“I know that it’s a secret, And that I gotta keep it, But I want the lights on Yeah, I want the lights on And I don’t want to run away anymore Leave the lights on, leave the lights on, leave the lights on What would they say, what would they do? Would it be trouble if they knew?” –Meiko
I had my heart broken twice before I realized I’d been in love. That might sound like an exaggeration or melodrama, but it’s actually possible thanks to the wonders of purity culture.
When I was a teenager, I read and re-read books like Sarah Mally’s Before You Meet Prince Charming, Eric and Leslie Ludy’s When God Writes Your Love Story, and Debi Pearl’s Preparing to be a Help Meet.
They kept me strong in my dedication to never think about sex, or to think about members of the opposite sex. I had my obsessions and celebrity crushes, but if the image of seeing someone naked ever entered my mind, I’d fight it out with quoting the Bible.
I knew I would only ever give my heart to one person – the man I would marry. He must show interest in me; women don’t initiate. The concept of mutual consent, mutual interest, was never introduced. If he didn’t reciprocate my feelings, it was a meaningless feeling, and feelings were worthless. I needed to control my very thoughts, so I could give my whole heart to my husband, along with my first kiss. Just toeing the line of saving sex for marriage was too low a standard for me.
Blame doesn’t fall on any one person for how I controlled my thoughts. It was a personal choice, something that was very important to me. The people around me reinforced the notion that I was doing the right thing. Some people were better at the game of self-thought-policing than I was, and they made me feel like I could never be good enough. Some people saw me as unapproachable because I was so sincere. Every failure looked like rebellion and felt like despair.
Surely I didn’t love my best friend when I started college. He didn’t love me, so I told myself to “guard my heart” and push away all emotions of attachment. At the same time, our late-night conversations kept me going through my darkest depression and most intense stress. I finally told him that I needed space to figure out why the sight of his name gave me such indecipherable pain.
It would take me months to unlearn what purity culture had taught me to do: conceal all desire, even from yourself.
So it was that I fell in love with a man, and didn’t realize what had happened until afterward. I just assumed I was straight because I was attracted to men. It never occurred to me that I might make the same mistake twice, equally blinded to my desires toward a girl.
It was similar – I had a crush on her, but didn’t know it. She once kissed another girl in front of me, and I desperately wanted to kiss her. Even that feeling was not enough to make me think I wasn’t totally straight. I figured I was just curious, having never been kissed. Giving gifts is something I rarely do and often feels like an obligatory chore, but I gave her thoughtful things that I knew she’d like.
When we had a fight that ended our friendship, I was devastated. Another friend asked if I’d been in love with her. I said no, of course I wasn’t.
A few months later I got an email, and was instantly interested – this person, who hadn’t revealed their gender or identity, matched me intellectually. I assumed the sender was male, and entertained thoughts of meeting, and we exchanged lengthy emails.
The person who wrote these intelligent, complex, and beautiful emails revealed that she was a girl, and I realized it made no difference to me.
I started asking my friends questions – you don’t see both the male and female body as equally attractive? I’d assumed that everyone appreciated the aesthetic differences between the genders.
In the world I grew up in, there were two kinds of people: straight, and broken. Nobody was born gay, the church and chapel services insisted. The idea of other identities on a spectrum was far outside our reality. The idea of romantic and sexual relationships other than marriage was blanketly labeled as “sin.”
Of course I’d think I was straight. If I could close off my feelings for men, I could certainly close off my feelings for women. It was only after I started to learn what attraction felt like, that I knew I liked girls. I always had liked girls. I just didn’t know that my experience was any different from anyone else’s, because we never talked about our feelings. We never defined our terms.
Humans are beautiful to me – whether they’re male, female, or non-binary.
You could call me sapiosexual, in that I love people for their intelligence, and my level of attraction depends on how smart and interesting the other person is. Many sapiosexuals, though, don’t find the human body sexually attractive, and I do. It’s also accurate to call me pansexual, because I’m open to dating non-binary or trans people, in addition to the binary genders. For me, the title I’ve chosen is bisexual.
Being bisexual is freedom, and it is invisibility.
I flip-flop between calling myself bisexual and pansexual. Bi is the word everyone knows. Pansexual doesn’t leave anyone out. And you see, I don’t care what your gender or lack thereof is. I’m attracted to people, not genders or genitals.
That doesn’t mean I’m attracted to every single person. It doesn’t mean I have crushes on everyone I hang out with. It doesn’t mean I’ll go home with just anyone. All it means is that I could potentially be with a person who lies anywhere on or off the gender spectrum.
To be quite honest, I didn’t know pansexuality even existed up until very recently. When I was a fundamentalist, the “being gay is a choice” narrative sort of made sense to me. I mean, everyone had the ability to be attracted to everyone, right? I read a Christian modesty book which claimed that everyone is “drawn to the female form” because it is just objectively beautiful. So I figured I must be straight because I knew I was in fact attracted to men, and any pleasure I found in female beauty was artistic, it had nothing at all to do with sexuality. Besides, all the Christian dating books had a tiny appendix tucked in the back that warned of the dangers of predatory college lesbians. So, I knew lesbianism existed but all of my associations were totally negative.
Even when I was less naïve, even when I started thinking people were born homosexual and that most gays and lesbians (like most straight people) were not predators, I still didn’t realize that bisexuality actually existed. “Bicurious” was a term I was aware of, but I thought it was a descriptor of an in-between phase, a transition between heterosexuality and homosexuality. So therefore, since I was definitely attracted to men, I couldn’t possibly be a lesbian. Simple as that. There was no other option. Monosexism was all I knew.
And that is what I mean when I say bisexuality is invisibility.
We get erased a lot. The biggest problem is what I term “Schrodinger’s bisexual” which is that a person is perceived as either straight or gay depending on who they’re in a relationship with. I’m dating a man right now, therefore everybody assumes I’m straight. You can’t typically determine bisexuality by just one interaction with a person, by one specific point in time. It doesn’t help that a lot of people talk about bisexuals as though they are “switching” between heterosexuality and homosexuality.
Of course as a woman especially I am sometimes permitted the total opposite of erasure, and that is performance. Men like the idea of a bisexual woman because their first thought is often of having a threeway. One night in a bar, a girl kissed me, and immediately a man walked up from across the room and said, “Mind if I join in?” Visions of a porn-worthy fuckfest dancing in his head, no doubt. Later, I tried to say something to a friend about how frustrating it is that no one thinks you’re bi unless you’ve actually had a homosexual experience, and he just jokingly spun a scenario where I and another woman would have sex and he would film it.
This goes back to the overarching issue of female sexuality being owned by men. If we are not having sex with them, we must at least be performing for their gaze. That’s why most threesome porn is FFM. That’s why a lot of men think that bisexual women exist to have threesomes with them, and that lesbian women could be “cured” by their magical dicks. And that is all such bullshit. My sexuality, whatever it is, is mine.
But the seemingly fluid pansexual approach is in fact deemed everybody’s property. More than anyone else’s, my sort of sexuality is approached with doubt. Everyone makes assumptions and gets to speculate about the causes and motivations behind my sexuality (no, I am not just “greedy” and I am not going to try to fuck you. No I am not disease-ridden or commitment-phobic. No I’m not going to cheat on my partner).
It’s a reminder to everyone of how truly queer-phobic our society still is.
We’ll (grudgingly, gradually) accept gay people as long as they want to be just like straight people. We might potentially on a good day accept one or two trans people, as long as they have had whatever surgery we deem “necessary” for them to pass as cis. But anyone who is genderqueer, agender, or pansexual is met with flat-out denial of their self-identification. “You’re lying.” “You’re confused.” “You just want attention.”
Do I though? No more than anyone else. I hate the fact that being honest about myself means I’ll get extra attention. But we haven’t reached a truly all-point-on-the-spectrum accepting utopia yet. In fact we’re pretty far from it.
So what’s it like being pansexual?
I’m not exactly sure. I’ve never been anything else. What’s sexuality like for all of you out there who are monosexual?
It was truly liberating, though, admitting it to myself. It was truly liberating learning that pansexuality exists. I used to fight my attraction to women, not so much because I thought it was “sinful” (because yes the story of my sexuality is also concurrent, though not especially related, to my deconversion) as because I thought if I gave in to it I would have to get rid of my attraction to men.
When I understood that it is possible, acceptable, and even (for me) normal to be attracted to all types of people, it came as a great relief.
For the first time, I was no longer trying to fit my sexuality into any mold that society had built for it. I could like what and who I liked, without feeling guilty or needing to repress anything.
Due to circumstances and the timing of me finally coming out to myself, I have never had sex with anyone but men. It’s not really a point of bitterness for me, I don’t have to experience sex with all types of people to know my orientation (much like virgins often know their own orientations before ever having sex of any kind). Right now I’m happily in a relationship and I don’t see that changing any time soon. If I die never having had sex with anyone but men, I won’t feel like I was robbed, and I will still be pansexual.
Of course there is a lot of work to be done, to make this world a better and more accepting place for those who are not heterosexual or cisgender. But “they” are right: coming out is the first step. Coming out to yourself, to embrace freedom, and coming out to everyone else, to combat invisibility.
Getting Bi Ain’t Easy, No Matter Where You Are: Isaiah
HA note: The author’s name has been changed to ensure anonymity. “Isaiah” is a pseudonym.
I don’t think growing up bisexual or otherwise sexually complex is easy in American culture, regardless of how you’re educated. I suffered through long issues of self-illegitimacy as a consequence of bisexual erasure, which can happen in mainstream culture just as easily as in evangelical circles.
That said, the relationship between homeschooling and the development of sexuality is a complicated one. All things being equal, homeschoolers — especially those with healthy social lives — would have the same basic kind of sexual development as anyone else. But in the largest and most representative homeschooling culture, it’s apparent that all things are very much not equal.
The glaring difference between being homeschooled and publicly educated is the potential for isolation, and that can play havoc on myriad factors of development even if you’re part of a relatively liberal family. The more isolated from the multiplicity of human behavior you are, the more critical every small cultural influence is, and the more damaging harmful beliefs can become. In my experience, there is no place this hits harder than in the development of one’s own sexuality, especially for those who don’t fit easily into archetypal, simplified cultural frames.
As I have mentioned in a previous essay on this site I was raised in a relatively liberal Christian home but studied a fundamentalist curriculum, which was rarely contradicted despite my family’s milder beliefs. The media I watched and listened to, the books I read, and my family life in general never argued with this fundamentalist ideology, and it became a strong part of my reality.
My mother’s inherent empathy and lack of an authoritarian personality wouldn’t allow her to follow the most bigoted aspects of her faith, and she did not “protect” me from certain cultural influences as many other homeschooling parents did. I knew that gay people existed and didn’t think much about it — I simply assumed they were people who fell in love with their own gender instead of the other one. I knew, too, that people sometimes loved other people but didn’t get married to them, or that people could love more than one person at once.
But this knowledge was tempered by severely restrictive cultural archetypes — gay men were like women, gay women were like men, people who loved each other always “should” get married, and so on. My curriculum helped to push these mainstream archetypes into my consciousness too, and went even further as it became more strongly fundamentalist over the years.
All the subjects — history, math, science, Bible, and English — attempted to discuss sexuality in their own way. But they did so in very limited terms, probably to avoid offending the really fundamentalist parents who made up part of their target market.
History and math made poor platforms for propaganda about sex and human relationships, so they were largely free of this particular stain save the occasional Bible verse. Science never mentioned sexuality in any way for over nine years, then one day, in grade ten, a unit about human sexuality and anatomy was introduced. It was ten percent anatomy and physiology, and ninety percent propaganda — mostly the standard lines that define the purity culture and the cult of the “traditional family”. Nowhere in this lesson plan was anything other than straight, male-dominated sex mentioned, even as behavior to avoid — and once the lesson plan was finished, sexuality was never mentioned again until the next grade year.
English and “Bible” both hit the hardest with moral teachings, English doing so mainly through its reccomended reading list and Bible accomplishing the task merely by existing. There was never a fire-and-brimstone shakedown to scare you off from “immoral” behavior — which meant essentially anything but male-dominated missionary heterosexual sex within wedlock — but it became clear very quickly what was acceptable and what wasn’t.
I will give my former curriculum credit for its relative subtlety compared to other brands of evangelical education, but the message still stuck. I can remember being taught about “purity”, which, though emphasized to girls, made its point with boys too. Through cognitive dissonance or ignorance, I actually never perceived my curriculum’s obvious prejudice against homosexuality (which was never actively acknowleged, just hinted at constantly) or its extremely black-and-white morality with regards to sex and marriage, both of which I had been raised to perceive in a more tolerant way.
None of this mattered to me for much of my childhood, of course. I began to develop sexually fairly early and have always possessed a somewhat high sex drive, but I didn’t begin to have any issues until after my pre-teen years.
I grew into a teenager in an environment much more isolated than where I lived as a child, and for various reasons fell into a state of chronic but functional depression for several years. The overwhelming feeling of illegitimacy in my sexual identity was a major factor in perpetuating my depressive tendencies, and to this day can act as a trigger for depression. When the agonizing confusion I felt in my early teenage years finally stopped, and I realized the cold truth of my own variances in sexuality, I became mentally paralyzed with the idea that there was something wrong with me, something that I could not find a way to fix.
I was a torrent of repressed emotions nearly all of the time, afraid to express myself for fear of being thought evil or crazy in some way. In the depths of my mind, my instincts constantly pushed me to feel as though there was nothing at all wrong with me, that I was legitimate and had every right to exist as I was, whatever that may be. But without any cultural context or knowledge that bisexuality or sexual fluidity existed, I could never fully accept this idea. Whenever the disharmony between my instincts and my fear and guilt was brought to light, depression would take hold again and I would feel inwardly dull for hours or days. This was by no means the only reason for my depression, but it was probably the largest single factor at any given time. It peaked and finally began to slip the further I moved from the religion and curriculum I was raised with, and now that I have abandoned them completely, only their murky shadows remain.
I can’t say what was unique about my homeschooling experience, as it relates to sexuality, compared to a conventional education. It would be much more clear-cut if I identified as simply “straight” or “gay” — and likely more predictable too.
I’m sure those who are homeschooled in a truly evangelical environment — not the milquetoast one I was raised in — would prefer the risks of being bi in public school to the almost certain abuse and erasure they would suffer at the hands of fundamentalist families. But being bi, and especially learning that you’re bi, is usually a difficult and traumatic experience in both mainstream culture and the various homeschooling subcultures. Bisexual and sexually fluid people are far harder to stereotype and classify than people who identify as gay or straight or transgender, and as such have very little cultural presence, often being treated as mysterious and alien or vicious and predatory when they are given a space to exist at all. The ease with which bi and fluid people can get out of the game by simply sublimating part of their identity and identifying as merely “gay” or “straight” compounds the problem.
The fact is, having any sexuality that’s difficult to stereotype is hard no matter where you come from. When I was depressed all those years, I craved one thing more than anything else — existence. I didn’t need acceptance, permission, or tolerance — just the right to exist. In short, I needed to not be erased. But if you were to ask me whether it would have made a difference had I not been homeschooled, whether I would have been allowed to exist had I been sent to a conventional school instead, I can only say that I don’t know.
Fundamentalist Homeschooling Is A Poison: Isaiah’s Story
HA note: The author’s name has been changed to ensure anonymity. “Isaiah” is a pseudonym.
I have mixed feelings about homeschooling, to say the least. While I find many, if not most, of the common criticisms of homeschooling to have some kind of validity, I still feel myself cringe when homeschoolers are caricatured as deranged fundamentalists since I know from experience that there is more to the story. My experience with homeschooling consists of extremely varied highs and lows — the highs of a dedicated and capable parent as a teacher, an education that fit with my self-motivated personality, and freedom from rigid schedules; and the lows of religious indoctrination and the personal struggles caused by living in an insular environment. If the good side of my homeschooling experience was very good — and it was — the bad side was very bad, and I still feel its effects to this day.
I was homeschooled for my entire lower-level education — kindergarten through high school — and in that time I knew homeschoolers from all sides of the social spectrum. I knew unschoolers, conservative Christians, liberal Christians, vaguely religious people, non-religious people, and even a Wiccan at one point (though I didn’t know what “Wiccan” meant until some time later). I knew people — or more accurately, the children of people — with a fairly wide range of beliefs and philosophies which had led them to homeschool, rather than just the evangelical families so well-represented in cultural tropes about homeschoolers.
But in spite of the diversity I was exposed to, my experiences have led me to be very suspicious of homeschooling in general, for a simple reason: in the homeschooling movement, the most extreme voices are the majority. There is a reason why the archetype of homeschoolers as fanatical morons is so popular. For every parent who chooses to homeschool for health reasons, extenuating circumstances, or educational philosophy (ie, that of unschooling), it seems like there are ten who homeschool because they are part of the fundamentalist or Quiverfull movements. Knowing what I know now about the history of homeschooling, this makes sense. After all, the Quiverfull movement openly says its goal is to produce large broods of future homeschoolers who will repeat the process over and over until they outnumber everyone else, and while the majority of Christian homeschoolers tend to be less brazen, they often only believe in milder versions of the same philosophies touted by Michael Farris and the other leaders of the Fundamentalist/Quiverfull movement.
Fundamentalist homeschooling is a poison. I say this from experience. It spreads like a virus, and not just among the conservative Christians who form its natural hosts. There are people of milder faith who get progressively sucked into more and more conservative elements of the homeschooling movement. Sometimes, through ignorance of fundamentalism’s real motives and philisophical underpinnings, a person can be lulled to sleep by the superficially attractive images of evangelical rhetoric and never notice the bigotry and delusion lurking right below the surface. I’ve seen it happen to people, and my mother was one of them.
As is probably typical for non-fundamentalists, many things contributed to my mother’s decision to homeschool me. Essentially, she believed — not without reason — that the public schools I would go to were dirty, violent, overcrowded, had poor curricula and bad funding. We couldn’t afford a private school, so she as a stay-at-home parent began to consider homeschooling.
By the time I had reached four my mother decided not to enroll me in preschool or kindergarten, and for the next three years did a wonderful job both educating me and socializing me with other children and adults. Even though I was an only child, I had a healthy and very normal social life, and was able to be educated above my age group, starting grade one at five years old. These were some of the best years of my childhood, and I still believe to this day that with sufficiently intelligent, caring and involved parents, early life education does not require formal schooling of any kind (although I see nothing wrong a with a good formal early education either).
After this successful start, when I had turned about seven, we decided to continue homeschooling through grade school. This marked the beginning of our brush with the conservative homeschooling movement. The HSLDA, which previously had been only an abstract form of social insurance to us, began to be a resource for our studies, and its sister organizations were used to help choose my formal curriculum. We spent a while before the start of my third grade school year deliberating on what system offered the best education, and ultimately decided on a hybrid approach. Other than the notoriously dry Saxon math textbooks, we chose a fundamentalist Christian curriculum called LIFEPAC and its digital equivalent, Switched-On Schoolhouse. This might seem incongruous, since we weren’t fundamentalists, but my mother was a religious conservative in the sense that she had a very hard time criticizing anyone who claimed to represent Christianity, and always gave religious individuals and organizations a great deal of respect even when her values were utterly opposed to their beliefs. She never looked beyond the very thin religiously moderate veneers that the HSLDA and other conservative Christian organizations put up, and so she assumed the curriculum was merely a good Christian education, and nothing more.
If the thought had ever crossed her mind that the curriculum I used for ten years would progressively harm me intellectually, psychologically and spritually, she would have thrown it back on the shelf in an instant. But as it turned out, this curriculum would prove to be the central destructive influence of homeschooling on my life. It was from these textbooks and lessons that I was poisoned by fundamentalism, and they are largely responsible for the part of my homeschooling experience which stunted my development and left me struggling with extreme self-doubt, self-hatred and depression as years went by.
The lesson plan started off innocuously — even with a bible study textbook as one of the main subjects (right next to science, history, and English), the first few grades were of decent quality and generally avoided controversial material. Thanks to excellent teaching I excelled consistently in my studies and everything seemed to be going well. But as the years went by, little oddities started to present themselves when I studied my textbooks or took lessons on the family computer. Starting around the sixth grade — once biology and astronomy became serious subjects — science seemed to take a strange path, and as grades progressed upwards the tone of the text became more and more defensive, with the writers eventually resorting to actually mocking biology and astronomy (evolution and the big bang were the biggest targets) rather than merely promoting creationism. The extreme immaturity of using mockery in a textbook apparently never occured to the writers of the lesson plan.
History not only consisted of the standard American whitewashing, which strains a person’s grip on historical facts badly enough, but also a Biblically literalist whitewashing, an almost colonial view of non-Europeans, and to top it off, no acknowledgement that anything over six thousand years old could exist at all. It is not an exagerration to say that everything I actually know about history I learned outside of that curriculum, and that beyond certain parts about Rome, colonial Britain and early America, I have had to erase and relearn much of what I was taught to get an accurate picture of the world. As with the science curriculum, history lessons progressed in their deviance from standard textbooks over time, in this case by including slightly more biblical content in each grade level, marked as “history” right next to the founding of Rome or the pyramids of Egypt. Bible study, needless to say, was extremely focused on inculcating the “right” beliefs into students as quickly as possible and didn’t pull its ideological punches as much as the other subjects did. Although it did review the whole Bible (starting at about the 6th grade) it only did so in a literalist context, progressing in nastiness and pushiness by grade. All this time I had continued to use Saxon’s math textbooks — which I loathed, but did seem to work — and occasionally found myself welcoming their dry dullness near the end of the school day.
Saxon didn’t preach — it merely made you fall asleep.
The curriculum as a whole struck very softly with indoctrination, couching it in well-written and produced textbooks as well as computer applications that included media and games. The packaging was, as a whole, fairly slick, and if you weren’t looking it was easy to miss the poison that peppered the whole thing.
In addition to the other beliefs I described, all the subjects I studied promoted complementarian sexism, sexual abstinence, chastity, Edwardian/Victorian style gender roles, human exceptionalism, and of course Biblical Literalism, though they all did so in different ways. What strikes me now is how subtle some of this propaganda could be — it was even present in English class, not only in the books on the required reading list but occasionally written bluntly between otherwise unrelated text in the middle of a lesson. Now and then harsh Bible quotes would appear beside inspiring ones, as if in warning, and heaven, hell, angels and satan were all real characters in the context of the textbooks.
Before I make this look too bad, though, I have to say that I didn’t even notice much of this until the last years of my education, although I always noticed, ignored and then tried to forget all kinds of little doubts I had about what I was learning. I read voraciously, including many science and history books that contradicted what I was taught, but until I became an older teenager I never really paid much attention to the contradictions, and through some kind of doublethink held that both ideas could be true. My mother remained an excellent teacher, I continued to hold a healthy social life, and I was otherwise quite whole as a person. Because fundamentalism only came from one part of my life and it was not promoted — though it was also never criticized — by my family, I had a lot more intellectual freedom than do most of the children who use this kind of curriculum. While some problems were simmering within me, my middle school life was overall a good experience even with my inane curriculum.
Personal issues during my high school years finally drove me to look back on, question and eventually discard the philosophy I was taught. A move to a faraway state had left my social life in tatters and it never recovered for the rest of my teenage years, I was forced to realize my own sexuality (both the existence of a sexual instinct itself, and that I was bisexual), I learned enough about real science and history to know that my education had not given me the whole truth, and I began to realize the terrible cruelty and undesirability of the world that fundamentalism sets out before people. All the little doubts and moral outrages I had repressed over the years came flooding back piece by piece, and after a long and hard struggle that included four years of constant depression I left both the fundamentalist part of my education and religion in general, becoming a happier and better person for it.
Only a couple of years after that last break from fundamentalism, my feelings on homeschooling remain mixed because my experience was mixed, and while the high points were great, the low points could be awful and intolerable. My mother’s dedication and inherently tolerant and empathetic nature gave me not only a good basic education, but a diverse and varied social life, ethical feelings I could seperate easily from religion, and intellectual freedoms that most homeschooled children never enjoy. But my curriculum, much of the media I watched or listened to, and the culture I grew up in contained no voices arguing actively against fundamentalism. Because of this, I became a host to the virus of religious paranoia and self-hatred, which I only recently managed to shake off enough to do things like write this essay. I was taught a much more warped perspective of history than even the average American middle-schooler, and my knowledge of useful science was very small until I studied real science for enough time to fix what my curriculum had broken. My relative intellectual freedom as a young child had left me well-prepared for this and I have managed to “catch up” without much fuss, but not everyone gets that opportunity.
Ultimately, I can’t say what my views are on what should or shouldn’t be legal in homeschooling. No matter what, I believe that there must be a strict basic code of regulations on homeschooling to prevent indoctrination and abuse, but I also understand the position of Germany and Scandanavia when they choose to simply ban it outright except in exceptional circumstances. I have met a few secular homeschoolers, unschoolers and other non-fundamentalist homeschoolers who have done well with their children’s education and have nothing to do with religion, let alone religious indoctrination. But the poison of religious fundamentalism is very potent, and the potential for even non-religious abuse within homeschooling is still high, regulated or not. I was a very loved and nurtured child in a relatively liberal household, and yet I suffered at least some of what children in deeply authoritarian Christian homes do.
I can’t imagine what I would be right now if I had grown up in a family of true fundamentalists, Quiverfull members, or right-wing evangelicals.