"I feel like a thing non-queer ppl seem to often not get is the importance of protecting children from their parents" -- mcclure111 on TwitterI was glad to read this tweet by mcclure111 because it's a truth that's deeply known by many of us who are queer, or abuse survivors, or both. It's a truth that's as rarely stated as it is deeply known.
But the tweet provoked as much discomfort in others as relief in me. This reply is a representative example of the things people say to survivors speaking uncomfortable truths:
"(kids definitely need protecting from parental harm, but many parents I know, including my own, are Really Good)"
"Many parents are good" is a statement devoid of denotation. When somebody utters a sequence of words that say nothing, I have to ask what they are trying to do by saying those words. Are they trying to take control of the conversation? Are they putting the speaker in their place? Are they expressing discomfort at having their belief in a just world disrupted? Whatever the motivation, direct verbal communication isn't it.
"Many parents... are Really Good" may seem shallow and obvious, but when I ask what those words do rather than what they mean, there's a lot to unpack. Ultimately, "many parents are good" has little to do with the character of the unnamed individuals being defended and much to do with defending the practice of authoritarian parenting.
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Thanks to the people who read a draft of this post and contributed feedback that helped me make it better, particularly alt_kia.
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