My point is we woke up in Key West today. We weren’t supposed to. We were supposed to wake up in Bermuda. But we aren’t in Bermuda because a host of churches were planning to meet our families at the port with protest.
We weren’t on the first rfamily cruise, but on that cruise they visited Nassau, in the Bahamas, and were met with this sort of treatment. It was the typical anti-gay protest by the accounts of those who were there: yelling, calling us names, and holding up grammatically questionable signs with insults purportedly from God. All this was done for a bunch of families just wanting to relax and visit their island and maybe buy a coupe t-shirts. I guess about ten times the number of churches that had done so in Nassau had threatened our cruise in Bermuda, and so the owners of rfamily decided to divert us to Key West.
Now, we’ve been to about 10 ports on rfamily cruises, and each one has been very welcoming. Heck, in Juno, not only were we not met by protesters, we were met by a surprisingly large group of friendly supporters. In fact, all through our Alaska trip the gay flags were waving in town, and the same, of course, goes for the North East. But we were about to hit a hostile port today and instead changed course.
I don’t know how I feel about this. I don’t like the idea that we ran, that we didn’t just go where we were scheduled to go, because of such people. Nothing for the better was changed for the people of Bermuda, gay and straight, by our caving into their bully. It made the news and despite their government's appreciated effort to bring us to their island, Bermuda is now unfairly anti-gay in many minds. Furthermore, our children were not given the opportunity to learn a valuable lesson in dealing with such. I don’t want to teach them to change their plans to avoid upsetting people who have no moral business being upset about their family.
On the other hand, these people are obsessed enough to protest families on vacation, and it’s our children. I’m used to it, but they are not, and I reflexively want to spare them from seeing that hostility, and from feeling how it felt when I first experienced it. Now we live where everyone in our lives is great. Our boys have no idea about the controversy in the minds of strangers. But to get off our ship and to see all those angry faces yelling slurs at us and the families of their friends… That’s a scenario the protective side of parenting wants to avoid, even though I know it would be a good learning opportunity and possibly a chance to avoid more pain in the long run. I just don’t know; it’s short term relief and long term regret that about equal out. Thankfully, the choice was far from mine and so I can just complain either way :-).
Anyway, today we split up. Given a choice, and after our descriptions, Alan was set on going kayaking and Brian was set against it. We actually like to split them up about once a week anyway; we’ve found, though they play well together and get along, they also like the one on one time. So Rob and Alan went off to paddle through the mandrake groves of the keys. They saw turtles, sharks, and many other bits of sea life. It was right down Alan’s alley.
Brian went with me and the grandparents, on the more tame Key West experience.
A local GLBT group was handing out those sun glasses to our kids for free as we got off the ship. Nice of them, huh?
Brian endured a tour of the city well, by sleeping through it (he has little interest in the architectural influences on Hemingway's home, I guess). But after that we visited the aquarium where we saw all the stuff Alan and Rob did, but in a more tame environment. He loved it. We also visited the wreaking museum, which was surprisingly interesting to him as well.
After that we met up for a lunch consisting of conch fritters and the most delicious key lime pie I’ve ever had. It was another wonderful day, and being diverted from Bermuda was easily forgotten, until writing this ;-).
Oh, and when we got back to the ship, Rob and Alan got matching tattoos. They're tough that way, for the kayaking I guess ;-).
Alan, got to pick the tat... a dinosaur, of course.