This is the first prompt in Tough Questions On The Road To Affirmation:
What Will My Parents Think?
As I journeyed to self-acceptance as a queer person, this question weighed heavy. Here, I respond to that Question. Would you consider responding to this prompt too? Post it to your website, Facebook, or Tumblr. Start a free Tumblr or WordPress if you don’t have one. Share a link to your response below. Link back here too so others can find it.
Being gay is wrong, you know that… right?
My dad asked/told me in the parking lot of the Delaware House when I was in 9th grade.
Was my response.
I can’t put a finger on when I realized I was gay. In some senses, I’ve always known. Sometimes though, it feels like I am still getting to know myself. Regardless, as I grew into an awareness that I liked other guys, I also began considering how my parents might act.
I was scared they would react poorly. I was scared that they would say mean and hurtful things to me. I was scared they wouldn’t understand. I don’t want my parents to think that I am weird. I want them to be proud.
I don’t know.
I came back to “I don’t know” a lot. Can you ever really know anything?
I know my parents love and care about me deeply. I know they want the best for my life. I know that they want me to be happy and healthy. And I also heard the remarks about homosexuality and gay people that they occasionally made. I knew that we didn’t have any openly gay friends or family.
I knew that my relationship with my parents was (and is) very important to me. I knew that I wanted to maintain it.
I might not be able to predict how my parents will (re)act, but I needed to be ready for it. To take the good or the bad or the somewhere in between.
What my parents think of me held immense weight over me. I shared last week on Letters In Movement Making about my first love and about coming out to my parents. My path to affirmation was only just beginning, even then, at what often feels like the end goal.
In order to find self-affirmation, I learned I needed to let go of what my parents think of me. I can’t control their thoughts, and their thoughts don’t control me. Being queer is OK or it isn’t OK. My parents aren’t perfect, they have the capacity to be wrong and to make mistakes. Giving my parents the grace to act imperfectly, even in their reaction to my life, was liberating.
In the end, my parents turned out to be wonderful and supportive. We continue to have an close relationship (and they really love Peter).
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