Sunday, April 26, 2015
The Last Thing You Need To Know About My Daughter...
When I first began writing this blog in my head, Bree wasn't ready. When she was ready, I was in a season of not writing. Then I got busy. Then I began to wonder if we needed to say these things...they are being said by so many...and so much better than I can. But I've realized how much our voice is needed. And thanks to the bravery of a friend, I was inspired. So here you go, with Bree's full knowledge and consent.
There are a ton of things you need to know about my daughter. She is beautiful. She is intelligent. She has a gift for giving gifts...because she has a gift for seeing and understanding people. She is talented. Knows more about Shakespeare than most twenty year olds ever will or care to know. She has some serious anxiety issues which means she is still not driving. She is a survivor. She loves to read. She loves music...but unfortunately developed my talent for singing.
She is bisexual.
Have you ever watched someone's world fall into place? I saw it the day Embree realized her sexuality. I'd taken her to a friend's house. When I picked her up, she was acting a little...odd. She had this goofy grin on her face.
Here's the deal. I grew up around drugs and alcohol and I had a pretty realistic view point that one day I would have to face the reality that my son or daughter had come home high or drunk because they had experimented. We'd had several conversations about the dangers, the importance of not driving or riding with someone who was under the influence, etc, etc. And I knew Bree's friends well enough to know that several of them smoked pot on occasion. So, when I saw the goofy grin...
I asked her "Are you high?"
"NO!" she responded.
But she was still acting out of it and she still had that grin. So I still had my suspicions. It was just hard to believe she wouldn't talk to me about it. So I decided maybe I was wrong.
Several hours later Embree came to me and said "I have something to tell you."
"Oh my God," I thought. "She was high!" Bree seeing something in my face quickly exclaimed, "It's nothing bad...well, at least I don't think it's bad." But I could see she was becoming anxious so I told her to spit it out.
And she told me she was bisexual. That she'd met a girl at her friends house. That she'd spent the last several hours thinking it over and she wasn't a lesbian but she definitely liked this girl like that and that it explained a lot of things from the last several years that she'd just brushed off as curiosity.
I've shared about my "journey" before and my first thought was extreme gratitude that God had brought me to this place at the perfect time because my sweet daughter was anxiously searching my face so she could know that we were okay, that this was okay. And I said, "Okay. So what does this mean for you?" And I may have offered to make her a rainbow jello shot cake. (FYI, those are way more complicated than I thought!)
At one point, as she obviously wanted me to say something, I had to admit to her "Bree, I understand this is profound for you but to me, you are still you. And I love you just as much as I did before. This doesn't change who you are to me." And it didn't. At least to me.
There were those who loved Bree just as much. It didn't change who she was to them either. Then there were those who loved her just as much but somehow it did change who she was. She wasn't just Bree, she was bisexual Bree. There were those who brushed it off as though she was just curious or it was just a teenager thing. Someone remarked "Of course she is..." and I'm still not sure what that means. There were those who thought she was just having trouble making up her mind (to which she replied "my mind is made up...I like them all") And those who had serious issues with it.
Bree had been in the process to become a missionary with an organization we had close ties to and a group that had been looking forward to her joining from the time she was in sixth grade. The process stopped. Bree admitted to same sex attraction and that was a deal breaker.
Bree had taught a children's class at church for two years. When she told her service leader, her leader advised her not to tell anyone else. Bree's integrity wouldn't allow it. When she told the children's ministry leader, she was encouraged to take a "break" from teaching her class. Not because she was bisexual, she was told, but because she might accidentally teach the kids that lifestyle was acceptable (I'm still trying to figure out what lesson that would have come up in a class full of second graders!)
There were others who seemed to believe it had happened as a result of my poor parenting. Obviously it was the product of a single parent home. Or perhaps because I let her be in theatre. We did watch Glee every time it came on (damn that Ryan Murphy!). Maybe I didn't give her enough attention, didn't build up her confidence enough. Maybe it was because I had to be on food stamps!
I watched my daughter begin to struggle with her faith. She explained to me that every sin was a choice, an action that we had taken. But she was a sin just by being. Because she was bisexual, she was sin. No amount of me telling her God loved her and she was not a walking, talking, breathing sin fixed the issue. It would take two years before I saw her begin to make her way back to her faith and even now, I don't think it is the same.
The thing is, somehow this one thing became the biggest thing about my daughter. And it doesn't make sense. If you ask someone to describe me, you will hear about the work I do, that I talk a lot, that I give good hugs...if it comes at all, the fact I am heterosexual would be one of the last things anyone mentioned. But for the LGBTQ community, it always seems to be first. It defines who they are...and if that is what they want, great...but if it isn't, if they want to be known as teacher, director, businessman instead of a gay teacher, homosexual director or bisexual businessman...then it is a problem. I honestly don't care what gender my daughter dates as long as they treat each other with respect, with value, and are honest with one another. Bree has a great boyfriend now and they've been together a while. But if they break up and she finds a great girlfriend, I am okay with that. And everyone else should be as well. Because, to be honest, unless you are the person my daughter is dating, who she dates isn't really any of your business.
Realizing that she was bisexual, for Bree, was a huge part in her figuring out who she is...for everyone else, it should be the least important thing about her.