It was a good day today, for the most part. My Dad had his birthday and we all met at my parents’ house for a family dinner. There was lots of laughter and joking around plus plenty of yummy food. Everyone left in good spirits, Jeremy included.
At one point Jeremy looked up and asked what one of our relatives was doing. The relative replied, “I’m going out to shovel the driveway with you.”
Jeremy had been sitting in the living room but he good-naturedly walked over and started pulling on his winter gear. Then the relative continued.
“This is a man’s job,” he said cheerfully then he laughed and looked back over at Jeremy. “Although you’re not really much of a man are you? You’re more of a girl.”
“Yes,” Jeremy replied in a calm, patient voice. He finished tying his shoes and stood up.
“Especially with that long hair of yours,” the relative continued. Jeremy stayed silent and simply nodded.
“I’ve got gloves if you want to borrow a pair,” I commented, hoping to steer the conversation in a new direction.
“It’s okay,” Jeremy assured me. “I’m fine.” And, with that, they headed out.
Later on the relative complimented Jeremy on his great job at cleaning the driveway. To him what happened earlier was just some mild teasing. I didn’t find it nearly as funny or mild, however I had no idea what to say. Plus I don’t think Jeremy would have appreciated me saying anything.
When I started writing this entry I wanted to make sure I wrote exactly what the relative said, so I asked Jeremy what he remembered. He looked at me then shrugged.
“I don’t remember. Sorry Mom, I try to forget stuff like that right away. I block it right out of my mind.”
Obviously he didn’t consider it mild teasing either.
I got on the computer shortly after we got home and logged onto Facebook. One of the first things that showed up on my newsfeed was a link to an article detailing Kirk Cameron’s homophobic comments about the weddings at The Grammys. Neither Jeremy or I saw The Grammys but we did see the weddings, thanks to several links on Facebook.
Jeremy laughed and shook his head when I explained briefly what this expired child actor had to say about the marriages.
“But Mom, there were normal marriages on the show too, not just gay ones,” he retorted. Normal marriages.
“Jeremy, they were all normal marriages,” I replied. He rolled his eyes.
“Mom. You know what I meant.”
Yes, I knew exactly what he meant. And I can’t help thinking this is just one of the reasons the suicide rates are so high for LGBTQ youth. That pervasive “there’s normal and then there’s you” mindset.