Feb 18, 2012

A Parent or a Christian? Thoughts on Parents With Gay Kids

In a country where there is such a huge difference between levels of education, a country that covers the whole spectrum from cutting edge liberal thinking to stagnant ignorance, the topic of how to treat your child's sexual identity can't be ignored. We've all heard the horror stories - kids being disowned, kicked out of their homes, sent to Straight Camps, beaten up or simply ignored and shunned. But to be honest, this is not something I can actually imagine. It is so deeply unfathomable to me that my mind refuses to paint a believable picture of anything like that happening in a real family.

See, when I came out to my parents, they responded with awkwardness. My mom was worried about me ending up alone, my dad was deeply saddened. There is no blame on my part, it's more or less what I expected, and I have given them time and space to deal with it. But apart from the awkwardness, nothing else has changed. I am still their child, they still love and support me the same as always. Because they know something that apparently not all parents do - being gay is nobody's fault and there is nothing you or anyone else can do about it. There is nobody you can or should blame, and things just are the way they are.

I am very happy with my sexuality, but in today's society most parents are still heterosexual. And no heterosexual parent wants this for their kid. They know a different life, and that life is what's normal to them, it's that life that they want for us. There is a difference, however, between wanting something and forcing it. I was lucky to come from a country where homophobia is cultural, and more like indifference than active hatred. Children in the States have it much tougher in many cases.

But here's the big secret - your parents' opinion does not matter. Sure, they have the means to hurt you, at least for a small part of your life, but what they think is irrelevant. Because it is their duty to love and support you, and once they fail in that, they have failed you in the deepest, most personal way imaginable, and have proven unworthy of your respect. The religious homophobic cases are the most scary to me, as religious people are the ones who most aggressively defend the holiness of the institution of marriage and the ideals that supposedly stand behind it. Yet, I have to wonder, how much of a Christian is someone who is able to love Jesus more than their own flesh and blood? The truth here is much uglier, and it is steeped in hypocrisy. They don't really love anyone. They are the antithesis of what Jesus' teachings tell us, and masking their bigotry behind poorly understood words that someone else has told them.

Because in the end, parenting is about giving your child the best possible opportunity to develop as a human being. You may believe whatever you want, but in the end, you have to accept reality for what it is, and help them in overcoming the obstacles society will put in front of them, instead of being the biggest one. You can't force sexuality on anyone, and the sooner society accepts that, the sooner abominations like the cases I mentioned in the opening paragraph will stop happening. There is only one truth here: a true loving parent changes their views based on their feelings for their child, not the other way around.

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