Thursday, May 19, 2011

The National Organizations for Marriage is Worried About the Kids

The moment that there is a push for same sex rights, the fundies grab the children in a panic and start to throw a fit.  The kids, oh why oh why won't someone think of the sweet innocent children? The National Organizations for Marriage has spent 500k to send the above mailer to New Yorkers, in an attempt to stop same sex marriage.

As a parent, there are so many things that I find absolutely maddening about the post card.  It seems to me, that the only time these groups can show concern for children is when kids can be used as a tool to deny a marginalized group their civil rights.  Where is their concern for the children living in poverty who go to school hungry, or the purposeful under education of children of colour, or the fact that school budgets are continually being eradicated?  Children only seem to matter when they can be used as a weapon and this evidences not only their homophobic beliefs, but a complete lack of concern or respect for children.

The National Organizations for Marriage further fails to recognize that they are constructing children as a monolithic class, when we know that they are individuals and have many differences.  Some of these children that they are supposedly trying to protect are LGBT.  They deserve to see themselves represented.  Some of these children are already growing up with two mommies and two daddies and they deserve to see their families represented.

When I was a little child and the teacher would read the class stories, the one thing I could be certain of is that the book would never contain a character that looked like me, or reflected my cultural background. When I turned on the television, I watched She-Ra, The Littlest Hobo, and The Dukes of Hazard (don't ask), and none of these shows had Black characters that looked like me, or reflected me.  Today I am a mother and though we have been told that we are now post racial, not much has changed for my kids.  I know first hand how it feels to be erased, and I can tell you that it is painful, and teaches you that you don't matter.  This is what we are subjecting LGBT kids and kids in LGBT families to when we erase their identity.  Concern for children should mean creating an inclusive world, where they all feel like they belong regardless of difference.  It should mean cherishing everything about them.

When I see these promotions, the irony of them never fails to get to me.  Just this week I attempted to have a conversation with my kids about the closet after it Don Lemon announced that he is gay.  It was extremely nerve wracking for me because as a straight woman, I know that this is something I am anything but intimately familiar with.  I turned to a friend for advice, and looked online for resources, but I did not find anything. My children are still too young to tell me what their sexuality is, but I know that I owe them as much information as I can give them, so that if they are gay, they will feel accepted and loved, and if they are straight, they will have enough knowledge not to turn into a privileging denying asshat. 

You see, loving children means not saddling them with our bigotry.  Loving children means challenging your privileges, so that you can be a better person and a better parent.  I started attempting to learn about social justice and the isms that effect various groups ten years ago, after my first son was born.  Each time I learn something, it is because of love - love for someone who deserves to know how interconnected our little blue planet is.  Love for someone who deserves to know the human experience in its entirety.  When we teach children to hate, or hate on their behalf, it is abusive and the absolute antithesis of love.