4.05.2006

On ignorance

Which sounds like it has something to do with ignore and something to do with ants. As if one is ignoring ants who, though insignificant, have big things to say about major stuff. Or something. Maybe it's just that I feel like an ant sometimes.

Or maybe it has something to do with dancing. Ignoring through dancing. Dancing around things that you never want to step on, never want to talk about, never want to know.

The process of ignoring. Ignor-ance. Whatever.

As if knowing how or why it happens could stop it. And maybe it can. Or maybe it would just make it that much more frustrating.

A recent post of Betsy's struck a chord with me because it's similar to something I've been wanting to blog about. She talks about how a colleague of hers who is going through a divorce has decided never to marry again. She'll just live with her next boyfriend. Betsy points out that there are legal rights that this woman might want to try and recreate should a live-in turn into a life-partner. Important things. Yes, important even to heterosexual folk. Like my Aunt who lived with a man for 8 years, until he was killed in a airplane accident, and after his death his children took everything from her in a bitter court battle. They took everything including the house she got from her first divorce. These are things that heterosexual people don't think about until they're caught by it and queers can't stop thinking about because it's always looming.

"these were intelligent people. one a lawyer. and they had NO idea. it’s not the first time i’ve had conversations like this with straight friends. they simply never put enough thought into same-sex relationships (why would they?) to grasp the fact that our rights are not the same as theirs."

The depth of ignorance blows me away. Always. Even though I know better. I am just that self-absorbed. I think that everyone knows the legal constraints I live with. I mean, how can they not?

They can. If one doesn't have to live it, it is so easily danced away from. So easily ignored. Not (normally) in a "I'm going to ignore this until it goes away" way. But in a "that's sad, but it doesn't really have an impact on the immediacy of my life so what can I do other than feel sad and keep on keeping on and then it just disappears" kind of way. And I know all about that. I do that all the time with issues like the environment or immigration or any number of isms that I don't percieve as directly affecting me. Yes. I do. I know that I do it and I know that even if I don't percieve them directly affecting me they do because we're all connected. And yet still I keep doing it.

This is not a bitch post. It is a hmmm post. A "how can I complain so much about this when I do it myself" post. A "practice talking about this so I can be a better educator" post. A "lay pieces of the problem out so I can look at them better" post.

One of the most surprising things to me is the question that most often gets posed to Kristin and I when people who are not super close to us try to figure out our family. They ask us: "Did you adopt her?" They ask this because her skin is a different color than ours. They ask us this because they really can't see how else two women could get a child. Sometimes, after we tell them that Kristin birthed Julia they repeat the question to me, sometimes putting it in the future tense: "so, are you going to adopt her?"

And each time, each time the question surprises me. Because it normally comes from a liberal, educated adult. And they have no idea, or don't remember, that it was only 6 years ago that gay adoption was made illegal in Utah. Only 6 Years Ago. And yet, so many liberal, educated adults who have lived here longer than 6 years have forgotten it entirely. And I have to re-educate them, every time. No adoption. Not here. Not now. This is why we have to move. And yes, the people who voted for that law are still in office. Because educated, liberal adults keep voting for them. Or not voting against them. Or vote against them but never talk about why, never let others know why. So that others, maybe not so liberal but not so bad, don't know that there are reasons not to vote against them, too.

But the forgetfulness. The ignor-ance of this particular, recent law. There were protests. There were flurries of Op-ed pieces. There were speeches and stumps and rhetoric. And our legislators voted against alternative families. They voted against the best interests of children in favor of the best interest of popular opinion, popular psychology. The law in Utah reads that no unmarried, cohabitating adults may adopt. That means even straight people who are partnered, but not legally married, can't adopt. That means that if you are roomates with another adult, but not romantically involved -- maybe just wanting the company or needing the rent money -- you can't adopt a child. And so many people don't remember this. Or don't realize the ramifications. And it's funny, because this law actually makes the marriage-rights fight in Utah that much more pointed and poisonous. Because the ban on adoption, the protection of children, isn't based on sexuality but on marital status. If we could get married in Utah, or get married outside of Utah but have it recognized in Utah, the adoption law wouldn't need to be changed. We could adopt, simple as simple. The web of laws that governs us is devious, circular, self-supporting. We can't be allowed adopt because we aren't married; we can't be allowed to marry because then we could adopt.

And the circle goes round and round and round. And people get lost in what is real law and what are real threats and what is only rhetoric and bluster. And when you're dancing like that it's just easy to get lost in the music or the metaphor and mistake bared teeth for smiles and smiles for bared teeth...

This is a "post that rambles and doesn't have a real ending or pithy point" post.

Posted by Trista @ 10:08 AM

Read or Post a Comment

What I find to be the most incredible is how when these laws are passed preventing us from adopting or marrying or teaching... or whatever... it is the biggest deal in that very moment that these rights are taken away from us. Everyone knows what's going on... everyone has an opinion. It is just SO DAMN IMPORTANT that the law be passed/overturned/whatever...

Then, like you said, a few years later that law that was JUST SO IMPORTANT is completely forgotten.

Thousands and thousands of taxpayer dollars later, after a dozen politicians fight tooth and nail and slander each other, after millions of tears are shed by the ones who are on the other end of the law... it's all just forgotten.

I don't get it. Human beings are such strange creatures sometimes.

Posted by Anonymous Molly @ 11:30 AM #
 

Just wanted to say that while I consider myself very conservative politically, I have come to care so much about this issue. I think you have a beautiful family and I will remember you should this issue ever be on the ballot in my state.

Posted by Blogger AmyA @ 1:44 PM #
 

AmyA, thank you for reminding me that not all who support my family are liberals and that not all who identify as conservative are the enemy.

Posted by Blogger Trista @ 2:26 PM #
 

That really sucks :( but is good that you took it out and share it with us.. I am very thankful because I'm learning more and more about the things you, Kristin & Julia (and a lot of gay families) have to go through, all the shit and bad things.. all this got me thinking that straight people like me, have it a Lot more easy than you and that's JUST NOT FARE!
For what is worth I think you have a very amazing family and most of all a Super wonderful daughter, and I really wish things were more equal, I mean the only difference betwen gay couples and straight couples with children is that ones are the same gender and the others not.
I don't know I'm so upset that I don't think I'm making any sense.
The whole Idea is that for me (and all the people that care about you) Julia Is and will always be YOUR daghter.

Posted by Blogger Sublime @ 8:26 PM #
 

A connection made in my own mind: it offends me rather than comforts me when family members assure me that my marriage is "the same" as theirs in their eyes. Um, no. It is not.

Posted by Blogger Lo @ 10:21 PM #
 

I think it is wonderful that you take the time to correct people that make assumptions about your family. The only way people will make a connection with issues that may seem so foreign to them is if they have a face or a family or a friend that connects the dots for them.
I always considered myself hip on issues, but I take an awful lot for granted and I need to be reminded that, no, things are not the same for everyone. & unless I help change that nothing will improve.

Posted by Blogger Calliope @ 8:46 AM #
 
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