Dana Rudolph

This Is How Change Is Made: A Story from Blogging for LGBT Families Day

Filed By Dana Rudolph | June 04, 2009 3:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Living, Marriage Equality, The Movement
Tags: blog carnival, blogging for LGBT families, blogswarm, Christian beliefs, evangelical Christian, lesbian dad, Prop. 8

Of all the posts submitted to Blogging for LGBT Families Day, my yearly blogfest over at Mombian, the one that has made the greatest impression on me is: "The One Where I Come Out... And Say It," by Haley Montgomery, aka eyeJunkie. Haley describes herself as "a politically conservative, white, heterosexual, middle class evangelical Christian from Mississippi. And, I'm probably pretty close to who you think I am when I write those words."

In her post, she makes the surprising admission of being a regular reader of LesbianDad. For those who don't know Polly and her wonderful blog, Haley's description is actually pretty accurate: "one of those crazy, liberal Californians, Berkeley graduate, feminist, Buddhist, lesbian activist. She's also a 'Baba' of two children and an excellent writer and photographer. She and her wife have one of the 18,000 marriages that were upheld by the California Supreme Court last week when it also upheld Proposition 8."

Haley observes that her reading of Polly's blog "is likely to ilicit [sic] the same 'duh' response of outrage from both the LGBT and conservative reader-types, but I'm sitting squarely on the (barbed wire) fence on this whole gay marriage issue."

In her eyes, homosexuality is a sin. At the same time, she reflects:

In this country, people aren't required by law to believe what I believe. And, other people don't think it's a sin. My faith is big enough to even like a few of those people, even if I don't agree with the complete scope of how they've chosen to live their lives. How do we properly deal with that in society? I know our response to sin has changed in the years since Moses codified the laws of the Israelite's theocracy.

By reading Lesbian Dad, she says:

I see the joy LD derives from her family every day. I see the frustration she feels about her their 'legal' status. I see the faces of her children at museums and dance class and home. I read that she sits on their beds after they're asleep to stare with joy and hope for their futures just like I do. But for time zones, we might be doing it at the exact same moment.

Haley writes that she has committed herself to listening, "not just to my side of the story, but to the side that might be uncomfortable. To look full on into the real 'face' of the gay marriage debate."

She says she has not yet resolved the matter in her own mind, but adds the following in response to a comment I made on the post:

My sincerest first hope is to come from the place of respect regarding LGBT families. As I share where I am, I know some of my words aren't popular ones. But, on the whole, I'm trusting your community. I'm convinced that family conservatives MUST learn to love-yes, and to LIKE-others before faith has any real relevance. To that end, dialog is good.

It is easy, in these days of rallies and ranting, to get the impression that change happens for those who shout the loudest. That sometimes works, but more often, I think, change happens in these quiet conversations. It happens in the willingness of individuals like Polly to tell their stories, and in the willingness of individuals like Haley to do that most courageous act, listen--really listen--to others. It is a slower process, but also a deeper and more secure one.

I am honored that Haley submitted her post to Blogging for LGBT Families Day, taking her chances in a potentially hostile crowd. I hope that others in the LGBT community do not berate her for her still unresolved position. We will never gain allies if we do not allow them the chance to take their own journeys and find their own answers.

Go read the whole post. My excerpts here don't do it justice, and Haley is herself an excellent writer. She's also more of a true Christian than many of those who profess to be.

If you'd like to read more of the 100+ posts from Blogging for LGBT Families Day, from LGBT parents and their children across the spectrum, plus other LGBT folks and allies, you can find the whole list over at Mombian.

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Thank you, Dana, for posting this here. (And thank you for Blogging for LGBT Families Day.) We debate policy and strategy with one another 'til we're blue in the face, but there are whole 'nother conversations to be had with people far, far outside our community, who are trying to consider a new way of thinking. The tenor and energy we bring to those conversations must be different.

I think a lot about the quid pro quo inherent in asking folks to shift their thoughts about who we are. It takes an enormous amount of patience, and I frequently have to shake off feelings ranging from defensiveness to outrage that we could be counted among folks who do damage to others -- spiritually, physically, what have you: whatever it is that adds up to "sin" in others' eyes. It helps me a great deal to bring my own spirituality to bear (not so much What Would Jesus Do, but What Would Pema Chödrön do, or what would ML King do).

It also helps for me to place myself in the other's position. Just as I tend to see and hear the most strident and condemning among gay foes, someone like Haley, whose Blogging for LGBT Families Day post you highlight, also hears the most strident and condemning of gay folks. I don't fault or begrudge my brothers and sisters their passion, but if I look carefully, I can see how it might appear to one outside our community, considering internal change.

Thank heavens there are places for such a wide range of us to put our LGBT liberation energies, is all I can say. Thank heavens we each of us can bring the different facets of our selves to the different aspects of this long fight.

We have to find a place to begin -- not all of us, but those who are inclined to dialog. It's not for everyone, but I for one have been honored to have the opportunity to meet someone like Haley somewhere in the middle, to talk. Even if we're both sitting on a barbed wire fence.

LesbianDad is a kick-ass blog.

Brother Bil, you just made my day!