Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Family Table Is Not Always Safe for GLBT People

This is a guest post from Sparky, of Spark in Darkness.  Many of you are  familiar with him from Livejournal, as well as from his insightful and often hilarious commentary here. Each Tuesday, Womanist Musings will be featuring a post from Sparky.

So another holiday in which I largely avoided family. Well, there was an awkward awkward dinner involving Beloved’s parents, a sadly overcooked piece of lamb and all the pre-bought things that I normally shun. But I was polite and they were polite and it was such a very polite affair. Like the kind of dinner one would expect to have if, say, you invited your boss round one day albeit without the creeping and brown nosing.

I did spend some time on the phone with my brother again, this is getting more frequent, it suggests he’s going to drop in at some point, he usually does *is prepared for Hun invasion*. However, I did point out that I had bought mother an Easter egg and he had forgotten which officially made me the Good One (one of the eternal elements of familial politics is how quickly family favour can shift in the grand scheme of things and how the coveted title of “Good One” also conveys the passive aggressive dig of “Bad One who doesn’t care and is his arm broken because he never picks up a phone!” Which goes to show that our family is never happy without feuds, snarks and sulks) Brother mine pointed out that I could never be the good one until I started dating women.

Which, well, hmmm… that rather upped that ante in a manner that was inappropriate for the discussion, as I would have thought would be rather obvious. He still doesn’t get why he crossed a line that didn’t need to be crossed and I just don’t have the energy to walk him through it.

It does make me wonder what my parents talk about with him when I’m not around – but not very much since I already have a pretty good idea and I’m not going to seek a wound to poke.

Since I managed to avoid all the family holiday stuff pretty much, brother mine does wonder if I’m, ever going to rejoin to fold and, if so, do I need help.

And, y’know, the answer’s probably no. The great big huge extended family of stress just doesn’t seem even slightly appealing to me. I just don’t trust them and I don’t think you can be part of my family, part of my family culture, without some element of trust. And I don’t have that – I don’t have any of that and I can’t help but see them as a threat – which is hardly conducive to rebuilding family bonds.

And, besides, even if we were to rebuild these burned bridges it simply cannot be me that does the rebuilding. They’ve done too much for me to make the first move, for me to make the concession. Frankly, the only way we could lay the foundations for those bridges is if they have finally realised that their actions are not acceptable and, even if they’re not going to apologise and make nice, that they’ve got to at least stop being homophobes. When that happens they may feel the need to try and close the rift, but until that happens I am not going to try and bring us together when there’s a damn good reason for us to be apart – and for me to want us to be apart.
In other news, in typical Beloved fashion, Beloved has decided he no longer wants to be a carpenter. Wood is apparently un-cooperative stuff, saws are sharp, hammers are heavy, he’s stabbed himself with a screw driver and he has splinters everywhere. Alas, his first creations had a certain Rorschach quality wherein every viewer had a different interpretation as to what they were actually for. Given the sharp edges, sticking out screws, splinters and generally solid nature I think they were designed to be weapons.

Beloved had a day of sulking but now seems to have adopted the “woodwork? What is this woodwork you speak of? I have never heard of it” attitude. So we are officially pretending it Did Not Happen.