Sunday, August 12, 2012

"Each Piece of Our Living is a Protest"

This week the internets have been abuzz with the call of the American Family Association's Bryan Fischer "to deliver innocent children from same-sex household" by means of an "Underground Railroad."  (Interesting that we're no longer sodomites, but instead same-sex households.  I'm sure Fischer would be appalled to realize he's evolving.)  Fischer claimed that this article provoked his comment.  The author of the article was raised by a lesbian mom, and reports that the experience left him sexually confused, lonely, and "strange."

Then, in my continuing quest to actually use our Roku, I watched the documentary Commune (2005).  Commune tells the story of the Big Bear Ranch, founded in 1968, using archival footage and interviews with people associated with Big Bear.  The commune was a group of free-lovin' folks who sought to drop out of mainstream society in order to form a more perfect union, and show the rest of the world how it was done.  The commune included a significant number of children, and three of those former commune kids were interviewed for the film.  They represented an interesting cross-section: a kid who hated being a hippie turned scientist and suburban dad, a "free spirit" still happily living on the commune in a school bus and building a cob house (really a cob mansion), and a seemingly well-adjusted young woman with very painful memories of her particularly chaotic childhood.

I was struck by the similarities between B. and I, and other parents of the gayby boom and the grownups of the Big Bear Ranch.  We're living our quotidian lives--sublime, painful, dull, joyous,  in a way that was not possible a generation ago (and certainly there were gay parents a generation ago, but each year we gain legal, reproductive, and cultural possibilities).  The folks at AFA would say that we are engaged in a selfish and unnatural project, one that will bring sorrow to our children.  Thankfully, this is where my relativism brings me great comfort.  I've know kids of pot-smoking, not-believing-in-private-rooms-or-personal-possesions parents, who grew up wishing that their parents were more mainstream, and kids of strict mainstream parents, who left home as soon as they could and never looked back.  So yes, some of our gaybies will wish they were raised by straight mom and dad families,  as some poor kids wish they were raised by rich folks, and others with their parents were more loving, had better boundaries, pushed harder, or were more relaxed.  The wonder of children is in their possible futures (or perhaps you could call it their free will), futures that we cannot control as their parents.  And they may hate us, but most of them won't.  Eventually they will see us for the flawed human beings that we are, people trying to do our best with the cultural and historical hands we have been dealt.

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