The coming out post

Posted by admin on Apr 10, 2012 in Challenges |

I’ve been dreading writing this post. And I thought it would be a few years down the track, to be honest. Maybe at school. Here’s the nub of it: my partner and I are queer, poly, pagan people. Somehow, that doesn’t feel like a good fit for the conservative, predominantly Christian and Muslim, overwhelmingly monogamous outer suburbs of Sydney.

Our daughter has made friends at her pre-school. That’s terrific: I’m thrilled she’s socialising and that she’s so popular I hear other kids call out to her with excitement every time she arrives. That never happened much to me. I was brought up Jewish and there are a whole lot of factors that made me unpopular in addition to just being different. I fear, though, that it won’t be long before our requests that Christmas and Easter be toned down a little in favour of a more multicultural approach will single her out.

The school has already had a day where they asked her about Chanukah, as if she’d know, rather than teaching the whole class about different festivals the world celebrates. But of course, she’s not Jewish, we’re not Jewish… we’re pagan. That’s “weirder”. That’s “worse”. The school is trying now to do solstice and so on…

She’s got a very close friend we’ve finally managed to get to come over. The parents are Christian. Baptists. Went to church both Easter Friday and Easter Sunday. They know we’re not. I just can’t talk about half my life with them, though, because I can’t imagine their reaction to us being involved with multiple people or actively involved with people of other genders.

There’s a group on LiveJournal called “bipolypagangamergeekswithspawn” (hasn’t been updated in two years…) and I desperately feel like I need to be part of that sort of group, but in real life. I’ve got friends like that online and some of our kids are of similar ages. All my daughter’s life, though, there’s going to be a point where we come out to her parents’ friends. And she shouldn’t be punished for our actions. So maybe we have to be in the closet. But that’s not a lesson I want to teach her about how to be in the world.

We’ve just started a poly family-friendly picnic near us, but I’m not sure how many people will have kids her age. And who’s to say she has to get on with the kids of people we happen to like?

We have a couple of friends of ours who we love dearly (and don’t see often enough) who have kids our daughter loves dearly too. These people know us and our history because they went to school with me and because they have their own individuality. This is so precious, it makes me fearful of moving cities ever again. Maybe I can persuade them to all come and live on a housing co-op with us…

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Jun 17, 2012 at 10:08 pm

Adult relationships with our kids’ friends’ parents are always going to be delicate. I remember being frustrated at how *polite* my mothers’ group was. This politeness comes at the expense of a deeper relationship. But without that polite distance, you risk learning something that means losing the relationship. I don’t regret choosing politeness, in the exhaustion of early motherhood. And in choosing a school, I’ve found a place which reasonably reflects my values. It even turns out that my son’s prep class has two (openly) lesbian families, which is just a bonus.

Good luck in navigating these issues.

Jul 22, 2012 at 5:52 am

Although we don’t have kids, I know what you mean about the rest of the whole closet thing. My colleagues are pretty open-minded on those eccentricities of mine that they know of (loud socks, natural therapies, Spencer Tunick naked photo shoot a year or two ago), but I haven’t told them I’m bi let alone in a poly relationship. Although I did recently get adamant about gay marriage equality, without explaining my reasons for having such firm views. I often feel I’m lying by omission to them, eg “he’s staying with a friend” instead of “visiting our girlfriend”.

We’ll come to the housing co-op with you 🙂



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