RIVKA EDELMAN, BOBBY LOPEZ, DAWN STEFANOWICZ
TO BE OFFICIALLY PUBLISHED APRIL 13, 2014
TO BE OFFICIALLY PUBLISHED APRIL 13, 2014
This installment of La Joie de Vivre is the last of a four-part series, bringing to a close a dialogue among three adults who were raised by gay parents in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s -- Bobby, Rivka, and Dawn. The topics they address in Parts One, Two, and Three now culminate in their expression of concern about abuse in gay parenting homes and what transgender cultures means for the future.
R: … I mean [snitching] saved us… We were sent back after a while but it saved us. You could, you know – Maybe the nasty little Christian spinster down the street would be a real witch and drop a dime and call Child Social Services. But now? I don’t know. I think it’s worse. I think these kids are in much worse situations than we were in.
B: Well, the documented cases we’ve gotten in the press all attest to that. Because you know, you have the case of that Australian couple that went – that horrible case where they conceived the child with a surrogate and they came back to Australia and nobody wanted to say anything. They even profiled them as two great dads while they were sick –
R: And the journalist – I read that – the journalist that profiled them as two great dads wrote another article if you can find it, where she said that she does not feel badly that she profiled them as two great dads because homophobia is worse.
B: Yeah, that’s terrifying. That’s terrifying.
R: I mean, as if – really? Seriously? I mean, there were – My mother did have partners at times who were saner and more mature than she was. And they left.
R: You know. And they left, they ran. I remember just standing in the driveway when one of them was leaving, the only one who actually put plates on a table, with a glass, with food on the plate. And you know, she was a schoolteacher and she was like, now we’re gonna eat. Try to do things normally. And I remember she was leaving, and I was like in the driveway, saying, “don’t go.” And she literally said to me, she said, “in a few years you’ll be able to get out of here.” I was in sixth grade. It was a long few years.
D: Bobby, you know, I agree, because I did not feel that any of my father’s partners were really there in the home for me. I felt like my brothers and I were neglected. Our needs were not met. I don’t remember any one of my father’s partners reaching out and saying, “Dawn, how are you feeling? How was your day?” And really really caring about me. But what I did feel was, I was being criticized about my appearance. That I had to go out and get something more fashionable. Or wear Chanel No. 5. Or get my hair done.
B: Oh my God, that sounds like the worst gay male nightmare.
D: My heart was in the basement at that point.
B: That’s what Rupert Everett said in England; he said there’s nothing worse than being raised in that environment. Because the assault on your ego would be constant… I have to admit, my situation was a little bit different because my mom’s partner was really the source of so much comfort for me, and she was sort of the good cop, [Break] My mother’s partner was definitely the good cop in the good cop-bad cop situation, and she was so stable and showed me so much care. And that’s why it was so hard when my mom passed away. Because my siblings did not see my mother’s partner as a second mother. They saw our father as their father. But I was conceived with that in mind; my mother intended to raise me with her partner, so it was a little bit different.
Rivka: I did not get along with most of my mother’s partners. The last one I absolutely did not get along with. But she was – She had a notion of integrity, that much I’d give her. She wouldn’t – They would all be sort of planning, and manipulating, and lying, and thinking of things, and my mother’s partner would say, I don’t think this is such a good idea. She was also humorless. And incredibly, really masculine. I mean, she got misgendered every minute.
D: My father’s partners were always ten years younger than he was. And always more submissive males, almost taking on wifely like roles.
D: My father was more macho. The more masculine type of gay male. And you know, if I can say this, it’s hard to use the term ‘gay’ for me, because I look at someone’s attraction as being a bit more flexible and leaning toward heterosexual as we age. But when we use the term ‘gay,’ it’s often a social political term, because it’s where our parents affiliated most. And my father affiliated almost all of the time with the gay subcultures. But of course we had the GLBT LGBT subcultures – even though everyone was separate under that umbrella, there were times when we would see each other. The transendered males were often – I had a hard time figuring out if they were gay males dressed up in drag, or they were men that actually thought of themselves as females. I had a very hard time understanding the nuances of transgenderism as an 8-year-old girl.
B: Oh my God, that’s a whole other, that’s a whole other ball of wax.
B: Okay, hold on just one second, let me go to – [Break]
R: Somebody like RuPaul is a gay man. A really gay man. I think most people who say they are transgender are heterosexual males who have a cross-dressing fetish. Which is another thing that’s really upsetting about GBL—whatever they’re calling themselves this week. If you do a breakdown of who it is, it’s mostly men. It is a gay, it is a male organization.
B: And as you and I have both pointed out, we kind of saw it from the ground up the way that gay men used lesbians at certain times and then asked them to make, you know, a quick exit. When it wasn’t valuable to them.
R: Right, and they’re still doing it. The lesbians are put out there first, you know, why they do it, if you want to talk feminism or anything, what they call POV, I only got one POV going on. In my life. I mean, these women have all these guys, and I think in a weird way they are so dangerous to children, you have the children growing up in it who are at risk, and then you have them bringing to bear, saying, oh, um, “gay is passé, we have transgender now,” so let’s sterilize your 8-year-old son. And castrate him too while we’re at it.
B: I know, it’s really sick.
R: It’s insanity and I don’t understand how people are going along with this.
B: Well there’s a lot to talk about. I think I have to wrap it up right now.