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View Diary: Alan Keyes Casting Out his Daughter (202 comments)

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  •  I have seen a few posters above (none)
    who had good experiences 'coming out' to their families....

    But are there any Kossacks going over this story who know exactly what this girl is going through? I can't imagine my parents doing this to me if I were gay and opened up to them. But one thing I keep wondering about is when this splits parents and households. My mom, for instance, would have absolutely gone to war with my father over something like this if my brother and I had been gay, come out, and he'd responded like Keyes.

    I don't really want to change the subject, just expand on it to include coming out experiences because I know, sickeningly, that Mr. Keyes may be famous, but he isn't all that rare in his views.

    War is a racket. - General Smedley Butler

    by LeftHandedMan on Fri Feb 04, 2005 at 03:12:50 PM PST

    •  Yes (4.00)
      My mom read my journals when I was 16, found out I was messing around with girls and freaked out. I came home from a friend's house to find a locksmith at the front door changing the locks. I immediately discovered that I didn't legally own even my own underwear. Then she outed me to my whole family and everyone we knew, and no one really responded well, so I was pretty screwed. Further, she outed the girl I was messing around with to her family, so my girlfriend wound up thrown out, too.

      My parents had been divorced since I was 4, and my dad lived on the other side of the country. His initial response was bizarre: "Well, you and your mother have never really gotten along." Um, Dad, she made me homeless because I'm gay. Could you send money, please? No, apparently, he couldn't.

      The first couple of years after that were just a living hell. I had to drop out of high school and give up the college scholarship I'd have certainly otherwise enjoyed. I lost all my material things and most of my friends and family. For a while, I went through more shit than I care to recount in a forum so public as this, but suffice to say, I have a good work ethic, I'm smart, and I got myself a lot of therapy so I eventually got my life more or less together. The whole thing did basically destroy my relationship with my mother, although it's hard to separate out the bigotry from the other issues, like her alcoholism and whatever psychological problems she had (she's since passed away). Fwiw, she was a hippie when I was born in 1970, but did identify as a Republican by the mid-80s, when all this happened.

      My dad is now polite about it even if he doesn't really approve or accept it. (I suspect this would be much worse if I were his son rather than a daughter.) Interestingly, my Catholic grandmother had some pretty intense issues with the whole thing but has ultimately done the best job in the family of coming around. A couple years ago she made me an afghan for Christmas and then asked me for my "friend's favorite color" so she could make one for my partner, too. Yay, Gram!

      Whew, sorry for such a long comment, but this was a pretty big trauma, and even though I've done a lot of healing, I think it will always echo in my life.

      •  Is that even legal? (none)
        At 16 you're not legally allowed to make choices for yourself (unless you're emancipated by a court of law), it should be illegal for a parent or guardian to abandon their children before the age of 18 too.  

        Wouldn't it?

        Sorry, I have nothing else to add to this conversation.

        by DawnG on Fri Feb 04, 2005 at 04:02:18 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  No, not legal (4.00)
          But the law doesn't count much in situations like that because of institutionalized homophobia--or at least, it didn't at the time where I was. Here's how absolutely fucked up the situation was (and how fucked up my mother was): After she threw me out, she reported me a runaway and I got picked up by the cops the day before my 17th birthday and threatened with going to either juvenile detention or a mental health facility. The only thing that saved my ass that day was a nice lady cop who was familiar with how crazy my mother was because...let's just say this wasn't the first time the cops were involved in domestic problems at my mom's house.

          So my choices were basically thus: report my mom to the appropriate state agency and then wind up in some kind of rehabilitative facility because my mom could legally have me institutionalized (I had essentially no rights), or just keep my head down and try to make it on my own. Obviously, I chose option (b). I still think it was the better choice between the two, but man, talk about your shitty, rock-and-hard-place sorts of choices.

          •  I had an experience... (none)
            I went to highschool with a girl who was kicked out of her house for getting pregant.  So she worked full time, went to highschool, and had to take care of a baby. she had her own apartment but luckily had some help from friends and others but it's still messed up.

            If you kick your child out of the house (as opposed to going the legal process of abolishing your parental rights/privlages), you should have to pay child support TO THE STATE.

            I still can't believe how people can do that!  Rodents will eat their young if they detect any defect in them.  It sickens me to think that there are human parents out there with little more compassion than that.

            Sorry, I have nothing else to add to this conversation.

            by DawnG on Fri Feb 04, 2005 at 04:34:58 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Yeah, and figure this out (none)
              I still love my mom just as much today as I did when I was 2 and she seemed like a benevolent superhero. I also pity her because of the fear and hatred that consumed so much of her life, but as it turned out, my love for her is unconditional. Huh, who knew.

              Anyway, I hope everything worked out okay for your high school friend and her kid.

              As far as policy goes, I think parents are legally obligated to financially support their offspring, at least until age 18 or a court says otherwise, but ime the thing about situations like this is that it's hard to get the law enforced, especially when you've got other problems, and it's too damn easy for these sorts of parents to get social support for their control issues/bigotry. There's too many groups out there that get behind child abandonment in situations where the child is considered "unacceptably errant" in moral terms and the casualties are outrageous. I guess that's why they call it a culture war.

              •  What a horrible story! (none)
                Where did you stay after your mom kicked you out?  Did you have any friends or relatives to help you?

                When you couldn't get a real journalism job, there's Fox News.

                by The Truffle on Fri Feb 04, 2005 at 05:53:54 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Here and there (none)
                  For the most part, my family was absent. Depending on who it was, they considered me sinful or too problematic or whatever the rationale was. They weren't really horrible people, just horribly unhealthy in a variety of ways, and as we say in the South, "ignernt". At one point a second cousin and one of my mom's ex-husbands did try to help me out but my mom made their lives so miserable for it that I couldn't handle the guilt and the ongoing drama so I just dropped out of sight.

                  I was homeless for a few weeks, which usually amounted to sleeping in a nearby park, although occasionally I was able to score a couch or floor for the night. Eventually, my then-girlfriend found an older gay cousin who had split off from her family when he was young due to bigotry, and he let us both crash on his floor for a month or so until we got jobs and could afford a hole-in-the-wall apartment of our own. I'll always be grateful to him for that.

                  Honestly, I think the most tragic aspect of the whole thing is that my story isn't uncommon among gay youth. Which, I suspect, is at least partially why so many of us (queers) are so passionate about our politics. We know the personal is political, and we know lives and futures depend on it.

      •  Don't be sorry (none)
        Don't be sorry at all.

        Its stories like yours that make me realize how brave it is to survive so much hostility in this world where we brag about how much other people hate us 'for our freedom'. It breaks my heart how many people who were 'hippes' and flower children in the 60's became Reaganites in the 80's and just went 'June Cleaver' on their lives and innocent bystanders in their lives.

        Its absurd that so much hate and prejudice gets whitewashed and excused by people who should no better just because we are talking about somebodies sexual identitiy and not their race or gender. I am glad you are doing much better today.

        War is a racket. - General Smedley Butler

        by LeftHandedMan on Fri Feb 04, 2005 at 08:18:20 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  In some ways, to be expected (none)

        The Catholic Church officially teaches that many acts of discrimination against homosexuals are wrong.  If Alan Keyes kicked her out of his home because she is gay, then he has sinned according to Church teaching.  Note that almost all of the permissible or required discrimination against gays and lesbians is reserved to the clergy.  This is more moderate than fundangelical teaching that all acts of discrimination against homosexuals are permissible or encouraged.  

        Then there is the belief among many devout Catholics that if you do a kind thing for somebody else, you are doing it for Jesus.  

    •  I didn't get thrown out or beaten (4.00)
      But my father tried very hard to get me to keep this a secret from the rest of the family. He was outraged when he found out he was the last to find out. But it helped; it meant he couldn't force me back into the closet, and eventually he was forced to relent.

      If I came out to both parents at once, things could've turned quite ugly.

      What force or guile could not subdue / Thro' many warlike ages / Is wrought now by a coward few / For hireling traitor's wages. -- Robert Burns

      by lilithvf1998 on Fri Feb 04, 2005 at 03:55:37 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Homophobia destroys families (4.00)
      I was relatively lucky, I've only lost one relative so far, but I know a several people who had their families torn apart by their coming out.  I definitely feel for Maya, and thinking about this gave me my subject line which I humbley submit as a possibly useful slogan.

      "I'm going to dance the dream, and make the dream come true." -Kate Bush

      by ellisande on Fri Feb 04, 2005 at 04:11:01 PM PST

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      •  Absolutely (none)
        And I will be damned if I am going to let people who think that its 'okay' because 'we are just condemning a lifestyle choice' win at the expense of other people's dignity.

        War is a racket. - General Smedley Butler

        by LeftHandedMan on Fri Feb 04, 2005 at 08:19:33 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  You've nailed it (none)
          This is about our right to be acknowledged as human beings and therefore no less deserving of dignity, love, and freedom than any other human.  

          "I'm going to dance the dream, and make the dream come true." -Kate Bush

          by ellisande on Fri Feb 04, 2005 at 09:58:33 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Yes, when I came out (none)
      to my parents my mother went absolutely psycho and my father asked me to leave for my own safety (he was more focused on her bieng upset than any trauma to me).  My father's more moderate reaction was love surviving profound disappointment (ya know like if I was going to prison for burglary).  Fortunately I was in my 20's and in a position to at least survive on my own, rather than living with them.  Things got somewhat better over time of course, but I still bear a great deal of anger towards them for not giving a shit about anything but their own situation, not my emotional state at the time (I would have likely suicided if not for very supportive friends).  My mother came to eventually speak to me again, but only after the intervention of a friend who is also a minister on my behalf (she could relate to his thought about me on religious terms) I still await an apology, that I most likely will never get.

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