Wednesday, September 17, 2008

A Culture of Cowardice

A Culture of Cowardice; Gays, Take Your Rightful Place In Society
The gays have been nurtured to be passive participants in their own lives and live diluted in the notion that somehow by being colorful, witty, funny and congenial we smooth-over the truth of accepting second-best, almost-good-enough rights and realities our entire lives. While reading comments from my well-meaning blogger family about how I should accept that BD should make the Minnie his utmost priority – forsaking me in the process – I went from questioning my value system to feeling disappointed at being asked to be a defeatist. I asked myself, if I were female and BD and I were the biological parents of the Minnie, would folks advise that I demand to be given my time and respect and together nurture the Minnie in a sound household? Wouldn’t most people point to a spouses’ neglect as the very reason for the failure of their relationship? Let’s keep it real. Gays are taught to take second-best in the hopes of keeping the peace and finding acceptance in society, but history teaches us that cowards have never reached true equality and fulfillment. Women may have been pleased as punch to be allowed to take their position in the workplace, but today, most women will tell you that being compensated at 80 cents for every dollar of their male counterparts is unacceptable. Equal compensation eventually took center stage over being accepted into the same positions as their male colleagues. Blacks and Latinos may have been content to work the mailroom of the corporate sector, but they also realized that they are as qualified, savvy and worthy as the White man and have now taken their place in corporate boardrooms around the nation. The issue of marriage was a HOT button issue for quite some time and the heterosexual majority somehow came up with the brilliant idea that civil unions were separate, but equal, and should be good enough for gays to feel validated. Thankfully, there are some who will not sit down and be relegated to a “similar” right. They demand to be given equal rights that do not deviate in form or function. Well friends, gay relationships are no different than straight relationships. We are entitled to proudly bring our partners to every function our straight counterparts enjoy as a couple. We have the right to be MARRIED – not “civil unionized”. We have the right to be treated as equal spouses within our households – requiring all the attention, love, respect and priority as married couples enjoy. We are worthy enough to live our lives as openly as every other red-blooded American without regard to who we choose to love and what we do in our bedrooms. I refuse to sell myself short simply because I can’t impregnate my male partner. I will not find myself second or third on the list of my spouses’ priorities because asking to be first somehow appears to make me selfish or incomplete. Until gays recognize that we can do - and should do - everything straight individuals do, we accept that we are somehow not good enough. Stand up for yourself, take your rightful place in society and let folks adjust to your truth. You see, every time you accept a separate (albeit equal) set of rules than mainstream society, you engender a culture of cowardice; a culture we pass on to generations of gays to come.

On Blast
Gay, Black, Female, etc.; Remember one occasion when you knew you were accepting disparate treatment just to get along.

Keep passin’ the open windows…


Joey Bahamas said...

Preach Uncle, preeeaaaach!! I didn't read the comments from the other posts, but I work in the GLBT community and I see this culture of cowardice all the time. I have to disagree with you just slightly though. I don't even think the comparison between hetro and homosexual couples is necessary. The fact is we should never feel guilty for wanting what ever it is we want in our relationships, and moving on from those relationships if we can't get those things. When did settling become a good idea in any situation where your happiness is of primary importance. Hunny please, the kids do shows.

Yes, feel free to understand that the Minnie is a priority for BD, but by no means does that mean that you should wait around for him to make you a priority or settle for you not getting what you want out of your relationship.

I say child, sick mother, needy ex-wife, demanding job...whatever it may be...a partners job is to support there partner but that support should not be given without end. And, if these things overshadow a relationship you're in, it's a relationship you shouldn't be in. And. It's. No. Shade. Luv!!!


Joey Bahamas said...

Ooop...I kinda went owwff for a second. My bad!LOL


One Man’s Opinion said...

You better Preach, boy. LOL. Hey, just for the record, if you were a female and had the same issue going into a relationship with a man who already had a child I would have given the same advise. I did not even consider the fact that it was a same sex relationship, because I didn't care.

This post came charging out of you like the monsters out of Pandora's box, lol. You tell the truth and shame the devil. Ain't nobody mad. Second best ain't good enough, and neither should it be. I would never want to be second best.

I have this theory, see if you can follow it with me. When in the relationship, which I have not been in one in a very long time, I like to feel like I am your one and only; you best friend; no one better. So, lets say you have had this best friend since childhood. Do I expect you to give up that friendship? No. Do I expect you to put me before that friendship? Hell yeah? Even if it ain't true, in a relationship you should always make the person you are with FEEL as if they are your best friend, even if they are not. Just like you should always make them feel like they are the sexiest, best looking thing in the room. Even if they are not.

You stroke my ego and I'll stroke yours.....

Nobody not really... said...

I was raised in a home with a strong black woman who made sure we knew our worth. That whole "just to get along" vibe was never echoed, so it wouldn't be followed.

I do remember a time where a white girl at one of my jobs said she called her sister "nigga," like that would make me cool with her saying it. She'd been my favorite person in the place until I heard that uttered.

As for coming second behind the minnie, I can't feel for you on that. The minnie didn't ask to be brought up. Because of that, the minnie needs all the nurturing and attention until that moment arrives where you can see the job has been done. My mother never put another man above us after my father, and I'm sure it's why we have such a loving relationship. I wouldn't worry about coming in second to the minnie. The minnie is a part of that man. It would be like forsaking a limb for a possession.

This early on in the minnie's development, anyway.

Cocoa Rican said...

I guess the real question here is why we are making a distinction between the relationship that should be had between a couple that has biological children and that of a gay couple where one partner has brought children into the relationship?

One Man, you're as close to a good solution with your comment. I would expect my partner to have believe it, even if it wasn’t really so. LOL

Nobody...My question to you would be how did your mom treat your dad - your biological dad? You mention she didn't put any "other" man "above" say this as if though your dad was somehow entitled to a different treatment simply because he was the sperm donor?

To sum this issue up for me, I'm not asking to be "above" the Minnie and his much needed attention and priority. My only point is that there is NO distinction between the biological parent and the actual parents when raising children. The parental figures MUST make their relationship a priority. By doing so, they insure that 1. They teach and nurture the children - by example - what a loving, respectful household should be 2. They are able to COLLECTIVELY share in the parenting and provide the BEST possible care to the dependent children.
Finally, if anyone chooses a partner/spouse that REQUIRES to be put above the need of the children in the relationship (even those biologically theirs) it would appear that they have chosen the wrong partner/spouse.
This is about a good family structure; one that includes parents that love and support each other and together raise healthy children.

~Kahlua~ said...

Here's my two cents Cocoa...(and good morning to you!) My thoughts might not come out quite as fluently as I want, since I'm running on very little sleep today, so please bear with me, as I might get a bit lengthy in my response :)

When you enter into a relationship with someone who has a child that they have raised on their own since infancy (in BD's case) that child is the core of their soul, as it should be. There is a bond there that is different from any other bond that person may ever have with anyone else, and that places the child in the number one slot of priorities. Ask ANY parent. It's a natural part of parenting. They have their groove, routines, and comfort levels in place that were established and developed over a long period of time. That being said, when the single parent enters into a relationship, things are bound to change. The dynamics of his (or her) life are going to be altered. Suddenly there is more than one person depending on them for time and attention and it can take time to make the needed adjustments to find balance and harmony. Some folks take longer than others. It's subjective and not up to anyone else to decide how long those adjustments must take. One of those adjustments is making the decision to introduce the new partner and the child to each other. In my dating life, I only introduced Mini-Me to one person I dated, and that was more than six months after the relationship began. Even though the relationship didn't work out, I don't regret that I did it. It was good for her to see Mommy happy again with someone other than her Dad. When you take into account that BD hadn't yet come out to his son or family when you entered into the relationship, I think it was a clear leap of faith (in you and your love for each other) for BD that he brought you and the Minnie together and created opportunities to share time as "friends" and then as "family", while not over-exposing him to the true nature of your relationship too soon. My recollection from your past posts is that BD also created or took advantage of plenty of opportunities to share time alone with you as well, relying on his Mom and brother to look after the Minnie so that he could tend to your mutual needs. The importance you placed on him living in his truth about his sexuality was warranted, I might add. I do understand your not wanting to be second-best or less-than in your relationship. At this point, I think that while perhaps you feel the break-up forced his hand in coming out to his son and family bothers you, the fact remains that he DID IT. He didn't HAVE had already broken up. You had already stated that it was over and that you didn't see reconciliation as an option. But he still CAME OUT. It wasn't on YOUR was on HIS, as it should be. His coming out to his son had to be on HIS terms when HE was ready (and when he felt the Minnie was ready) and was necessary before he can prepare the Minnie for life with a second parent on board. (YOU) Just as I would have had that kind of open discussion with Mini-Me about the nature of my relationship with the man I dated, should it have become serious enough to enter into the next step of living together and raising my daughter together.

I think I'm rambling now...not too sure. What I'm saying is, he may have waited beyond your "deadline" to come out, but he did it anyway. Whether it was to help mend the brokenness of your relationship or not, he's OUT THERE and finally living in his truth, and you are still very much in love with each other. The Minnie already ADORES you and it is clear in your posts that it's mutual. That's usually the biggest fly in relationship ointment, Cocoa!! Mutual like or admiration of child and new partner! You already HAVE the foundation to build and nurture a beautiful, stable, loving and HONEST home & family. We should all be so lucky to have that. Don't push the notion away simply because you think you'd be a defeatist if you let your guard down just a little. I rarely quote daytime talk-show hosts, but Dr. Phil once said something that I hear in my mind and repeat often in times of relationship woes..."Do you want to be RIGHT or do you want to be HAPPY?" Sometimes we have to compromise with ourselves just a little bit to get what we really want and it doesn't make us a traitor to our own core values and beliefs.

Just my two cents...I love you babe and I'm still pulling for you & BD...

Anonymous said...

Yeah, nobody not really, I can feel you on your ignorant female "white" co-worker because I had an ignorant female "black" co-worker who I was very cool with who stated, verbatim, "I am tired or all these cracker azz white b*tc&es stealing all our beautiful black men" for some reason, she had no idea I was "white". And when I brought her attention to that fact, her answer? "You're different girl!" Our relationship was never the same after that ignorant comment. The reality was, her beautiful "black" man didnt end their relationship to be with a caucasian woman, he was beating her "black" behind and throwing her down the stairs and giving her black eyes before he had jungle fever. May I suggest you read Cinderella's Stepsisters by Toni Morrison. It's high time we uplift each other rather than continue the divisive mindset that will hinder us from making any progress as women, as human beings.

This post was about race, right? Sorry, my bad, not sure how race had anything to do with it.

Anyway...back to Cocoa and his relationship...

Cocoa, I am not going to tell you how to feel, how to act, how to love and how to decide. I support you. Thats all you need to know.

JACK said...

Eloquently written, but still a bunch of nonsense in my book. I don't care if I'm dating a man or a woman ... if my kids need me, I'm there. And s/he is going to have to understand or keep it moving. Like one man, I didn't even consider the 'gayness' of the situation ... not sure why that's where you went. But, unequivocally, without a doubt - forever and ever, AMEN - I will spend my money on my 5 and 6 year olds first ... will devote my time to my 5 and 6 year olds first ... I only have them 1/3 of the time and I intend to maximize it all. Coward is the man who can't accept his role as a daddy - not the one who accepts playing second fiddle to children he himself should become endeared to. The perfect relationship for me is one in which my partner wants to be a part of my children's lives and if he has children too, then I want to be a part of theirs. I *wish* a mother fucker would start neglecting his kids on account of being with me. I'll put his ass out.

In fact, this nigga I was talking to was telling me that his ex-wife is hounding him for being late to pick up his daughter and he felt his ex-wife needed to be more understanding. I think he was stunned when I lit into him that if he has 10 hours with his daughter, it's 10 hours, not 9 hours and 15 minutes. And that if the child is ready to go with daddy and is looking out the window at 7PM, then showing up at 7:20 makes those the longest 20 minutes in that child's life.

No, sir - I cannot agree. This is just as much about your accepting your partner's children into your life as your partner accepting you into theirs.

We can agree to disagree, though - I like your blog.

Cocoa Rican said...

Thanks everybody..this has been really constructive.

Anonymous said...

I don't have any children and don't claim to be an expert on the situation, but, based on my parents' relationship and how they treated my sister and I, this should be noted. When you have children, as a parent, you are no longer priority #1. Those children are and will be for a very extended part of your life. Even when they are grown and gone, the dynamic changes but it will do so at its own pace. With that said, I think it is a bit unfair to punish a man for seemingly putting his only son first.

As the new factor in the dynamic, Cocoa, you would be better served if you continue to speak your piece but be mindful that ultimately you will be #2 until this child is significantly older, like grown and gone old. Not to say that you should not be a priority but just understand that you are asking BD to make himself #3 (which could cause problems later).

He's got the Minnie and you who both want a good deal of his time and attention. So please dont give the brother too hard of a time. It's not easy to go from being #1 when you are single and childless to being #2 with the birth of that child to then being asked to be #2.5 - 3 (depending on how you look at it).

As a previous poster said, he did do what you asked of him, not on your timeline but he did do it. That speaks volumes to his love for you and the minnie. If nothing else, it should show you that you are important but given he has a young child, his expression and action on that love has to be carefully thought thru. It's no easy feat to make everyone impt to your life feel like they're #1 even if that may or may not be the case. That's a lot of love to spread around. You can make it easier by showing him you understand because the minnie is a child and not always capable of rational adult thought like you. Good luck!

And take that man back already!!!!

Anonymous said...

and oh yeah...this does not mean you have to take any shit. To understand does not mean to be walked over. But you know that.