Tuesday, November 02, 2010
I love him, I accept him, but don't tell anybody - it's nobody's business.
Though I am straight and it wasn't me hiding who I truly was, I found myself so identifying with Portia on this point. I cannot tell you how many times I got a response like this after telling family members and friends about my son. And it made me so angry and so sad that they were blatantly exposing their feelings of shame over my son's sexual orientation. But what I had to remind myself of was that I too, stayed quiet and "didn't tell anybody" for a long time when I first learned my beloved Michael was gay. And that I had given myself the luxury of time to get comfortable with my new reality and these people needed the same luxury. It was at once a shameful realization and an enlightening moment for me.
Now when I get that response I am not so harsh on the person, nor do I judge them, but I do gently remind them that the best way to battle homophobia is to come out and matter-of-factly tell people that you have a gay loved one - and it is no big deal. By keeping such a vital piece of information about someone to ourselves we are subconsciously conveying shame and embarrassment, something that is not only very hurtful to our gay loved one, but damaging to the fight against homophobia and bigotry. And let us not forget that it is much harder to hate a gay person if you actually know someone who is gay. So let's do start proudly putting the face of our gay loved ones out there and show everyone that it really isn't any big deal.