behind our backs? LIke in the prep work ‘Yo, Doug. I’m inviting my friend Boo round later. Don’t mention anything about how you run a marathon every day, cause she’s got arthritis.’

      I think I am probably defined as ‘twin mummy’ or ‘lesbian mummy’ or something along those lines. This is actually a really interesting question and need to ask my friends how they talk about me to people I don’t know – not that I am flattering myself thinking this happens, just wondering. I guess I could also be defined by my nationality, since the very first thing people notice (I assume) when they meet me aren’t my baby blues, it’s my accent.

      My accent makes me stick out, my accent invites questions. And actually, my accent is how I end up coming out because as soon as new people hear me speak, they ask what brought me to this country. ‘Well,’ I say, ‘My wife!’

      • Katie B. Says:

        When I mention you, I refer to you as “that twin mom who’s an Internet friend”. In my (mostly mommy) circles, the “twin mom” is a more important identifier than the “lesbian”… but I personally don’t give a rat’s ass about someone’s sexuality – I wouldn’t go out of my way to mention if a mom was straight, would I?

        • existere Says:

          I totally forgot the internet friend label!! My god, and I use it like 65 times a day. I did suspect the twin thing would also be an identifier for me. I think no one mentions people who are straight is because that’s the expectation ;), but I get what you mean and LOVE YOU. Now, take care of your crotch please.

          • boo Says:

            i always think of you as IVF mum as that’s how i found your blog so that’s who you are in my mind. i sometimes refer to you as my-god-she-has-twins- and-still-has-time-to write- i-only-have-one-and can’t-find-the-for-pants mum but you get my drift…

  18. catsandcradles Says:

    I guess to me the question is: Can two people be friends if one thinks the other is a sinner, and the other thinks the one is a bigot? (Because I don’t really know a kinder, yet still accurate, word.) And I don’t know the answer.

    I’m reasonably sure that my MIL (and possibly FIL as well) thinks my wife and I are going to hell. Probably partly for being lesbians, but mostly for not being Christians. That being said, my in-laws have welcomed me into the family, and never treated me as “less than” their other daughter-in-law. I’m in the family photos, and my wife’s niece and nephews know me as “Auntie”.

    Do I think they wish I were a Christian? Yes. Do I think they sort of wish I were a man? Probably. Do I sort of wish they didn’t feel that way about things? Yes. But they’re family, and so we all muddle along as best we can.

    However, friends are a little different, especially new friends. Do you want to go into a friendship knowing that the other person views a central part of your life as something wrong? I can’t answer that for either of you. I can’t even really answer it for myself. I have friends who belong to a religion that definitely wouldn’t recognize my marriage, but I don’t question them too closely about whether *they* think I’m bound for the pits, because I’m not certain I want to hear the answer.

    I don’t think there’s an easy answer to this. I don’t like the idea of rejecting someone because of their religion, but you know what? I don’t need people in my inner circle regarding me as a deviant either. There’s enough of that out in the world, without inviting it into my (metaphoric) house.

    • existere Says:

      Family is certainly a different matter than random people off the street.

      The thing is, many gay people create their OWN families from the friends they have – that was certainly more true (I would say) about a decade ago, when being gay could get you shunned. And boy, was I. Now, even if people don’t agree they often keep their mouths shut. I appreciate that, even if they are only doing it because they know it’s politically correct. I dislike people who dislike political correctness…but now I’m getting off topic.

      I need to go reread your comment now because I feel like I had something to say and derailed myself. Or perhaps I already said it. Either way, thanks for sharing your perspective..

      • catsandcradles Says:

        Oh, I certainly didn’t mean to imply that the only family that counts is one by blood or law. Quite a few of the people I consider family aren’t either (even leaving aside the questions of my actual legal status in regards to my “in-laws”. Or wife, for that matter. *sigh*). And I also don’t mean that the family that you’re born into gets a free pass on assholishness. They certainly don’t. For me, family is a group of people who love each other and are there for each other in times of celebration and of need. My mother’s half-sister doesn’t qualify as family to me, but the family friends who would have gotten custody of me and my brother had my parents died are family. There are people I went to college with, who I haven’t seen in person in close to a decade, but if they showed up on my doorstep tomorrow and needed a place to stay, I would say “Here’s the futon, hope you don’t mind cat hair”. They’re family.

        I just think that the amount of leeway people get (in my book, at least), is based in part on how much I’ve got invested in the relationship (history, emotions, etc.). It’s like if you go on a first date with someone, and they get really drunk and barf on your shoes, you probably won’t go out with them again. If, however, this is someone you’ve been going out with for a long time, and you really like them, and you know that this isn’t typical behavior, they’d just had a really stressful day and misjudged things a little, you’re a lot more likely to cut them some slack. Because you know that there’s more to them than just this.

        In the same way, because my in-laws are very kind to me in general, and because her relationship with them is important to my wife, I don’t worry too much about how they think we’re heathens. Especially because they’ve never brought the subject up with me. The good outweighs the not-so-good.

        And I think that a lot of “political correctness” is just what I would call “politeness” and “being respectful”. So yes, everyone should do it.

  19. Katie B. Says:

    I meant to say something deep and profound.. something about “those” Christians and how they truly believe they’re bad people (or at least, my DH does), and how can you truly love others (as the religion commands) if you hate yourself?

    But it’s been 24 hours of mommydom, and it boils down to: you’re awesome, and I am so happy and enriched to have made your acquaintance. ❤

    • existere Says:

      How can you love someone else if you hate yourself….man, that IS deep and profound.

      But must say I love the last sentence. I agree, from the other way around – I’m glad I met you and I’m enjoying getting to know you better!

  20. ryuk Says:

    My parents are of the very firm belief that God is homophobic, and transphobic. I entirely sympathise with them on losing their ‘daughter’ to bisexuality, and it’ll no doubt be a further loss when the trans conversation has to happen. Because it really is a loss for them, and I seriously doubt they’ll ever see it any other way.

    That said, I have very little patience for their ‘can’t you just be straight’ questions, so we tend to see very little of each other.

    And, I’m not sure what my point was there. Just felt like commenting from the perspective of another person who’s had to deal with poor attitudes and can sympathise. Also I really like reading your blog. It makes me think.

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