“I believe that more than ever before there are evil forces round about us”
That summer was a sizzler. We had no air conditioning, and as my pregnancy progressed, we slept downstairs under the window fan. Still, my feet swelled to the point where I could not put on shoes. Sometime in July, I was diagnosed with toxemia. No kidding; I looked like a sausage on steroids.
On my due date, I told the Doctor that I had only contracted through the end of the month. If this baby wasn’t out by then, we were done. Done with swollen fingers, toes, and belly; done with waddling; done with pregnant. I went home and got in bed.
When my water broke, it was as if a dam had let loose. We raced to the hospital, desperately seeking police escort. The tiger lilies alongside the highway flashed by in a dizzying display of orange and yellow. I skipped all the breathing stages as the contractions escalated to within minutes of each other. We screeched into the hospital parking lot and way too quickly delivered a healthy, beautiful, perfect baby boy.
And we were just getting started . . .
f I thought I was exhausted and overwhelmed when I was the size of a beached whale, bringing up a baby put a whole new spin on fatigue. I read every baby book that existed and relied heavily on grandma’s advice. But still, there were challenges I had never even considered. Life became a blur as we struggled to understand the wants and needs of one very demanding tiny human being.
But I do remember Anita Bryant. I remember that she condemned homosexuals even as she sang about the virtues of Florida orange juice. I thought she was mean. I stopped buying orange juice. That constituted my awareness of LGBTQ ssues.
A friend told me she had met an actual lesbian. I had to look the word up. I had a baby to care for; a job to go to; a household to run. I didn’t have the time, patience, or energy to care.
But I care now . . . deeply. I care because that baby who came so suddenly into this world, that child I nurtured, that teenager I fought with, has come out. And so have I.
Anita Bryant wasn’t just mean, she was dangerous. And, while LGBTQ individuals have gained much ground since I held that little baby in my arms, there is a very real danger that the Anita Bryants of the world will push any progress back into the earth. Because that is what is going on in this country right now; people who proclaim to be virtuous and Godly are the very ones who are perpetuating evil. They are the ones who, through intimidation, name calling, discrimination, and bigotry create an environment in which decent, loving individuals feel threatened, fearful, and full of self-loathing. They are the ones who threaten our American way of life. They want to create a country where, if you differ in opinion, let alone sexual orientation or sexual identity, you are banished to the back of the bus.
And I won’t have it. You see, that baby I held in my arms, that child I tried to keep from danger, that teenager I worried about every time he walked out the door . . . he had to face the ugliness, the vitriol, the indignity of a world that shunned him. It was a world I could not protect him from, and it still fills me with an inexorable rage . . . how dare they hurt MY child!
It pains me to think that this kind of evil is still tolerated and, in many ways, encouraged and celebrated. Anita was right, there are “evil forces round about us,” but they aren’t caused by homosexuality; evil is caused by people like her.
The Anita Bryant evilness is not something we can wish away. When people are taught to hate, it takes a lot to move them toward understanding, compassion, and acceptance. But, for those of us who recognize that being LGBTQ is not a choice; that healthy, productive, loving lives are what we want and need for all of us, for our children, and for future generations in this country, we come to a realization: Push Back!
Push back with all your might. Fight against the “evil forces round about us.” Otherwise, some day, that cherished baby, that child who is nurtured and loved, that questioning teenager, will grow into an adult and ask why . . . why didn’t you fight for me? Why didn’t you love me enough to protect me against that evil?
And you’d better have an answer; because that someday is now!
. . . And I’m just a mom who loves her son . . .