BEET SALAD, SAME-SEX PARENTING, and FEAR of the UNKNOWN
We will eat lunch, talk about family history, and maybe take some pictures of the homes in her neighborhood that have figured in early LDS Church History.
There is some significance to the salad I’ve made. I’ve roasted both traditional red, and golden, beets-combined with mandarin orange wedges and carmelized pecans; to be drizzled with avocado-cilantro dressing.
I don’t know if my grandmother is going to like what I’ve made. She’s not what I would call an adventurous eater-she’s not sure about cilantro, she thinks she might like avocados, but doesn’t know, because every guacamole she’s tasted was “too spicy”. We’ve had discussions about vegetables and color before. In her garden-carrots are orange, beans are green, and beets are red. My rainbow varieties of tomatoes are more than she can take.
I told her I would bring her something-that I thought if she tried it, she might find out she liked it. She is going to give it a shot.
I was at her house the day after the ban on same-sex marriage was lifted in our state. Our conversation turned to same-sex parenting and families. It all seems so foreign to her-just how will a family work with two women at the helm ? Two men ? Two persons of non-traditional gender presentation ?
When we have talked about vegetables and color, I tell her that carrots started out white or purple thousands of years ago. That the orange color was a calculated result of much effort. I have talked about supermarkets, the shipping of vegetables, and how this has shaped our perception of what a tomato should look like. She considers what I tell her, and has seen shows on TV that back up my version of events. She acknowledges that it is still hard for her to think of eating “funny colored” vegetables.
When we have discussed the lives of LGBT people, particularly within the LDS church, she has expressed her belief that sexual orientation is not a choice. She believes all people need companionship in this life in order to be happy. So she’s somewhat open. Still, she says some things that fly in the face of my ideas of acceptance. On occasion, she has expressed the opinion that LGBT people should “move to big cities where they are accepted” and can live full lives. In my mind, the burden should be on the backs of people in all towns to accept their LGBT neighbors.
The reality of gay couples initiating families composed of parents and children, attending Back-to-School night, cheering from the sidelines of a soccer game, or taking a road trip to Yellowstone–this pushes beyond her picture of happily paired gay and lesbian couples living chic, urban lives.
Of course this question is not new to a gay parent or child–especially within the LDS construct of the Plan of Salvation. What we’ve been told so far, doesn’t explain how these otherwise normal families fit.
Today, I will be asking my grandmother to accept my offering of funny colored vegetables with unknown herbs. I’m asking her to accept that golden beets are as good as red ones. I’m asking her to open up to a spice she’s lived 90 years without needing to try.
Will she like them ? Will she make a face and push away her plate ? Will she say : “THAT was interesting.” ?
As we drive around looking at these houses built by Mormon polygamous families-a history of revelation and change my grandmother knows well, how will our conversation about these newly legitimized families go ?
What do I know ? What do I not know ?
I know my grandmother is a compassionate, kind person, who loves me and raised me to stand up for what I believe.
I know my LGBT friends love their families and those families are real and complete.
I don’t know if my grandmother will come to see this from my point of view.
And if she doesn’t, I don’t know if that will hurt a lot, or a little.
But I’m going to try and bring her this-I’m going to give it a shot.