If you build it, they will come

Folks, I’ve arrived! That piece that came out in the Advocate earlier this week did indeed flush some detritus out from under the bushes.  My first ad hominem homophobic attack (in seven years of online publishing) arrived in ye olde inbox this morning!  Name redacted to protect the woefully ignorant:

After reading about you in the ADVOCATE, I’d like to say some things.

When you were very young, you became emotionally alienated from your
mother/mother figure(s).  Maybe she was absent.  Maybe she was mean, or weak, or
too girly.  She didn’t connect with you well, and didn’t give you the mothering
you needed.  You came to identify with males, and continued to crave that mother
connection, but transferred it to other females.

See [URL of some wacky antigay website].

That is the truth.  You weren’t born that way.

Your kids do need a dad, but you are not a dad.

[URL of another wacky antigay website]
[URL of yet another wacky antigay website]

“Gays” have been useful to the Left.  They have been exploited by both

The ex-gay truth will prevail.  It will not cease to be true.

Mrs. Dad, ever of the theater world, quipped: “It’s like you’re an off-Broadway show and you just got picketed! This is great!”

I am happy to report that Woefully Ignorant, as I’ll call her, is off the mark on the psychological profile. Except for the part about my craving that mother connection. After she died of breast cancer when I was 30, a decade into my Sapphic career, I definitely craved that mother connection.

Aside: I was an English major in college, and I thought it was only we literary critics who engaged in armchair, distance psychoanalysis of strangers. Funny!

Anyhow, since this is a multi-media site, abetted often by the visuals, I thought I’d toss in a sweet image of Mom and me as a tyke:


I know, right? Move over, Olivia De Havilland. Yeah, and don’t tease me about the bowl haircut or the Sunday dress. It was in the mid-1960s; we were visiting my grandparents and had just gone to church. I wish I had more recent images to share. Like, oh, ones of her with my kids.

She did bake cookies with a friend’s kids one time. That’s as close into grandmothering as I saw her able to get. Died before my sister had her kids too. So. That’s the mom story!

Hey, but Woeful: you know what will never cease to be true? LOVE! That I firmly believe. With mom in heaven, in my heart, hovering wherever she did or did not relative to my growing understanding of myself. And the love in that woman’s eyes that you see in that picture (yes, taken by my Pops, who loved her then and loves her still), was so ginormous, so consequential–20 years after her departure it’s still operating under its own momentum–that I have a bunch extra to share with you.

Hope that prevails.


16 thoughts on “If you build it, they will come”

  1. Polly,

    I love your haircut. I had the very same one (courtesy of MY mother). I can’t believe this asshat. But I’m so glad you shared it, and it just goes to show you that our voices still need to be heard. People think prejudice doesn’t exist? Bullshit.

    Ignorance astounds me.

    • Thank you, Erin.

      And if anything, I’m just surprised it took so many years for a head-on ad hominum attack/ armchair psychoanalysis. Nice thing is, in that time, I collected so dadgum many friends around here that the Hatorade is reduced to a comical, self-parodying trickle. Sigh.

      Now updating my Contact form to note the classic line, “Idiot hate mail can and will be published on this blog, so check your punctuation and spelling before you hit ‘send.'”

    • Ah! Don’t tempt me to take a ride on that ever-reliable “the homophobes are more obsessed with gay sex than gay people are” pony! It’s so dang fun! Though I will pass along the old adage, in case younger folks hadn’t heard it: “Scratch a homophobe, find a queer.”

      But to be painfully earnest which, alas, is a sub-specialty of mine: I do appreciate whenever of us venture away from our familiar pastures. One would prefer, of course, it’s done with more good than ill will, as well as open heart and mind. Since without that it’s not exploration, it’s poaching.

      Unfortunately I don’t find evidence of anything other than pre-fab boilerplate nonthinking in Woe’s note. But as a longtime teacher, I am a patient sort. A seed can lie dormant on fallow ground for years, and germinate and bloom with the first rains. You never know what this gal picked up on her hide as she was grazing, nor where or when it will take root.


  2. Having read this, I am dying to have myself psychoanalyzed by Woefully Ignorant. I wonder what my story will be… It’s like that part of “But I’m a Cheerleader” when they’re all reporting on their “roots.” I wish I could say my mother got married in pants. I really do.

  3. Maybe your mom was too “girly” or maybe she wasn’t girly enough! Maybe it was your dad that too manly, or not manly enough! GENDER ROLES: they are apparently SUPER HARD to get right! I’m sure you’ve noticed that. The “reason” for people being gay or trans* or autistic or whatever TOTALLY HORRIBLE THING NO REALLY IT’S HORRIBLE TRUST ME is so frequently linked to the parents not performing gender roles/gendered parenting correctly. And gay and trans* folks being gay and trans* in public? Is like a disease because apparently performing gender roles “wrong” can infect other people or something? Heteronormativity and “appropriate” gender roles: super delicate, apparently!

  4. I was also wondering why this person was on the Advocate at all. It’s like they just troll sites that make them upset and all riled. Frankly, if they don’t like the things posted on the Advocate, maybe they should just not read it. I will never understand why it is so necessary for these people to 1. stick their noses in something they don’t understand and 2. judge someone they have never actually met before.

  5. I have to agree with Shannon – your response is perfection!
    And, yes, I also had that haircut or some permutation thereof! We lived next door to a barber’s and I snuck over there whenever I could and had the apprentice cut my hair for free. Before my first communion my mother talked to them and had them swear that they would not cut my hair for three weeks prior to the big event so that my ears would be covered. That’s when I looked like you in that picture …
    In a way it’s good that Woe’s attack is so stereotypical. Because I’m sure there is a sense of threat involved when you get targeted like that – but when you see it’s just same old same old homophobia it’s easier to keep the hate away. I assume. I hope. I wish.

  6. Your mom’s pride in you and your family can be felt across these airwaves as she, along with my bestie Myra, as eternal matter in space and time, love us without reservation or reserve. My sister’s tooling around in the Karman Ghia she never owned but always wanted; former patients are shooting golf and playing beach volleyball.

    Emotional alienation, my ass !~! That commenter needs to spread, and get back, some serious love.

  7. Having worked in archives for many years, I can tell you with confidence that getting crank letters is truly a sign that you have arrived. Everyone who is anyone has a folder full of them-so save it for posterity!

  8. Hey! I met you at mom 2.0. (Ukulele)
    You’re so right! Love will conquer. Look at the comments to your post for more proof! I also LOVE the way you handled this! Your response couldn’t be more perfect!
    I’m not gonna be a “man mom” anytime soon but your photographs are beautiful and I love your writing so I think you’ve got yet another new follower!
    (Ps my site isn’t at all launched yet so don’t click on that link for like at least another month. LOL.

  9. I really liked the picture of you and your mother as a young child.I am so sorry to read about her passing due to cancer.take care

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