Tag Archives: gay children

Looking for a Diagnosis

Behaviors that mystify and depress me:

A few days ago, the news carried a poignant story about an Ohio man named John Arthur. Arthur is in the terminal stages of Lou Gehrig’s disease, and is dying.  He and his partner of twenty-plus years recently flew to Maryland together, in a specially-equipped aircraft, in order to be legally married before Arthur died, something their home state of Ohio would not permit.  According to news reports, Arthur was unable to rise from his hospice bed.

When they returned to Ohio, they won a court decision that allowed Arthur to fulfill his dying wish. As Think Progress reported:

In his final days, Arthur wants to honor his commitment to his husband. He wants his own death certificate to list Obergefell as his “surviving spouse.” And he wants to die knowing that his partner of 20 years can someday be buried next to him in a family plot bound by a directive that only permits his lawfully wedded spouse to be interred alongside him. And, on Monday, a federal judge ruled that Arthur should indeed have the dignity of dying alongside a man that Ohio will recognize as his husband.

And now, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine (R) wants to take that dignity away from Mr. Arthur. The day after a judge issued a temporary restraining order requiring Ohio to list Arthur’s husband as his “surviving spouse” on his death certificate, DeWine announced that he would appeal this decision and try to strip a dying man of his final wish.

The judge’s order is limited exclusively to Arthur and Obergefell. Indeed, as the judge explains, “there is absolutely no evidence that the State of Ohio or its citizens will be harmed by the issuance” of an order requiring Ohio to acknowledge the two men’s marriage. “No one beyond Plaintiffs themselves will be affected by such a limited order at all.”

Closer to home, a relative I dearly love has been in a same-sex relationship for 5 1/2  years. From all indications, the relationship was mutually-supportive and loving. The only issue that has troubled them has been the refusal of her partner’s parents to accept the fact that their daughter is gay. When it appeared that she would not “grow out” of “this phase,” they issued an ultimatum: renounce what you are and terminate this relationship, or we will no longer consider you our daughter.  She acquiesced.

My relative is heartbroken, and I ache for her, but I know she will eventually find someone less conflicted. My deeper sympathies are for the girl torn between her family and her identity–the girl without the inner strength to be who she is in the face of her family’s twisted and selfish “love.”

I don’t understand people like these. I don’t know what it is that makes them so vicious and judgmental, so willing to hurt other human beings who are just trying to live their lives. I don’t understand politicians who define success by how well they can marginalize and demonize other people.   I especially don’t understand parents who would reject an accomplished and dutiful child simply because she loves differently–parents who would consign a child to a life of pretense and loneliness rather than reconsider beliefs that are already headed for the dustbin of history.

There must be a psychiatric diagnosis that explains these poor excuses for human beings, but I don’t know what it is.

The Bully Pulpit

Many years ago, when Chicago’s Second City was the source of then-scandalous satire, I attended a performance. This was during the Cold War (I’m old), and I still recall one skit titled “Kill a Commie for Christ”–a take-off on a widespread attitude of the times.

The more things change….Well, you know the rest of that saying.

In the Great State of Michigan, the state legislature has passed what one State Senator has condemned as the “License to Bully” bill.

The fact that school kids get bullied every day in our nation’s schools and elsewhere–and that gay youngsters are by far the most frequent target–is well-known. Over the past decade, the courts have ruled that the all-too-common “boys will be boys” dismissal of such behavior by school administrators will subject their schools to liability, and many state legislators have introduced bills to clarify the schools’ obligations to provide a safe environment for all students.

In the Michigan State Senate, the GOP amended a bill that would both have prohibited bullying and provided school districts with tools to combat it. They stripped out reporting and similar requirements, and provided an exception for bullying “based upon moral convictions.”

One appalled Senator described the language as providing a “roadmap” for bullying.

This too-clever-by-half strategy was clearly aimed at allowing the continued torment of gay children, but it’s hard not to wonder how these “moral” legislators would feel about children who suddenly demonstrated a “moral conviction” that their Christian schoolmates were evil. (As one of two Jewish students in my elementary school, I know what it’s like to be surrounded by Christian children whose parents had instilled in them a “moral conviction” that I had personally killed Christ.)

It’s obviously very difficult for mean-spirited people who are in the majority to comprehend that the tables might turn when they are no longer dominant.  It is evidently impossible for such people to demonstrate empathy or compassion for anyone who doesn’t belong to their own cramped moral universe.