Gwendolyn Glover

Gwendolyn Glover
Location
Westerville, Ohio,
Birthday
June 19
Title
writer
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“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” ~ Mark Twain * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * "Remember, remember, this is now, and now, and now. Live it, feel it, cling to it. I want to become acutely aware of all I’ve taken for granted." ~Sylvia Plath

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NOVEMBER 4, 2009 5:32PM

Thank God for Gay Boys and Girls (repost & update)

Rate: 41 Flag

Growing up as a non-denominational Christian, I heard a lot of preaching about the origins of mankind. I liked the story of Creation. It had a wonderful mystique about it and made me feel that God, as the Creator, really loved the world. But I had some issues with the origins of the sexes. You know the story: Adam and Eve were tricked by the serpent, presumably the Devil by most Christians, into eating fruit that they were explicitly forbidden by God. Eve was the first to eat and then she offered it to Adam. (Bad woman!) I always had a real problem with Genesis 3:16, from the King James Version, of course.

 

“Unto the woman, he [God] said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.”

 

Before puberty, I didn’t see much of a difference between boys and girls. Sure, boys could pee standing up and I admired that ability. I knew girls weren’t allowed to do some things, like play professional baseball, and that made me sad. But I could run as fast as any boy I knew and I got better grades than the boys in my class, so I didn’t feel inferior in any way.

 

Then puberty hit.

 

My dad gave all three of us kids the whole “how babies are made” speech when I was eleven or twelve. He used medical terminology. It was years before I understood what the hell he was talking about. My mom refused to be there for the discussion.

 

I began wondering if God had something against girls. There were so many differences that seemed inherently unfair. Girls had this embarrassing and painful thing called menstruation. Girls were doomed to go through agonizing childbirth. I felt like it was nothing beautiful or magical because Mom never talked about it. She seemed utterly humiliated by the experience. Dad would only tell us birthing stories that had morals about how doctors were evil and women should have their babies at home.

 

I decided that I would not have children. I would adopt. Or maybe I would start my own orphanage in some remote country, like the missionary from the movie, The Inn of the Sixth Happiness. I was pretty sure I wouldn’t get married because I couldn’t stand the thought of not being in control of my own life. No way was I going to be “under” the authority of someone else! I counted down the days until I turned eighteen. The magical age when I could legally move out.

 

I listened to all the negative characteristics that my dad attributed to women: emotionally unstable, delicate, needed protection, weak. I worked hard not to display any of these attributes. I tried to not show emotion. I wanted to be dependable and responsible. I wanted to be intelligent and taken seriously.

 

When I was twelve, I told my Sunday School teacher’s wife that I didn’t want to be a lady. It totally freaked her out. I didn’t understand why. Why would I want to be helpless and dependent on a man? I wanted to be able to take care of myself.

 

This might explain why I became obsessed with comic books in high school. The heroines kicked some serious ass. They weren’t delicate at all. They were strong and courageous and smart.

 

I didn’t have female role models. My mom loved the male characters in movies. She adored Mel Gibson and Bruce Willis. My dad admired Chuck Norris. My brothers were into G.I. Joe and superheroes.

 

I wasn’t allowed to wear makeup or get my ears pierced. What was the point of trying to look pretty when I had to use the family-sized Pert Plus and wear hand-me-downs? So I adopted the grunge and skater look in the mid/late nineties. I wore my brothers’ huge jeans and borrowed Emily t-shirts from my best friend.

 

My best friend. I have to mention her. She was my heroine. She chewed up boys on a daily basis. She was a complete smart-ass. She talked back to my dad. She said all the things that I wished I had the guts to say. She was the first feminist I knew. I wanted to be just like her.

 

When I went to ORU, I became more aware of the social restrictions on women. Male and female students were treated completely different by the administration. I have previously mentioned that women had a curfew and had to wear skirts. I was a student there when the rules changed and women were allowed to wear slacks in the winter because of the cold, Oklahoma winds.

 

Separate chapel services for men and women happened once a year, but it was always the same message. In the men’s chapel, the speaker always talked about sexual purity and the evils of masturbation.

 

In the women’s chapel, the speaker always talked about how, as Christian women, it is our duty to dress modestly so that we don’t tantalize men. One year, the speaker went on and on about how wrong it was to wear a purse strap across the chest, accentuating the breasts. I was fuming through the entire service. When I left the chapel building, I about to burst. I turned to my female friends who were walking with me. “God gave me these,” I said as I pointed to my breasts, “and I can’t hide them.” I knew instinctually that it was wrong to be ashamed of my body, but I wasn’t comfortable with it either.

 

Then I met my gay boys during my sophomore year. I met one boy at ORU in my class about C. S. Lewis and the Inklings. (Yeah, sure, I fell in love with him at first. He was beautiful and paid attention to me. What can I say?) Then we met another boy at the coolest place in Tulsa, Oklahoma for kids under twenty-one. It was a coffee shop/open mic venue. The coffee kicked ass. It was open after midnight. These two guys (and the subsequent gay boys that I met and those that befriended me) were the most wonderful people. They loved and accepted me the way I was. They taught me that my body was a beautiful thing and that there was no need for me to feel ashamed of who I am.

 

When I moved out to San Francisco, I discovered lesbian literature. Writers like Dorothy Allison, Jeanette Winterson, and Sarah Waters wrote about women I understood. Strong, confused, sexy women who were trying to find their voice.

 

At the church I was attending in SF, I became friends with strong lesbian women and mothers. My role models for parenthood are middle-aged lesbian mothers, one Jewish and one Christian, who are doing an amazing job raising their adopted daughters. When I started dating David, I met and became bffs with his lesbian bff. She was his best person in our wedding. (I promise to tell that story one day.)

 

My relationship with gay girls and boys has made me the person I am today. They have shown me love, acceptance, and true friendship. 

 

 

rainbowbrite 

           

Thank God for gay boys and girls. I don't know where I would be without you.

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Comments

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I wanted to repost this in support of Gay Marriage and Equality. My heart goes out to all the gay kids that are rejected and shamed by their family and community. This is injustice.
What a great post. I hope todays kids don't have to go through so much shit just to be who they are supposed to be. But, it ain't gonna' happen!!
R~~
Thank God for Acceptance....once we get past labels and preconceptions.

Rated.
That's it, Gwen... you are now a duly authorized, adopted and sanctioned member of the Global Lesbian Conspiracy. Your membership card and group health plan enrollment forms are in the mail. ;)
Ditto what Safe_Bet said, from the Gayboi division of the community :-D
"She was a complete smart-ass. She talked back to my dad. She said all the things that I wished I had the guts to say. She was the first feminist I knew."

Hell, I had no idea you knew my wife?

I agree. Gay people are truly some of the most honest, real and trustworthy people I've ever known. The Puritanistic values in this country are shameful, all because of the King James fairy tale.

Now stop eating those apples.
I enjoyed this story very much--well written; great message.
Thanks for the repost.
:-)
And thank God/dess for straight girls and boys like you! Truly . . . without folks like you in the world, we non-straight folks would have a far, far more difficult time.
I just wish the rest of the country would open up to them. It's ridiculous to deny them the same rights as the rest of us, but ain't that America. Chuchill said, 'You can depend on America to do the right thing, after they've tried everything else.' Great Story!
Go, gay people! Hooray!
Great post, Gwen.
what owl said. great post. thanks for reposting, gg.
Really well-written post. I love how you found love and inspiration, life itself from gay friends (and comics)! the very people that are anathema to your parents morals. How wonderful you found a way to blossom despite your upbringing.
You went to ORU????? And now you are here being wonderful you???Wow!

Oh, Gwen, the work your mind has done, the questions you've asked, the answers you've sought - I am impressed and full of admiration at how you have stretched and nourished your mind and heart.

Much, much love and respect
The most beautiful story of creation is the ancient Egyptian one. The one in the Bible is a spin on an a much older one that is still on a wall in Iran. Reading this post, it is obvious the Church has always been the cause of your suffering.

You should be very proud of your present attitude.

Great story, very well written.
Rated.
Thank you, Gwendolyn. A great piece on how the marginalized can 'unmarginalize'. I'm so happy you made such a great group of friends. My friends are kind of like that too.
I agree. I go to an interdenominational church that may be somewhat more open than your previous one. They really do believe in service to the community and that God loves everyone and gossip is strongly discouraged, etc. The problem is, they are quite a bit more conservative than I. There is a prominent family there that has struggles. I am pretty sure that the father is gay and leaves at times, then tries to come back. No one spells it out, but it is basically obvious. The preacher has taken up for him at times, telling people one sin is no worse than another, saying that straight people who live together before marriage are as wrong as people in gay relationships, and coming down really hard on anyone who would gossip about him. The preacher even announced in front of the church how much he loved this man, who was a great friend. I know that considering my other options for church around here, this seems progressive, so I stick with it, trying to work on a ministry with the homeless that I lead.
The trouble is, I don't see how being gay is wrong, period. I could never convince them. I feel sorry for the man--a father to a pretty big family--who suffers so along with his family, because he can't be free. So many churches just meet and never help anyone, whether they are gay-friendly or not. We have homeless people and prostitutes at our church, and police officers and an occasional judge. I hate to lose this church, but I think they are prolonging this man's torture and really prolonging the suffering of his family, who should accept that he is gay. They feel abandoned or that he is struggling with demons or addiction or some such. I don't know what to do.
scanner, I think it's still hard for kids.

Bob! :)

Torman, Amen! It's the fault of those damn labels and preconceptions.

Safe, Whoohoo! I always wanted to be a member of the GLC. Do I get a secret agent name?

Placebostudman, thanks!

Boomer, that's one kickass wife you got then!

spotted, thank you!

Owl, awwww. Hugs!

Michael, ha! That quote is sorta funny, cause it's true.

Shannon, thank you!

femme, thank you!

Polly, I really appreciate your comment. That means a lot to me.

Nelly, thanks!

wakingupslowly, thank you! Yes, I'm an ORU survivor.

Elena, thank you very much. Hugs!

Thoth, my husband really likes Egyptian mythology. :) I still like myths, but I accept them all as valid stories about the world. They're all true, but not factual.

madcelt, Aren't good friends wonderful? I would be a small person without them.

Delia, Hugs! I'm totally going to send you a PM after coffee and waking up a little more.
It is injustice at its worst. But thank God for free will! Thank God you were born with an open and curious mind, despite the brainwashing you endured. You and I have traveled some similar roads.
Great post. Accepting your body, yes. Accepting others, yes. Why can't people just leave other people alone? I just don't get it.
Thank you for sharing this, it made me smile and Imma dance all the way to work today.
Beauty Post, Gwen.

You're right.

They're wrong.

Nuff said.
Mary, yes, yes, we have. I think we doing pretty good all things considered. :)

Pilgrim, I'm still learning to accept myself. It's a long road.

dicea, thank you! Dancing is good.

Connie, thanks. :)
I'm the mom who is rather "relaxed" about the whole sexuality thing. I tell my kids that they will love whoever and the gender isn't as important as the love between them. Straight, gay, bi, trans... I don't care. They are people first and the MOST important thing is that they are loved.
I had not read this post the first time, so I´m happy you have reposted. What a wonderful journey of discovery you´ve made, open-minded and with a brave, huge heart; congrats.
Love,
Marcela
Thanks for a great post, Gwen. You always do so much to restore my faith in humanity.
Mrs. Raptor, you kick ass.

Marcela, thank you!

Lorraine, you restore my faith in humanity too. As long as we write with love and compassion about injustice in the world, we're creating a space where redemption can happen.
Damn that fingerlakeswanderer---that's what I was going to say!
Terrific post and we need it now more than ever. I'm glad you found those friends that cut through your isolation. I'm also glad you found Jeanette Winterson; we could all use some gay boys, a tomboy, and some Winterson in our lives.
Excellent post. I'm thrilled to hear that a fundamentalist can recover to the point of accepting all of God's children. It boggles my mind when basic rights are denied in this land of the free. Thanks for showing that there is still hope.
you rock, girl!!! wonderful post, girl! i'm with you all the way. if it wasn't for the gay boys and men, i would not be here. i'm such a Fag Hag and i'm so bereft. i'm joking around, obviously. and gay women? don't even get me started on how much they have meant to me and mean to me now. love love love and huge gratitude for this. this marriage issue is just chapping my Increasing Large Ass (ILA). give my friends their civil rights, you homophobes!
ah, just lovely. It makes me want to meet you in person all the more! Thank you for this awesome post. So glad you re-posted it :-)
dolores, thank you!

ChicagoGuy, why didn't you get here faster? Haha. JK.

Caroline, I completely agree.

Kris, there is hope!

Thea, I'm trying to find a new word for fag hag. :)

Peterson, Yes! Someday we will meet, face to face. :)
"Boomer, that's one kickass wife you got then!"

She is indeed. Tougher than I ever thought of being and she really did talk back to my dad. He was a Mormon hauncho when we got married 36 years ago and he despised her for doing so, but I love her for it :-)
As a bisexual woman, I can't tell you how much this post meant to me. I just published a book, and I outed myself with a few of the poems, and now I'm told that the book won't sell, or people will be insulted. (I am already outed with some of my friends.) I lived in Oklahoma for a few years, and went to ORU doctors and hospital. Don't ask me why. I really don't remember. I was also a fundamentalist Christian for awhile, after practicing Buddhism (which I love.) I was raised Roman Catholic. Now I still talk to God - he has saved me from more stuff than I can tell - but I also am back into practicing Buddhism. In Buddhism, you can be any other religion you want to be. They are very tolerant. I am married to a man who knows I am bi, and has met a few women that I was having relationships with. (Not at the same time.) He is so cool about it. Your post reminded me so much of a lot of things I have experienced and gone through. I thank you for it. (And this is my first post on this forum. Me, my! FrredomHeart
Loved this the first go-round; love seeing it again!
At every holiday, my family has a handful of gay men and women who have been rejected by their own families join our celebration (my sister is gay and she and her partner are activists in The Community. My grandmother, being so close to my sister, has also gotten involved. She hosts fundraisers at her house, and she's 99! She also has also been "adopted" by the cutest gay couple ever. These two guys treat her like their own grandmother, doting on her and taking her out to dinner and to parties. Anyway, great post. Rated!
Delicious. Sorry only getting to this now. But I like and I will share w/ others! Rated