The inspiration for OutShout the Crazies came to life when we were on our way to court to fight for custody of our daughter. Our work in alternative lifestyles was to be used against us by the child’s birth father. He had convinced his attorney that we were “weird people and this won’t stand in this rural area of the Midwest.” There was no proof that our daughter has ever been in any danger (she was not), and no argument was presented that was even close to supporting that claim. Fortunately, in our case, the judge wouldn’t buy into the bias presented by the attorney or the birth father.
In the midst of feeling like our family was being attacked, we said to one another, “We have to out shout the crazies, or the crazies will be all that’s left to represent us.” I held that meme close to my heart while I proceeded to defend my right to continue to be a mother to my child. I had to defend that right not because of any wrong doing on my part, but because someone tried to paint me as a bad person because I was trying to gain a more concise understanding of WIITWD (what it is that we do.)
Many conversations arose from this challenge. Actually, many questions became prevalent for which we are still seeking the answers. More importantly, we have realized that children are the victims in all of this. Not necessarily due to bad parenting, but because of the stigma that exists within and surrounding those who choose to pursue “alternative lifestyles.”
With this website, we wish to tell our recent story about how the court system disregards what is best for children but instead all too often focuses on potential bias surrounding parents’ alternative lifestyles, how children do not have a voice until a certain age-even when a guardian ad litem is assigned, the impact of the fact that BDSM has been de-pathologized in the new version of the DSM-V (what judges often use to make determinations.) What we want others to know is that being armed with the right information can make a difference to an unsympathetic, unenlightened attorney or magistrate. Do you know what questions to ask? Does your attorney? Do you know how to adequately inform and prepare your child or children of court imposed visitation?
We are greatly saddened to consider the large numbers of parents who may have lost their children unnecessarily.
We as a society have many questions that need to be answered. Who gets to decide what is appropriate for children and when? As an adult and a parent, when is it appropriate to come out to your family? Do we indoctrinate our children into current social norms for 18 years and then have to deconstruct all of our teachings when they legally reach adulthood? When is it okay to tell a male that he doesn’t have to be dominant, and how do we teach our daughters how to be healthy, non-abused submissives, or that they can control their lives as well as that of others, such as their spouse/partner? Is it true that we can teach safe sex or abstinence only in schools, but power exchange relationships are inappropriate material?
What we feel is important to realize in all of this is that courts are supposed to consider the best interests of the child, but in all actuality, it is more about protecting the rights of the parent(s.) This in itself should be a major conflict of interest. Sadly, it is not. We believe it is time for change.