Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

Hate Has No Home Here

For those who may not travel to the South much, there are countless reminders of our divided and disturbing past — monuments, placards, battlefields, museums, flags (lots and lots of flags), all scattered up and down the southern states — though as we have witnessed recently, there is no shortage of these reminders in the northern states as well!

While on a trip to visit my dad who now lives in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina with his wife, the imagery was constant reminders of our fractured past and present. My parents divorced when I was in my early twenties, and not long after my dad met a good ol’ southern woman while on vacation in Myrtle Beach, fell in love, got married, and moved down south. And…this southern woman is exactly how you might imagine: a white, Baptist Christian woman, who studies the bible, and supports Trump.

It has not been easy to rectify my father’s choice of marrying a woman whose views are so diametrically opposed to mine; over the years having to unfriend her on Facebook due to homophobic posts, listening to her support of Donald Trump, being judged and told that God will judge us in the end due to our “lifestyle”.

My dad was raised as a good, Irish Catholic boy, and when I came out at the age of 17 he had a difficult time with it at first, trying to reconcile what his religion told him versus his unconditional love for his child. Ultimately he decided he loved me more than a doctrine and has been a stalwart supporter of me, and my twin sister who is also gay, as well as our friends, families, and community ever since.

So how do I rectify his marriage choice to a woman who supports Trump, thinks some in the LGBTQ community are “wrong”, and in the past has made me question her thoughts on racial equality? I love my dad and do not want to not have him in my life because of the person he fell in love with — in all fairness, he did the same for me — but the struggle is real, and hate will never have a home in my family!

It is the struggle many families have been having because of the deep division and hateful history our country was founded on, one that has been made much worse by Donald Trump but was sparked with the Obama presidency, with some white people feeling threatened by a Black president.

I imagine it was a similar contention during the Civil War era, families vehemently disagreeing over the direction of the country, over what they considered “right” and “wrong”, over treating every individual regardless of skin color as human beings. This fight continues today.

My hope for this country is that empathy, human decency, equality, and tolerance win out; that racism and systemic oppression become a thing relegated to the history books, and that white people educate themselves, speak out, and listen to and support Black and Brown people, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer (LGBTQ) people, immigrants, and other marginalized communities. The recent Supreme Court victory protecting LGBTQ worker rights provides some renewed hope. Those much needed wins, along with the continual, large-scale protests throughout this country, and the world, spurred by the brutal murder of George Floyd by a white police officer, and systemic racial inequity and oppression, makes it feel like hopefully a change is going to come.

I don’t know what will happen to the relationship with my dad and his wife, or ultimately what will happen to this country — this is not a time to agree to disagree — but I do know this, I will always support and stand in solidarity of any people being oppressed and marginalized, along side the masses of others who are standing up and making it known that hate has no home here, and that is always right! I ask that you do the same.

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Marion Leary

Marion Leary

Science geek. Passionate abt Philly, resuscitation, social media, scicomm, innovation, art, & helping others. http://marionleary.strikingly.com