Bruce Parker

Home for the Holidays...

Filed By Bruce Parker | December 27, 2005 3:23 PM | comments

Filed in: Living, Transgender & Intersex

Since living in Indiana, I have heard a lot of unfortunate Kentucky jokes. So before I start with my actual post, I interrupt my message to clear up a couple misconceptions. Yes, we wear shoes. No, None of my family is married to any of my other relatives. However, I will avoid the southern tendency to romanticize. I am not from the part of Kentucky with horse farms, bluegrass, and UK basketball games. Instead, I am from the strip-mined, high rates of unemployment, trailer park littered Southeast Kentucky. My family and I are trash. My mother would resist my characterization, she fancies us solidly middle class, which economically she is correct now. However, I wasn't raised solidly middle class and culturally we still very much embody many of the stereotypes of poor southern families.

My mother raised me alone and through that process we developed a very close friendship. Seeing her is always nice. Going home however feels a lot like walking into a very complicated boot camp for a brief refresher course in how to manage multiple emotional assaults simultaneously. Its not that they aren't supportive of my life, they are. They are very supportive of me and honestly only struggle minimally with certain elements of my sexual identity. Don't get me wrong you won't catch my mom out toting PFLAG signs or stickers, but that’s okay there more than enough PFLAG mothers in my life now (nods to the ladies especially Annette). It is more of a silent type of support. They are nice to anyone I bring home and all want me to be happy. They just seriously don't want to discuss it.

In the past few years they have focused their assault on my professional life. "What are you going to do with your life?” "Are you ever going to finish school?" or my favorite "What are you going to do with a cultural and interdisciplinary studies degree?" Well this year I was prepared for this attack. I had just gotten all A's in graduate school as well as been a part of the passage of the Indianapolis Human Rights Ordinance before leaving for home. I was confident my armor was strong and this year they wouldn't be able to get me. I was mistaken of course.

My family is very professional in this task. They take this responsibility very seriously. The decided this year to switch their target, adjust the aim and instead of my work life to instead probe my romantic life. They started before I even got out of the car. My favorite aunt called and asked when my ex-boyfriend who they hadn't seen in over a year intended to arrive for Christmas. I was honestly speechless. This began a weekend of everyone being very concerned about my love life. "Who are you dating?" "Is it serious?"

Questions with complicated and in many lights unfortunate answers and not the attacks I had prepared myself for. It was like I was riding into battle expecting tanks and instead got fighter jets. Well, I made it through the weekend without crying once. Thank you to my friends who offered support through many phone calls. Thank you to Cyndi Lauper, who provided the music of choice for this trip.

My point and I have had one the entire time is to remind us all that families and love take many shapes. Although I love my birth family a ton, I also really appreciate the family that I have made for myself. They may not look like many people expect them too or want them too but I can say with little hesitation that who I count as family, who I date, and who my friends are no ones business unless I choose for it to be. I think we can all agree on that. So with your birth families well and hurry back to your home and to your chosen family (which doesn't necessarily have to differ from your birth family) the holidays aren't over and its never to late to curl up by the fire, play a round of trivial pursuit before bed and enjoy each others company.

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"No man is king in his own country." I always think of that saying when I go home. In my own life, I'm a dad, I'm a husband, I'm a reasonably well respected attorney, I'm a literate blogger, I'm a boss, I'm a best friend, etc. But, when I go back to my parents, I'm mostly just a well-meaning, but imperfect kid.

I think everybody's home life is a little complicated in one way or another.

OMG-- it's been so long since I posted my own work... I've forgotten how to do it. I wanted to file a statement about my wonderful gay nephew.,.. not just as a comment, but a stand-alone article..
Can someone remind me how to do that? I didn't see a button for an original post for the bloggers. UGH. I am so technostupid.

Your blog is really spooking me out......because either

1) My family moonlights as your family when I'm not around.

2) There is some place were relatives can go to hone their passive-aggressive ninja verbal cutting skills

and most scary

3) Maybe my family runs that ninja school....

Your blog reminded why I stayed home this Thanksgiving and CHristmas and why it was "right" for me....

I'm glad everything turned out....

Bruce, you put a big smile on my face! Happy and Healthy New Year!!!! :)