The post in which I realize my uncle is a bigot
I am a very lucky person when it comes to my family and my sexuality. D is also pretty lucky. Neither one of us was disowned, and our parents and most of our siblings are supportive of us. When we had our wedding 3 years ago, all but 4 people came (and those 4 were my brother and his wife and kids because they live really far away and were having money issues at the time). So yeah, we have a ton of support. Or so one would think.
I have a really small extended family. I have 2 uncles, 2 aunts, 2 female and 2 male cousins (1 on each side). My father only has 1 brother (Uncle Jan) and my mother also only has 1 brother (Uncle Stephen). Both of my uncles dislike my life (it’s not a lifestyle – so I won’t call it that). My mothers’ brother is a Rabbi, but in the past was a Pastor of a born-again christian church, which we attended for half of my childhood. He and my aunt have always completely ignored D and refused to acknowledge her existence. Because of this, I refused to go to any family functions in which they were involved, and also did not invite them to our wedding. My cousins on that side are much more accepting and my female cousin even told me she is secretly bisexual when I came out. I never see them (the cousins) anymore – we all live far apart – but at least I know they have my back. They (my aunt and uncle) both acknowledge me, and have given me presents for Christmas in the past – but never have they ever sent a card that mentioned D – nor have they even looked at her the few times we met with them in person. The funny thing is that my aunt’s sister was with a women for decades. I heard she recently broke up with her long-time partner and began dating a man. (UGH!!!! As if it isn’t hard enough to explain I was BORN this way and cannot change – she changes and goes with a man!) I think eventually she broke up with the guy and is now with women again, but cheese and rice it pisses me off!*
Anyway, my father’s side of the family was different. My aunt and uncle do not necessarily fully accept my life, but they have always been kind to D and included her name on cards, etc. When I first came out, they told my mother “Love the sinner, hate the sin”. That has really stuck with me and pisses me off too. They are very conservative right-wingers, but I always have felt like they really still loved me and were making an effort with D. I thought we had changed their minds about gay people. We even invited them to our wedding and they came! Both of their children have been very supportive of us and have posted positive things on Facebook about the DOMA rulings and how everyone should have the same rights. Yesterday my male cousin posted this:
“I’m still trying to figure out how either side of politicking can get away with trying to remove human rights based on what their opinion of ‘proper’ behavior is. If gay people want to get married, why does that effect you? If law abiding citizens(aka people who dont want to murder you) want to carry guns, why does that effect you? If I want to share a song I bought with a friend via the internet, why can’t I? Inalienable rights are being attacked everyday by our own politicians…and I like every other american on here, barely get out of my own chair to do anything.”
While I don’t totally agree with everything he said, obviously he is sticking up for gay people here. And with having the parents he does, this is very admirable. A lot of people responded, and then my uncle said this:
“Just because I do not believe that the meaning of the word marriage should be changed from it biblical origin, I am called a bigot! So now not only do they want to change the biblical meaning of the word marriage, but they also want to change Websters definition of the word bigot!”
Okay, here is the Webster’s Dictionary definition of bigot:
Definition of BIGOT
Examples of BIGOT
- He was labeled a bigot after making some offensive comments.
- <an incorrigible bigot who hasn’t entertained a new thought in years>
I would say that comment places him squarely under that definition, and his comment truly offended and hurt me – but I left that part alone when I responded with:
“Uncle Jan, marriage is not strictly a religious institution, so why should only religious people get the word? What about people who were not married in churches and/or do not believe in organized religion? Are they not married in your eyes? Why should I not be able to have the word but you can just because you are straight? Am I not a human too? I claim the word marriage because that is exactly what it is, and is no different than any straight couples marriage. I love my wife just as much as you love yours.”
Both my cousin and my wife “liked” this comment. Another commenter wrote this after my comment:
“So, according to genesis 29, the biblical meaning includes marrying both sisters if you want the younger one and the older one isn’t married yet, and according to verse 31, if you don’t love the older one equally, god disapproves and makes the one you love barren to even things out. I guess there were fewer people then so they had to cut corners. This isn’t the only example. Biblical marriage is actually pretty creepy.”
And my uncle responded:
“All I was saying was that by expressing my opinion does NOT make me a bigot. And if you want to live by the old testiment go right ahead but even Jesus didn”t think that it was all right!”
So basically he ignored my comment altogether. I am his niece! His flesh and blood! Yet he still cannot wrap his head around the fact that we are all human. We are all alike! He has his head stuck in his bible and nothing else matters to him. Needless to say, this conversation has left me sad, dejected and sort of angry. It’s been on my mind all night and all day today. I didn’t write anything else to him. I wanted to, but I didn’t. I just don’t think it would make a difference. Am I wrong? Should I have stepped up more? What would you do?
* I have nothing against what people do in their private lives. If someone is bisexual, so be it – it just makes it harder for the gay community when some people profess to be lesbian and then end up going to men.