Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Response to Turtle Woman Comment

Edit 7-14-10: Sorry all I should have referenced where Turtle Woman's comment is from. You can read the post, "These are simply my thoughts," here and view the comments.

Turtle Woman Comment below:

Turtle Woman said...

I always find this odd situation of younger straight christians who are coming into the gay male community. What is your real purpose? What do you really believe? Right now, lesbians and gays are in the streets over civil rights. It is our equivalent of Freedom Riders or integrated restrooms. We are now in the streets and in the courts over the right to marry.

What is it that you do for a living Brenda? Is this just a woman following her husband, or do you have a programs all your own?

Are you 100% for the civil rights of lesbians and gays? Are you 100% for the rights of all women?

Remember, we have been in this war with fundamentalist christianity for a very long time. We have seen the very worst of people who use christ as a kind of hate battering ram against gays and lesbians. Every day, I monitor right wing radio, and every day almost I hear hate speech against lesbians and gays. Just what are you about? Not your husband. Not men, who I blame for this entire crusade against gay people, but you? What do you stand for?

July 13, 2010 11:55 PM

I attempted to respond in the response section, but I wrote too much so here is my response:

Turtle Woman - I am a manager of business operations for a security firm. I have had a successful career in the private sector for many years and have slowly with a lot of bumps and bruises climbed the corporate ladder with dignity and merit. I have hit numerous glass ceilings in my career goals and have been frustrated, angered, and in the same time cautiously optimistic. I have lived overseas as a director of non-profit initiatives for a private firm and held administrative positions as well when I couldn't find any work. I have earned my MBA with a concentration in International Business and a Master’s of Science in Organizational Behavior (MSMOB) with a concentration in Organizational Development. I have two graduate certificates which accompany my two masters’ degrees in Business Administration and Training and Development. I say all of this so you know without any doubt that I am my own person, but I will proudly say that I 100% support my husband and work just as hard at assisting him in his work as I do in accomplishing my own goals.

I will admit I am at a cross roads in my career and the industry that I find myself as I do my own reevaluation of my life, my skill sets, my experiences, and my education. I have not been fulfilled in the work I have been doing and I am looking for another opportunity to use my collective skill sets for something different. Once I figure that out I will share...

As for this blog, I began writing it initially to chronicle my personal struggle with infertility. It was an open diary to myself, my family, friends, and anyone else who cared to walk this journey with me. I needed something to help me cope and potentially heal from the pain I was feeling. Plus as I wrote I found it was helping other women speak about their own infertility journeys. I found a commonality in a lot of stories that were shared with me that there was a stigma attached with sharing your infertility struggles so I thought what the heck I will put it out there.

As for writing on women's issues, that just came because I am a strong female who like many, including yourself, is frustrated with the bureaucratic and patriarchal society we live in. I have experienced numerous times being patronized by my male colleagues for simply being a woman. It makes my skin crawl and I do appreciate the fight for equality of the women who have come before me which have made my abilities to attend school and climb the corporate ladder possible.

But in all fairness the reason I really started writing was in response to Rachel's question on my husband’s blog when he posted some of the things I had spoke about at a Christian Women's Conference. As I stated I felt the Lord speaking to me about female legacy to this next generation. I guess I primarily began my thought process from the Christian side since that was the original reason for my speaking invitation.

That was the first and since then only time I have been asked to share. I am not a professional speaker. I do not have my own forum, agenda, classes, and/or programs. I think I mentioned that I really enjoyed speaking because I have done a few within my industry and wouldn't mind doing more of it, but I am not promoting myself. My husband does not promote me to speak at places and I have not actively even begun to think of a way to make this my career. Although, again I definitely think I was bitten by the speaking bug at the one and only event and would not be opposed to doing it again!

As for what I believe: I do believe in equality for all. Enough said!

I do understand your frustration with right wing radio, media, etc. You and I probably share many of the same frustrations. But I am a conservative Christian as well. I may define what conservative means differently perhaps and I will say that many find what I believe and who I am to be quite liberal. So maybe I don't really fit anywhere with regards to my Christianity. I guess simply I am a Jesus Christ follower with all my heart, body and soul!

I don't know if I have even answered everything for you to your satisfaction. Through your words I can see you have been a tireless warrior for your community and for that I say please keep fighting. Please find some rest to refresh your body and soul. Your comments are welcome even if I do not fully understand or agree. I will continue to pray for you (and this is not to be meant as a patronizing statement, but with true genuiness). I would love to know more about you to...


Super Spy For Jesus said...

As a Christian as well, I wanted to respond in a way that is gracious to the idea of the Fundamentalist Christianity and the way that they see the world. I think those of us who really seek to just be in a relationship with Jesus where He his first in our lives are not the same. Some of us are grappling what this love is supposed to look like. We know what we have been told- but it doesn't make sense. Tradition and the Bible are two different sets of life entirely. Yes, the Bible says some stuff that is hard- but always because God wants a relationship with us. Not because he wants us to be about rules. Right wing radio makes us look like weirdos a lot of time. There are so many interviews that my husband and I come to the end of and say- No wonder why people think we should be locked away. I can't say we will see eye to eye. I can't make that promise. However, Please know that this is not the norm. Many of us do not come in the name of religion- we come in the name of a relationship with the Living God. You may not even agree we worship the same God. That is another story. But, He is the one I believe is the Truth. In his truth his grace and mercy and hope and a love that is high and wide and deep. So just know there are some of us that are not trying to push anyone out. We are attempting to ignore the outside voices and only listen to the one that we care about. But some are ignorant and loud...

Turtle WOman said...

Thanks Brenda for your thoughtful response to my questions. I really don't have much contact with straight "conservative" christian women. Your position is kind of a tough one, because on the one hand, you strike me as different from "typical' evangelical christians (whatever that means :-) but on the other hand, you benefited directly from the work of very dedicated straight and lesbian feminists, who have fought tooth and nail against right wing forces. We go way back to the 19th century.

I was curious about who you were because it does take some guts to say feminism in front of right wing women. It's a contradiction that has been documented well within feminist discourse, but might be unknown to your generation.

Thanks for praying for me, I appreciate that. And I also appreciate the acknowledgement that that might sound patronizing, believe me, it does most of the time.

Turtle Woman said...

Just to add a bit about fertility... the other day Chuck Colson had some really harsh words for lesbian parents. He objected to lesbians having children by artificial means. What is your take on that?

I listen to pretty much everything, including right and left wing stuff. I read widely.
I am a very strong radical feminist, and I don't believe god belongs to men. God belongs to everyone. Not long ago (1960s-early 70s) most schools of theology banned women from getting advanced degrees in this field.

All women face glass ceilings, and condescending men. I'm in a VERY male dominated industry where only 10% of women get to the level I get to. It is really horrifying to see these men day in and day out. But, I feel great satisfaction in helping women, and make sure they get the serious customer service they deserve, without condescention.

As an out lesbian, I am happy to be living in a very liberal community, with plenty of very nice neighbors. The very nicest are not, unfortunately, Christians, but are Buddhists, Jews, Atheists and spiritual types. I've been active in MCC and international lesbian and women's activism.

I enjoy the company of very smart women who are driven and determined to succeed in all ways in life. What I see is a huge disconnect from what our activist generation did, and a lot of women in their 30s today. I often wonder why younger women don't seem to be all that aware of classic works of feminist theology, so maybe that's the conservative side of you?

A lesbian, by nature of her very being, is certainly not conservative. We hold a special spiritual place in the world, revealing a woman powerful, woman spiritual and fully woman loving position within the horrifying world nightmare know politely as sexism but more accurately as male supremacy and patrirachy.

I am glad to make your acquaintance, and I wish you well as you build a strong career. I look forward to genuine connections between us old guard lesbian activists and a new generation of women who might not be as aggressive in this struggle against oppression.More to say, but I don't want to be a blog hog:-)

Turtle Woman said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Brenda S. Marin said...

Turtle Woman - Hmmm you raise a really big question about infertility, but its not big for the reasons I believe you think I will say.

My journey with infertility has been one of the loneliest, painful, and darkest times. I would never wish this struggle on any woman. If a woman does choose to go through infertility treatments I hope and pray that she has done her research and understands everything that goes into following all of the injections, medications, timing, and heart break. Additionally that she has chosen the right medical facility and doctors they definitely vary.

I believe infertility for a woman is a personal choice, a long journey, and a huge commitment. Unfortunately, in my case I have had a lot of negative responses and my body has been bruised and filled with whatever these hormones are that I keep injecting, swallowing, or drinking.

I also deeply understand the desire to be a mother that some women have and they will make the choice to go through infertility treatments.

So for me it is a deeply and very individualistic choice for any woman (and maybe their partner in life) to choose and go through infertility treatments. Even with IVF there is no guarantee and I pray for all woman who have made this painful but hopefully one day joyful decision.

Children are a blessing no matter where they come from...and Andrew and I after exhausting all of our infertility insurance money (which this is the last attempt) will look into adoption another beautiful and equally difficult journey.

Brenda S. Marin said...

Oh and Turtle Woman I deleted your one comment because it got posted twice.

Turtle Woman said...

Wow Brenda, all this medical stuff has always scared me. I know a few lesbian couples who had kids this way, and it worked out ok, but they had many medical problems and side effects later.

It's hard to figure this out, and I also worry that so many women are the ones who will suffer the most -- the side effects of birth control, the danger of pregnancy itself. I don't know what it would feel like to want children; I'm very happy with a dog and a cat. But children seem to give meaning to a lot of people's lives, so I hope whatever happens works out for you.