“I thought you were a really nice lady, and I have to say, I’m really surprised by your manner on this thread. Maybe I was wrong.”
This was said to me after I spent an hour going back and forth on a thread in the local moms group, debating teaching kids about the LGBTQ+ community basically existing. Naturally, most of them were in an uproar over the existence of more than two genders and how dare teachers expose my kids to that too early. You say not to expose kids to that “gender stuff” so young, but when you throw gender reveal parties and decide to assign gender to colors and decorate each child accordingly, you’re proving you just don’t want to expose them to anything outside of what you deem “normal.”
I am upset, and I am not nice, because it has been shown, time and time again, that the spectrum exists, and people are born the way they are. It has been demonstrated that kids are reading and receiving poor, intolerant treatment and zero support for being non-binary, gay, or trans, and are killing themselves because of it. These are not beliefs. They are facts. Statistics are not imaginary tools developed by liberals.
You’re right, random mother in my group. I am not a nice woman. I have neither the time nor the luxury to be nice. Nice is not the same thing as kind, and I don’t have to be nice to assholes. I have an obligation to step up when I see someone being homophobic and transphobic within my community, because the time for tolerance for bigotry is over.
I am not a social justice warrior in need of a pat on the back. I am not the spokesperson for minorities. I am a white woman reeking of as much privilege as a woman in a patriarchy can carry, and it’s on me to do the emotional labor of learning what that means.
I know having religion does not negate being openminded, because I am a woman of faith, and I can still see how badly we need to keep the church and state in separate corners. Religion is not an excuse to be intolerant.
My kids identify as girls, but that may change some day, and I need to do my part in making sure the world is ready to accept them if that happens. It kills me that other mothers can’t see this, because when I say it takes a village to raise a child, I don’t just mean to walk them down the street and babysit when their mom has to work. It is your job, as a mother in this village, to protect our kids. All of our kids. And sometimes that means protecting them from your own oppressive views.
When a woman stands up for something she believes in and asserts herself, suddenly she is a bitch, a woman without manners, and definitely not a “really nice lady.” It’s bad enough when it comes from men, but really? Really?
When a man shouts his unsolicited opinion, people call him a leader. When I give my opinion during a discussion that asked for it, suddenly I am a mean, bossy bitch. You know what, friends? I am happy to be a bitch. I’m thrilled if I have been vocal enough to elicit discomfort from someone who paints the LGBTQ+ community as a sinful, corrupt group with a sinister agenda.
You, as mothers, ought to know better. You brought life into a world that is colorful, diverse, burdened, chaotic, and unique. You have been charged with the task of raising someone who can make it a better place. You are called to be a loving, positive force in a confined planet that has no escape route.
When you clutch your pearls in fear of your children learning about the diverse people next door, when you call someone unworthy of love and treat them like they are going to ruin your child, when you rant about a transgender boy needing to pee in the girls’ bathroom, you are contributing to suicide, self-harm, abuse, and oppression. These are human beings reading your words and absorbing your hatred when all they want is to be loved and accepted. When you inject and live off fear, you make the world a darker place, not just for them or us, but for your children.
You. Know. Better.
Revolution is a painful necessity that is supposed to challenge our views and lead to growth, to heal a toxic environment. Change calls for people who are not nice, and if you think I’m not nice, then I guess I’m doing something right.