Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Irony and Loss

Lately I've had a lot on my mind. There has been a lot of drama between my parents and I. It's been a situation of frustration and irony. My parents have been aware of my being gay since I was about sixteen years old. I am now a few years past sixteen, ha ha! In all that time they have chosen to ignore it, run from it, and avoid it. I have tried multiple times to share with them how I am feeling and what I am thinking. Yet through it all they have put up a wall to it. They have refused to address the topic of my being gay.

It's ironic really. It's ironic because their efforts to avoid this topic have led to where we are currently at in life. There is an important lesson to be learned here, in my opinion. It is a lesson that my parents have been forced to relearn time and time again with each of their children. Ignoring things will never make the problem go away but only make things worse. This is something that had they learned with the first child, they would have spared themselves a great deal of agony. Each of my siblings has brought a new issue or view to which my parents have had a difficult time adjusting to or even addressing.

For my parents, they must now face the troubling reality that their child is gay, out of the closet, and wanting to pursue relationships with the same gender. For my parents, this is horrifying. So much so that they have refused to support me financially. I do not regard this decision as damaging but rather reality and an opportunity for us to grow in healthy ways. My parents are using it to express their dissatisfaction with my choices. They are upset at it. But for all their being upset they have never once sought to talk to me about it. Communication relies on a two-way discussion. You cannot demand something without first learning what that something is.

Years ago, had my parents chosen to act differently things might have been different. I do not mean that they are to blame for anything. Rather, because of their actions, I was able to grow strong and realize that I cannot accept their lifestyle anymore. I chose to come out to my parents when I was a teenager because I felt lost and confused. I had hoped they would be able to provide me with the help that I felt I so desperately needed. To my shock and, at the time, horror they provided none of that. Instead, they sought to desperately ignore it. This has been there attitude ever since. Even now, with all that is happening, they are desperately trying to avoid knowing anything. They'd rather hide behind such useless phrases as "love the sinner, hate the sin." My dad has repeatedly told me that he neither condones nor condemns "my lifestyle choice." Yet through it all, he has never once asked me what is going on or how I feel or why I am doing this.

Denial is a defense mechanism. It is a tool that we humans use to shield ourselves from unfortunate or unpleasant things. But denial never solves problems. Rather, it allows those problems to grow. By not addressing my concerns and fears, they left me to fend for myself. In so doing, I found proper strength, courage, and hope. I found that by accepting who I am, I could be wholly human.

So, my advice to all parents with children that come out to you as gay or lesbian or bisexual is to talk to them. Listen first and then talk to them. It might be scary at first but I can guarantee that they are even more scared than you. Dialogue helps everyone grow in understanding. Don't just let your own personal issues stand in the way of reaching out to your child. If you do not reach out to your children, they will seek knowledge else where. Talking to your gay children won't stop them from being gay. But it will build the friendship and support network that will be of value to you and them all the remainder of your days. Love isn't about keeping each other at arms length. It's about taking the plunge into the unknown together and staying by each others side. Remember that.


  1. This is sad--I really feel for you--but beautiful. Very well written. I'm saving a copy, and I hope it can help some other families I know avoid the harmful silence and denial.

  2. I love what you have to say here. I wish every parent and child could read it--and especially your last paragraph. It takes a lot of courage not to remind someone about your own morals. For some reason, and I don't know why--to protect ourselves?--we qualify statements of love and acceptance with "I don't approve of what you're doing, but I love you," and it's a little obnoxious. I just love what you've written and shared. Thanks.