Wednesday, June 6, 2007

I've Been A Bigot.

I discovered an interesting little corner of bigotry in my mind that I didn't realize I had. There is a woman who comes to my meetings, and she is in a relationship with another woman. They've been together for years and years, and they've even got foster kids that they raised. She refers to her addicted partner as her "wife." They both wear rings. One of their foster kids has children now, and she speaks affectionately of her grandchild and how they go to visit the grandchild together.

None of this is what made me find the bigotry. The idea of lesbians living together, raising children, nurturing one another, and being happy fits in with my worldview. What I find appalling, however, is when the addicted partner acts out. I find myself wondering extra hard why she doesn't leave. If it were a man acting in exactly the same way, I would understand why she didn't leave. I have a man who acts that way, and I don't leave. Somehow, though, because they are lesbians, I find the offensive behavior of her partner to be absolutly unacceptable.

I have had relationships with women...nothing very serious, but I've had more sexual relationships with women than I have with men, and these sexual relationships usually grew out of deep friendships and a sense of real connection. I think that I have been operating with some sort of idea that lesbian relationships are eroticized ideals of friendship...that lesbianism continues to exist as a possibility for happiness and change and fulfillment, and that the problems that I have with my husband wouldn't exist if I were with a woman. As if the addiction were a part of his maleness.

At first, I was afraid that I just didn't take the lesbian relationship seriously, and that I was something like the people in the picture...a terrible bigot, a homophobic bitch. I don't think it's truly homophobia so much as a misunderstanding of the complexities and realities of relationships. Being constitutionally codependent, if I were to have a relationship with a woman, there's a damned good chance she's be some kind of addict. We'd do this same dance that I do with my husband. It wouldn't change. Lesbianism is not a magical alternative land to escape from my own crap. I'm stuck here in my head, and there's no trapdoor out.


Mary P Jones (MPJ) said...

The woman I dated in high school is an addict -- the last time I talked to her (a few months ago) she was just realizing this, starting to talk about 12 Step.

Go figure! I am an equal opportunity lover in all ways but one -- I don't discriminate on the basis of gender, race, height, weight, ethnicity... But I do only date addicts! ;)

laurie said...

I think the very fact that you wrote this piece shows that you are NOT a bigot.
We all need to question our assumptions, though.
I remember the resistance that my best friend (a lesbian) met in university when she wrote about violence in lesbian relationships. It sure burst my bubble when it came to gender stereotypes....

Pearl said...

It's great that you can recognize your feelings and admit to them. Sometimes, even though we feel very accepting, we can be faced with something we never have been before and have to kind of wrap our minds around it. It doesn't mean you're a bigot, it just means your human and constantly learning more about yourself.