SL Letter of the Day: The Ladies Who Lunched
by Dan Savage
on Mon, Jul 16, 2012 at 5:10 PM
I met my friend "Emily" a few years ago when my husband and I were looking for a third on Craigslist. (The husband and I are both bi.) Sleazy, I know. Emily contacted me, said she was interested, and sent a picture saying she was "male down there." We didn't care, and she was super cute, but was only in town on a night that I had to work. I told her to keep my husband and me in mind next time she was around. We found another third a little while later and didn't expect to hear back from Emily. But we did, a month or so later, and we got together for a fun night. Emily and I really hit it off. We began meeting for coffee (and occasional sex) whenever she was in town, and became good friends.
Fast forward to two weeks ago. My mother wanted to meet me for lunch, and I'd already promised to meet up with Emily. I didn't foresee any problems; my parents had been pretty close-minded throughout my adolescence, but, a few years ago, when parental snooping led Mom to discover I'm bi, kinky, in a "monogamish" marriage, and that I sell my panties to fetishists online, they came to terms with it pretty well. So I told her mom I'd be bringing a friend.
Lunch was strained, to say the least. Mom had the good sense to be polite, but I could tell she suspected something was different about Emily. Emily, a very affectionate person, she kissed me goodbye when she left, another shock to my mother.
After lunch my mother interrogated me about my friend. She did the obnoxious gender-pronoun fumble and wavered between "him," "her," and "it" the entire time. We got into a fight about calling Emily an "it" and the conversation ended with my mom telling me that I have a pole up my ass. I'm not a particularly PC person, but I still think it's cruel to be such a dick about a lady who happens to have a dick. Was I wrong to introduce Emily to my mother, knowing that my mother has a lot of archaic ideas about gender roles and gender identities? And what do I do to smooth things over with my mom? I'm not apologizing, because I wasn't wrong, but I do love my mom.
Kinkster Is Distressed
My response after the jump...
Wow—it sounds like your mom's a bitch.
But it doesn't sound like your mom's a total bitch. Don't get me wrong: your mom's nearly totalled—she's so close—but she's not... quite... there. Because a total bitch wouldn't have waited for your trans friend to leave before doing the obnoxious gender-pronoun fumble. A total bitch—and a total bigot—would've called Emily an "it" to her face.
Was it a mistake to introduce your trans friend Emily to your near-total bitch mom? I don't think so, KID, but you should check with Emily to see how she feels. If Emily's upset about the "strained" conversation, and if she didn't appreciate being scrutinized by your mother over lunch, then the date was a mistake and you owe Emily an apology—and only Emily.
Even if your lunch date ended unpleasantly, KID, it could prove to be a retroactive success. They say that nothing cures homophobia faster than getting to know an actual gay person. Well, the same goes for transphobia: nothing cures transphobia faster than getting to know an actual trans person. But the cure is rarely instantaneous; it takes time. But your mom's had her first shot: she's met an actual trans person—that's out of the way—and while it's too bad that this "first contact" prompted your mom to act like a near-total bitch, that kind of reaction is fairly typical. Very few 'phobes are instantly cured upon meeting their first gay, lesbian, trans, or bi person. But that's always how it starts. However adamant your mother seemed during your argument, however set her bigotry seemed, someone she loves came to the defense of someone she hates. That registers. Continue to stand your ground, KID, refuse to apologize to your mother, and hammer away at your mom's bigotry and small-mindedness whenever the subject comes up... and who knows? Your mom, like so many 'phobes before her, could be cured. In time.
And I do think there's hope for your mom. Perhaps I'm attaching too much significance to this fact, KID, but I think it's a good sign that your mom waited for Emily to leave before she went all him/her/it on you. Your mother, whatever her flaws, doesn't see herself as a hateful person and doesn't want to be perceived as hateful by others, including Emily, which is why she had "the good sense to be polite." There's some basic human decency in there somewhere—in your mom—and you should be able to leverage that against your mom's bigotry.