In the universe next to ours, a woman emails her sister:
Hey, sis, good to hear from you.
Have you seen Elyse lately? I wondered if she talked to you. Did you know what's been happening at our place? You will have to tell me you are surprised. Elyse came out as straight. So our household has been in a bit of an uproar.
Well, of course we are supportive. Debs and I are very conventional parents but we have always supported our daughter's choices and we will always love her no matter what. We may express concern, that's what mums do, but we will always support her. And she is a good kid, we just never saw this coming.
I guess there were some signs. She never took much interest in other girls and when she was about 13 she had a crush on a male teacher, but that's no big deal, it's just experimentation. Even now at 16 I wonder if she's just playing with the idea. Like, she says down at the skating rink some of the girls like it when girls kiss guys, it makes the girls seem hot apparently. A bit of gender bending seems fashionable these days, I don't know.
And I must admit I don't really like that word straight. Why not just say heterosexual; it's accurate. Straight used to mean something, like a straight line, now you can't say straight line without it being some sort of double entendre. They've taken a perfectly good word and made it unusable, for political purposes. And some of it just political, it's a way of protesting or something, which is fair enough I guess when you're young, but really you don't want to take it up for ever.
And yes, she has a little boyfriend. Jacob. We've met him. He's quite sweet really and seems a bit overwhelmed. I wonder what his parents must be thinking. Then I think, perhaps I should just look in a mirror. Of course I am not letting them in her room with the door shut. Debs disagrees, she thinks they are of legal age and we can't stop them, and she also says would I feel the same way if Jacob was a girl and I don't know, honestly, it's just that I have to have a say in what goes on in my own goddam home. Debs has always been more liberal than me.
We are liberal mums. We have never allowed heterophobic language in our house even when the kids joke about it. We want the best for our girl. It's just that life is so hard for these straight people. They do get discriminated against and stereotyped. Elyse's school has a support group for straight teens run by a straight teacher and that's OK, I hope she gets involved with him. I guess. But they have a higher rate of bullying at school and they kill themselves more often, all the stats say so, they have more mental health issues, there's more pressure, and the straight lifestyle isn't always the best, let's face it. I know I sound prejudiced but I'm not. I just want Elyse to have the same life chances as everyone else. I don't want her in some straight pigeon hole living with a bunch of people who, let's be honest here, just breed.
I know the breeding label is a stereotype and there are plenty of straight people who are very good parents, but I just grieve when I think of what Elyse might have to go through. For a start there's the constant thing of trying not to breed, well, not to get pregnant, it's just plain unnatural all those pills and things they have to take. And straight people, especially the young ones, they just pop kids out and then they can't take the consequences. The kids end up in welfare care and it's all grief, and then the little idiots have another one because they just can't help themselves. And they tend to be promiscuous, I know Elyse would never be like that, but she will be around people who just impregnate each other for fun. It's not natural and the social cost is too high. I'm sorry but I really just disapprove.
Debs and I are conventional, I know. But we thought hard about having Elyse, we got to know her bio-dad really well, we knew all about her before she was born, we knew what we were doing and dammit we have been good mums to her. Well, we thought we knew what we were about. Maybe we didn't. She's been a great kid, this is the first curve ball she's ever thrown us, but it's a biggie.
So sis, your big sister needs some support herself now I guess, wish me luck, help me and Debs through this one.