Pride and Prejudice 90's style
"No! It's wrong because it's against God's will! Until you decide to give up that fat lazy b.... you're not welcome in my house! Who's most important to you, us or her?", I heard my grandfather bellow from the livingroom. Seconds later, a thunderous crack rang throughout the house as he violently hung up the phone. Curious about his anger, I slowly walked into the living room to see what was wrong. Who was he yelling at and why would he deny them entrance into his house? Grandpa ranted and raved about religion and loyoalty to the family. Still, I did not quite understand who or what caused such an explosion. I asked him to explain. Although reluctant, he told me that my aunt Marian was a lesbian; he also explained that she chose to be with her girlfriend and not her family.
My grandfather was not the only only member of my family repulsed by my aunt's sexuality. With attempts to "straighten her out", my aunt Joanne told her,"It's really disgusting, not natural. When I picture you two together I just get sick." Her comment did not make a whole lot of sense to me. She should not try to imagine her own sister having sex with a man or a woman without being disgusted. I didn't understand why aunt Joanne would try to picture something like that in the first case. I believed in what aunt Marian said in defense. She replied that she would never picture Joanne and her husband together and that she would be repulsed if she had. I believe that it should not matter if anyone else thought it disgusting; the disaproving others did not have to sit by and participate themselves.
My aunt Marian ran her life and made decisions on her own. My whole family quoted Bible passages at her that said that the only moral sex was heterosexual sex durong marriage. They told her that she was going to hell for how she decided to live. They called her girlfriend derogatory names like "dike"--As hypocrites do, they preached what was right and wrong, but did not try to account for their own name-callling and meanness.
After awhile, neither my grandfather nor my aount would budge: Aunt Marian stood behind her beliefs and my grandfather still would not let her into the house. Instead of realizing what an impossible choice my grandfather had set before her, the rest of my family blamed her for not attending family parties. They all believed that she could just choose her sexuality and was just trying to be difficult. They did not question why she would choose to chastize herself. Nobody chooses to go down such hard paths. I loved her and missed her greatly. I missed her attention and support and now she could not even visit during Christmas or Easter. She is still my favorite aunt.
Before this whole ordeal, Aunt Marian was considered one of the most giving members of the family. Everyone knew if they needed a favor she would be right there. She tutored each one of her brothers and sisters as they went to college. She was looked up to and respected, which was why I could not understand what all of the fuss was about. Why had my grandfather given her the ultimatum? Isn't it her choice who she wants to be with? When I asked whether they still loved her or not they said they did, but would not "tolerate" her lifestyle. If everybody really loved her, they should love, respect, and honor the whole person. They could not just pick and choose the parts they like and don't like. If they loved her, they would not disown her because of one disagreement. I did not express my opinion in my early teens for fear that they would admonish me too.
I now believe that Aunt Marian's "coming out" and stand against my family was very brave. She stood for what she believed and knew what was right for her. Instead of backing down, she remained strong. she showed that she was proud of herself. She marched in gay pride parades and eventually had a beautiful baby boy through artificial insemination. Both turned the stomachs of everyone in the family and caused them to despise her lifestyle even more. Although they disowned her, she did not disown them. She still sends greeting cards for birthdays and holidays and calls those who will talk to her. I love her and I know that she loves me.
My family is wrong for treating her without regard. Aunt Marian is a wonderful, intelligent, caring woman. She lead a lifestyle that came naturally to her. Her family ostracized her for living naturally, and therefore did not love her whole person. They did not act with the love and acceptance a real family should. Although she lost their respect, she gained freedom: the freedom that she deserved.
epilogue-I stayed the summer with Aunt Marian the summer after I wrote this essay. I was shocked at the difference between households. Hers was much more pleasant and loving. Her little son, became the sunshine in my life. Despite what many may take as fact, he was an extremely healthy, intelligent, loving, and disciplined young boy. Her mate became almost like a mother to me when I went there. She gave me hugs and listened when I had a problem. I felt free to speak my mind for as long as I was there. I not only believe in gay households, I advocate them. Their household was much healthier than mine.
Stand Up For What YOU Believe In! Be Proud...Support GLAAD..the Gay, Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation!
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