There is a reason that I write lesbian characters. There is a reason that most of the stories and books I write contain a strong family element. It’s simple. For years, I looked for models of the life I aspired to have and could not find them. It’s a lonely place to live, never seeing yourself reflected in the media that permeates our modern living. Toni Morrison once said, “If there's a book that you want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it.” That is exactly what I have done.
Media has always played a pivotal role in shaping society’s perceptions. If that were not the case, freedom of the press would not have been and would not continue to be such point of contention in our world. Art has a powerful influence on culture. Too often, I hear the sentiment expressed that art (film, music, literature, fine art, television, etc.) are only reflections of who we are. That is not accurate. Art in its many forms does reflect the human experience. It is meant to both communicate and evoke emotion. Stories in their many forms are based on an artist’s experiences and imagination. Art does not merely mirror what it is we see in our world, it often projects that which we hope to see, hope to become and wish to create. In all its many forms, art also informs and instructs us. It shapes our culture and our view of ourselves and those we travel with in this world. Art and life are reciprocal. They are in relationship, not separate entities with no connection.
Culture has evolved just as technology has expanded and increased our connection to each other. Even in this culture of 24/7 information and images, we still find a disproportionate amount of stereotypical and over-simplified representations of large groups of people. We live in a world that allows us to peer into the lives of others and into distant lands, and yet, for all its diversity we continue to face the upward battles that divisiveness and prejudice thrust upon us.
As a woman who is a lesbian, who is also a mother, a daughter, a wife and a person of faith, I find myself frustrated with the amount of divisiveness that still faces so many people in 2016. While the wars we wage to create meaningful legislation to combat inequality are admirable, they alone will not serve to shift human perception. And, in order to create lasting, meaningful change perception must be shifted toward an inclusive view of humanity.
This week, one particular case of discrimination was brought to my attention. You may read this, listen to my short video and ask yourself, “how is this my problem?” In my experience, one story is always representative of many others that have yet to be told. And, none of us knows when we might find ourselves slipping down a hole greased by prejudice and unable to pull ourselves up on our own. I cannot imagine anyone taking my son from me based on my sexual orientation or appearance. It is unfathomable. It is, however, a reality for many people today.
For those of you who read my books and stories, I would ask you to ask yourself what would have happened if Christopher O’Brien had managed to sue Cassidy for custody of Dylan only because she fell in love with Alex? What would have happened if Addison’s father succeeded in dragging Addy and Emma into court for custody of the sprout because he disapproved of their relationship? What if Candace had not been allowed to raise The Three Stooges? And, what if Tess’s mother had taken the twins from her when Tess came out of the closet? WHAT IF IT WAS YOU? Where would you turn within a system that is so convoluted and so powerful, that you are little more than a smudge of ink on a docket? How would you combat a system that is accountable only to itself? Where your word is automatically less credible than a judge’s and as a member of the LGBTQ community, even less so? Where would you turn?
When I was introduced to Brittany’s case, I felt my heart break, not just a little but profoundly. I can recall my internal battle in deciding to come out. It was in no small way because I feared what might happen to me as a parent. And, I did face a great deal of criticism, accusation and judgment but no one took my soon from me.
We have made a great deal of headway in this world in combatting prejudice, but not nearly enough. Not nearly enough when a loving parent can be cast aside in our legal system simply because they look or love differently than a judge, guardian ad litem, family member or counselor thinks they should. Just because someone does not understand another person's reality or takes issue with it based on a religious belief. Make no mistake, it happens each day in our court system. Parents are denied custody of their children, couples are denied adoption rights and families are torn into pieces. There simply has to be a better way.
And so, I ask you to consider helping to both raise awareness and offer a hand to one family in need. There are several ways that you can help:
Share the YOU CARING page that I have provided the link for here:
Share this BLOG.
DONATE even $5.00 to Brittany’s page.
From now until March 1st, purchase any item in the SHOP section of this site (merchandise and signed books, not eBooks – I cannot track those) and I will donate 100% of the profit to Brittany’s cause. I will also include a personal thank you and a surprise.
IF you are an author or an artist, consider offering to donate an item for a future auction—a signed book, print, painting, piece of jewelry, DVD, etc. I will include you and your website on the auction page when it is ready as well as in social media posts and ads for the auction.
IF you have any line to resources legal or otherwise that you feel might be beneficial to Brittany, please send her a message via her YOU CARING page or message me and I will pass that on.
Thank you for your consideration. For those who have so generously donated and shared this already, I know how much Brittany and her family appreciate it and so do I. None of us know when we will need that hand up, if for no other reason than that we should be able to extend a hand to lift someone else up when we can.
“No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.”
~ Charles Dickens