Yesterday our son came home with terrible news.
A dear friend and fellow third grader had explained that his parents had said the boys couldn't be friends anymore.
Both boys are confused and sad. We don't know what precipitated this declaration, but based on our son's story and some other prior interactions, we suspect that homophobia may be at the root of it.
As a lesbian parent, I'd been warned that this day was coming. But nothing really prepares you for trying to explain the inexplicable to your wounded child.
I'll be reaching out to my Muslim and African-American friends today for their advice and support. There are too many of us who live in fear of the day our children will come home with a broken heart.
And we'll be talking with our boy about civil disobedience again... for as much as we want him to respect the adults in his life, we also want him to understand that he is ultimately in charge of who his friends are.
Mostly, though, we're going to listen with love and empathy as he tries to process this.
If you know our son and you're reading this, please don't mention it to him unless he brings it up. We think there's a chance that the boys will "forget" the nonsensical edict and continue to enjoy each other's company — at school, at least.
This is the kind of private situation I would typically refrain from blogging about. But in honor of the memory of Tyler Clementi, who should have been celebrating his first month as a college freshman today, I am speaking out.
Homophobia and other forms of prejudice are fueled by fear of the unknown. As much as I believe, as a Quaker, in the power of centered and prayerful silence, I also believe that we have a responsibility to speak our truths as we are able.
So this is my truth: we all deserve to feel safe, respected, and loved.
Please join me in taking a stand against racism, homophobia, sexism, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, and other forms of soul-chilling discrimination in your schools and communities. Talk with the people in your life about the challenges you've faced and the steps you've taken to overcome them. And hold a good thought for my son and his friend.
(See the good news update here!)