I remember when Cricket came out of the closet. It was shortly after graduating high school, he was 17. He told his sister first and then the two of them came to the house and said they needed to talk to us. We went into our bedroom and sat in a circle on the floor. I’ll never forget the relief of everyone in the room. What he told us was no great surprise and we told him we would always love him, support him and accept him just as he is.
That wasn’t his first coming out though. When he was 15 he left information on my computer that he knew would make me question him. At that time I was in the middle of a religious fervor and not sure how to react. I confronted him and he confessed his feelings and I suggested we pray. I do remember him crying and telling me that he didn’t want to be attracted to men, I think that played a part in how I responded. My reaction was not solely based on religious beliefs, it was also based on fear, fear for his happiness, fear that his life would be harder and fear of a disease that could kill him, and finally fear of how the extended family would react.
Recently a friend posted a link to his Facebook about a letter from a father to son after the son came out. The father basically told him to go away and never come back:
Don’t expect any further conversations With me. No communications at all. I will not come to visit, nor do I want you in my house.
That statement made me so sad, and brought back memories of Cricket’s friends. After coming out, we celebrated our son. We went with him to the local gay club, welcomed his friends in our home. I remember the stories they told, of how their family and friends had rejected them, how thrilled they were to meet us. I remember hugging many beautiful young men, all the while my heart was breaking over their stories of rejection.
How can parents do something so obscene to their children? The idea just baffles me. This child that came from my womb, my blood, my heart? How could I possibly throw away the most important part of my life, this most precious gift of life? How can a parent reject a child because of something they have no control over, something they were born with, a part of them, put on them without choice?
I see parents support and defend their drug addicted, thieving, even murderous children. I see them support them, stand by them through all their trials and prison sentences, even though they are the ones that chose their path. They choose to lie and steal and harm others.
Our gay and lesbian children have no choice, parents need to understand this. Put away your religious zeal, your status quo, your insecurities, bigotry and hatred. Love your precious babies for the wonderful, intelligent, creative, enlightened people they are.