Saturday, July 23, 2011
Response To A Recent Forum Post
I wanted to take a minute and address an issue that is far too common: families rejecting their children and siblings due to homophobic ignorance. There was a post in a forum today about a gay son who had a partner. They had recently moved back to Salt Lake and closer to his family. He was now facing from the family the "pretend he doesn't exist" and ignoring his partner even when being in the same room. How sad. Look at all they are missing out in. He was needing advice and wanting to vent. I shared the following in his post's comments: (I think it resonates with many, unfortunately)
This definitely strikes a chord. About a year ago my family held a meeting in my sisters backyard. The discussion wasn't even welcome in her house because I was there. It was their form of intervention. Unrelated to a boyfriend they had made a few attempts to take my children to family events while seeing that I didn't know about them. The Papa Bear in me shut that down fast and we stopped talking. I refused to let them "save my children" from me.
So the meeting was their attempt to reach out and say we want you back in our family....but here is a list of do's and don'ts. Of course they didn't want me kissing the guy I was dating around them, my sister was concerned I would parade around grabbing his ass (wtf?), and other "gay" behaviors. These are things I never even did with my wife as a newly wed in front of them. I was told he could come around if we acted only like friends. I could go on and on about the ridiculous notions and stereotypes thrown in my face that day.
I looked back at them and said that I would never ask them to do with their spouses what they were asking of me. I would never ask them to leave their spouse home or remove their garments when entering my home, or anything else that would deny them what makes them happy. I would never tell them "absolutely no contact" with their spouse in my home. After having them absent in my life for a year, a year that I desperately needed them, it became very clear that I no long did need them. I didn't need the closet door reopened and to be shoved back in.
I explained to them the hurt and pain that came along with being in the closet. I explained to them that I was in a better place. Their response was "You know what is right." They were right, I did. I let them know if they accepted who I loved into their homes without ridiculous judgement, stereotyping, or unneeded rules I would be there. We left it at that and I left. For me, the dishonesty to myself to heed their rules wasn't worth it. I refused to be the guy I once was. I went home and fell apart briefly in the arms of the guy I was dating and that was that.
Yes, it stings. There are times I miss it, but there is no way to describe the self-respect and strength I find in being authentically me.
A year went by and my mom apparently was trying again. As usual it was still on her terms and whenever she could get around to it. After inviting her to a few things and never showing I sent her an email titled "Your Gay Son."
I didn't post it in my blog for any fanfare. I hope know one sees this as a pat on my back. The reason I share it is because I do earnestly hope that more GLBTQ people realize their self worth and move forward with their happiness.
Consequently I got basically no real response, just a superficial excuse and I'm sorry. Haven't heard form her since really.
I do have one brother who has kept an open mind but is still not close. My bf and I were invited to their sons bday party with no rules. It went well and the supposedly homophobic (not wanting to see Uncle Ben as a gay man) children of my sister were asking when they would see my bf again. You could see the smoke coming out her ears. I take that a day at a time. If you have someone in your family who is earnestly trying, work with it. Never deny who you are are do anything that causes harm to your self-respect or authenticity.
Good luck on your journey. It has its painful moments, but it is always worth being "dyed in the wool true blue through and through" with who you are.
Posted by Bridger at 4:28 PM