Thursday, July 31, 2008

It's called 'self-righteousness,' not 'tough love'

They disowned him. They freaking disowned him.

Back in February, my friend Mike came out to his parents. He explained that he is transgendered and that he and Lynn were separating as he transitions into life as a woman. This went about as well as one would expect it to. His mom was crushed that he had decided to live a "homosexual lifestyle," and prays that he'll return to Christ, and his dad -- who routinely cheated on his wife and was emotionally absent from and uninvolved with his children -- castigated him for being selfish who was and abandoning the kids.

That was about what he expected. Mike had figured that since they've known him for 40 years, have seen him with the kids, and will have the chance to see him continue to be involved with his kids, that they would come around in the end. Or at least his mom would.

Well, surprise, surprise. Today he got a certified letter letting him know that his parents had revoked him as executor of their estate, removed him from their will, and left everything to his children instead.

They didn't even have the integrity to talk with him about it. His parents sneaked around behind his back, with his sister, and then they had the gall to claim the moral high ground, saying that this was his decision, and that he had left them no choice.

What. The. Actual. Hell.

How can people do things like this and still sleep at night? They're treating him like a moral and spiritual reprobate without even listening to him, they are changing family dynamics to exclude him, and they effectively are trying to drive a wedge between him and the rest of his family. And then, worst of all, they blame it all on him, probably in the name of "tough love."

One by one his supports are being kicked out from under him: church, friends, and now family. I don't get it. This is supposed to be love? Or is it a moral message? "Look kids, this is how you should treat someone whose choices you disagree with."

He told me all this and was so overwhelmed by the sense of outrage I felt on his behalf that he started to cry. Aside from his therapist, who is paid to take his side, no one else has seen him as a wonged party.

Mike told me he plans to talk with his parents some time soon, about the way they went about this. He thinks his mother's conscience is bothering her. She wrote the letter explaining what they had done, and its tone suggests to him that she was going along with her husband's Morally Righteous Anger for the sake of avoiding a fight, rather than following her own heart.

Me, I'm just appalled ... and I'm glad that I can be there for a friend when he needs me.

Copyright © 2008 by David Learn. Used with permission.

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