So here’s a bit of back story. A few days ago I was procrastinating at work and scrolling through my Facebook feed. Lately I seem to be clicking on a lot of Huffington Post articles, and they had one that caught my interest so I center clicked on it and opened it up in a second tab. And then forgot about it for the next few hours. It caught my attention as many headlines do–because it was on an issue that I carry an opinion that I do not often discuss.
I made a promise to myself that I would change that. That I would not hide my opinion any more. I don’t feel that I was hiding it to begin with, but I certainly wasn’t speaking up. Well, not any more than I normally do to friends. But not loudly, and not often.
In my life, I have had the privilege of working in the theater, in the restaurant world, and in the corporate office of a men’s clothing company. In each of these industries, I have had the opportunity to work with people who have a lifestyle that is quite different from the one that I live. I’ve worked with people who can’t work unless they have smoked a joint or they’re too jittery. I’ve walked into a walk in freezer and found that there were more than just ‘spices’ or ‘sugar’ being used in the kitchen. I worked in high dollar restaurants for 15 years, and I swear the more the entree costs the greater the chance your staff has a drug problem. I’ve never met so many in my life as I did at that job, and as one that doesn’t partake was always the oddball. I worked with a man who dressed as a woman in protest of his boyfriend being fired in an attempt to get fired himself, but because he followed the dress code for women that didn’t happen. I have worked for one of the best looking drag queens I’ve ever met (he modeled women’s swimwear for pete’s sake), and I’ve also worked with the fabulous Sirena. He could rock sequins and a set of eyebrows while in full glitter glam like no other woman I’ve ever met. Then there were Richard and Andrew, Lorrie and Rita, Joe and Laird, and all the other couples that were quietly considered ‘alternative’ by my coworkers. (Hey, we were theater kids. Alternative was being KIND!) One night, when I was out after work around 3am at an after hours club (owned by former city officials, to boot) and looked around while my friends were getting the drinks and I was saving the table and realized that the people on my right were doing lines of coke off a girl’s stomach, and the people on my left were having sex at the table, that maybe some things needed to change in my life.
Throughout all these experiences and friendships and jobs, I got a bit of a reputation. Kelly was always the one that would be there, but she would also be the one that would drive you home. Kelly’d come and hang out, maybe have a single drink, and listen to all your stories, and then the next day when you needed a ride to work because you had no idea where your car was from the night before she’d be the one you could call. Kelly was the constant one, Kelly was the one that didn’t want to pick a fight, Kelly was the one that everyone could count on.
And Kelly was the Christian.
I don’t know why that got to be such a modifier for me and my life, but it was always the quiet whisper behind my back. It’s true, and I am not ashamed of it, but it cracked me up that it was the thing to be told behind my back. It also got to be a point of fun for some of my friends to pick the hot topic and try to get a rise out of me by hotly debating it. Abortion. Mixed-race marriages. Apartheid.
Same sex marriage.
Here’s the thing. I don’t believe in abortion. But I am pro-choice. Because I believe that it should be a woman’s choice to decide what they want to do with their body. They can go get a Brazilian bikini wax. Pierce body parts that no one but my gynecologist has seen in the last ten years. Abort a child. I believe that these are choices that each woman makes for themselves. Please understand that I am in no way comparing a Brazilian bikini wax to an abortion, instead I am trying to make the point that each woman is responsible for deciding what happens to her own body. It is none of my concern what you do and what you feel. I know that, at this point and in theory, I could never bring myself to abort a child. But who am I to put myself in your shoes. I would have said the same thing about a family member, but when faced with the options of having a child with multiple severe deformities and malformations she chose to terminate her pregnancy. It was the right choice for her, and I honestly might have done the same thing were I in her position. It is a choice. And choices are not something made by the collective, but something made by the individual.
As you may well assume, this opinion doesn’t have me in the favor of many conservatives in the evangelical Christian community. Added to the fact that I not only teach the second grade but I am also involved with many other aspects of working with the children, it’s not something I tout either. I don’t expect to have a conversation on the right to choose with an eight year old. Somehow, though, when my opinions become known it upsets a parent. So I choose not to discuss my opinions on the polarizing issue unless directly asked.
The current political topic du jour is that of marriage equality. Honestly I still find the amount of debate over this issue inane. Yes, the Bible says that sexual perversion is wrong. Sexual perversion is not limited to those who are attracted to their same gender. Heterosexual men and women are just as guilty of perversion as anyone. And I do not feel that consensual, married sex is perverted. Promiscuous tendencies, infidelity, perversion towards minors or trading, yes. These things are wrong in my opinion. But these things are not limited to the couples that are composed of two people of the same gender. Why is the focus on these people just because they are a bit different from the couples that have been in our past?
Continue reading in Part 2