Apples and Trees and Families and Glee

This is an intensely personal post with a Glee slant. It may or may not go missing ultimately. I don’t know.

I’ve been reading a bit of fanfiction and one of the things I seem to irrationally hate is when Blaine’s parents turn out to be lovely but just misunderstood. He gets himself all worked up about telling them about Kurt and it turns out to be all just fine. Because all parents love their children in that mythical way we’re told they do. I have strong feelings about his parents ending up this way in canon. My reasons? Something like this:

  •  I am sometimes told that I do not give my parents enough credit for not disowning me. That they’re “doing what they can”. And my parents are lovely people, really. Everyone likes them. They come and stay in our home. They do not cause a scene (except that once and as long as I behave). We are allowed to stay in the same room at my parents’ home, but not the same bed. They offered to attend our wedding reception (my “party”) but were bewildered when I burst into tears and told them they weren’t invited.So, yeah, when I read that the Andersons never meant to make their son feel that way, I feel like my own feelings of rejection are invalid. Like every time a family member has said to me, “You don’t understand how far they’ve come,” I’m suddenly delusional and over dramatic and playing the victim. I am not a victim. But things have been done, and said, that will always be a part of how I see the world.

    I want Blaine’s feelings to be based in reality because it’s so easy for others to tell us that we’re making a lot out of nothing. Which, to be honest, is rarely the case. They may be micro-aggressions, but they pile up.

  • I really enjoy the exploration of how two people come together from such different places in life, especially when it comes to family relationships. Whatever about me being queer, my family was never one of those close families. My partner’s family is so much more open and honest and close (they have tickle fights). I had so many doubts in my life that I’d ever be able to be in a functional relationship. Even more doubts that I’d be in a functional relationship with someone who really had family. You know, nearby, talk everyday, part-of-your-life family. And it was a struggle. Sometimes it still is. Because I want to remove myself from the world of parents/grandparents in so many ways. I manipulated my university situation to ensure I’d be moving out at 18. My partner left home when she moved in with me.

I think I want somehow to see that in Kurt and Blaine. How Kurt, from a family that has had hard times, but still is close, and happy, and open, can somehow be a partner to someone whose sense of family will be so different from his own. And how someone from a family that isn’t accepting can understand how his partner sees the world in a less sinister light.

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5 thoughts on “Apples and Trees and Families and Glee

  1. I hope you choose to keep this up because these are wonderful points that people not in your situation don’t necessarily think about.

  2. My family wasn’t open or warm while my father was alive, but when he died things got a lot better. He was a cruel man, a tyrant, and home life became bearable for me once he was gone (I was 19 and away at school, but I could come home after that without being terrified).

    That being said, I can’t imagine what it feels like to be judged by your family and made to feel perpetually a naughty child because of your choices. You’re a grown woman. You deserve their respect. I’m sorry that you do not receive.

    As great as it is, love only goes so far in our families of origin…

  3. The fics I actually hate more are the ones where Blaine’s parents are openly abusive or kick him out of the house. Obviously that happens (hell, it happened to two of my little sister’s friends, and they ended up having to live with us for a while), but I think a lot of (probably straight) writers don’t get that parents don’t have to be obviously abusive to make a queer kid feel horrible for being him/herself. My sister and I (I’m bi, my sister’s a lesbian) have been really lucky in that our parents have always been involved with the theater community, had lots of queer friends, and weren’t surprised to find out that we were queer, and don’t treat our relationships with women any different than our relationships with men—my mom was actually surprised when I came out to her as bi, because she’d assumed for years that I was a lesbian.

    For some of my friends, though, their relationships with their parents are great—but only up to the point that their queerness comes into it. Having to avoid talking about a pretty fucking important part of your life, yourself—who you love, what your politics are—or having it treated like a weird quirk, or something you’re doing just to be “difficult” or to disappoint your parents, having your relationships with the opposite sex treated as legitimate while your relationships with the same sex are treated as “cute” or friendly or somehow not real is so, so fucking difficult. One of the first times I met one of my friend’s parents, her father assumed we were dating (we weren’t), and even though he was obviously trying really hard to be okay with it and act normal about it, just seeing the *effort* that he had to put into it made the whole moment really fraught. Not to mention the difficulty she has anytime anything gay-related comes up in the media and her parents have an opinion on it.

    I think even in terms of the way people react to Burt, a lot of people don’t get it. When I watch that kitchen scene in Blame it on the Alcohol, it’s clear to me that the scene is about Burt realizing that Kurt being gay doesn’t just mean he wants to sing traditionally female songs in Glee—it means that he wants to fuck men. And he’s really, really uncomfortable with it, thus his explosion about Brokeback Mountain and him repeating how “inappropriate” Kurt was being. But most commentary I’ve seen on it is all about how Burt’s the parent and he gets to make the rules, and every parent is uncomfortable with the idea of their kid having sex, and Kurt just makes everything about him being gay even though Burt has always been so accepting. I really wish we’d gotten to see Burt being introduced to Blaine as Kurt’s boyfriend, and maybe him getting comfortable with seeing his son kiss another boy. I think a lot of Glee viewers see Burt as the perfect parent of a gay kid, even though so much of the point of Burt is that he tries and sometimes screws up. You’re totally right that “trying” to be a good parent to a GBLT kid is supposed to be a heroic act—after all, it’s just so damn hard. :/

  4. I think with the Blaine gets kicked out theme, for me, it depends how it’s done. If it’s done with some amount of — not balance, no, but — grace (maybe) it can work. Like Quinn being kicked out. Neither of her parents were really portrayed as ogres, but just people who are unable to get outside what they’ve always done (mom), always believed (dad).

    The ones where Blaine’s dad is some out of control monster are pretty annoying, but I guess they don’t press the same personal buttons for me as the ones where his dad turns around and just wants him to be happy and totally never ever was homophobic. Because, come on. Blaine didn’t come up with that out of thin air. He’s not really that person. Or, i don’t want him to be that person.

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