First off I want to apologize for my hiatus, the children keep this momma busy all the time and have to be entertained with activities to keep their little brains learning. Sometimes this takes all of my time.
The nature and complexity of my household has lead me to searching for other avenues of schooling for my children. Currently, we are exploring home schooling. Before I am crucified for this let me say that we are a very active family in exploring the world around us and there is no lack of social interactions for my kids. They are involved in many, many after school activities and extra curricular activities as well. I began researching the idea of home schooling because I do not want Peyton to be picked on in school, but also because he is behind in school and I want him to be able to focus and learn in an environment that is better set up for his learning needs. My eldest I want to home school because he is also very behind in school and is coming home with some behaviors that I don’t want him exposed to at this early age.
In my search I came across a group affiliated with the Evangelical Free Church. Prior to this, I did not know anything about the Evangelical Free Church. Before I expose my kids to anything, I do my best to research it and learn about it. I contacted the church to inquire about it’s views on gay, lesbian and transgender people. The person I spoke to whom I guess is the secretary, though I am not sure, directed me to the Pastor. Both individuals were very nice and cordial and I would not describe the interaction as entirely negative. However, when I asked the Pastor about the church’s view on gay, lesbian and transgender people he informed me that they follow the teachings of the bible which state that marriage should occur between a man and a woman. I felt that was a pretty vague answer based on a book which was written by men thousands of years ago. I’m a writer, I know how writing is able to influence people’s views. And the bible is written by men according to how they viewed the events that were taking place at the time that they lived (and yes I realize that is what I am doing with my blog). The pastor continued on to say that the church provides those that are confused about who they are by teaching them the word of god per the bible. And, that there are passages in the bible that state that marriage should ONLY be between a man a woman and this is what is taught to all congregation members. Now, these were not his words exactly and again he was very vague but he lead me to believe that gay and lesbians and transgender, etc, we are simply confused and need to be taught differently so we follow “the right path”. I then asked about the congregation and he avoided answering by stating that he could not speak for his congregation as a whole and could only say that some individuals strongly believe in the word of the bible and others are confused and need guidance in various areas. I was simply inquiring and was not looking for an argument with this Pastor or his church and it is true that he can not speak for his congregation. However, as a Pastor it is part of his job to know his congregation and know what they believe and accept.
I had earlier contacted the coordinator of the home schooling group and had to leave her a message. She returned my call after I spoke to the Pastor. Again, she was very nice but informed me that their group had never encountered this “type of situation” and that she would have to speak to the Pastor in charge of their ministry before approving our application. In the end of the conversation, which by the way left her pretty much speechless, we mutually decided that this group was not a good fit for my family. I thanked her for her time and left it at that.
As I ruminated the conversation I became angry and annoyed. Here I am trying to do what is best for my kids. A school setting is not the best for them. There are too many distractions and there is a lot of room for bullying in there. The bible is thousands of years old and it is still around to influence people in such a huge way that they actually discriminate against individuals for essentially simply being who they are. I believe that people are entitled to their own feelings and opinions but only if this doesn’t affect the lives of others around them. This gets very tricky because of religion and church. I was raised extremely Catholic. I’m condemned to burn in hell because I have tattoos, I smoked cigarettes for 15 years and I drink alcohol occasionally. To top it off I’m a lesbian. That’s the household I grew up in, these WERE my parents beliefs. I know first hand how religion and the bible influence people. When I was old enough I separated myself from that and formed my own beliefs. Do I believe that there is a supreme being that created this world and man? Yes. There has to be something greater and more amazing than us that made this incredible world. At the same time I believe in science and evolution. And I also believe that the bible was written by men as they saw the world around them. Was there something special about these men? Sure, they were brave enough to go out and spread the word of what they believed in. They were also brave enough and smart enough to write down what they believed in. But their world and words of thousands of years ago is not the same world with the same words that we have today. Everything changes and everything has changed. Much like they wanted to be heard, we, the community of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, all of us, we deserve to be heard and to have the same opportunities as all those around us. Education is not something that should be denied to anyone for any reason. One of the things that the group’s coordinator said to me was that they had never been exposed to anything like this “situation” and she did not know how the group members would react. Exposure is what teaches people and practice is what makes us better at things in life. In the beginning it was not easy for me to call Peyton a boy. Sometimes it was hard for me to say his name. We have almost hit the year mark of Peyton “becoming” a boy. Through practicing calling him a boy, saying him and using his name it has become as easy as taking a breath for me to see him as a boy. Exposure is the first step in understanding and acceptance. There is no way discrimination will stop in our world until we all allow ourselves to be exposed to the differences within us that are all around us.
Why did I seek out this group? For the connections that I could build with other parents to learn and teach my kids. And they also take part in some very cool activities that I wanted my kids to be able to experience. Can I do this on my own? I’m sure as hell going to try. My kids are the reason that I do the things I do and their ability to learn and experience life is not something that I am willing to short change them on.