They were late. Having left her taekwondo practice, they ran headlong into the traffic – the traffic resulting from the “mysterious package” threat that closed down a bridge, transit and such. My 13 yr old DJ had texted to let me know how late they were running. We would figure out dinner when they got home.
It’s funny because yesterday as I watched the events in Boston unfold I wondered what fucking world did I bring my children into? They were getting a world where marathon runners – runners who help their own even if it means they don’t finish in their best time –get attacked by bombs. A world where spectators lose life and limb simply waiting for their family and friends to cross a finish line. Yeah, what a great thing to have to explain to them.
When the family got home, we went across the street to a restaurant in the neighborhood. It was late, and they were hungry. And I was not feeling prepared to cook. While we were sitting there waiting for our food, DJ announced, “I’m not talking all day on Friday.”
She went on to explain that she was doing it to bring voice to the men and women who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, pansexual and transexual who have been bullied, who have killed themselves because of it, and who ultimately do not have a voice in society today. By not speaking and explaining why, she is raising awareness. Yes, she added pansexual and transexual to her list without any prompting. My 10 year old asked how she was going to explain to her teachers and her taekwondo Master. “Well, I’m going to bring a note of explanation – they can respect it or not, regardless, I will remain silent.”
In a time of tragedy and hurt and pain, my daughter is trying to bring attention to another source of pain. Trying to show there are people who care. People who don’t feel like people should be judged by their sexual orientation – but by who they are as a person.
We spoke about the people in our lives who have lived with us throughout the years. Their “Uncle” who is a gay black man – who was kicked out of his house when he came out at 16 – kicked out of his community because he was gay. He is a vital part of our family – our chosen family. We talked about how, when she was a baby, he would tell people that she was his child – that pale, red headed baby – and she was mixed race too.
We spoke about their “brother” – Derek – who lived with us for a couple of years. A gay Latino who’s Dad would beat him trying to make him more macho. The man who we brought into our home when his roommate decided to have her boyfriend move in – a homophobic, violent man who had a history of trying to hurt gay people. A person she still considers her brother.
We talked about my trans friend living here. My 13 year old daughter discussed the importance of pronouns with us. “While I am me – I am not married to male or female pronouns because I am DJ – I know how important it is for people to be identified as they want to be identified. So it’s best to ask.” She told us this, then gaven an example of her cosplay group and how they are expected to ask before assuming. All the while, my 10 year old is soaking it up and asking questions.
And in that moment at dinner, while I’m having this conversation with my daughter – about being who you are – and not letting the world tell you that it is wrong – it is then, I realize. This is why I had kids – this is why WE had kids. Because while the crap that happened in Boston will happen. It’s the way I have taught my kid to think – to look at people – to feel about people – it is that, that will change the world. And fuck, if she thinks this way at 13 and is open about it with her friends and family, I cannot imagine how she will be at 20 and 30 and beyond.
I have no idea how we did it, but we did. I am beyond proud of it. It is that kind of thinking that will change the world. It is that kind of thinking that will give hope.
And that is her “Moe” saying that – wow.