Girls seek "divorce" of lesbian mother
August 20, 2002 8:35 AM   Subscribe

Girls seek "divorce" of lesbian mother The Scottish paper seems to take a fairly serious anti-gay stance, where as the report in the Houston Chronicle seems to be a little more factual and less hysterical. But, in either case, do children have the right to demand that their parents "stop being gay"?
posted by dejah420 (51 comments total)

 
darn it, those silly boxes didn't show up in preview. Sorry gang.
posted by dejah420 at 8:53 AM on August 20, 2002


The litmus test: If this woman were bringing men home, would we even be hearing about it? Perhaps, because a double standard still holds in that respect. But not likely.

Look, every kid has to put up with a bunch of crap from mom and/or dad until she turns 18. So Mom's gay. Unless she's gettin' some at the dinner table or conducting herself in a similarly irresponsible manner, these kids need to grit their teeth and be embarrassed by their parental units, just like we all did.

Holy cow, does America need to grow up.
posted by NedKoppel at 8:56 AM on August 20, 2002


Kimla Green, 35, is accused of setting an atrocious example to her children by brazenly entertaining a string of female lovers at her Texas home.

Sounds like a set-up to me.
posted by blucevalo at 9:00 AM on August 20, 2002


Sounds like a pr0n intro to me.
posted by adampsyche at 9:02 AM on August 20, 2002


"atrocious example", "brazenly entertaining"

Yep, gotta love The Scottsman for its unbiased news reporting, there.

And to think, an author in New York (the writer for the Scottsman) is upstaged for level thinking by the Houston Chronicle. Way to go, Heartland!
posted by thanotopsis at 9:03 AM on August 20, 2002


Sounds like the silly season to me.
posted by gordian knot at 9:06 AM on August 20, 2002


Let's turn the question around: do parents have the right to impose an "alternative lifestyle" on their children?
posted by mrmanley at 9:09 AM on August 20, 2002


Kimla Green, 35, is accused of setting an atrocious example to her children by brazenly entertaining a string of female lovers at her Texas home.

Sounds like a set-up to me.


Sounds like a pretty good time to me.
posted by NedKoppel at 9:16 AM on August 20, 2002


I don't see the first article as prejudiced; I think what's going on here is the difference between UK journalism (which aims for lively style above all things) and US journalism (which aims for "objectivity"). I'm pretty sure the lurid phraseology would have been pretty much the same whatever the gender of the overnight guests. In general, I've found The Scotsman to be a good paper over the years (not that I've read it consistently), and I think if you check out the sidebar on the right you'll get a better sense of their attitude:
Websites:
Gay Parent magazine
Pink Parents
Stonewall


Doesn't sound like a homophobic site, does it?
posted by languagehat at 9:16 AM on August 20, 2002


I wouldn't do anything that makes them uncomfortable concerning the gay lifestyle,
Grrrr... It's bad enough when gay-bashers use the phrase "gay lifestyle." But when a lesbian who is the target of discrimination uses it to describe herself, it makes me want to scream. When will these people realize that being gay isn't a hobby, like collecting soda cans, that can be made more or less obnoxious so as not to offend the neighbors?
posted by alms at 9:17 AM on August 20, 2002


It may be silly season, but it's not silly that the minister (or whatever he is) was preaching to the daughters about their mother going to hell in front of them and the whole congregation. That's abuse and inappropriate behavior right there, besides possibly inciting the congregation to do something harmful to the mother, which happens alot.

From the Houston article: Olguin said an investigation showed there was no abuse or neglect, including no inappropriate sexual behavior happening in front of the children.

Mrmanley: please clarify....
posted by amberglow at 9:19 AM on August 20, 2002


Let's turn the question around: do parents have the right to impose an "alternative lifestyle" on their children?

Oh, you mean like Mormonism, Christian Science, Orthodox Judaism, Catholicism...
posted by ramakrishna at 9:23 AM on August 20, 2002


Let's turn the question around: do parents have the right to impose an "alternative lifestyle" on their children?

Unless she's forcing her daughters to engage in lesbian sex (which is pretty much the only accusation that wasn't made against her) that isn't really an issue here.
posted by jacquilynne at 9:24 AM on August 20, 2002


Do parent have the right to impose a 'mainstream lifestyle' on their children. Isn't that called parenting?

KYLE: Sorry your mom's a whore, Cartman.
ERIC: Yeah, it sucks.
posted by ao4047 at 9:29 AM on August 20, 2002


Ah, Christian Fundamentalism, always making fun for the whole family. God forbid (pun intended) that someone could live a life that makes him/her happy without being accused of being a horrible person.
posted by The Michael The at 9:35 AM on August 20, 2002


That's nice if the adults are happy, but what if the kids aren't happy Michael? Is it their fault?
posted by insomnyuk at 9:36 AM on August 20, 2002


If i'd have been named La Kenna, I'd make sure i made my mother miserable.
posted by robself at 9:45 AM on August 20, 2002


...must...resist...ranting!! :) Suffice to say I'm more inclined to bet the kids were brainwashed by the fundies and perhaps the home life was not all it should have been. It's perfectly possible to have a normal loving family with two gay parents but It's not like gays are somehow magically exempt from being bad parents.
posted by Hilfy at 9:50 AM on August 20, 2002


Either article shows me that this is a case of three people who all need to work on their levels of self-worth. Children who care about their parents don't run away from home as a way to try and help them solve their problem, especially children who just happened by some strange coincidence to have started going to an ultra-conservative church. A mother who cares about herself doesn't decide to "stop practicing that lifestyle" just because it bothers her naive children.

As far as a lawsuit, that's just profound bullshit. A child who is not being physically coerced into anything has no right to demand their mother restrict her sexuality any more than a parent has the right to physically prevent their children from controlling their own bodies, something we've all argued here before.

It's not like this woman was filming porn in her daughters' bedrooms and forcing them to watch. I fail to see how this is any different from the child telling the parent: I'm gay. It's my choice, and ONLY my choice, so deal with it. I don't think these girls should run away from home any more than I've ever though gay kids should run away from their ignorant parents. Dissolving the family unit and refusing to confront and address each others' personal problems is the exact opposite of a reasonable solution.

That said, if all parties decide they want to ignore me, then I don't see how we can't make this a modern-day Cosby Show episode and let Mommy cut the two girls loose and see how long the two of them can be "independent" (translated: we don't like you any more Mommy, but give us all the stuff you've bought us that we left in the house after the cult leaders told us to leave your heathen place of sin") what with their proven history of rational thinking and all. My money's on 12 hours.

On preview: insomnyuk, the kids are just that- kids. This isn't rampant abuse or alcoholism. Parents are obligated to raise and love their children, not cater to their every psychological whim. Parenthood isn't slavery, and the older you get the more you should realize the crap you put your parents through that should have given them carte blanche to entertain and de-stress themselves any way they damed please. Show me a kid who had a childhood in which at no time ever did his parents do something that he might not have wanted to do and had to deal with it because "they said so" or any other derivation, and I'll show you a kid who has no reason to post on weblogs.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 9:50 AM on August 20, 2002


"The girls were afraid they would go to hell, too, if they lived in that home," she said.


sheesh! the Body of Christ Ministry should be ashamed. Xians, please explain. how can one person go to hell b/c of another person's sins?


posted by mrgrimm at 9:50 AM on August 20, 2002


If i'd have been named La Kenna, I'd make sure i made my mother miserable.

No joke, not to mention Shamicola. No wonder they're pissed.

But then, mom's name is Kimla, so I guess she deserves some sympathy on that tip as well.
posted by mikrophon at 9:52 AM on August 20, 2002


I partly agree with you, NedKoppel, but then i think back to my school-days. My life would have been made a misery if i'd had 2 gays dads, or mums.

Maybe that's an English thing...?
posted by derbs at 9:56 AM on August 20, 2002


Sorry, Shanicola. Still, though . . .

how can one person go to hell b/c of another person's sins?

There's really no straight story on how to stay out of hell. Technically, once you've said the magic words and "accepted Jesus Christ as your personal saviour" you can do whatever you want. But then some say you have to live a Christ-like life, but then none of us are perfect, and then some say that you have to confess every single sin, blah blah blah.

Kids who have been raised up on this stuff are naturally often a little cloudy on the details.
posted by mikrophon at 9:56 AM on August 20, 2002


sheesh! the Body of Christ Ministry should be ashamed. Xians, please explain. how can one person go to hell b/c of another person's sins?

Please, don't lump all Xians together.
posted by Ufez Jones at 9:57 AM on August 20, 2002


I suppose the Body of Christ people are into splitting up families. Way to go, fundamentalism.

Children have no right to correct the behaviour of their parents unless that behaviour is abusive. Having sex in your own house is not abusive behaviour, no matter what some whacked out preacher says.
posted by sid at 9:58 AM on August 20, 2002


sheesh! the Body of Christ Ministry should be ashamed. Xians, please explain. how can one person go to hell b/c of another person's sins?

I'm an 'xian', and this type of theology is generally termed as 'making shit up as you go along'.
posted by insomnyuk at 9:59 AM on August 20, 2002


Parents are obligated to raise and love their children, not cater to their every psychological whim.

I'm sorry, but I don't think desiring a father and a mother is necessarily as simple as a psychological whim, it could be partly a natural, biological desire. Nevermind that most children, in the history of human kind, have been raised with a father and mother, so this kind of situation is new, to say the least.

Anyway, the involvement of this church certainly clouds the issue.
posted by insomnyuk at 10:00 AM on August 20, 2002


Um, no one has asked this yet, so I will:

Why oh why was this mother attending a church that was anti-homosexual, and allowing her daughters to attend this church as well?

I mean... does it take a rocket scientist to choose a church that's in line with their values?

There's no mention of the dad in this - was he the one deciding where they were all going to church or something?

I just don't get it...
posted by beth at 10:09 AM on August 20, 2002


You know what, insomnyuk, I desired a father and mother too, but golly, one of them disagreed with that idea, packed up, and left. I didn't demand that the one who stayed started seeing members of the opposite sex so my personal desire for a nuclear family remained. My perspective has always been to be not only satisfied, but grateful for the parents that care enough to stay and not nit-pick. Sorry if I'm that obviously a child of the 90's.

And anyway, what exactly is new about a mother raising children on her own? The fact that she has sex with other women, something that is honestly none of her childrens' fucking business thank you very much, is her own personal lifestyle choice. Why not just leave the house because you think it's wrong that your parent eats tuna fish sandwiches? (Please don't make the easy tasteless joke here.)

It's not like complaining about smoking- her gayness isn't infecting the childrens' lungs. Well, maybe according to their church, but...
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 10:13 AM on August 20, 2002


Beth, there's this in the Chronicle article
In exchange, the girls would no longer attend the Body of Christ Ministry in southeast Houston, which Green said had brainwashed her daughters into thinking her lifestyle wasn't right.
Sounds like the girls maybe found the church on their own (probably through friends).
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 10:14 AM on August 20, 2002


Oops:

Green complained that the church she previously attended with the girls "brainwashed" her daughters into "gay-bashing" and helped the girls leave home

*blush*
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 10:15 AM on August 20, 2002


from the article:

Olguin said the girls discussed how their mother was pointed out during a church service and told that she would go to hell because of her lifestyle.

I took this to mean that the mother was present at the church service herself (though it's possible they just mentioned her by name). It sounds to me like the mother continued to allow the girls to attend the church after this, which is a really dumb thing to do, imho.
posted by beth at 10:17 AM on August 20, 2002


As far as a lawsuit, that's just profound bullshit. A child who is not being physically coerced into anything has no right to demand their mother restrict her sexuality any more than a parent has the right to physically prevent their children from controlling their own bodies, something we've all argued here before.

i think a child has some say. in this case, i don't think there was much to complain about. if a parent were frequently bringing people home, and the child were deeply uncomfortable with that, i'd like to think the child can say "i don't like this." that doesn't read like the case here, according to the houston chronicle, and the story is pretty sad. just because the mother is gay does not mean that the children are in an abusive environment.

any sort of abuse should be treated: not just physical coercion or physical abuse. i think that's worth saying, though i don't see any sort of abuse reported in this scenario.
posted by moz at 10:17 AM on August 20, 2002


Here we go again...

insomnyuk: most children, in the history of human kind, have been raised with a father and mother Well, thanks for that assertion. Here's a contradiction with just as much weight: "No, they weren't". [Dash & insomnyuk go back to ignoring each other]
posted by dash_slot- at 10:21 AM on August 20, 2002


I partly agree with you, NedKoppel, but then i think back to my school-days. My life would have been made a misery if i'd had 2 gays dads, or mums.

Maybe that's an English thing...?


I assume you are referring to the cruelty of other children.

My mum...um, mom...was a single parent in a neighborhood of mostly intact families. In my neighborhood, I always felt the outcast to some extent because of that fact. If it hadn't been that, it would have been the fact that I was taller than everyone else or that I was skinny, or that I was blond.

Kids are stupid. It's always something. And, I come back to what I said before: You grit you damned teeth and get through it, just like anything else, then you get out and live how you want. That's America, damnit.
posted by NedKoppel at 10:33 AM on August 20, 2002


The mother in this case doesn't seem very politically aware, which might be another reason why these particular children were targeted as vehicles for this agenda. I'm very impressed that it's getting national media attention now (goto CNN and scroll dn), whoever cooked this up must be very happy with his or herself.

What? You mean you actually believe that these two kids are so upset that they figured out how, on their own without any intervention, to acquire (and pay for) a lawyer willing to actually move forward on this, to prepare themselves to be put under a media spotlight and to be strong enough to completely reject their own mother?
posted by Ms.JaneDoe at 10:44 AM on August 20, 2002


I'm not saying kids never get raised in different situations, I'm just saying maybe it's not unnatural or wrong for a child to want a mother and a father, and to live with both of them, at the same time. Whether or not this happens in reality is a separate issue. Obviously the child doesn't really have much of a choice in the matter, and I don't think they do legally, either.
posted by insomnyuk at 10:49 AM on August 20, 2002


"She would hold birthday parties for the girls and invite her lovers over - that’s the kind of bizarre behaviour I’m talking about." What's bizarre about that?
Ms Green claims to have had three female lovers in eight years. She says she never had sex in front of her children.... an investigation showed there was no abuse or neglect, including no inappropriate sexual behavior happening in front of the children.

Well, that's a relief! So she's not a pervert then, just gay. OK....

The girls’ lawyer said they would consider a compromise if their mother was more discreet in her behaviour. In what way - what precisely do they want, to change her into a different woman?
They just want her to change their lifestyle." Typo? My italics.


I won't lump any group of people in with the worst example of them I can find. However, it seemed like a request, Ufez - maybe someone more willing could chip in, as you won't/can't explain.

Re: pre Industrial child-rearing...

"Over 50% of the young people in pre-industrial England would have experienced a period of living in someone else’s household. It was an important transition in their life cycle, they would be sent away at the age of seven or eight. Such servants were defined as part of the family for whom they worked. Many households were extended but not by kin but by servants.
posted by dash_slot- at 11:27 AM on August 20, 2002


i must learn how to not kill a good thread...
posted by dash_slot- at 2:35 PM on August 20, 2002


dash, you didn't kill it--just start a new FPP with the servant/family connections thing and link it to all the "2-parent family is best" debates that have been going on since the 70s and the explosion of divorce rates or feminism or "those damn hippies" or "those filthy queers" etc....it was just a little bit of a stretch in this thread imho...
I'll even gang up w/you against insomnyuk : >
posted by amberglow at 2:53 PM on August 20, 2002


Sigh, my reputation is sealed for all eternity, and all for just asking a question or two...
posted by insomnyuk at 3:05 PM on August 20, 2002


The Scottish paper seems to take a fairly serious anti-gay stance

and

"atrocious example", "brazenly entertaining"

Yep, gotta love The Scottsman for its unbiased news reporting, there.


seem to be missing the fact that the Scotsman is attributing these views to the people involved, who are fairly likely to riled up about the whole thing. As I read it, the piece was objective - both sides are presented without obvious endorsement.
posted by MUD at 3:10 PM on August 20, 2002


Mud, isn't it funny how the Scotsman chose certain words and not others? hmmmm....The Houston article was actually balanced, with quotes from both sides of the issue and follow-up.

from the Scotsman: Kimla Green, 35, is accused of setting an atrocious example to her children by brazenly entertaining a string of female lovers at her Texas home.

The "atrocious" and "brazen" words aren't even quotes or attributed in the Scotsman article. They are the writer's own choice of words, unless they appear in the legal documents, but we can't know that from the way the article is written.


again, hmmmm......
posted by amberglow at 3:24 PM on August 20, 2002


oops...messed up the italics there, but i hope it's understandable.
posted by amberglow at 3:26 PM on August 20, 2002


For those not in Scotland, The Scotsman used to be a quality paper until editor in chief Andrew Neill got his hands on it some years ago.

Since then he has taken the paper down-market and right-wing. Yes, you would expect an anti-gay slant from it.

It's also, despite its name, almost an anti-Scottish paper which spends a lot of its time sniping at the Scottish parliament - this is due to the sentiments of Neill and the paper's owners.

These attitudes are not popular in Scotland and as a result the circulation of the paper has dropped like a stone. It is losing a lot of money.
posted by Flitcraft at 3:48 PM on August 20, 2002


Good summary, and a belated 'hi and welcome', Flitcraft!

*waves at webcam*
*remembers webcam sold for fags & Smirnoff*
*waves again for the fun of it*
posted by dash_slot- at 3:53 PM on August 20, 2002


cheers, amberglow - was a little o/t, but seemed to make sense at the time.
when i've done the research, eh? then we'll show 'em!

[clinks glasses with amberglow in a 'putting the world to rights' fashion]

- insomnyuk: me, too....
posted by dash_slot- at 3:58 PM on August 20, 2002


and rofl about the webcam thing, dash!!! I'll do a shot for you later!

thanks for the info Flit--you usually have to be local to know the spin of a certain paper, but this was really obviously biased--and I've grown up with the NY Post!
posted by amberglow at 4:43 PM on August 20, 2002


That's nice if the adults are happy, but what if the kids aren't happy Michael? Is it their fault?

To provide an honest answer to this question. The big question is how you draw the line between the usual Strum und Drang that occurs in most families, from actual abuse. About half of my friends when I was a teen wanted to divorce their parents. And no one I knew was particularly excited about the fact that their parents had a sex life. Honestly this looks like a case where the mother was making what I see as reasonable compromises and the teens decided to make an issue of it. Would this case be relevant if the mother was dating men? A lot of teenagers would still find that objectionable, but it wouldn't make the newspapers.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 5:12 PM on August 20, 2002


According to the Houston Chronicle, things have been patched up and they are back together again.
posted by Coop at 6:08 PM on August 20, 2002


XKUZYPHYR: It's not a choice. That's like going up to your parents and friends and saying, "Mom, dad...I'm black. It's my choice, and only my choice."

Sounds to me like the lawyer is the real culprit here, though, although he had to get really creative to get this situation into court.
posted by Poagao at 8:10 PM on August 20, 2002


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