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Flawed Laws: Tennessee and Uganda

Posted by on May 18, 2011 in Blog | 0 comments

Let’s get something straight here.  We’re straight.

We’re not gay, lesbian, transgender, bi, or questioning our sexuality in any way.

We’re the heterosexual people who discovered the person we married is gay, or the person we’ve been in a “significant other “relationship with forever is gay.  We’re not part of the “gay agenda” by a long shot.  In fact, for many gay people, we’re highly inconvenient.

It appears that our children may soon become highly inconvenient in Tennessee, if the bill to restrict teachers from mentioning homosexual lifestyles in grades K-8 passes the state senate.  Tennessee’s family life curriculum only mentions heterosexual lifestyles, and many parents, including straight spouses, want to keep it that way.  This  legislation takes it further, forbidding teachers, counselors, and school staff from speaking ABOUT the gay lifestyle.

Hmmm.  If the curriculum ain’t broke, why does the legislature see fit to “fix” it?  No one in Tennessee is teaching the gay lifestyle.  At present, children of gay and mixed orientation families can still come to teachers and counselors with family issues and be heard and counseled, even though they are in families that are outside the curriculum.  Bullies can be told to STOP bullying them for having a gay parent, and the reason can be discussed by the teachers and counselors whose job it is to end bullying.

Funny, no one is putting a muzzle on the bullies who make our kids lives miserable.  But when our kids want help because someone is hassling them for having a gay dad or a lesbian mom as well as a straight parent, well, no one can discuss the gay lifestyle with them – or with the bullies who persecute them.  HEY BULLIES!  FREE PASS!  YOU CAN TORTURE A CHILD WHO HAS A GAY PARENT AND NO ONE CAN TALK ABOUT THE REASON BECAUSE SOMETHING IS WRONG WITH THOSE PEOPLE!!!!!

When  our kids have difficulty adjusting to their parents’ divorce because one of their parents is having sex with someone of the same gender, or adjusting to their gay or lesbian step parent’s house rules, will they be able to speak to a teacher about their problem – and have the teacher speak back?  Or will the teacher or guidance counselor be silenced by law from acknowledging the problem, because it’s not allowed to be discussed?  What happens when the other kids discover that a child has two mommies – and are told by their parents that they can’t play with that child – and this affects the playground?  Oh, teacher, mommy says I can’t play with him but I can’t tell you why.  Teacher, the other kids won’t play with me because I have two moms, or two dads.  Teacher, I went to my dad’s new house on Saturday and he has a new friend who sleeps in the same bed and it’s all so strange.

Silence by trusted adults tells our children that THEY are strange, and that they have an (cough cough, sputter, ahem!) UNMENTIONABLE family.

So those of us who are straight spouses and ex spouses of gay people, and our children, will just have to buck up and take it.  After all, this doesn’t happen to NICE people.  If your mom remarries a guy who is verbally abusing you, the school can help.  That’s a step family issue of course, and pretty common among NORMAL people. But if mom lives with a woman who is her lover who verbally abuses you, well, tough, kid, we just can’t talk about families like yours.  (Unless she’s sexually abusing you, then it’s open season of course) You could pretend your lesbian stepmom is your aunt, and then we can all be legal.

At least the lawmakers in Tennessee and the rest of the USA have not quite gone as extreme as Uganda’s parliament.  The Ugandan bill we told you about last October that would make it a crime punishable by death to be gay was supposed to be voted on today.  After over 2 million signatures on global internet petitions and a threat by the United States to withdraw foreign aid if it passes, the bill mysteriously disappeared from the agenda. Then it appeared rescheduled for Friday, minus the death penalty clause.

Imagine this:  Teacher, I don’t like the guy my dad is dating.  Well, ok son, we can fix that.  We’ll just hang em high.

OK, we know, that’s Uganda, not Tennessee.  But we wonder – if school counselors are muzzled from acknowledging the family life of students in informal situations, or directly addressing the cause of student distress over bullying or family dynamics, how much more violence, abuse, and harassment will continue against heterosexual  spouses and children of gay people without so much as a word to turn it away?

Yes.  We exist.  We really do.  And right now, we are not part of ANYONE’S agenda.

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Hey, Maybe It’s Not So Bad After All….

Posted by on Oct 22, 2010 in Blog | 0 comments

And we think we have it bad.

At least where many of us live, if our husbands or wives are gay, getting help for ourselves does not mean a death sentence to our LGBT spouses.

Yes, in many countries, it is actually illegal to be gay.  In January, Ugandan legislators proposed a law to make being gay and participating in specific sexual acts punishable by death.  Last week, a Ugandan tabloid published the names of the “100 top homos”.  Many of these people are in hiding, fearing for their lives.  A tag on the front page reads “hang them”. Bulleted points mention “recruiting” a million innocent kids, and “parental heartbreak as homos raid schools”.

And of course, opposition is from outside agitators with an agenda.  Of course.

There is no mention in mainstream media accounts of the effect of this action on these people’s families.  However, it is also illegal to assist homosexuals.  So if you advocate for them to be treated as regular human beings in Uganda, you can also be prosecuted, arrested, jailed for life.

So just imagine the unimaginable.  You discover you are married to a gay person.  WHAT??  Hey, that never happens.  After all, they married YOU, and have children, so how can they be gay?  What is wrong with you marrying one of THEM?  Maybe YOU are one of THEM.  Nevertheless…

You discover you are married to a gay person.

You want to be tested for STDs.  You want to tell your best friend how hurt you are.  You want a divorce.

Only….

If you do those things, your spouse could be arrested.  Imprisoned.  Lynched.

Maybe you want to tell your priest, your minister.  But…

This whole push to execute gays in a country where homosexuality was already illegal was started by three American missionaries who self styled themselves as “experts” on homosexuality.  Churches in Uganda largely view homosexuality as a threat to the African family. So now, the hunt is on to purify Uganda…and of course, the missionaries now say, well, wait a minute, we didn’t say to KILL people….You’d think that these “experts” would know what would happen as a consequence of their expertise in a country in a volatile region with a history of violence against its citizens. But hey, who knew?  After all, it’s not like homosexuals marry anyone and have famiies like everyone else….not like they marry straight people, because if they did that would make them straight….uh, right?

Of course there is no outreach to you.  And in the west, there are scant resources for you.  Churches often are not much of a resource for us, either supporting the gay person and not helping us through our long and profound grief, or requiring us to be “accountability partners” so the homosexual can rid themselves of the “addiction”.  But with all the money spent on supporting and opposing gay marriage, there are no significant ministries to straight spouses and their families.

Well, at least no one has to die.

At least here in the west, you are free to contact the Straight Spouse Network for free, confidential peer to peer support.  We operate on a shoestring.  We do not have the golden coffers of the “agenda” organizations of either right or left wing.  We struggle with invisibility, ignorance, bigotry.  We struggle with financial survival.

But at least we are not facing watching a parent of our children die by hanging.  We are not facing having our children endangered, our lives ruined by violent vigilantes encouraged by our legislators and our clergy.

Wow.  Aren’t we lucky.

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