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I don’t know any better, but you might! December 2, 2007

Posted by Teen Atheist in anecdotes, family, issues.
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So I’d like to ask you all for your advice again.

There’s an LGBT Pride March in our country this month, and as an LGBT supporter, I of course want to go to show solidarity for the awesome gay/bi/transgender people of this ultra-conservative country. And my gay friends too, hee-hee.

I approached my mother and asked her if I could go. She gave me a firm “No,” explaining that I was too young to attend such an event.

“Why am I too young?”

“Well, there’s the whole thing about gay marriage, and gay rights…issues that even some adults can’t understand, let alone a child like you. Besides, if you’re only there for show, you’re going to look like an idiot.”

I smelled bullshit (come on, it’s kind of flimsy, don’t you think?), but I wasn’t surprised. Mom always underestimates me. Of course I understand gay rights, why the fuck do you think I’m going? To look fabulous, or scout for the perfect Gay BFF? This march is about anti-discrimination, which has always been my biggest cause. LGBT people deserve as much respect as everybody else.

Naturally, I’m bummed about it. My first-ever semi-political event, and I’m not allowed to go because I’m too young. Sure, there’s this other party that day that I’m going to attend in case I really can’t go to the march, but since when has my mother’s disapproval ever stopped me from doing anything? If I did everything my mother told me to, I’d be a timid, frumpy Catholic girl instead of the fabulous, go-getting atheist that I am today!

Readers, I have a couple of questions for you:

  1. Is my mother right? At 17 (going on 18 in less than a week), am I too young to attend this march?
  2. If not, how can I convince my mother to let me go?

Comments»

1. Mason - December 3, 2007

In my opinion you are not too young to protest anything you believe in. My first protest was at 16; to have a principal reinstated. You have my respect for starting so young. But my respect isn’t what you need right now.
Your mother probably has a problem with the rally because it is for the LGBT folks and she is worried that the stigma might stick to you. As a father I can say that no parent wants their kid to take a beating, even if it is over their own beliefs. I may be wrong on that, she may just be a homophobe, you would know better. You might try again but try relating how important it is to you to lift your voice and be heard. Try letting her know that you know some gays and therefore know what kind of crap they have to take. Tell her that human rights, and human dignity must apply to all groups and all peoples. You might point out (very gently!!!) that you will be 18 at the time of the rally and be legally allowed to attend if you want. That one can turn into a nightmare real fast if not done delicately.
Good luck on this I hope this has helped in some small way.
Mason

2. el incognito - December 3, 2007

How about an easy way out?

Give me your address, and I’ll cap your mom, your dad, and Pete.

Free of charge.

3. Friendly Atheist » At What Age Should You Attend a LGBT Pride March? - December 3, 2007

[...] mom won’t let her. I approached my mother and asked her if I could go. She gave me a firm “No,” explaining that [...]

4. Teen Atheist - December 3, 2007

Thank you so much for the advice, Mason. :D I’ll be sure to keep that in mind when I confront my mother again.

5. Teen Atheist - December 3, 2007

El Incognito: Tempting, but I wouldn’t be able to live with the guilt. :P

6. Bruce - December 3, 2007

You’re going to be 18 in less than a week and your mother thinks you’re too young??? Why don’t you ask her if she plans on letting you vote in the next elections? (OK, I’m kidding, don’t do that unless you want to be a smart ass).

Her comments about you not understanding all the issues and looking like an idiot are merely excuses for her to not have to deal with whatever issues she has about gays. She doesn’t want to talk about it so she belittles you hoping that you’ll be intimidated and just go away. It’s a common tactic people use when they know they don’t have a leg to stand on. I hope your mom doesn’t really think that about you and is just falling back on an age old strategy to avoid the real issue. Just remember, she is the one who is avoiding the issue, not you.

As far as convincing her to let you go, you could always try to appeal to reason. If she thinks you are making a mistake by going, tell her that often the best way to learn is from our mistakes. If she doesn’t think you know enough about the issues (whatever those may be in her mind), then ask her what those issues are and discuss them with her (hopefully convincing her that you have thought about them). Why do I have the feeling that reason isn’t the issue here?

Will she be embarrassed if her daughter is seen at a gay rights parade? Is she somewhat homophobic? These are things that won’t be solved overnight. I’m sure you’ve disobeyed her before. Were the consequences worth it? Are your parents going to beat you if you go or just be mad for a while? Unfortunately, while you’re still in your parents care, you often have to play by their rules, even if they are unreasonable. Only you can know for sure if the risk of going is worth it.

7. Zeolite - December 3, 2007

You’re definitely not too young to attend a gay rights march, its a flimsy excuse your mother gave because she doesn’t want you to go for some other reason. If would be worth ferreting the real reason out if you want to try and convince her to let you go.

If I were you at seventeen/eighteen I would just go – but that’s not good advice. Maintaining as healthy a relationship as possible with your parents is important.

8. overcaffein8d - December 3, 2007

You could just sneak away and attend anyway. What’s she going to do?

Go with Martha, if you live in the same town.

Traveling might be a problem though.. i don’t know if you have a car, boat, whatever.

i went to a darfur rally in washington dc when i was 15.

9. jgrab1 - December 3, 2007

> 1. Is my mother right? At 17 (going on 18 in less than a week), am I too young to attend this march?

No. At [whatever age she is], however, she is. Maturity has nothing to do with chronology and, as Rick Steves says, age only matters if you’re cheese.

> 2. If not, how can I convince my mother to let me go?

Duct tape.

10. Reed Braden - December 3, 2007

Just don’t piss off your parents. Go if you can. It’s a great experience, really. If you can’t convince them to let you go, don’t go. It’s not worth starting a huge fight over.

But the gay rights issue is much simpler than your parents apparently think it is and it can be summed up in three simple, irrefutable points:

1) Gays are humans.
2) Humans deserve to be treated equally.
3) Equality is worth fighting for.

Period. End of discussion.

11. Wildwing - December 3, 2007

You’re nowhere near too young to understand; it’s sad to see how either your mother underestimates you OR she’s so afraid of the LGBTs that she doesn’t want you around them. I would suspect the latter, as most heavily religious people seem to think that gay folks do nothing but prey on young people.
I have a cute story for you. When my daughter, now 28, was about 15, she came to me and said she needed to talk to me. Since we didn’t get along too well, this was noteworthy and I dropped what I was doing. I knew she slept around, and my biggest fear was that she was pregnant despite my keeping an open box of condoms under the sink for my THREE teenagers to use as needed (I’m not blind, stupid, or so old I don’t remember what it’s like). So when she looked at me and said, “Mom, I think I’m a lesbian and I want to go to the prom with a girl”, I hugged her and said “I’m so happy, that’s great!” she thought I was nuts. She did date girls for about a year but unfortunately that soon faded away and now she’s stuck in a trailer-trash marriage with a drunken jerk and three kids and a job at Taco Bell. I may be the only parent to ever be happy that their child came out to them, and with good reason.
But back to your problem: I don’t normally encourage children to defy their parents, but in this case I agree with Mason to try and talk her into it–and if that doesn’t work, go anyway.
Good luck!!

12. William - December 3, 2007

If attending will create too many issues with your parents, you can always go to next year’s march.

Or if you’re to college, you can join a group supportive of gay rights, and attend all the marches/tables/events you want.

13. Teen Atheist - December 4, 2007

Zeolite:

Maintaining as healthy a relationship as possible with your parents is important.

There’s not much to maintain. :P

14. Teen Atheist - December 4, 2007

Reed Braden:

1) Gays are humans.
2) Humans deserve to be treated equally.
3) Equality is worth fighting for.

Perfect! I’ll be using this when confronting my mom later this week. And since equality is worth fighting for, I’ll be attending that march, with or without Mom’s approval.

15. Roe - December 4, 2007

Aren’t you an adult in your country? Why did you even ask your mother?

16. obscurifer - December 4, 2007

As a gay man, I’d encourage anyone to go to a pride march. As a parent, I’d encourage any child to listen to their parents.

You’ll want to balance your beliefs in what is right with maintaining a relationship with your mother. I encourage all of the kids in my extended family to hold onto that idea when they ask me about their relationships with their parents. If you are anxiously waiting for the day where you can see your parents in your rearview mirror, then go.

Best of luck with your decision.

17. irishsof - December 4, 2007

Hi, TA…found your blog from the homepage recently. Love it.

So, speaking as a gay guy here, no, you are not too young. 17 is simply not too young. Of course, given what I’ve been reading on your blog, I’m guessing your Mom thinks you are because she thinks TEH GAYS will corrupt you and recruit you.

So if you want to convince her, my advice would be to respond to her concern. If she thinks you can’t understand the issues because “some adults can’t”, then tell her that how are you supposed to be able to understand the issue without talking to people who it affects. As in, the gay people who will happily inform you at the march.

Just my two (typically over-opinionated American) cents. :-)

18. benj - December 4, 2007

I will never join another street protest for as long that I’m alive. I got suckered into joining one of those maoist rallies against tuition hike. hehe

19. atheistgirl - December 4, 2007

I’m bi and if there were an LGBT march in my area, I’d go with or without dear mumsy’s permission. I think you should always stand up for what you believe in.(even if you have to risk getting in trouble with the parents)

20. Teen Atheist - December 4, 2007

Aren’t you an adult in your country? Why did you even ask your mother?

I live in a conservative country. I need my parents’ permission before I go outside the house unaccompanied, or else I’ll be subject to a nasty verbal beatdown when I come home.

21. Jersey - December 4, 2007

you shouldnt have brought it up!! You should have just said that you were going out with friends. (could you do that?)

22. J M - December 4, 2007

I experienced a similar thing when I was 17 (20 now). I wanted to go to the gay pride parade in Chicago with my gay friend (though I am straight). I didn’t even bother to ask my parents. They’re not homophobic at all – in fact, they’re pretty liberal. They’re just very overprotective and are more frightened that I would be crammed into a small area containing 400,000 people, many of which are drunk or half naked. I just lied and told them I was doing something else, and went anyway. Sometimes I feel bad about it, but I never usually do stuff like that, and it was really important to me to go. Of course, now that you already brought up the issue, I don’t know what exactly to tell you. Hopefully you can logic this one out.

23. Teen Atheist - December 4, 2007

Jersey:

you shouldnt have brought it up!! You should have just said that you were going out with friends. (could you do that?)

I could have, but they’d eventually figure out that I was lying. It happened when I visited an aunt with whom they’re not on speaking terms.

24. Teen Atheist - December 4, 2007

Hopefully you can logic this one out.

I’ll try. I’m more adamant about it now, thanks to the encouragement from you guys, and partly because I’m predisposed to rebelling against whatever rules my mother sets for me. I’ll explain why I’m going, and I’ll let them know that there’s no way they can stop me.

25. gayswithoutborders - December 4, 2007
26. Karen - December 5, 2007

You’re certainly not too young to go to the rally, but your mother does have issues and I doubt you’ll win an argument on this one.

Basic 3-point strategy for dealing with difficult people in positions of authority over you (parents, instructors, supervisors, etc): don’t lie, pick your battles carefully, and always remember that forgiveness is often easier to obtain than permission. Asking isn’t always a good idea.

27. reynor - December 9, 2007

I agree with your mom for not allowing you to go but not for the reasons she said. Because she has no right to underestimate your intellectual capacity to understand certain issues and because nobody looks like an idiot when they are fighting for what they really believe in. I do however agree with her first statement that “the whole thing about gay marriage, and gay rights…issues [that even] some adults can’t understand”.

It is an issue that we need to spend a lot of time and effort into understanding beyond its superficial and emotional factors. I say, let us explore the issues more, let us ask ourselves, what other or extra rights do they really need other than those that were given to us all as men, male and female. Wouldnt it be an injustice to the rest of the people who are not gay/lesbian that they have a different set of rights just because they have a different sexual preference? does sexual preference really change a human being into other than male & female that they need an extra set of rights? what benefits would they have having extra laws for sexually preferring the same sex? isnt giving them extra rights due to sexual preference an act of inustice as well, for treating them unnaturally- different from what is naturally human, male & female?

28. Anonymous - December 9, 2007

You most certainly are not too young; as for convincing her: don’t. If your mother doesn’t like it, go anyway, it can’t kill you after all.

29. Teen Atheist - December 9, 2007

Reynor, we’re fighting for EQUAL rights, not SPECIAL rights. And if you think the LGBT community is being treated the same way as straight people, you’re quite mistaken.

30. tuibguy - December 9, 2007

I hope you are able to work this one out. I take my kids to rallies like this. If you aren’t able to go, remember that this is not going to be the last rally ever, and you can be twice as loud at the next one in order to make up for missing this one!

And, on a side note:

I need to let you know that you have been tagged. Follow this link to find out what the hell I am talking about.

31. gayswithoutborders - December 9, 2007
32. What I did for love (TA at the gay pride parade) « Diary of a Teenage Atheist - December 9, 2007

[...] the night before the parade, and I approached my mother in the kitchen to ask her again if I could attend the gay pride parade. She, again, [...]

33. Gertude Wagon - October 14, 2011

Hello, i feel that i noticed you visited my weblog so i came to “go back the want”.I’m trying to find things to improve my web site!I suppose its ok to use some of your ideas!!


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