Prejudice: Leo in Trouble!

My 9yo son Leo (with Clare) and Dave’s daughter Jaymee (with Karen) have been raised in a loving, caring home with two full-time mums and two part-time dads (i.e. two sets of same-sex partners) and have spent most of their lives in Oak Ridge here in Tennessee. They have heaps of friends and it seemed that nothing could go wrong for them – until yesterday.

With four fitness-freak parents, always training, usually shirtless (yes, the girls too), neither Jaymee nor Leo have had inhibitions about wandering half-naked around the house, as we do (or fully naked, for that matter). Both of them are old enough to know that you don’t do that in public, but don’t see anything unusual about their home lifestyle.

Jaymee, now, is starting to be aware of her appearance however, and tends to want to dress up. Leo, on the other hand, generally shucks his shirt when he goes off down the street to hang out with his mates. After all, its 86 degrees today (that’s 30C in European currency!). This kind of encourages his friends to do likewise.

Suddenly, one set of parents has decided that this is ‘unacceptable’ behaviour, and have ordered their son to have nothing more to do with Leo or Jaymee (let’s disguise the boy and call him ‘Robert’ since he is only 10 years old, and I am too disgusted to mention the parents by name either- they’d probably sue anyway) – moreover, the father is spreading the word that this ‘unacceptable’ behaviour is the result of Leo having a lesbian mother and a gay father, and he seems to be trying to start up a hate campaign. We’ve experienced negative comment as a group of gay performers before, but never anything personal like this, and we’re not sure how to deal with it – especially Dave and I because as Brits we still feel rather alien in this rather prudish and one-time segregationist society. Help! Leo came home sobbing, and I think we’re going to have to get our doctor friend Nate’s advice on how to deal with this stuff, in case it spreads. It’s hurt us more deeply even than the dudes who shot at us did – it’s more personal when it’s your own son who becomes the target. As far as Dave and I can see, and our respective extended families in the UK can see, Leo and Jaymee are normal kids who know they’re a bit special because of the parental circumstances, but are otherwise absolutely ‘normal’, feel (felt?) totally secure – and they’re cute! And good gymnasts, too. Oh well – all advice welcomed. ‘Robert’ is (was) one of Leo’s best friends.

Let’s hope that the ‘Peace Bell’ here in Oak Ridge will preside over a renewed calm – like it says on the tin:

The kids have never had to put up with this shit in school so far, and with Junior High School looming we don’t need it now. And do you know, in nearby Knoxville city, there is a main street called ‘Gay Street’ which none of the locals find in the least odd. Dave and I think it is hilarious! Possibly, so is this: well, the guy who captioned it thought so…

Looks like a thunderstorm brewing up for later – a typical summer day in Eastern TN, then. At least the tornados have gone away (for now) – gone to the north-east, which is real rare (folks tell me!).

About tonycavanagh

Born Northampton UK; school Oxford UK and Oak Ridge Tennessee, where I met my wonderful partner Dave, also from UK. Oak Ridge is our main training base for acrobatics and circus stuff, but we also established a base in Wales (UK) to serve us when we are working in Europe. Our 'story', of finding gay love, learning the acrobatics trade and then of how we got shot at during our show (and worse was to follow - just to prove that the risks of being an acrobat are not always the most obvious ones!) are now available in my three books 'Loving the Boy', 'The Power of Love' and 'Against All Odds'. Links available on most blog posts. Actually, waiting for the imminent arrival of the first printed copies was far scarier than anything we do in performance. A fourth book - not about us but exploring the sadness of a gay Native American boy denied his true identity - is currently with an agent for evaluation. watch for 'Let The Future Find Me' in due time. And now to book five... another boy, another quest... seems its always boys...
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4 Responses to Prejudice: Leo in Trouble!

  1. Pingback: IDAHO « Tony Cavanagh

  2. Pingback: Homophobia in Tennessee Swamp Shock! « Tony Cavanagh

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  4. Pingback: Thanksgiving… for being gay? « Tony Cavanagh

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