picture this: love and family

Can you imagine being asked to go through your home to remove all images & traces of your relationship/spouse/love? This, my friends, is what I did before laying my head down to sleep last night. Remember the story about “Sam?” Well, the story continues. Sam, graduates today (YAY Sam!).

Sam’s whole family is in town—parents, grandparents, close “friend” (ummm hello, girlfriend), close “friend’s” whole family (I know right, whole family.)—all to celebrate what my amazing young friend has done. Its an exciting day. And its just at the very tail end of keeping up appearances. We have been asked to be a part of the whole keeping up with appearances. Out of love, we have said yes.

Sam’s family is coming over today to see the home that Sam is moving into. Her parents, like any loving parents, want to see the first place  their baby will live in after she graduates from college. We have been that place for her. She DOES have her own room in our home. She has keys and can come and go as she wants and needs to. But today is the parent visit, and Sam, is not out.

We have a beautiful home. Its not a gay home, its a home. It doesn’t have gay family pictures, it has FAMILY pictures. We have a wonderful kitty, who adores Sam, who has never noticed that we are gay. But were we to not de-gay’ify the house, Sams family would know–that we are not just roommates—Sweetie and I—they would know we are family. And right before the big reveal, that is just too risky.

But as wonderful a thing it has been to be who we are with Sam, having to hide away our love, our family, still hurts. A lot. I posted the opening line of this post on facebook last night and my dear friend Lindsey said it best I think when she said

“No, I can’t imagine that and the fact that it is difficult for me to imagine really makes me pause and reflect on my straight-privilege. I humbly hold you in my prayers.”

Friends, this whole experience of mentoring, loving, and helping a new young queer girl from an evangelical family has been so wonderful, challenging, frustrating, joy-filled; I would not trade it for all the tea in China (I love tea).

Though most of you who read this either know me personally and are already on board with the LGBT love, persuit of happiness, and letting me live my life the way that I do. But I can’t help but wonder—to my straight married friends—what would it be like for you to go through your home, and remove all images of your family, so as to not appear straight.

Reminds me of this wonderful little commercial.

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9 thoughts on “picture this: love and family

  1. Rachel,
    I want to say how welcoming you are to Sam. I want to cheer the lengths to which you will go to help someone who obviously needs help growing out of the dark hiding places into full light and life. But I suspect that you, as special as you are, are just one of a vast sum of people who will do the unthinkable, the things unasked of the straight of us in the name of being God’s presence to the ones who need it most.
    I thought, when I was in the hospital, how everyone cheered Adrian’s taking care of me, and how no one blinked when he wanted to be there with me or make decisions with me. I thought of what a struggle it must be just to do the daily things in a gay relationship. How literally everything can get in the way of a normal relationship unless you have paperwork that backs up your right to just love the one who loves you.
    You are a good, good person. I love who you are and how you show your love.
    I have become more verbal, vocal, and activist just knowing your story. I am wearing the “Iowa cooler than California” shirt today in honor of you.
    Love,
    Cynthia

  2. Wow Cynthia. I am so grateful for you, and for Mindy for helping me to find another beautiful friend such as you. I haven’t been saying so, only to G-d, that I have held you in prayer for the past few weeks. Much love to you dear one.

  3. I’m cheering you on and reflecting what a wonderful gift of potential and life you are giving Sam. Such a pity her parents are unable to receive it also.
    Yes, it’s strange how kitties never seem to make judgements before adoring people (or not, they are cats, after all!).
    And I’ve never seen that video – brilliant.

  4. When I was in college a long, long time ago (in the 1970s), I lived in a lesbian-feminist sort of Marxist quite separatist collective. This was in Sonoma County, California. We lived out in the country on nine acres with several houses on the property. We shared chickens and a garden, some meals, and friendship and late-night discussions. A very idyllic existence.

    Trauma would ensue when parents were coming to visit. What to do? We all took Women’s Studies courses. We had lesbian erotic art posters on our walls. Pretty soon we also took a look at ourselves and laughed, because we were clearly a bunch of Sonoma County dykes living our lives the way we wanted, and there was no way we could hide ourselves–sanitize our lives–even if we tried!

    Years later after I’d moved to Southern California, I had some friends, a gay male couple, who were going through a church trial. One of them had been ordained as an Elder in the Presbyterian Church. He was out in many parts of his life, but he didn’t “flaunt it” (whatever that may mean).

    One summer, the presbytery decided that committees would take a break from all but crucial business; a number of folks decided that they would have a summer bible study group, meeting in people’s homes.

    When it came time for this couple to host, they didn’t sanitize their lovely home, but left their books, their personal photos, the signs of their life together out just the way they always were. One of the participants–a minister–took a break to use the restroom. He walked down the hall where they had a gallery of photos. Nothing even marginal in terms of taste, just them and their dog, stuff their mothers would approve of.

    Anyway, this minister chose to be offended by their life together. After leaving, he called some other ministers to discuss the “situation.” Pretty soon, six churches had signed a letter of complaint against the church (which happens to be the church where I belong) for ordaining and installing a gay man as an elder. This was long enough ago that it was before the PC(USA) had put the nastiness of G-6.0106b into the Book of Order, the church constitution.

    Eventually after an absurd length of time, the situation was resolved with a resolution from the presbytery basically saying “don’t do this again.” Shortly thereafter, I was ordained and installed as an elder; no charges were ever filed about me. (When my wife became an elder charges were filed, but they were soon dismissed.)

    I understand about your protection of Sam. I applaud you for doing so. I just hope that for all of your sakes you are able to continue to live in integrity in the situation. Blessings on you all (including Sam’s family).

  5. That was long and convoluted! I got a phone call in the middle of writing that I had to take care of. Hope my ramblings made sense…

  6. You have a very big heart, Rachel. What I can say is, it’s not so much about Sam’s family as it is about Sam. Her family probably knows, but are waiting for her to approach them about it. Even if they don’t know, and/or not accepting of her lifestyle, Sam will feel so much better by being open and living her life. Many hugs to you! ❤

  7. Just wanted to support you and say thanks for the lengths you’re going to support Sam. She’s blessed to have you.

    I truly can’t fathom how off-kilter and traumatic it must be to hide all the “evidence” of your family for the sake of Sam’s family. The closest experience I had was concealing my relationship with my then-partner (now-wife) with my folks before we “came out” to them that we lived together. It was stressful to keep up that pretense, but doing that to your own house is so much more!

    You mentioned it in your last post, so I know you’re aware of it, but one day soon Sam will have the perspective to see just how great this sacrifice is that you two are doing for her. The closet is an awful, destructive place — for you to voluntarily go there shows a great deal of love.

    You’re making the world a better place with your actions, no matter how hard it is at present.

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