Mawwige. Mawwige is what bwings us togever today.
Or, it’s what brings us apart. It seems like marriage has been a hot topic in the country lately with SCOTUS hearing arguments regarding Prop 8 and DOMA. It has also been a hot topic in my house as my fiancée and I will be getting married in a little over a month. In the midst of the excitement and joy in wedding planing and having our loved ones come together to celebrate with us, there is a small dark cloud in the back of my mind knowing that this marriage is what is bringing my parents and me apart. For those unfamiliar with my story, please see h
ere. When I initially told my mom on the phone that I am marrying M (and we had put money down for a deposit on a venue – money = serious!), she immediately told me that I do NOT have her permission to marry M and that I must “promise mommy” (her words) to not do this. After that conversation I was scared to even send an invitation, but I wanted to at least extend the invitation because you just never know. I received the below response from my dad a week later:
This is with the heaviest of heart that I write this to you. We are not going to be at the wedding because it is an abomination to the Lord. You are declaring war to God and we are very concerned with your state of being and well-being. I don’t understand why the happiest day of your life could become the saddest moment of our married life.
According to Leviticus 30:3-5, I hereby annul all your vows to M in May. You have brought the greatest shame on us as parents and we cannot be proud of what you do as you go against God’s heart. Please repent and return, we are here for you always. We are always your parents and nothing you do can erase the fact. God’s heart grieves for you, please go back to His bosom and let Him meet all your needs.
Love you very much,
Dad, with Mom
Coincidentally, the day before I received this email from my dad, I had the honor and privilege of going to a memorial service for Jeanne Mamford, founder of Parents, Families & Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) at Church of the Village (COTV). PFLAG held its first meeting at COTV (back then known as Metropolitan-Duane Methodist Church), where M and I attend church every Sunday. I have to admit I didn’t know anything about Jeanne Manford before this memorial service. I was struck to learn how Mrs. Manford started PFLAG when she marched in the 1972 NYC Pride March alongside her gay son, Morty. She simply carried a sign that read “Parents of Gays unite in support for our children.” She didn’t have a huge group with her. She didn’t organize a bunch of parents. It was just her publically loving and supporting her son. As she marched, gays and lesbians ran up to her for hugs and begged her to speak with their parents. Her simple act of love and support all of a sudden became revolutionary. I was inspired to hear Jeanne Manford’s story of how she didn’t just stop there but continued to build one of the largest and most important LGBT support groups. PFLAG has been instrumental in educating and supporting parents of LGBT children and in helping to change society’s acceptance and affirmation of the LGBT community.
I am starting to realize that it doesn’t take much to be revolutionary, but that a simple act of revolutionary love and support can bring a tremendous amount of healing for others. When SCOTUS heard arguments regarding Prop 8 and DOMA, Facebook and social media glowed a bright gay of red as people who stood on the side of marriage equality changed their profile picture to a red HRC equals sign to show their support. I somewhat expected most of my gay friends to change their profile pictures. I was blown away by how many of my straight friends changed their profile pictures. Out of my 1200~ Facebook friends, about 120 friends changed their pictures. A little over half of those friends are straight – over half! I was riding a bus home when I saw the first of my straight friends change his profile picture. My heart beat a little faster and a tear started to form in my eye. By the time I arrived home at least 20 of my straight friends had changed their picture and I was a complete mess. Clearly, SCOTUS does not see us change our Facebook profile picture. What you do on Facebook won’t have much weight on the decision SCOTUS makes. However, it meant the world to me to know that my friends and family stand with me. Their simple act of love and support became revolutionary.
Straight allies have always been very important to me, especially as I have struggled with my parents. But it wasn’t until I saw Facebook light up red that I realized how important they are to my healing from the harsh words I have heard from my parents. Knowing that my friends and family stand with me (either through their profile pic or through personal messages) brings healing to my life and makes me all the more stronger. It also shrinks the dark cloud in the back of my mind more and more. So thank you, straight allies and beloved friends and family, for your simple acts of love and support that has made you all revolutionists.