my house

In case you missed it, it’s been a busy few days over on the Diary Facebook page. It started with a celebration of the marriage of these two delightful pensioners, as newly allowed by the Supreme Court decision. Together for FIFTY-FIVE years, they were the first couple to be married in Dallas County, TX. How awesome is that?

Screen Shot 2015-06-28 at 10.48.04 AM

{image is a screenshot of the Facebook post depicting a photo of Jack Evans and George Harris making it official after fifty five years}

Well, apparently some folks out there don’t find it awesome at all. And they felt the need to say that on my page. So I made it clear that I simply wasn’t going to engage or allow negativity around the topic. It was a time to celebrate a human rights victory, and celebrating was what I planned to do.

Like this.


{image is a rainbow flag}

Yesterday was a truly historic day in this country.

And it’s not just the Supreme Court ruling itself, legalizing gay marriage (or, as I prefer to call it, marriage) in all fifty states, that is so huge but also the implications for the possibility, the feasibility, the achievability of social change.

Please don’t get me wrong – homophobia ain’t fixed any more than racism or ableism are. Not societally, systemically, nor legally. Heck, we’re still fighting for ENDA (the Employment Non Discrimination Act) and LGBT people are still being beaten, killed, and killing themselves at alarming rates. There are miles to go before we rest.

And yet, we celebrate not just the accomplishment of today but the possibility of tomorrow. To the older gentleman who said to me yesterday as the news was hitting the wires, “I never would have believed I’d see this in my lifetime,” I said, “And now there’s nothing that I don’t believe I’ll see in mine.”

One step at a time, we evolve. The process is never fast enough for those of us who believe so deeply in social justice, but on days like this, well, we raise a glass in a toast, not just to our LGBT friends for whom this means so much on such an intensely personal level, but to all of us who fight for the rights, dignity, and recognition of all human beings. May we build on each and every victory, take strength in what’s possible, and carry on until ALL are truly free to be who they are.
Note: I have no interest in nor capacity for engaging negativity around these topics today. So I won’t.

After writing some version of that last line on every subsequent post on the topic, yet still getting folks coming into my house to tell me that I was going to Hell, that I was persecuting God-fearing people and that I am apparently single-handedly bringing on the apocalypse, I finally lost it and posted a pretty uncharacteristic rant. As a side note, I do feel compelled to say that I loved that one lady who, after telling me that if I didn’t repent I was going to Hell ended the sentence with “literally.” Good stuff. Anyway, back to the topic at hand. Here is what I wrote:

Screen Shot 2015-06-28 at 8.16.26 AM

{image is a screenshot of the post below}

Okay, since I’ve had to say this on every post since yesterday, let’s make it clearer.
I will not engage nor abide negativity on this page – my home – about the advancement of civil rights and the recognition of love and human dignity for ALL.

I just won’t.

I’ve deleted numerous comment threads since yesterday afternoon and even banned a reader, and have zero guilt about doing either right now. To those who ask, “But what about free speech?” well, For the 847,000th time, freedom of speech does no more than ensure that we are free to say as we will, with explicit and fairly numerous exceptions, without threat of prosecution by our government. It does not mean, nor has it ever meant, that we are free to say something hurtful and insensitive without someone telling us, in their inside voice or not, that we’re kind of being an ass. Free speech is not, nor has it ever been, “under attack,” on Facebook.

If you’re still reading, I appreciate you sticking with me through this somewhat uncharacteristic rant. I’ve just kind of had enough. So, here goes: a couple of points to consider. If you don’t agree, great. I invite you to post anything you’d like on your own page.

A society deciding that bigotry will no longer be tolerated on an institutional level is not “persecuting” the bigots. It’s refusing to continue to tolerate persecution. Big, big, (REALLY BIG) difference.

As far as “religious liberty,” well, that, my friends, is about the freedom to practice one’s own religion. No one has remotely trodden upon that right. To put it another way, the idea that we must be tolerant of bigotry and oppression in the name of religious freedom (ie “gay people make me uncomfortable because of my religious beliefs, therefore they’re being intolerant of me by, ya know, ever leaving their houses and existing in a place where they might encounter me and my belief system) incenses me. I will not accommodate bigotry. And you know what? I’m pretty comfortable saying Jesus wouldn’t either.

Stolen from a meme that I love, “Claiming that someone else’s marriage is against your religion is like being angry that someone is eating a donut because you are on a diet.” Cause, well, that. If you don’t want to eat a donut, by all means don’t eat a damn donut, but leave me and my Boston cream alone.

Nothing outside of your marriage can or will change the “sanctity” of it. Unless, like some 60% or so of at least one of the spouses in straight marriages, you have no real respect for the institution anyway.

The only thing “sick” about homosexuality is that so many terrified straight people still insist on calling love that diverges from their own experience ‘sick.’ That. That’s sick.

How do you “explain” gay marriage to your kids? Well, how do you explain marriage to your kids? Like that. Two people love each other. They are willing to take on a lifetime commitment to each other in the name of that love and to promise to care for one another in sickness and in health, prosperity and poverty. Isn’t that beautiful? Yup, it’s that easy.

Your children’s “innocence” isn’t going to be compromised by them hearing about two like-gendered people who love one another. It might, however, be decimated by their parents’ prejudice toward other human beings, especially if they happen to be among the 10% or so of the human population who are hard wired to be attracted to the same gender. ‘Cause ouch.

There is no slippery slope. Two adults who love one another have absolutely, positively nothing to do with bestiality or pedophilia or anything else. To imply otherwise is not just ignorant, it’s incredibly %#!&ed up.

In short, nothing is taken when rights are shared. Quite the opposite. Like love itself, recognition of dignity and the sharing of the full spectrum of rights and responsibilities of true, full, unequivocal citizenship not only are not limited resources, but grow through the very act of being shared.

Bottom line, there’s a lot to celebrate here and that’s what I intend to do. Join me, won’t you?

There were a number of common threads in the now-deleted protests that followed. And since we’re a a day or two out from the party, I’d like to address a few of them.

One recurring theme was branding me a hypocrite because I claim to respect others (which I do), yet refuse to indulge “dissenting opinions” on the topic of human rights. I submit that that actually makes me the opposite of a hypocrite. Is there a word for that? An integrocrite? No idea, but I think the following, which I wrote in response to a number of comments yesterday explains why, You are a hypocrite, just doesn’t work:

You see, there is a common thread here on Diary, one that has never changed in the seven years I’ve been writing here …

I fight with everything I have for universal recognition of human dignity and for ALL to be able to enjoy the full suite of rights and responsibilities that come with our citizenship.

Hypocrisy would be fighting for my Autistic daughter’s seat at the proverbial table, refusing to abide society telling her by word or by deed that she isn’t worthy of that seat — and of being considered fully and completely human, of having the opportunity to participate fully in every aspect of American life just as do her Neurotypical peers — and then standing by in silence when the same was being said of – or done to – anyone else.

Discrimination of one hurts us all.

That’s why I stand up, not just for my child and those like her, but for EVERYONE who is disenfranchised or in danger in this society.

If I deleted a comment from a reader saying that they believe, because of their religious doctrine or otherwise, that my daughter shouldn’t be able to be Autistic in public or marry another Autistic person, I wouldn’t be persecuting nor silencing anyone, I’d be refusing to tolerate bigotry in my house.

This simply isn’t up for debate for me. There aren’t “two sides” to whether or not someone has a right to full participation in all aspects of society and full recognition of their humanity.

Long before we were using the word intersectionality on the yet-unimagined Internet, Dr. King said, “Until all are free, none are free.” All these years later, I, along with countless others, am saying, “Amen.”

I will continue to do what I’ve always done. No hypocrisy about it.

Marriage is a religious rite (right?) and the government should stay out of it.

Holy matrimony is a sacrament. Marriage, on the other hand, is a legal contract for which a license is required by the state and the dissolution of which can only be executed by the same. Government can’t stay out of a governmental construct. Supreme Court ruling said nothing about religious marriage, just contractual marriage and all of the rights and responsibilities therein.

This site is hateful.

Hmm, well, I, um … Look around. This site, particularly over these last few days has been an explosion of love. It looks like a unicorn puked on the page.

If you look at two human beings who, after FIFTY FIVE years together finally have the opportunity to publicly declare their commitment to one another, to be equal to their fellow citizens under the law, to say, “I do,” in a courthouse in the county where they’ve lived for all these years and you see hate, I really don’t have anything for you.


{image is a photo of Jack Evans and George Harris again, because, Oh my God, the cuteness.}

So it’s equality and acceptance if I agree with you and discrimination if I don’t? Quite a double standard.

Neither equality nor the acceptance of it under the law is really subjective. Either rights are equal or they’re not. Either you accept that or you don’t. So yes, if you “don’t agree” with acceptance and equality, you don’t agree with acceptance and equality.

Homosexuality is an abomination in the eyes of God.

I’ve covered this before, but it obviously bears repeating. The following is from a post I wrote in 2011 called We Shall be Free:

I don’t deny that in many places (six, if I’m not mistaken) the Scriptures tell us that homosexuality (at least male homosexuality) is an abomination.

My problem is that the scriptures also tell us that eating shellfish is an abomination and that beating our slaves is fine as long as we don’t kill them.

If we choose to interpret the bible literally, then we must put to death those who work on the Sabbath (according to Exodus), those who curse their father or mother (as in Leviticus) and any woman who is found upon her wedding day to be anything other than a virgin (as prescribed by Deuteronomy).

So while I can’t dispute that the Scriptures call homosexuality a sin, I can make a pretty good argument for the need to read and understand them contextually. I believe that to parse out the passages that we want for a particular argument and assert that they are meant to be read literally – all while calling the others contextually dependent is hypocritical at best.

For those who believe that homosexuality is a choice (and a sinful one at that), I beseech you to take the time to get to know people. To see inside their world. To do exactly what we, as autism advocates ask people to do for us, for our kids. To begin to demystify the differences. To hear personal stories. To meet loving couples like my friend Randy and his husband, Mark who have been together for 34 38 years. To find that there is far more commonality in our experiences than difference. To find that your life will be richer for having opened your heart and your mind. To create a world where no teen thinks suicide is a better choice than telling his mom who he is.

Thank you all for reading and for contributing to the conversation with love and respect.

You are painting people of faith as as evil, hateful people.

Absolutely not. I say time and again that I deeply admire people of faith. I do not believe that faith and acceptance of all God’s creatures are mutually exclusive concepts, nor do I believe that anyone should feel that they have to start a sentence as one commenter did yesterday, “I am a Christian, but I do not believe in restricting love.” I wholeheartedly believe that the “but” in that sentence should be an “and.” Just ask my favorite pastor and her wife. They’re all about the “and.”

So I don’t think religion or faith are problematic. I think they’re beautiful. I do believe that hypocrisy in the name of religion is a huge problem.

You’ve forced me to leave this site. I came here to learn more about my autistic son, not be lectured at about homosexuality.

I’m sorry to see you go. For your son’s sake as well as your own, I hope you can come to an understanding that we cannot fight for the acceptance of one group to the exclusion of or at the expense of another. As I wrote above yet can never be said enough, Dr. King told us so many years ago, “None of us are free until all are free.”

Until we as a society accept divergence from the so-called norm as a part of the norm, our children and their adult autistic brethren will continue to be treated as less than.

How dare you tell me what I can and cannot say. This is a free country.

I like the irony in the second half of this one.

If you read my original post, you’ll see that I invited everyone to say whatever they felt the need to say – on their own pages. Diary is my home. Every day I get up at the crack of dawn to turn on the proverbial lights, brew the coffee, and open my doors to over 230,000 people.

I love this place. It is sacred to me. And when I throw a party here, I am very comfortable telling my guests that they can’t stand in the middle of my living room shouting epithets at the guests of honor. If they want to invite folks over to their own homes, they are welcome to do what they please there. But not here. Not in my house. Not to the people who mean so much to me.

Here, I will continue to do what I’ve always done – celebrate the glorious, messy, intensely beautiful spectrum of humanity. I invite you, as always, to join me.

Note: It is EXTREMELY rare for me to delete comments on Diary. Like, it almost never happens, and certainly not the way that it did on this day, when the hard core bigots came out to play. That said, if something is really egregious, I will do what needs to be done to maintain a respectful, safe environment that allows for as much participation as possible. 

40 thoughts on “my house

  1. This was the first blog about autism I found when I had my son diagnosed 5 years ago. It was you who opened my eyes to the reality that we are all in the same boat. All minorities. All parents of “different” children. And if I don’t want people to discriminate against my son, I wish the same to other people’s children. Thanks for writing, helping, enlightening. Love always wins!

  2. I am catholic, I am raising my child catholic. As part of being catholic I believe in the power of love for every living thing. I believe that God made every individual in his likeness. I believe that God has such an abundance of love for the human beings he made and such a capacity to forgive that we, as christians/catholics (or any other religion for that matter) need to learn to emulate him. Aren’t those his teachings? I believe that God is the only judge and that we should never throw stones at glass houses. I learned all of this is the 70s when many priests were using their positions to hurt children rather than protect them and help to raise them in God’s image. Hypocricy in my mind is when we don’t follow the law of God. To love everyone and to love ourselves. My child, as a catholic, will love everyone and will NOT judge anyone. Let people be people. I fully support that a marriage contract made in front of the justice of the peace allows for human beings to share in the same equality. And they should also be able to believe and worship God in any way they choose. Straight or gay.

  3. Since I don’t write about autism I don’t comment often but always quietly read autism blogs and I always like to see that someone who supports autistic people doesn’t stops there.

    If people say they want to respect autistic people and their own children they need to learn to respect lgbta people, because of all the lgbta autistic people out there and all the sadly assumed to be straight lgbta children that have parents like those on your upsetting examples who say they are trying to learn about their own children but obviously refusing to, you can’t learn and keep a limited prejudiced view of the world.

    As a bisexual autistic, I’m glad you maintain your house like this, you have my total support.
    Honestly anyone has to admire someone with power enough to end the world by themselves, literally.

    (I also have to say that it disturbs me when people think theirs is the only religion out there, there are many who have no problem with the recent news, sadly this is too common in homophobic comments.)

  4. OMG. I just love you so much right now. You said everything I’ve been trying to say on this subject. Bravo! (Standing and applauding) 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻💕❤️

  5. This has been an intense time for me. Many of my friends (beautiful, loving, compassionate, conservative) are upset that I support families and marriage and love, and had a rainbow heart on my page yesterday. Many of my friends (beautiful, loving, compassionate, some conservative, many not so) are upset that I believe the Bible is the word of God and that all have sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God. Your post has been comforting and what I needed, the insert with scripture helpful (although some New Testament quotes would have helped, in your spare time.). Thank you.

  6. Pingback: » my house

  7. Thank you, once again, for saying what I have wanted to say so many times. You always have the perfect way to say things that could easily be taken out of context, while keeping them perfectly in context. There is absolutely nothing that you can say that would make me leave your page. Your love is all encompassing, as it should be, and it pains me to see people say the things they’ve said to you these past few days.

    This, from one of my favorite memes, says it all for me. Jesus is saying “love one another as I have loved you.” His followers are saying “but what if they are gay… Atheist…. Polygamist…” Jesus says (on the meme) “did I f***ing stutter?”

  8. From my wife and I a heartfelt thank you. And from our adored adopted autistic daughter who lives her two mom’s. A bigger thank you

  9. I not only agree with you, I respect and admire you. It is unfortunate we can’t stamp out ignorance.

  10. Thank you, Jess. You dispense wisdom on a daily basis. I am an Aspergerish ( I may have made up this word.) lesbian, 73 years old and is about to get married in Arkansas.

  11. I was a part of that thread. After being told that I needed to get my facts straight if I was going to play the religious “card”…I spoke to my parish priest and was told that Holy Matrimony ABSOLUTELY also goes by the name “the sacrament of marriage.”
    I felt I needed to redeem myself after being “corrected”
    Note that had I been wrong, I would have gladly used this space to acknowledge that fact also.

    • Genelle, respectfully, you’re failing to acknowledge the major point that the church sacrament (marriage, matrimony, holy joining of two people – what we call it isn’t really the point at all) is a totally separate construct than the only thing decided by the court, which is access to *legal marriage,* a contract recognized by the state that is wholly separate from how it is acknowledged (or not) by religion.

      • I certainly do acknowledge that ANY marriage is a binding agreement/contract. I also fully understand what yesterday’s passing allows….equality for all to be LEGALLY married.
        My comment was admonished by many others saying I was wrong in what I called marriage. I did not enjoy being the brunt of any jokes nor did I like being chastised by my choice of words. Just as you mentioned, it doesn’t matter what we call it. If anyone was to re-read my posts, it would be obvious that I shared NO opinion on the passing of any laws. I simply disagreed with a statement made disallowing any importance of a religious marriage (which also requires a legal document (marriage license). The posts which were clearly argumentative, bothered me. So much, that I went to a priest to ask. The Internet is full of misinformation and I felt a need to clarify or apologize.

      • I recall deleting a comment responding to yours because it was sarcastic and not in keeping with the tone I try so hard to maintain on the page.

  12. Wow. Wow. Wow. I’ve been a huge fan of yours for awhile now, but you’ve really outdone yourself with this post. Beautiful words, Jess. And Amen! 👍🏼

  13. Jess, thanks for the wonderful post. One correction I feel I must make. Religious Marriage was addressed in Friday’s ruling. The justices clearly said churches won’t be forced to preform same-sex marriages.
    “Finally, it must be emphasized that religions, and those who adhere to religious doctrines, may continue to advocate with utmost, sincere conviction that, by divine precepts, same-sex marriage should not be condoned. The First Amendment ensures that religious organizations and persons are given proper protection as they seek to teach the principles that are so fulfilling and so central to their lives and faiths, and to their own deep aspirations to continue the family structure they have long revered. The same is true of those who oppose same-sex marriage for other reasons. In turn, those who believe allowing samesex marriage is proper or indeed essential, whether as a matter of religious conviction or secular belief, may engage those who disagree with their view in an open and searching debate. The Constitution, however, does not permit the State to bar same-sex couples from marriage on the same terms as accorded to couples of the opposite sex.” (Direct quote from supreme
    I am thrilled that marriage is now a protected civil right for everyone. It should be! I also hope that those that are freaking out that someone else’s marriage is ruining religion understand that that isn’t true either. Hoping one day we will all be free to be who we are, but until then just as an injustice to one is an injustice to all, overcoming that injustice for one is a cause to celebrate for all! Party on!

  14. As a transgendered, queer, mentally ill, most likely autistic, survivor of abuse and homelessness, I love that your page/ blog is a safe place to be. Many places are not for me. And I’d like to thank you for being there and being kind.
    There are places and times for people to debate things, and I think you give people opportunities to do so respectfully. ( and there are also lots of other places available online and in real life)
    Anyways if you or anyone reading this ever wants to know about any rescourses or just needs to talk, I’m here. I also am here if you would like to share cute animal pictures or puns. I like both.

  15. Love, love, love this! Thank you! I believe you have said time and again that we are welcome to hit the “share” button without asking, so I’m gonna do just that. ❤

  16. I’ve always loved your blog and now I love it even more. Blessings to you and yours. Luckily, I no longer have a public FB account and my family and friends know better than to post negative comments on my personal page.
    Here’s what I posted:
    This one is for my niece and for my nephew. I love both of you. The religious right needs to remember that while they are correct, the Supreme Court is not God, neither are they. The last time I checked my Bible I saw no indication that Jesus condemned anyone. In fact, I’m almost certain that he said, “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.”

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