Today, my daughter suffered because of who I am.
J has been best friends with B for four years. When you are 14 years old, that is a big chunk of your life. They are very, very close. This weekend, J spent the night with B at B's Nana's house (Nana is B's biological mother). B is the daughter of a lesbian couple, who are now split up (B calls the other half of that couple "Mom"), but Nana lives with her current girlfriend in a happy relationship. I know that's a lot of explaining; but it's kind of important, because it will be useful information later.
Well, apparently, today Nana decided that I am a bad role model and have poor parenting values. Because I am an open atheist and because I am in a polyamorous relationship. Apparently, J and I are corrupting B, and causing her to behave unacceptably. In other words, B does not believe in god, and it is our fault. So, she does not want J and B to spend time together anymore. Oh, and Nana apparently does not want B to grow up to accept people who live non-traditional lifestyles.
Yeah, I'm going to give you a second to process that last one. It blew my mind, too.
First of all, J didn't convert B to atheism.
When J and B first met, B already did not believe in god. She had a pretend, joke deity she called "Afro Roller Skating Jesus," but it was made up, just like other religions. The difference was, B knew this one was made up.
J did not convince B that there was no god. J and B did bond more quickly, I think, because they shared similar worldviews. It's kind of tough to find a fellow 10 year old atheist in the southern United States. So yes, J and B say things sometimes that many people would consider shocking and irreverent. I didn't have a problem with it; kids need a safe outlet for things like that. They both had problems with issues that religion caused them in their personal lives, and they needed to blow off some steam sometimes. I saw no harm in it. Nana doesn't see it that way. To paraphrase what Nana told me today, as long as B lives with her and is under 18, she is going to try to guide her to believe what they believe. No underage freethinking in the Nana household, I guess.
As for Nana disapproving of my lifestyle, that does baffle me. It's not like I scream it from the rooftops, or wear tee shirts saying "I love my girlfriend and our boyfriend" (although that would be a hilarious and awesome tee shirt). B came with us all on a day trip to a big aquarium in our area, so yeah, she is aware that I have a girlfriend and a boyfriend, but it isn't like we all stripped down and started going at it in front of everybody; to anyone seeing the group, it looked like a big group of family and friends visiting the fucking aquarium.
I'm sure Nana has never been persecuted here in the South for believing in god; but I wonder whether she has ever been persecuted for being a lesbian? Did it not bother her? Did her child suffer for it?
I wonder how she would feel if I had been the one who decided that I didn't want J to hang out with B because I felt like her lifestyle was wrong, and it might corrupt my child? I wonder how she would feel if I told her that her family was invalid because it wasn't my idea of what a family should be?
What I can't understand is how can she be so intolerant, when she lives a life that is so susceptible to discrimination and persecution as well? And why does she feel like it's fair to punish our girls for it? She isn't hurting me; I don't give a flying shitcake what she thinks of me. She's hurting my baby girl. And I do care about that. I care about that a lot. And I'm furious. She is also hurting her own baby girl, and I care about that, too. B is a great kid, and I really hate what she must be going through right now. She is going to have religion shoved down her throat horribly for a while, and she's going to be censored like crazy.
All of this makes part of me want to run and hide; change my lifestyle to be more normal, and pretend that I believe in religion just to seem normal. Maybe even go to church once in a while.
But it makes a bigger part of me want to come out to everyone, and just say "Hey. This is who I am. I'm a bisexual, polyamorous atheist with a fucking southern accent. We're a rare breed, and if you don't like it, you can kiss my deviant heathen ass!"
I won't do either of those things. I'll continue to be who I am, but keep it low key. I'll continue to raise my child to be who she is, and do my best to keep her safe while she's doing so. I'll continue to nurture her critical thinking skills, encourage her skepticism, and love her for everything she is. And all I can do is hope that's good enough.
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