What can the straight spouses of gay parents do to protect their children?

by Moira Greyland Peat, child of gays and author of The Last Closet: The Dark Side of Avalon

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(Laura’s Preface:  I’m honored and grateful to God that I can call Moira my friend.  I met her through mutual friends, and we struck up an acquaintance which has grown into an important – for me – friendship. I don’t know many people who manifest the courage and faith this woman has done, although I think it’s a matter of standing up and being strong or go through life being a victim, weak and defeated; this is an option that is simply antithetical to what I know of Moira’s spirit.  Both her parents were gay, and quite notorious for it. She suffered terrible abuses from both of them, and now has joined the growing ranks of Children of Gays who are speaking out in prophet voices to tell all the rest of us that, despite the gay-controlled rhetoric, homosexuality is bad for children.  She’s generously written this for Surviving the Rainbow, and I hope she’ll be writing more.)

What can the straight spouses of gay parents do to protect their children?

I have been asked to respond to this question, and I admit I am at a loss.  This question is not about Spouse A being right and Spouse B being wrong.  It is about humanity splitting itself in two, usually for completely stupid reasons, and the devastation  it wreaks upon the children.

When a spouse, usually a wife, discovers she is married to a man who has decided to pursue a gay lifestyle, she is already enduring her own heartbreak, shock, and betrayal.

Not only will her children be enduring the likely destruction of their home life, but they will be asked to endure a culture shock which will force them to confront adult questions that no child should be forced to endure.

It is bad enough to know your parent has left your other parent for an ordinary relationship.  When your parent abandons his former faith, his wedding vows, and his cultural norms and values, the child is in a position of having to choose, which amounts to choosing one’s left hand or one’s right hand.

Socially, children will generally choose the path which minimizes the negative repercussions.  It is understandable both to want to avoid conflict and to want to continue to be a “fan” of the straying parent.

Watching the heartbreak of the abandoned parent is awful, but cannot silence questions about the whole situation.  If Mom was abandoned, thinks the child, did she do something wrong?  After all, our parents are both right, they have to be, or the entire world is split in two.

Most likely the children will feel forced to choose, even if this choice has nothing whatsoever to do with either objective reality or with their own interest.  Male children may choose to side with the father, because it is emotional suicide to reject the primary male figure in their lives, even if he is tarnished beyond belief.

In my own family, my brother chose my father over my mother, which in some ways made sense, because he was kinder and less cruel.  In other ways, it made no sense at all, because he brought home a long succession of teen and preteen boys for sex, and he endlessly pressured my brother to have sex with them—and with him.

I also chose my father in some ways, because he was less cruel than my mother.  But ultimately, I chose neither one, because neither one chose me.

We learn how to be people from our parents.  When our parents choose sexual folly over keeping the home together, children learn that sex is more important than people, and much more important than we are.  If our father rejects our mother, we learn that women are unimportant and can be abandoned on a sexual whim.  If our mother rejects our father, we learn that men are disposable.

Most catastrophically, if our father decides to “become a woman,” it can provoke terrible anguish in the children.  For both girls and boys, their father is literally gone, and “replaced” with a human who is doing disgraceful things for reasons which make no sense to a child.  In a boy, it can cause them to fear that their own masculinity can be lost at any moment, and that they might inadvertently be turned into a woman.  In a girl, it can make them conclude that no man will ever want them, because if their own father abandoned their mother and turned into a female, it must be because they have failed.  Deep down, that failure will always be present, even if unspoken.

In my own family, where my father did not actually choose to “become a woman,” he absolutely refused masculine and feminine gender roles, which left me feeling like I was a nothing, neither male nor female.  I was “less than” any boy, because he preferred boys for sex and denigrated girls for “wanting relationships.”  If I was a girl. i was “one of them,” those foul creatures rejected by my father.  Of course, my attempts to masquerade as a boy were never enough.  I became adept at fencing, but any kind of fighting was too stereotypically masculine for my father, so again I had failed.

When a father leaves, either physically leaving the family, or by abandoning his gender for his sexual whims, the sun falls out of the sky for the children.  Their very existence as males and females is called into question.  Also, the mother is devastated by her own perceived failure and deep, deep grief.

If there is a custody battle, the children are figuratively torn in half for reasons that will never make sense.  The wife is likely to be devalued even more in a divorce from a gay man than in an ordinary divorce, partly because of the legal climate, and partly because she will blame herself for failing so deeply as a woman that her man abandoned manhood and straight love altogether rather than remaining with her.

The children will naturally fear being abandoned by a gay spouse in their own future.

The original question was this: is there anything an abandoned wife of a gay man can do to protect her children?  The answer is no, and a qualified yes.

We cannot stop the pain.  We cannot stop the grief or the feelings of abandonment.  We cannot stop the nightmare or the moral outrage. We cannot even stop the gay parent from allowing his new “friends” from terrorizing, molesting, or even raping the children.

In such a situation, what hope can I give?

We can stay aware that our children are hurt, and that their hurt must be handled as more important than our own.  It is important as much as possible, to not allow them to see our grief in all of its fullness, not to allow them to think we are forcing them to take sides.  Their relationship with their father is about learning their place in the universe, not about us.

What we must do is to remain a safe place.  We have to be the one they can express their doubts and fears to.  If they have to defend their father, they will be silencing their own agony to do so.  This means we must be Switzerland, not taking any side but theirs.  If their father commits a bad act, we must listen attentively, and respond from the perspective of helping them, not persecuting their father.

Even if their father is the worst villain imaginable, they will never abandon him.  I know this, because my own father is a serial rapist of children, and I am the one who put him in prison for molesting an eleven year old boy in front of me.

I cannot abandon my father, even though he blamed me for his imprisonment, and he most certainly abandoned me.  If that is my position as an adult, how likely is it that a child will be able to abandon a father for much smaller crimes?

We abandon our own hearts.  We do not abandon our parents.  All we can do is teach our children to pay attention to their own discomfort and encourage them to protect themselves against anything which feels wrong.  We can also teach them to speak up firmly, even when they are afraid.

In a way, it feels like I am trying to explain to a fish how to be comfortable while being eaten by a shark.  My advice might reduce the pain slightly, but we did not cause the injury, and we cannot prevent the pain altogether.

Let them see that you are not rejecting yourselves, nor will you reject them, even if they side with their father.  It hurts, it is appalling, but it is unavoidable.  Any boy around eight or nine is going to detach from Mother to a large degree and seek out his father as his primary role model.  If his father is a horrible role model, telling him that will not alter his need for his father at all.

What you can do is to make sure your sons have better male role models in their lives, whether sports coaches, teachers who will mentor them properly, or relatives they have cause to admire.  I did mention not telling them that you are doing this, yes?  Just do it, and do not say why.  The last thing they need to hear is that you are rejecting their father, because any rejection of him will feel internally like a rejection of them, no matter what you intend it to be.

My own sons identify strongly with their football coaches, thank God.

Above all, let your children know through your own conduct that being normally male and female is good and right, and that they have the right to be themselves, even if some people might want them to change into something else.

I wish I had more comfort to offer you.

All my best to you,

Moira Greyland Peat

St. Paul on Marriage — Radical Conversion

When I was going through the whole business of suspecting DH was gay, I was in a conservative evangelical church that probably would have been very supportive had I not been under the very mistaken idea that I was obligated to stay in the marriage and to protect him, no matter what. That idea of protecting DH was what kept me from seeking help at the time.

But as I’ve read comments from other women, it’s become clear that many of them have been in churches that are not supportive of women married to gay men, or men with SSA (same-sex attraction). The whole idea of submission from Ephesians 5 gets tossed around and used to bully women into staying in insupportable marriages.

But — and this is extremely important! — I don’t think St. Paul ever intended to beat anyone over the head with his Epistle. But I also think he couldn’t foresee a time in which we live, when women have unprecedented rights and privileges and his words would seem oppressive.

Paul was writing to a people who had lived their whole lives in the self-indulgent, even depraved culture of the Roman Empire. Shaped and informed by Greek paganism, although Roman women had some rights, they were still very much under the rule of fathers, then husbands, and the rights they did possess were so connected with their father’s family that I’m really not sure what the point of their being able to inherit or make a will actually might have been. And if she were a slave, she had no rights whatsoever.

Marriage was monogamous, but not a matter of love; most often it was an arrangement between families. Men married in order to establish legitimacy of offspring, to secure a legitimate heir, or for some personal (economic or political) advantage.

Paul, on the other hand, was an elite Jew, highly educated and quite privileged. In Judaism, marriage could occur for love, as demonstrated by many of the biblical narratives (Isaac and Rebekkah, Jacob and Rachel, et al.). The Song of Songs is a highly romantic celebration of erotic love as an analogy of spiritual love (which does not diminish its importance as a marriage celebration).  This was the culture Paul was teaching his Gentile converts to Christianity:  Christianity was Jewish in its moral and social values, its ethos. It was a massive paradigm shift for the formerly-pagan converts.

So when Paul tells wives to submit to their husbands as to Christ, he’s not subjugating them to men.  Society had already done that. What he was telling them was to view their dependence and their legal subjugation in a new and nobler perspective. By serving their husbands as they would Christ, these Ephesian women were given an opportunity to elevate their homes and their relationships with their husbands to a new dignity and importance. And, in the process, to elevate their own status in the home as analogous to the Church itself. Paul goes into this comparison in some detail in ch. 5, vv. 23-24.

But it’s the men who faced the greater challenge. They were instructed to completely change the way they regard their wives:  no longer as property, nor as a status bearer, nor as an object for sex and procreation, but as part of themselves, part of their own bodies!

To love them.

And, even more radically, to love with the same kind of total self-sacrificing self-donation that Our Lord demonstrated when He gave Himself for the Church.

The Greco-Roman culture was depraved. Sexual license and depravity were normal behaviors. From Paul’s letters to the Corinthians, we get a glimpse “Neither . . . sodomists . . . will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. And such were some of you!” (I Cor. 6:9-11) [Yeah, ex-gays.  I totally get that!] That’s how complete  and radical the paradigm shift for these converts was.

So Paul is telling men to love their wives, rather than objectifying them. To honor them as part of themselves. To be willing to die for them.

We ex-wives of gay men have been objectified. We have been exploited, and in many ways abused. This abuse is not a Christian experience of marriage, but more of a reversion to a pagan model.

It really is better than we’ve known.

Protecting your children: Media

You know we have enough difficulty protecting our children without big family media pushing a homosexual presence and agenda and trying to normalize the very dangerous and heartbreaking behaviors we want to shelter our kids from.

Disney has been pushing homosexuality for more than twenty-five years, now. They began with “Gay Day” back in 1991, and have gently, incrementally, been pushing the boundaries of propriety ever since.  It’s also an “open secret” that Disney has a big ol’ thick Gay “glass ceiling” in the company’s management, any more.

Disney used to be a wonderful, wholesome, educational family entertainment provider — now the “educational” component is NOT what most of us want for our children.

 

 

“If Daddy’s Gay, Am I?” — Protecting the Children, Part II

“If Daddy’s gay, then am I, too?” The girl asking the question was in her early teens, and the mother I heard the story from was caught off-guard, didn’t know how to respond.

The gay lobby still wants us to believe there is a biological cause for homosexuality, although no credible studies have verified it, yet. In fact, identical twin studies challenge the premise.

Moreover, there is a large effort underway to sexualize children at younger ages than before. I saw this in our local high school, fifteen years ago, and I”m seeing indicators on the internet of public promotions of homosexuality in billboards, public library story hours, and so on, now targeting young children.

For our teenagers, the question gets a bit trickier. The basis of the young girl’s question to her mother was that she was recognizing her dad’s homosexuality while also, simultaneously, recognizing that she loved her best friend, another girl. Does the one predicate the other? I suspect many in the gay community would encourage this young girl, at such a vulnerable point in her life, to see herself as lesbian and to embrace the identity.

The honest answer, however, is Probably not. We’ve lost sight, in our sophisticated, sexualized culture, of the fact that young girls develop very strong friendships during the early adolescent years. A hundred years and more ago, even up to the Second World War, if literature is to be taken as representative of the world it is set in, it was recognized that girls crush on teachers, on older girls, on best friends. You can think of Anne Shirley and Miss Stacey and Diana Barry. Rosamunde Pilcher writes of this during the years leading up to WWII, too, with several of her characters, primary and secondary.

I think boys go through something similar, only later – around the end of high school, or entering college. Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited is not about Charles Ryder and Sebastian Flyte’s homosexual relationship, whatever Hollywood’s latest incarnation wants you to believe. It is part of a time and place where physical affection between friends of the same sex was more open and — this is important – more innocent.  I remember interviews about the making of the miniseries, and Jeremy Irons (Charles Ryder) spoke of how a certain year in college marked the point where it became acceptable for young men to walk about arm in arm.  Another example is from the Lord of the Rings trilogy:  Frodo and Sam, or Pippin and Merry. This isn’t a sexual situation; it’s social.

These represent a love that is normal and nonsexual, a normal developmental phase that that prepares our hearts for other,  more mature loves a few years later. There is something insidiously evil about sexualizing these loves, about encouraging children to accept this phase as their identity; when young girls and boys act on these loves and they become sexualized, then our children can become trapped in behaviors and relationships that are toxic and even dangerous.

Again — talk to your children. Use story and movie characters, especially from older works (the earlier Canadian production of Anne of Green Gables, for instance) to point out how lovely and how good friendships are. Use them as an opening to discuss more delicate realities about dishonest sexualization and exploitation.

Why I Oppose Gay Marriage – Part One: The Straight Spouses

A conversation this week with a new acquaintance raised the old-for-me question: why do I oppose gay marriage? Don’t gays deserve equal rights with heterosexuals? Don’t I want them to have the same opportunities for happiness I enjoy?

Why do I deviate from the “Straight Spouse” standard reply that, because I love my ex-husband, I want him to be happy in his “real self”?  After all, how does gay marriage hurt me, individually? personally? —

Discussing abstract realities is always difficult, and this is an abstract; that is, it’s a reality that cannot be known by our physical senses (touch, sight, hearing, taste, etc.). Nevertheless, I keep coming to a place where I have to try to — not persuade, that’s not in my sphere of influence! But I do hope to speak well enough that people get even a partial glimpse of how I see things, from “behind my eyeballs” as it were.  So I keep trying, hoping the same old responses don’t feel tired to the person who’s reading them, while I keep reaching for better ways to say what I perceive and feel.

The question “how does gay marriage hurt you?” is bantered about like a challenge the opponent is suppose to yield, unable to defend.  But gay marriage does hurt me.  It hurts all of us.

Gay marriage suggests that there is no distinction between the sexes, that we are interchangeable parts of a social construct. This is an attitude that demeans me as a woman — demeans all women (and men, too). It says we have no intrinsic value or worth due our sex.  It says that the rejection of the opposite sex in favor of a different type of union is acceptable and laudable.

It also says that I have no value as a wife — that unique relationship to a husband that simply cannot be replicated in same-sex unions.  Of course, this is why California has abandoned the language of gender and opted for “Spouse One and Spouse Two” in their legal processes.

I was demeaned in my marriage to a homosexual.  I was unworthy of companionship, of basic, nonsexual affection. I was merely a personified abstract — a Wife — behind which my then-husband could hide. This misogynistic attitude is only legitimated through a recognition of gay marriage: it is a society saying that I, as a woman and as a wife, have no meaning, no value.  I am again only a personified abstract, this time expected to approve the very things that diminish my worth and render me inconsequential.

This I will not do.

Still here

I just concluded a conversation with a new friend who, it turned out, knows this blog.  He told me I have more people watching it than I realized —- and that some had assumed that maybe I’d changed my mind about gay marriage, the whole fight, really, because I’ve been inactive so long.

I’ve not.  My opinions are not only unchanged since I began this blog, I find them being more and more strongly confirmed as more men and women come out with their own stories about toxic marriages to gays, or the sufferings of their being raised by gay parents.

The embarrassing truth of it is that having sole responsibility for this blog and being so immersed in this subject matter is oppressive to my spirit.  I live with depression (and, btw, I have yet to meet a former spouse of a homosexual who doesn’t also battle The Black Dog) and sometimes I have to budget my low energy levels as miserly as I can in order to cover the necessities.

But I’m so grateful — no, I’m still sitting here well after midnight shaking my head . . . simply amazed at being known and recognized and  told “Oh, yeah, you’re quite well known among my friends —” —

So let me take a moment to tell you all hello, and to thank you for looking for this blog and for your prayers and whatever positive thoughts you’ve had about what I do, here.

I’ve been collecting things to post here.  I’m looking for a couple other women to post, as well.  I won’t abandon this blog completely — even though sometimes I find I don’t have energy sufficient to post.

The fight really is just beginning.