Parents block lesbian site


(Toronto, June 2, 2012); I’ve received a notification that this blog, My Words! has been blocked on a computer somewhere in the world by a parent using a new product from Microsoft called familysafety. This new product allows parents to monitor their kids’ computer use. It also gives parents a weekly report of sites visited by said kids and most importantly, gives parents the option to block any site thought to be inappropriate to look at by their computer-using, information seeking, curious offspring. So, the upshot is, the next time a certain young person tries to get access to this blog, she’ll get a notification: If your parent signs in and allows this webpage, you’ll be able to see it.

Interestingly, the other thing the product does is send a referral notice to the site being blocked. Nice feature: I’m sure it won’t last, unless it was designed to scare sites deemed undesirable into going offline. I’m not inclined to do that at the moment.

I’d like to know since when is my site not safe for families? Harumph!  Well, ok. Maybe my site is not one to wander through for the under-18 crowd or a site to be visited in those countries and homes where the mere hint of the existence of homosexuals is denied and illegal and where people are jailed or killed for being homosexual.

On the other side of the fence, protecting kids from the bad in the world is part of what parents are supposed to do. I get it. There has always been a festering dark underworld walking lockstep with civilization and polite society. And humankind’s dark underbelly and deeds and horrors have always been available. Today they’re easily available on the internet. But it’s a different thing when a young person is curious about sexuality. I suppose sex and sexuality and sexual identity and sexual curiosity is tied up in oh, just about everything that parents are afraid of, wrapped up in cultural and religious sensitivities, blind spots and perhaps some superstitions and stupidity and denial. But I digress. My sympathies are with the child in this case. She’s been busted and I have a few assumptions based on the clues. Let me share them:

  • The person who dropped into the site to look at a post about how to have a lesbian experience — which is in the Dumb Question of the Day section, meant to be cheeky rather than instructive — is a young woman still living at home with her parents, possibly curious about her sexuality or questioning it, or knows it, and is checking out lesbian sites on the internet.
  • This young woman has not shared anything with her parents about what she’s thinking and feeling or wondering about with respect to her sexuality.
  • There are some trust issues going on in that family.
  • Her parents are not pleased. Maybe they are shocked and don’t know what to do. As often happens when people don’t know what to do, they fall into crisis mode and in crisis mode, all ability to be rational evaporates. Primitive, instinctual reactionary brain is activated and that means people take a combative, protective position. Which is fine when that’s what’s needed, but in this case a fight is not going to help anything or anyone. Besides, there’s no reason to fight.
  • The parents aren’t interested in finding a caring route to navigate the situation and are reacting in a typical fashion — denying and punishing adolescent sexuality, denying access to information,  not providing one iota of safety for this young woman — in other words, punishing her for trying to understand who she is or might be.

Goodness knows where in the world this is happening. There are so many places in the world — including everywhere in North America — where it’s not safe to be female, let alone safe to be a lesbian. It could be right here in Toronto, or as far away as New Zealand, China, or Indonesia. Or in a nondescript corner house somewhere in America. Wherever she is, I’m keeping my fingers crossed that good parenting sense and compassion prevails.

Parenting is tough. I can’t imagine what it’s like for parents in different cultures as waves of otherness enter their world through the internet, as the global human rights consciousness and sensibilities infiltrate and give young people a new language to express their feelings, words like lesbian, gay, bisexual, freedom. However, I do know the other side of it, what it was like with my parents and some of my friends’ parents and it wasn’t all that fun, ‘specially those of us who are immigrants, or who came from certain religious traditions. And so I empathize with that young woman who’s been found out by a parent unit or two — my heart goes out to her. I hope that she’ll have someone she can confide in after her parents have that conversation with her, if it is indeed a conversation and not a berating, a punishment, or worse.

For the young woman whose parents have made it so that she’ll never be able to visit this site again: I hope that whatever happens, she lands in a place that’s safe for her, where she isn’t alone, where she’s not ostracized by her family; where adults allow her to safely explore who she thinks she is, whether that’s straight, bent, or something altogether different so that she doesn’t have to hide who she is from anyone, including her family and herself.

found in google images

About FS

Toronto, Canada. Writing about slices of life, the moments and minor details of which come into awareness or out of imagination and the spaces inbetween. On hiatus from writing ... at least for now.
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16 Responses to Parents block lesbian site

  1. Sarah says:

    Hee. My parents block all “gay” sites too. But they haven’t figured yours out yet.

  2. Vee says:

    Uh, WHAT!?? Makes me sad and upset everytime I hear about things like that. Out of all websites a questionning young lady (maybe) might stumbled upon online, yours is probably the best one she could have found.
    Instead of blocking websites that should not be blocked, how about talking to the kid? Jeez. Sometimes, people… pfffff…. Let’s just leave it at that.

    Thank you for sharing this. 🙂

    • FS says:

      You’re welcome. I wish it wasn’t so, too. It would be great if parents talked to their kids…as in have real, honest true meaningful communication. Do people do that anymore) other than, um, 😀 protesting in red underwear (or no underwear) and banging pots and pans. I think that’s quite communicative.

      Sometimes, people do make us wonder, don’t they? Specially parental type people.

  3. lsawyer713 says:

    So glad you have a great attitude about it all… The poor soul who has been blocked is in distress and I too like the others who commented hope she or he finds other ways for support in their coming out process. One day, these blocking softwares won’t be necessary because many more things will be accepted. Hopefully, we will get to see it in our lifetime!

    • FS says:

      Dear L; If anyone had asked me 15 years ago if Canada would allow same-sex marriage, I would have been hard-pressed to say yes. But here we are. And Canada has an active Catholic community, and active Christian fundamentalist movement, an active Real Women campaign, and active anti-federalist campaign, and an active anti-everything underground. We have monsters, too. But we have brave, courageous people here who have worked hard to enshrine non-discrimination and human rights in our laws, and who continue to work hard so that we don’t slide backward.

      And yet, having those law, as well as all the others that we’ve had for all these years has not necessarily made it any easier for people to come out. Families are families and some parents cannot see their children as anything other than extensions of themselves. It’s complicated.

      What the laws do is set standards of behaviours, give people a language, get conversations started and allow places of community to legally develop for those people whose families are less than accepting. Law in and of itself doesn’t change hearts and minds — it affects behaviours, to badly paraphrase Martin Luther King. But it takes time. Laws apparently don’t help to vanquish the demon-seeds of ignorance and stupidity.

      I don’t know if my attitude is great. It fluctuates between out and out rage at what parents do to children, what one group of people does to another, through to (in darker moments) abject resignation. But it serves no personal and greater good for me to be as mean and hateful ignorant as those hateful people in front of me. I work to be a better person than that, even as I recognize a faint survival and protectionist instinct and a curious desire to grant instant karma, eviscerating them intellectually and emotionally, causing them paralysing, existential pain for all eternity. (My superpowers, executed with a slightly raised right eyebrow 🙂 )

      It is my sincere hope that in the not-too-distant future (in our lifetime when we can still dance about it) that anyone who isn’t straight and chooses to declare it — anyone who’s LBGTT or QQII — won’t even get a raised eyebrow.

  4. Wow, sort of boggles the mind, doesn’t it?

    • FS says:

      BB: I’d like to say yes, that it does boggle the mind — but then I remember our experience with rights, freedoms and acceptance is new: it’s within this generation in a privileged, wealthy and white (and secular) society…and it’s why the struggle for equal rights is not over. NOT that I’m being political in any way. ;-).

  5. Bernadett-B says:

    That’s sad but the even sadder fact is that this scenario is the prevailing one and it’s the result of fear and social dogma that dominates the thinking of many. This is why people should appreciate more what they have in those societies where acceptance is more widespread even natural.

    • FS says:

      I wish it were not so… and let’s hope that all of us can remember to appreciate what we have when we have it. Thank you for the reminder 🙂

  6. natasiarose says:

    That’s crazy! I like to think that the person who was reading your site, is still doing so, just on a different computer or on their phone. 🙂

    • FS says:

      Crazy comes in all sorts of flavours, huh? I’d like to let that young person know…that some of us are supportive and here, available and able to listen.

  7. Jane says:

    Hmm sad, sad, sad. Reminds me of a social worker in one of my home countries (yes I got a complicated life), Singapore who publicly warned parents to not let their daughters surf the net alone because they could be lured into homosexuality by all the temptations there were on the internet.

    Anyhow, blocking your website does not lead to anything. The only that it ends up to is something like this:

    “Darn, Mom/Dad will not let me read my favorite blog”.
    2 seconds later on the phone.
    “Hi bff (whom I have a secret crush on), I found this interesting website. Can I come over and show you?….. No my parents blocked access to it from here….. okay i’ll be there in 5”.

    • FS says:

      Hello, Jane. It is sad.

      One of your home countries? A complicated life? I promise not to ask :-).

      The wonderful thing about humans is how we manage to overcome the obstacles put in front of us, including those put there by parents. I suppose parents need to feel their power and occasion, exert it, but in the main, it is sad when it happens, in any culture, in any country.

  8. DD says:

    My heart goes out to this person who has been found out and no longer has free access to information and support anymore… Hopefully she is not suffering dire consequences for it…

    I suppose , she could also be a grown woman, under the control of a domineering husband. Or, a young North Carolina boy, curious about homosexuality in general, who has been busted by his parents who happen to think homosexuals should all be put in an pen with an electrified fence…. The possibilities are endless.

    Daring to live the life you feel is your own is not without risk, is it?
    (heavy sigh)

    PS: don’t let this stop you from being the inspiration that you are, to those who can still read your words…

    • FS says:

      Dear DD: Yes, you are right: the blocker could be any one of those people.

      Life…is not without risk. True again. Certainly, not life with love in it 😉

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