I tried out a grief support group yesterday and it was painfully hard. During the introductory "check in," one member who was just after me actually said she would not be able to continue if I was allowed to stay in the group. She said lesbianism is a sin.
I looked to the facilitator after this woman made the comment expecting she would say something—anything but nothing. Her body language told me that she was appalled but no words came from her mouth. She looked to the next person to begin their "check in." I felt like I did not matter. I sat there for about 10 minutes more and then just got up and literally ran out of the room. The facilitator did run after me and said please don't leave. I did not turn around, I just kept running all the way to my car and drove home.
Well, the facilitator and I spoke today and she apologized to me for not speaking up in the moment. She said she was just so shocked in the moment that it rendered her speechless. She asked me what I needed now. I asked if she had spoken to the woman. She said she had not yet as she wanted to check in with me first to see what I needed. I said what I need is to come back to the group and have an opportunity to say how that comment affected me and that I have every right to come to a grief support group as anyone else. I am angry that not only do I have to experience the pain of losing my partner but I also have to experience the pain of people who are ignorant and intolerant of lesbians. It complicates my loss and makes me so angry that if I could climb the tallest mountain that you know and scream at the top of my lungs for the rest of my life, it would only touch the pain I feel at times. I did not choose lesbianism, I was born a lesbian.
It was a good exchange I had with the facilitator and I will go to the next group and see what develops. My partner’s life mattered, my life matters and I will keep honoring the love that she and I shared till the day I die and we will be together again. I am going to have a voice about how that comment affected me and how it complicates my process on reframing my life without my partner. Right or wrong, in front of everyone I am going to speak on my feeling and thoughts that the facilitator did not intervene immediately as well.