From the time my firstborn was old enough to talk, it was clear that our gendered language and culture were not a fit. While I was totally down with gender neutral parenting, gradually I’ve become aware that my progressive stance was not unlike colorblind racism. And missed the mark. In a highly genderized society, we need to explicitly teach genderism and the implications of its oppression.
On this 56th trek around the sun, I am watching my firstborn find their own words and from the sidelines I am cheering. They are fully adult, living in another state, loving life with their beloved, and together finding the truths that belong to them. I am a proud and happy momma. This is what every mother secretly hopes for their children.
Meanwhile a young trans youth came into our home, our lives, and our hearts this summer. He’s just ready to start high school; brilliant, tender, passionate, profoundly brave and deeply intuitive. He is a blessing. His presence already shifts my attention and priorities in ways that are important.
At last night’s trans rally in St. Louis, I was there for my firstborn. And I was there for our newest child. I carried the Black Lives Matter banner for the child with whom I was blessed in marriage. And with every step I shared a prayer for the child whose path diverges. I was a proud parent last night.
I noticed what is always true in St. Louis, a divide. Called by white queers, this was a predominantly white (and white centered) rally. This hurt my heart. But my spirit buoyed when dear comrades from Ferguson showed up, proud black men watching the perimeter and guaranteeing our safety. And it was the most queer as fuck crowd that I’ve likely ever experienced. Profoundly beautiful, if still imperfect. My people.
And I’m so totally NOT into American flags or military glory. While my pacifism wanes, my distrust of the empire grows with each passing encounter. I do not trifle with toy soldiers or the systems that sustain them. But I do notice when governments (in any of their capacities) begin to identify and dispense with particular groups of persons, especially when those groups are publicly branded as being too costly or disruptive. These aspersions are red flags, flaming. Shots across the bow. Make no mistake, this dehumanizing trajectory will manifest in the public school hallways where already trans youth are terrified to walk.
I watched as our newest child and his friends led the procession. I cheered for him and for his community as my wife and I carried our familiar banner at the rear. Their passion was fierce, the hope deep. It was good, so very, very good. Yes, I noticed who was missing from the crowd and I grieve our slowness to decenter whiteness. But I was able to celebrate the sacred in the profane, the rose in the thorns, the beauty in the imperfect… which has been for me so difficult. I’ve yearned for the righteous cause, the perfect moment. This isn’t.
But this is love for my children.
And it trumps dogma every time.