Category: Gay rights

Shit that Lao people (or at least my folks) like to say

I have dropped some breadcrumbs, post after post, about how crazy my extended family is and how their madness may very likely be connected to the fact that they are Lao. I am aware that it is a racist statement but still…I let you be the judge after you finish reading this post. Also everything written here is actually 100% true and if people do recognize themselves, well it is exactly how you sound. I still love you. Most times 🙂

On the topic of your physical appearance

‘Her husband is so handsome; you should see him grand ma. She is meh but he is GORGEOUS.’ Because it is deemed important to assess whom outta of a couple got the better end of the bargain when it comes to the beauty department. And by the way, you are not supposed to get offended because it is the TRUTH.

So yeah, they tell it like it is. The other day, my dad was staring at a friend of mine who very likely leans towards the democratic vote ( he is Canadian after all). After some intense staring, he had an epiphany and proudly stated: ‘Ha!!! I know who you look like! George W Bush!!!’
Fits of embarrassing laughter ensued; and my friend’s wife tried to save the day: ‘maybe a mix of Bush and Clinton ?’ to no avail… My dad cooly replied serious like a stone: ‘No, just Bush. In fact, he looks like Bush father and son, both of them.’
Most embarrassing/WTF moment since my dad did the duck dance with my mother in law at my wedding.

But all this is nothing compared to Lao women’s obsession with other women’s weight. Typically, things start like below.

‘Wow. You have gained so much weight I did not recognize you.’

The conversation usually then unfolds in 2 possible ways:

Option 1: you are trying to explain.

– ‘I did have 3 kids’.

– ‘So did I but look at me, still the same face and body. ‘

To which your evil bitchy self is dying to reply: ‘Yes you are lucky. Getting knocked up at 18  by the local suburbian boy does indeed make wonder in terms of getting your pre pregnancy weight back. When you are in your late 30s (like me), have travelled and tasted amazing world cuisine…well yeah pounds are a bitch to drop. It’s true but who can resist a NY steak right?’

But in reality you are shamefully replying: ‘Yes, you are SO lucky. Hmm, where’s the bar?’ And are thinking: ‘See you in 20 years. Bitch.’

Option 2: you stand on your ground.

‘No, I actually lost 4 pounds.’

To which they stop talking and start pinching and pulling (key word here) your double chin while grinning up to their ears.

You can NEVER win. Seriously.

On the topic of sibling rivalry

‘Ha, I see…that’s the ugly one. Where is the pretty one?’. Always indeed useful to quickly identify who is whom in a pack of mutts.

‘She is a good student but you should check out her sister’s test scores. Much better.’ Just in case your sister did not already  hate your guts.

He is the grand father’s favorite grand child; he does not like the others much. I, for myself, struggle with my son’s temperament; my younger daughter is the one I prefer’. 

All these being part of a fairly typical casual chat with friends as THE kids themselves are trying to eat (and fail to digest) their Pho Bo.

It is so bad that when a few months ago I read in the New York Times and Le Monde different articles addressing the modern times taboo of the ‘favorite’ child I was at loss. What taboo?

On the topic of gender equality and general marital advice

Of course she was going to leave him. It’s because she has a higher degree; that’s not how it works. To make it work, men must have higher education than their wives.’ No.It is not taken from a Mad Men script. I swear.

Another time, my grand ma told me over the phone that she had been hearing rumors about my temper and that I was being too tough on my husband (???) and that I should really be more lenient and understanding (god knows about what). I wondered if my brother gets the same type of call. Hmmm. Very unlikely if I believe the wedding good wishes DH and I got at our very own Soukhouane ceremony. The soukhouane is a ceremony that calls upon your spirits/energy so that they are tied back to you and you can be in your prime in different key moments of your life (birth, move, accidents, marriage, death etc.). It is beautiful and emotional. The ceremony is then followed by your family and friends wishing you well tying threads of cotton around your wrists. As grannies (‘meh tao’) ,wished me good health and financial prosperity they wished/implored DH to be faithful to me and never take a ‘second wife’ also more commonly called in western cultures ‘mistress’ or ‘lover’. The poor guy had no benefit of the doubt.

It gets worse.

My very own first cousin whom I was meeting for the first time asked : ‘Are you saying that of his own free will your husband will not come with me and check out escort girls?

‘What about you ask him?’

Cousin actually asked DH using me as the translator. Not awkward at all. DH at that point was scared of saying anything really and wondered what kind of sick games we were playing and what kind of weapons I was hiding in my purse.

Cousin concluded:‘yeah, it is not possible. It’s because you are standing here.’  What???

On the topic of  the LGBT community

To start with, I shall say that my family is relatively very open minded about gays and lesbians (and I love them for that!) but they also have the weirdest way to express their support and acceptance. They have come a long way though.

First step was denial.

My first gay centric conversation with my folks went like this.

‘Mom, where is your cousin staying?’

‘At a friend’s.’

‘You mean at his boyfriend’s

‘No, how dare you? It’s his friend’.

‘He’s gay, mom.’

‘Who said this?’

‘He did. And you saw his gay porn collection all over his bedroom’.

‘Hmmmm (frozen face, red face )…i don’t think I did (and Asian stoic face). ‘

I was probably as confused as my gay childhood friend who came out to his parents in his early 20s…

Your friend is nice.’

‘He is my boyfriend.’

‘It will be lovely when I meet your girlfriend.’

‘Mom, he is my BOYfriend.’

‘I hope you decide to have children and…’

Intervention by the father: ‘Mama your son is trying to tell you that he likes boys’.

The mom: ‘Your kids will look pretty’.

Second step was curiosity.

So, ok I understand that they are in love and live together so now can you tell me who is the wife and who is the husband?’

‘Pop, that is not how it works!’

‘What do you mean? What’s the point if there is no wife and no husband?’

I still haven’t gathered the courage to ask further what my dad meant by that; scared shitless that he was being ‘graphic’ about it…oh dear…

Third step was full on support and approval 🙂

Three years ago, I overheard my mom tell her friends:

‘My daughter only has gay friends. She has been like this since she was a child. Gays tend to come to her. It makes sense though: they are gorgeous, very cultured, very funny, have good manners. Do you remember Archibald from her wedding? Yes he is one of ‘them’. I am telling you; they have it all. Her friends look like men too, you know. You would not have guessed. Yes, hell I do want them as friends too. I have to admit it; I do have gay friends too..’

There are so many wrong things in that last paragraph that I cannot even start breaking it down. But it does not change the fact that at the core of it is tolerance and love… or least a damn good attempt at it. And on days when news around the world about hatred and fear of each other just depress me, I do take some comfort in thinking that my folks are trying. Their own way. With some kind of twisted love. It can make you and break you. But they do try.

Lao readers, what is your most ‘what the fuck?’ moment triggered by a fellow Lao? Non Lao readers, what is your most ‘what the fuck’ moment triggered by a countryman/woman? 

Wedding soukhouane

Wedding soukhouane

‘Ask Away Friday’ with Vanilla Housewife

Very different post for this Friday, folks! I have been ‘dialoguing’ with the  hilarious Jhanis of Fascinations of a Vanilla Housewife for a while now.

The Vanilla Housewife

She lives in the Philippines; I live in New York.  Similar stuff crack us up so when she asked me to take part in an Ask Away Friday, I said: ‘Yeah, let’s do it, girl!

She asked me questions, I asked her questions, and now we link up. A little like Reddit ANA (Ask Me Anything). I did have a fantasy of appearing on the David Letterman Show (either as a guest or as Letterman himself) so this post might be the closest thing to a Letterman interview that I will ever get, so yeah!!!  We also decided to go for a ‘quote me something’ theme to support our answers. You can read Jhanis’ answers to my questions here.

I loved doing this with her because not only I got to know her more but I saw how supportive bloggers can be to each other! She basically wrote the ‘grab my button code’ (still makes me laugh, sorry…) for me. Thank you Jhanis, you are a rock star!

My answers to her questions are below.

1. You have a very very interesting “About Me” page, now if you were to choose a song that would best describe you as a person, what would it be and why?

Hand in my pocket by Alanis Morrisette  because every single sentence resonates with me. OK, except the one about ‘playing the piano‘ because not in a zillion years, I could play an instrument. I am tone deaf and my brain is just not wired for partition reading. I get dizzy just looking at one. Anyway, I remember when the song was first released I was 20 and I was like: ‘I want to be that girl in the song‘ and I hope that I have become her. I wished I was a wealthier version of her though..sic.

I’m broke but I’m happy
I’m poor but I’m kind
I’m short but I’m healthy, yeah
I’m high but I’m grounded
I’m sane but I’m overwhelmed
I’m lost but I’m hopeful baby
What it all comes down to
Is that everything’s gonna be fine fine fine
’cause I’ve got one hand in my pocket
And the other one is giving a high five

2. And because I thought your question to me “Who would you Kiss, Shag, Kill, Marry (in an alternative reality)?” is really interesting, I’m gonna ask you the same question BUT let’s pretend that you are a man. 😉

Kiss Rachel Bilson or Chloe Sevigny

Shag Gwen Stefani

Kill? I am so regretting asking you this now because I am not of the murderous type (I think). However,  if anyone raped one of my children I would get into a blind rage and go out for a kill…while hoping someone sane slaps me hard to get some sense into me.

Marry Matt Bomer from White Collar. Whether I am a man or a woman, this does not change my answer. He is perfection.

‘What you waiting
What you waiting
What you waiting
What you waiting
What you waiting for!?

Tick tock
Tick tock
Tick tock
Tick tock

Take a chance you stupid whore
Take a chance you stupid whore

Like an echo pedal, you’re repeating yourself
You know it all by heart
Why are you standing in one place?
Born to blossom, bloom to perish’ 

What you waiting For, Gwen Stefani

3. Where in the world have you been? (map your footprints across the globe).

So many countries missing …Sic

visited_countries.php

4. I know how strongly you support gay rights. What developed this passion?

Apologies for the long answer but when I start on this issue I cannot shut up. I think my journey as a gay rights advocate started way before I even heard the word ‘gay’. It is somehow closely  tied to my stance on women’s rights. As a kid, I would feel absolutely enraged when some of my boyfriends were being bullied for showing off ‘feminine’ traits or tastes. I was like: ‘why is it a problem to act like a girl? Why is it weak or dirty to be like a girl?’

All my life I had Alpha type males  whom I considered as some of my oldest and closest friends. I thought I knew everything about them until they came out as gay. In 2000, I had my first come out confession.A very close friend took me aside during a party and said with tears in his eyes: ‘I have to tell you something, I am gay’. I asked: ‘What does it mean?’ He replied in shock: Well…I like men’ And I remember vividly saying:’ OK. And?’ Because I actually had no idea back then what ‘liking men’ would imply in the way you live your life, the way you were treated in public and in private. I just thought:’what’s the big deal with this? Why the fuck is he crying about it?’

Gradually I started to understand a little more about the issues and then,  there was a tipping point. I was walking on the street in New York with Thor on a very fun Halloween night. He got harassed by a group of men calling him ‘faggot, pussy’ and other anti-gay slur. And I snapped. BIG time. I almost started a brawl, I was violent, girl. Thank god, DH and a girlfriend pulled me out but that’s when I realized I could not be easy going about gay rights because some of the world around me surely was not. Since that night, I got a little more vocal.

Judge Garrett: In this courtroom, Mr.Miller, justice is blind to matters of race, creed, color, religion, and sexual orientation.
Joe Miller: With all due respect, your honor, we don’t live in this courtroom, do we?

Philadelphia, 1993

5. To say that I love your fashion sense is an understatement and I would love to see 3 of your most favorite look.

Thanks for the compliment! The aesthetics of my style can be borderline schizophrenic, to be honest. However, for an outfit to feel right, it needs to make me feel fierce, current, positive and be as comfortable as possible. I have never been into the romantic, ingenue, ethereal aesthetics which, considering my age now and the 3 kids in tow, is probably lucky. Anyway, here are my top 3 looks.

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True blue 2

Turkey hunting

6. One thing that you and your husband would like to do within the next 5 years.

Visit Japan. Obsessed with it. My obsession started with mangas when I was a child, then the authors (Mishima, Murakami), the food, the style, the weirdness…We MUST go there!

The other thing would be learn how to dance the Tango. Last time we tried, we really, really sucked at it so we need our bruised egos to mend first before getting back on the horse.

‘I sometimes think that people’s hearts are like deep wells. Nobody knows what’s at the bottom. All you can do is imagine by what comes floating to the surface every once in a while’.

 Kafka on the Shore, HARUKI MURAKAMI

7. What do you love about New York and what don’t you love about New York?

Before I give you my list of of love/don’t love, I need to say that coming to live here was a dream come true. I thought I knew everything about this city from the movies, TV shows and to some extent when I first arrived, everything seemed very familiar. After 4 years, I now realize that what I love the most about it is that it keeps surprising me. It keeps me on my toes. It keeps me alive.

What I don’t love about New York:

– if there is no tip, customer service is non-existent. For example, public transportation service is particularly bad. I mean, I get that you don’t have to be spoon fed like a baby when taking the subway (like you are in London for example, missing the Tube staff!!!) but trying to slash passengers on purpose by closing the train doors without warning is simply cruel.

– the way people curse or talk on their cell phones super, super loud. I am all for self-expression but I really don’t need to know about strangers ‘ sex life especially when it is not very educative and mainly mysoginistic.

– the amount of plastic surgery in the +50  female population of Upper East Side. On a scary day, you walk around and you start wondering if you have seen the same woman again and again but in different fur coats.

What I love about New York:

– you strike conversations with strangers in restaurants, in the subway, on the street that often change your views of the world or your own prejudice. I feel very privileged to get my assumptions challenged on a daily basis.

– most side streets are little peace havens away from the madness of main avenues. New York can be more quiet than you think. I like that this quietness is unexpected. You run, you yell and suddenly you turn a corner and you see cherry blossom trees and you can no longer hear anything. You look around wondering if you have stepped onto a movie set seconds after the director said ‘1,2, 3…Action’. And sometimes you actually have!

– the food: so much choice, so good. The number of restaurants by square mile is absolutely unbelievable.  A swanky restaurant serving Lao food even recently opened  in TriBeCA with lots of success. When I told my mom how much they charged for a tiny bowl of Tom Khem (Lao caramelized pork stew), she almost packed her suitcase to move here and open a Lao diner.

– the amount of rooftop bars where you feel like floating above the urban jungle while sipping a martini. They are breathtaking.

Here’s one of my favorite spots the Press Lounge

The-Press-Lounge1_thumb

– New York is way more connected to nature than people think: Hudson river esplanades, all the parks, the Highline, etc. but also easy access to sandy beaches and mountains for hiking and skiing. So it is an endless playground for the urban addicts like me and the nature freaks like DH.

– New York is like a music box; full of eclectic rhythms, beats, melodies. It’s never boring and I do believe everyone can write their own music here, even tone deaf people like me 🙂

Banksy, the elusive street artist chose the streets of New York for his one-month ‘artists residency’ and said:

“New York calls to graffiti writers like a dirty old lighthouse. We all want to prove ourselves here,”.  “I chose it for the high foot traffic and the amount of hiding places. Maybe I should be somewhere more relevant, like Beijing or Moscow, but the pizza isn’t as good.”
Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/banksy-interview-with-village-voice-2013-10#ixzz2hLTOC2a8

8. What are your dreams for your children?

It is going to sound completely sappy but here’s the list:

be happy. And I think it is a very hard thing to achieve. Someone dear to my heart once said to me: ‘I am not equipped for happiness’. It was heartbreaking.

love themselves. Self-hatred is a very dangerous curse.

– and I would absolutely love the 3 of them to be really tight and supportive of each other. I would love them to have a ‘I cannot go by a week without talking to my brother and sister’ relationship. I don’t think we can really engineer this as parents but I hope that’s what is going to happen.

‘Keep it together in the family
They’re a reminder of your history
Brothers and sisters they hold the key
To your heart and your soul
Don’t forget that your family is gold’

Keep it together, Madonna

9. Tell me about a time when you really lost your cool, what did you do and what happened.

It’s weird because growing up I was losing my cool for absolutely everything and anything. I had a permanent frown on my face, I swear. Then as a young adult, I worked hard to let go of my anger. Plus I lived 11 years in London, England and it really turned me into an ‘ice cool’ chick. British composure is not a legend, it’s real, people. And now, the combination of New York’s abrasive and gutsy personality and me being a stay at home mom with 3 kids has woken up the volcano!!! The beast is back. I talked about it in a post about how I went mental during my vacation. More recently, the kids turned into tween brats and started to sulk refusing to clean up their toys.  I don’t know if it was G pretending not to hear my request, or P dragging her feet and pushing her toys with her toes very slowly to pretend she was cleaning or L doing the exact opposite of my request by emptying the toy chest…but I exploded. I started to throw some of their toys in the trash can. It felt really really good 🙂

10. This one is my favorite question each week. What’s in your bag? (Take a photo of your bag contents and no cleaning!) 😊

OK, that’s embarrassing but here it goes:

– The gadgets: Macbook Air, iPhone and headphones

– The glasses: reading glasses and sunnies

– 3 pens (?)

– 2 notepads: one for my business coach freelance job, and one for other ventures, ideas for start-ups, rambling etc. I usually have a 3rd for drawings or creative ideas. Talk about a mad head.

– a A3/A2 white paper sheet in case my ideas’ mapping does not fit on the standard notepad page. Very mad head, I am telling you…

– a pair of scissors. I am not sure why they are still in the bag but they are usually for cutting stuff from magazines. I guess, always useful for self-defense too 🙂

– The medication cabinet: anti hay fever tablets, anti-bacterial gel and paper tissues. I recently discovered that I I developed extremely uncomfortable skin rashes because of the pollen and the sun. I thought I was getting allergic to my kids because it always happened when I was taking them out all day…

– The delusion: receipts from restaurants or cafes because one day I will have a proper money management system in place. I will. And one day I will go to Shrine, a must go to music venue in Harlem. That is why I have been carrying their business card for like probably a year now.

– The beauty set: a hand mirror and a red lipstick 🙂

Anything that surprised you in this Q&A? Have a great week end, everyone!

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Letter to teenage redlipstickgirl

Come on girls
Do you believe in love?
‘Cause I got something to say about it
And it goes something like this
Madonna

A fun and moving letter by Jhanis to her 7 year old self and this beautiful response from Stephen Fry to a letter 16 year-old Stephen wrote to his future self inspired me. I decided to write to a certain young, naïve and angry redlipstickgirl. I was not sure at which age I’d like to talk to her and thought, why not do a series? In this first installment, I am writing to teenage redlipstickgirl (14-16 year old). I put these years together because a lot of shit was going through my head then. It is a scary exercise but I promised, when redlipstickmama was born, that I was always going to push my own boundaries  in my search for my new self and nothing and no one may be spared. So here it goes.

Dear redlipstickgirl,

You are spending a lot of time, way too much time, in your bedroom. It is covered with ugly wallpaper with windmills print. This ugliness is too much to bear and you are staring at glossy posters of Madonna and Norwegian boy band A-ha, dreaming of a country far away and wishing to flee the boredom of la Banlieue Parisienne where nothing, absolutely nothing, happens. You fucking hate la Banlieue. Surely, there has been some major cosmic fuck up because you cannot belong here. You think about how Madonna supposedly left her home and arrived in Times Square with $35 in her pockets to become..well, Madonna. You think, can it be that during her pre-fame stay in Paris, she had a fling with some Asian dancer dude and I am her long lost child? Breathe deep, girlfriend. Madonna is really not your mother but you will live in a far away country one day and you will give a go at your own American dream. It is going to happen so for now perhaps you could open that window of yours to enjoy the sun and listen to your neighbors mow their lawn even though you hate it. By the way, in twenty years, you’ll still hate that sound; it will still put you in a weird spleen. Something even weirder, in your mid-twenties you will start to proudly boast that you are from La Banlieue in the middle of snotty cocktail evenings where people talk about social justice but never suffered from exclusion themselves. Also, there is this very cool moviemaker Matthieu Kassovitz who will shed some light on La Banlieue in the movie, La Haine. It’ll make you feel sad and angry and you will then realize that perhaps you grew up there and survived it just to tell others.

No one chooses their family. And one day, you will actually accept yours. One day, your mom will stop gambling your family home playing Black Jack and your dad will stop threatening her to use a Samurai sword if she does not give it up. One day, in about 15 years, you will look at their vacation photos in Laos and you will be shocked to see them very much in love and holding hands. Surreal? It is true though, it will happen. One day, you will not think that your dad is a tyrant but a sweet old man who will help you hobble out of the maternity ward after you delivered your younger son. One day, you will tell your little brother that you love him on his wedding day so stop acting like a crazy bitch and stop chasing him around the dining table with a kitchen knife. This image will haunt you for the rest of your life. Trust me.

Talking about being a crazy bitch, I know you are about to barge into a neighbor’s house in the middle of the night to interrupt a cards game and rip your mom’s gambling partners apart. You will say something like that: ‘You selfish bastards, why did you drag her all the way here to play?  You know she is an addict. You know she has a 3 months old baby at home who is crying, a husband who needs to go to work at 5 am and 3 other kids who want their mama home. You should be ashamed of yourself, losers!’ Well girl, kudos, kudos. Do not feel embarrassed; do not let their uncomfortable chuckles unsettle you and just rip them apart. Because it will be one of the proudest moments of your life. Because sometimes when I feel weak now, I remember your courage and it inspires me… Also, if you have not done it yet, please take a container full of padek (stinky fermented fish that Lao people adore) and splash their faces with it. Also do know that some of these gamblers, when old, will redeem themselves in the eyes of their own families.  Funnily enough, some will continue to fear you as an adult because you will always be in their eyes the demented girl in her pajamas who barked at them and told them their sad truth  with all the anger and conviction of her youth.

On the topic of your body and how you look like…You have cried, not often, perhaps twice (and it’s already twice too many), because some stupid boys daily heckle you using a moron moniker ‘moustache’ or offer you a razor as a secret Santa gift. All this because you have facial hair. You spend nights cursing them and swear to get your revenge once you take over the world. Well, it is not going to happen sweetheart (sigh) but soon you will be able to afford wax and most importantly you will meet a guy who in the first 15 years of your relationship will never see your upper lip hair because he is totally short-sighted. Plus you will not even remember those losers’  names and faces. You also recently decided that you did not want to look like a tomboy anymore and started to wear very skanky outfits and stash your bras with tissues. I understand where you are coming from, and why you feel you have to do this. What bothers me if that you don’t actually feel great about it, you feel cheap, you don’t even like the way older creeps start looking at you on the street. Well, stay firm on your ground. There is no rush, my little tomboy. The curves will come eventually (and you will wish they had not), and with them a classier fashion sense too. Keep the red lipstick though, that’s a good style statement 🙂

There are other couple of things that really bother you at the moment: you still don’t have your periods and you are still a virgin. On the first point, your periods will come, then go for a while and then come back from time to time. You are never going to be one of these women who have their menstruations on the clock. It’s OK, periods are overrated so stop pretending you have them by putting some pads in your underwear, silly girl! As for your virginity, you think you need to have sex by age 17, just to get over it. It’s not a big deal and others have lost it before you and seem OK. I am not sure what to tell you: should you treasure your virginity more? Should you make this a bigger deal? I don’t know… but you have great instincts and you are going to choose your ‘first’ well: a sweet guy. That choice has helped me develop fairly healthy relations with men, I am sure of it, so thank you little redlipstickgirl.

You are also very upset because your best buddy got called ‘pede, tapette, trans-‘ (French for faggot, fannie, transsexual) by some high school classmates. You have never heard of the word ‘gay’ so you naively defend him and tell the bullies that ‘no,  he is not a fag, he likes hot girls‘. Well, he still does but not in the way you mean 🙂 The fact that you are so clueless is kind of sweet and kind of sad too. I wish adults would tell you more so you could engage with all these guys at school you think are a little weird but you cannot figure what their problem is. When you are older, a lot of your closest friends will be gay. You’ll know that men can love other men, rejoice that some can even marry and you will bite off the heads of anyone who dares to say they should not be allowed to. Strange, huh?

Finally, be proud of the little diary that I know you are keeping. You feel absolutely stupid writing all your dreams, pains, infatuations, and secrets. You should not, this diary is helping you more than you think. Unfortunately, I know that someone will find it, you will feel mortified and you will trash it. It is a shame because I really wish I could read this now so we could compare notes…

Love,

Redlipstickmama aka you in 20 year or so and with an additional 30lbs.

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Activist Mama: Dear Boy Scouts of America

Here’s a copy of the email I sent to Boy Scouts of America.

Dear Boy Scouts of America

I never write directly to organizations to lobby for stuff. I am more than happy to give a monthly small gift to good causes or sign online petitions but writing? Nope. Never done it.

I decided to stay awake tonight while my 3 babies are sound asleep in the room next door , which is sheer madness considering they will probably crawl into my bed to play at 4am. I decided to give up much needed sleep to write to you, Boy Scouts of America because I am very upset. I am upset that you are still debating whether or not to allow gay scouts and leaders in your organization.

See, my husband and I are overwhelmed parents of three babies. Our families are far and if it was not for the dedication, love and support of our gay friends our children, I am ashamed to say, would not be so happy. These friends are our life support and they offer so much to my kids: safe arms to snuggle into, patient ears to talk to, singing voices to listen to, energy to play with etc. It pains me to think amazing people like them could not be mentors and friends to your members because of whom they love. Concerned families might be afraid that their influence would ‘turn’ their children into gay people. I will avoid the nature Vs nurture debate to tell you this: many gay people I know are petrified that some children they care for turn out to be gay because they know how it still sucks to be gay. So, no it is very unlikely that gay scout leaders would be on a mission to ‘Gay-icize’ members. Concerned families might be afraid that gay leaders would hurt their children. Let’s stop being hypocrites here and address this: gay does not equal pedophilia.

Finally, I saw that a key component of your mission is character building and development. I think kids desperately need such support to blossom in an increasingly complex world where bullying culture is overlooked or worse celebrated sometimes. Your organization is therefore exceptionally well placed to build a tolerant and positive America for future generations. Please lift the ban. It is your duty.

Best,

a (straight) mother of three in Harlem, New York