Mom was a Jehovah’s Witness for some time before she met Millie when I was two. Of course Mom was excommunicated when it was revealed that she was with a woman. Esas cosas were not permitted. See, they believe(d) that God created Adam and Eve to procreate and “be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth.”
It wasn’t until fifth grade that I realized how different my family was. We told everyone Millie was our aunt though I knew she wasn’t mom’s sister. I was in the cafeteria working as a lunch monitor, a task given to a select few fourth and fifth graders.
“Her mother’s a butch, yo!” said the fat girl with glasses so thick they made her look bug-eyed. Get outta here! Her mom’s a lesbo? Yuk!” The twig-legged, freckle faced fourth grader pretended to hurl all over her lunch tray. I turned to them, confused. “Butch don’t mean lesbian!”
“Yes it does, stupid. What do you think it means?” sneered the fat girl. I imagined pushing a hot needle into her bellybutton, sending her ballooning into the ceiling. I stared down at the cold cafeteria food. Seconds earlier all I’d wanted in life was to take a bite of that pepperoni pizza, but I’d lost my appetite.
It was all good until I started to question. I hadn’t admitted to anyone that my moms were in a lesbian relationship, so when we started talking about love and relationships, I asked, “What does the Bible say about love between women?”
Caroline raised her eyebrows. “The bible says we should all love one another.” I pushed. “But what does the Bible say about women that love each other, you know, like a man and woman love each other.”
“Well…” Caroline wasn’t looking at me then. She was looking around our small living room, at the pictures on the walls, pictures of my family–me and Millie and my sister and brother and my mom. Pictures that stared back. “The Bible says that’s wrong. It’s a sin.” For homework she had me read the story of Sodom and Gomorrah. That’s when I started to rebel.
See, the one who loved me, who showed me tenderness, who held me up, who whispered in my ear “you’re gonna be somebody,” was Millie. She was the one who proclaimed herself a butch. She wore men’s dress pants and jeans. Men’s polo shirts and guayaberas. Men’s shoes from Fabco. And, according to what Caroline told me and had me read, the bible said she was living in sin and was going to be banished. That God did not approve of her lifestyle. That God said it was an abomination.
I didn’t understand. How could God consider her sinful? Why would God bring her into my life to care for me, save me, if she was devilish in her ways?
I started questioning everything Caroline said. If she tried to teach me another portion of the Bible, I went back to Sodom and Gomorrah. Demanded that she explain, that she show me proof. When she showed me the specific scriptures that railed against homosexuality, I shook my head and said, “I don’t believe it. Love is love.”
“Well, Vanessa, the Bible says… The word of God says…”
Then one day, frustrated and hurt, I said, “Well, who wrote the Bible and who says God told them to write it?”
Caroline looked at me, her eyes sad, resigned. Without another word, she packed her things and left. She never came back. Mom beat me that night. She didn’t say why but I knew.
Credit: Huffington Post