Thursday, November 04, 2010

the patriarch has no vision

In the vivid fantasy in my brain, I am dressed in a well-fitted black suit with marvelous shoes and my asshat brother in law is being ripped apart in family court by my keen legal mind as my sister looks on, joint custody about to be given. As I lead him down a path that will expose him for the evil homophobic asshat that he is, I am cool, unrelenting and when I'm finished, not only does my sister have joint custody, the judge has recommended my asshat brother in law (MABIL) undergo serious psychological counseling for his anger issues and reliance on 17th century catholic codes of behavior.

In reality, I'm sourcing queer family custody lawyers for my sister, gritting my teeth, and refraining from sending MABIL the most incendiary email in the history of the interwebs.

Because what is a big sister supposed to do when a man is trying to make your sister look mentally unstable, counting on the hope that the world is still so sexist and woman-hating that a court would strip her of her ability to mother her children; when a man is hating your sister so much he'll stand in front of their children and slowly taunt her with, 'You are soooo craaaazy, you're craaaaaazy,' full well knowing my sister can't fight back or he'll use it against her?

So since I can't fly to Los Angeles and punch MABIL in his testicles and superglue his fingers up his ass, I will do everything I can - call every well-connected friend, find a pro bono queer lawyer, read up on California statute - to prepare my sister for the custody fight of her life.

After years of being a very distant big sister perhaps I should take this opportunity to thank MABIL for bringing us closer than we have ever been; for the first time, without her so-called perfect marriage sitting between us like a stinking turd to intimidate me and oppress her, we speak about real things and treat the other like a real person. There is real intimacy between us. I love her more than I ever have. And now we actually say it.

(Though she needs to get off her high horse about having a drivers license. I will have one -- soon! You'll see!)

As a feminist I have to chuckle at reading MABIL's 'plan' so clearly. Oh, I don't underestimate it. I know that our culture can easily strip a gay woman (or any woman) of her rights as a parent simply because she has a life that somehow doesn't match a 1950s stereotype. But I sneer at his puny thinking.  A man's word does not carry the legal weight it used to.  Thank god. What a man wants is no longer what a man gets, necessarily. The frustration and anger MABIL feels in the face of my sister's rebellion is the product of feminism and I couldn't be more pleased.

Feel that hot rush of heat to your face every time you see my sister at the soccer game trying to cheer on her kids even though you won't let her near them, MABIL?

Welcome to women's lib, asshat.


Songbird said...

I hate that guy.

CelloShots said...

I don't know if it'll be helpful, but a good friend of mine is the long-term partner of Lambda Legal's legal director, and they live in LA. I can ask them for queer custody lawyer recommendations, if you want.

Joy said...

It sounds like you've gotten good recommendations for queer and queer-friendly lawyers already, but if you're still looking or want more resources, I'd also check out organizations that provide legal services to abused women (especially orgs with an explicitly feminist mission). I don't know the history of YABIL's treatment of your sister or whether she'd be financially eligible for free legal services, but the taunting and calling her crazy is abusive behavior. Even if your sister didn't qualify for an attorney from such an organization, they might have referrals or resources. Good luck. I'll be thinking of you both.

Delia Christina said...

@Cello Shots - I have given her just one name so any recommendations would be helpful (especially those who wouldn't necessarily cost the earth.)

@ Songbird - me too. at first, i was pretty sympathetic to him and his pain and confusion. but now? i'm done. he's using the children to punish my sister for humiliating him and his self-righteous tactics are making him look like the same kind of tyrant his father apparently was.

@Joy - that's a good idea and I'll recommend that to her, too.

Ann said...

Is she in Chicago? If so, I have several suggestions.

Delia Christina said...

@Ann - nope, she's in los angeles.

S. said...

I've been lurking here for awhile, but the woman who did my second-parent adoption in PA has some serious chops--ours was a completely routine adoption case and she was totally reasonable, but she'd won some cases that involved conflicts between PA law and those of other states. She may know people in California to talk to--I'll send you her contact info.

Delia Christina said...

@ S. - thanks for this! (and i should read comments here before sending emails! so, uh, disregard my email.)

times like these that make me regret (a little) not being in the same city with my sister; I would have gone this route a whole lot faster instead of treating it like a standard divorce, which it is not going to be.

Anonymous said...

I am not trying to be the odd one here, But, you have to understand that your brother n'law is hurt. Hurt by a woman that he obviosly loved or still loves Putting aside your sister side of what she thought of the marrige for a while and put yourself in his shoes. People lash out when they are hurt,especially by those they love and this will take timefor him to heal, if he chooses to heal. If it was a man, she wanted to be with, he would exibit the same emotions.
Right now he is protected mode and he does not want to give her any ups. Your sister on the other hand needs your love and support, that all that matters right now.

CelloShots said...

Got some lawyer recommendations for you; shoot me an email if they're still helpful! celloshotsATgmailDOTcom

Joy said...

Anonymous, he is trying to KEEP HER FROM EVER SEEING HER CHILDREN. That goes way the hell beyond just hurt and lashing out.