Family Ties, Part 2

I didn’t get a chance to talk to my MIL this morning. She and my FIL were both up at the same time, and while there was a lot of hanging around with coffee and breakfast, it didn’t feel like there were any good openings to bring up a serious, difficult subject. Maybe I was being a wimp about it. It’s funny how there is the surface of interactions with people, and below that there is another layer of things going on. That second layer has a definite texture, and I was hoping there would be some of that quiet, just-us-girls time in the morning when the texture was a little more loose-knit, a little more relaxed, where I could have found the space to say something like, “I’ve really been concerned about J lately and I think she really needs you right now…”

It’s awkward when the surface and subsurface textures of interactions don’t match up. My FIL tends to avoid causing disturbances, but J says he was pretty hostile at her place the other day (“LGBT groups are prejudicial” and “Who are you voting for?”). I wasn’t there. I don’t know the whole story. S was at dinner with them and sometimes I think she gets a kick out of rubbing people the wrong way. But I don’t think the source of the problem is S this time.

All I can say is, it was really difficult to be with my FIL this morning. When he said I am still part of the family and he hopes we will all stay in contact / visit, it’s what I had originally been hoping for with J’s side of the family. But I wanted to ask him, “What about J? Are you welcoming her as well?” Because if they aren’t, I don’t much want to be connected with them.

I hate the lie that is the status quo. Before J came out as transgender, everything was fine. When we visited my in-laws, we would go to the church where my FIL preached. J and I never claimed to be religious and my in-laws never asked about our political views or any of that difficult stuff. We were polite, we were quiet about our views, and it was probably easy for them to see us as the people they wanted us to be. Now J has come out as transgender. She doesn’t have to lecture my in-laws or anybody on her political and social views; she can be as polite and quiet as before, but because she doesn’t look the same anymore and because she has a lesbian pride flag at her house, they can’t assume she fits in their box-like concept of what a person is supposed to be. Religious freedom is such a farce. The people who talk the most about it don’t really want it, because all they want to see on the walls in other peoples’ houses are crosses. Not LGBT flags. Not anything that makes them see that the people around them do not believe the things that they believe.

The worst part is knowing that I seem safe to them. I seem like a person that would fit into a box. Their box. But I’m not. Fuck that. Fuck J too, for being a crappy spouse, but I think it’s time for me to go buy some rainbow accessories and maybe an “I’ll go with you” pin or two to wear on my person when I’m out and about. J deserves that support, as does everybody.


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