My daughter is gay.
Now in saying that, I’ve automatically provoked a reaction in anyone reading this, varying from dispassionate acceptance to outright revulsion. I only speak freely of it because she had the courage to come out herself. At 16 years old, she has started forging her adult identity that she will carry with her in to the years when It’s Dad instead of Daddy, and contact with me will be infrequent phone calls instead of dinner time conversation and late nights poring over algebra questions together.
Her identity includes a fierce loyalty to friends and family. It includes a tender disposition that is easily wounded by cruelty and ignorance. And dare I say it, she also carries in her the same temper that her father has. Sometimes irrational, but always, always ALWAYS angry at injustice.
Being gay is not the entirety of my daughter. Just like being straight is not the entirety of my identity. It is however, the polarizing aspect of her that many people in the world feel is their business to judge and intrude upon. It’s something about her that some people in the world think they have the right to wave signs about. A part of her that some people think they can hate her for. Something that they think they can write laws about. And throughout all of this, none of these people, NONE of them, stop to think about the damage that they do.
I’m not going to try to tell people whether or not they should “agree” with people being gay. Whether or not it’s something that you support wholeheartedly, or whether or not it’s something that you have religious, political, or personal difficulty with. I just have a simple message to those who DO have a problem with it.
Being gay is something where you are hated by people you don’t know, and that don’t know you. It’s something where people are waving offensive, and hypocritical signs, and pretend to have your best interests at heart while doing it. All the while doing so without knowing the first thing about you other than that my daughter wishes to have a relationship with the same sex, as opposed to the opposite. They know nothing about her other than that (and they don’t even know that on a real level, my daughter is simply lumped in with all the other gay people.)
It really isn’t that hard not to hate her. It really isn’t that hard to stop hating everyone who is gay. It isn’t really that hard to love them. Whether or not you agree with their lives, and their sexual orientation. You do not have to agree with any of it, to avoid hating. There are people in my daughter’s life who I know have religious reasons to have differing opinions on the issue. And guess what? They love her. What’s important about her is who she is a whole, and their love for her is unconditional and powerful. For those people, I am endlessly thankful.
But I address those who cannot see past their own viewpoints. Those who assume that since they are right about the way things work, everyone else must be told and corrected. That the laws of the country must reflect their beliefs.
Let me address those people. First off, if you don’t like “Gay marriage” then I suggest you don’t marry someone of the same sex. You should be good then. My daughter and I are fortunate to live in Canada, where the issue has been settled for quite some time now. For those countries that haven’t gotten this figured out, let me point out that despite the fact that some gay people are now married by the laws of their country, the space-time continuum has not unravelled. The institution of marriage has not been destroyed (any more than straight people with all their affairs, divorces and abuses have done to destroy it, at the very least.)
Stop trying to make an opinion that specifically devalues other people, law. It’s been done before, and it remains no less unloving and horrible than it was in the past. We look back now, (at least, a very great many of us do, there are still some remarkable bigots in the world) and say, how could we have been so horrible to black people? How could we have done such things to Chinese people? Where did we get the right to treat people with mental illness or physical disability with such disregard? Why did we hate so much?
This isn’t to say there are not those who deserve hatred. We should hate bigots. We should hate rapists, child and spouse abusers, and pedophiles. But let’s restrict our hatred to those that really deserve it.
Stop pretending it’s any of your business in the first place. If you don’t like it? Fine. Don’t like it. Just tend to your own flower garden. And you will have lilies if you want lilies, roses if you want roses, and the lilacs someone else plants in THEIR garden won’t either jump over in to your garden, or make your garden any LESS a garden.
Parents, love your children. Even if you have the same fundamental problems with the whole matter, when they have the courage to tell you. There is nothing, NOTHING more sad than a parent turning their back on their child. Do not do it. Don’t make one of the hardest things a child can do, be a memory of bitterness and regret.
If I were to give a message to my daughter on the whole matter,
I’m sorry that it’s a world where you had to overcome fear that your Dad would reject you if you told him you were gay. I’m glad you did, and I’m glad you weren’t disappointed with how that turned out.
I’m sorry that it’s a world where when people treat you rudely or unfairly, you have to wonder if it’s because you are gay. (it isn’t always. people can be jerks for no good reason.)
I’m sorry for the times they DO treat you like that BECAUSE you are gay.
I’m sorry that you see other people in the world hated as well, I know how much that affects you, I know how it breaks your heart.
I love you, kid.
And it ain’t really that hard at all.