To All the Parents in the World,
Last week I was involved in a conversation where I had to hear about the poor reaction of a parent who could not grasp the fact that his son was gay. A dear friend of mine who is 29, quiet, shy and reserved had the strength recently to come out to his very conservative father. If any of you have a loved one, friend or person in your life come out of the closet than you know the roller coaster ride of emotions that come with it. Yes, everyone is going to have a different response but no one will feel the most nervous, the most scared, the most anxious, or the most liberated than the person actually coming out. This is a moment in time when the person coming out needs endless support. It is not a time for a parent to think selfishly or how this is going to impact their life. I will explain this a little more in a moment.
First, I want to tell you about the time when I worked at the W Hotel in Chicago many years ago, I had a woman come up to me and ask me my coming out story. Many people ask me that very question to this day especially after seeing me so open on The Style Network, but this women in particular was one to remember. She was coming in for a spa treatment with her girlfriends and the overly friendly me welcomed her in my ever so colorful 22 year old self way. She went on to say, “if you don’t mind, can I please ask you something? My 17 year old son just came out to me, I am not taking it very well. My religion says one thing and my heart is saying another. How do I let my son know I am confused?”
Like many parents, religion is a huge road block in their views on gays but what I explained to this woman was; that my God does not judge, he is welcoming of all walks of life, he has unconditional love, and if I am a good person, giving, caring, respectful, and kind than I know he accepts and loves me just like the God in your own life. Besides, no matter what religion we are, we all have a different relationship and different connections to God. There are obviously going to many many people who disagree with me but the God I know – is the one I am sticking with and that is all that matters.
Finding out your son or daughter is gay is going to be a challenge but how you respond and deal with it is what is important. Like my friend’s father who I told you about earlier, and the woman in Chicago, a major part of finding that acceptance is through understanding and being educated on the situation. Through all the anger, denial and other negative emotions that come from a parent who is not willing to love their gay child, there is one very important point that will always stand strong above all that chaos. It is really simple. You are born gay. There is absolutely no choice in the gay equation. Zero. Zilch. Nada. If you are a parent and you are dealing with a son or daughter’s sexuality than that is something I hope you can concentrate on and understand fully. It should give you peace. On a much broader parent scale, you should know that being gay is just a small part about a person. His/Her own happiness and health is what you should be thinking about. Why would any person choose a lifestyle where they can be shunned upon, hated, bashed, teased and bullied? If our society, and home life was more open in talking to our teenagers about being gay than there really would be a lot less of a division. You have no idea what it is like to battle with the confusion and the mind boggling thoughts when you first realize that you are gay. For some kids it can mean staying in the closet for years, for others it may be different but what can be said is that it takes strength to get to the point of self awareness and self acceptance. Think about the kids or even adults that fight those “am I gay?” thoughts in their head. Than they finally come to their own acceptance to only be rejected by their parents. This is why you hear of all those terrible stories on the news of kids killing themselves.
At the end of the day, whether you are gay, lesbian, straight, bisexual, or transgender, we ALL want to be accepted, validated and loved.
With Father’s Day coming up in a couple days along with hearing the story about my friend’s father, I wanted to write this blog to honor my Dad. My Dad and I have had our challenging moments don’t get me wrong but who hasn’t? Right? Today, I can say I am so very thankful and grateful for my Dad as he loves me just the way I am and considers my boyfriend of six years part of the family. That is the best gift I could ever get from him.
If you are a parent and are struggling with the fact that your son or daughter is gay than the best advice I can give you is to always listen to your heart. Your heart is where the love is and as a parent that is all your son or daughter needs from you.
The Other Hubby