“When our Children ‘Come Out'” - Vigyaa
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“When our Children ‘Come Out'”

Last week, Barry and I found ourselves at 10 pm sitting at a special reserved table at “The Stud,” the 50-year-old first gay bar in San Francisco. First of all, there are a few things you should know about us. We are quiet country people who like to go to bed early. We never drive the ninety minutes to San Francisco unless it is to go to the airport for work travel. For the most part we do not drink alcohol or listen to loud music. Our idea of a good time is rafting a wilderness river and camping all by ourselves in a beautiful spot along the river with our two golden retriever dogs. We were double the age of everyone else at the bar. The sign on our lovingly placed table in front of the stage said, “Reserved for Johnny’s parents.”

Our son is gay, and he and his partner Isaiah were going to give their first solo two-hour performance. Our son describes himself as a professional circus performer. He also sings and dances and makes all of the costumes for the performances. He is very talented. A few of his acts would make any parent blush. And yet we sat and we loved and supported him, for he is doing what he loves in this life. The place was packed with young people, some his high school friends and everyone loved the show. The MC, WonderDave, liked us and kept drawing attention to Johnny’s parents and had us stand for a loud cheer.

At the very end of the show, our son took the mic and told everyone how much he loves his parents and how much it means to him that we came such a long way to support him. He asked us to say something so Barry took the mic and told everyone that we are very proud of our son. Everyone cheered! As people were standing to leave, a nicely dressed woman in her late twenties approached us with her female partner. She was crying as she said to us, “Could I please have a hug so I can experience what it might be like to have parents who are proud of me. My parents rejected me when I came out as a lesbian.” We gave her a big long hug and told her how proud we were of her. We hugged her partner too who told us that her parents had rejected her as well.

When we had walked into the bar, the co-owner told us how happy she was that we were there, as we were the first parents to come to their child’s show. She further told us that her parents called her the “black sheep of the family” when she came out as gay years ago. To this day, even though she is very successful, they will not have much to do with her. We reached out to hug her and tell her we are proud of her and she started to cry, so much was she needing that parental love. She later wrote a Facebook post saying how much it meant to her that we were there and had given her loving parental energy.

The LGBTQ community needs our love and support. Their parents have rejected many of them. And it’s shocking to see how our current presidential administration is treating them. These people are beautiful unique human beings, many with awesome talents and gifts to give the world. We are all different in some ways, and they just happen to be different in their sexual orientation.

I believe it is important for every parent to keep in their heart the possibility that their child might one day “come out” to them. Barry and I were totally surprised when our son came out to us when he was nineteen. We had no idea. He was an amazing athlete and played middle blocker, his 6’5” height a great advantage on the school’s championship volleyball team. All during the year he played volleyball, was a river guide and swam in our cold ocean for hours. More significantly, he had several steady girlfriends. He came out to us the day his girlfriend of one year had just left to go back home. It was a 100% surprise when he looked at me and said, “Mama, I’m gay.” Fortunately for me I did the right thing. I reached out and hugged him and told him I loved him. Then I had him go and get Barry, and he was shaking as he told his father. So many young men are rejected by their fathers. Barry reacted exactly as I had and then we both held him and let him speak. My strong advice to parents of all ages is to try to be prepared and react with love, for how you react in that one instance may determine your relationship from then on. If you did not react well, you can apologize to your child and begin anew.

One young man who was a very religious Baptist told us that his father rejected him right away and he could never be close to him again. And even worse, his minister rejected him and told him he needed to get counseling to change or else leave the church. It took years for this man to heal from both of those experiences. He never saw his father again and never walked back into a church.

Parents who reject their “different” child are really missing out. Our son has brought so much growth to our hearts, and so much understanding of differences. If we had rejected him nine years ago when he came out to us, we would have missed a whole new world. He would have still carried on with his life, his marriage, and his preforming. But we would not have been a part of it all. We left the gay bar at midnight with a skip to our step. The performance had been fun, but even more meaningful and joyful was loving and supporting our son.

Therapist and psychiatrist couple since 1964, near Santa Cruz, CA. Widely regarded as among the world's top experts on conscious relationship & personal growth.


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I

He had a tough day at work. He comes back home, exhausted and slightly frustrated because he had to drive a long way back home amidst heavy traffic. He reaches home. As he is about to ring the doorbell, he smiles. He visualises his better half opening the door with a smile. A smile that has the capability to reduce, if not erase the stress. Instead, when the door is opened, he finds a tired looking woman in front of his eyes. No smile, dishevelled hair. He is disappointed but he accepts that she is a human, too. She must have had a rough day as well. He enters the house. She brings him a glass of water and attempts to smile because she knows he likes it but he is not seeing her smile now; he is irked by her body odour, she is sweating. He tries to convince himself that she must have not gotten the time to freshen up. He gets up and walks to the bedroom. He freshens up, comes back to the living room and switches on the television. He is not in a mood to start a conversation. It is dinner time, the dinner is arranged on the dining table, while she is serving him dinner, he attempts to start a conversation. She replies in monosyllables. He gives up and has dinner in silence. He finishes and walks to the kitchen, does the dishes, he always does it. She joins him in the kitchen and does her part. He looks at her, she looks beautiful despite how untidy she is. She goes to the bedroom; he decides to watch news before joining her. He goes to the bedroom after some time. He tries to get close to her, she does not play along. He is angered. He turns around and tries to sleep.

II

She had a tough day at work. She reaches home slightly earlier than him, but she is exhausted and sweating. The drop from office is God sent but that does not mean no traffic. She enters the house, empty house. She collapses on the couch but gets up immediately because she needs to tidy the house and prepare dinner before he comes. She changes her clothes; she wants to freshen up but decides to postpone it for a while. She tidies the house. She starts with dinner preparations. The doorbell rings right at the moment when she is making vegetable. She opens the door and rushes back to the kitchen in time to save the vegetable from getting burnt. She goes back with a glass of water; she tries to smile because she knows he likes to see her like that. However, he is not paying attention to her smile now. She realizes that she is sweating and perhaps stinking. She is disappointed. She understands that he needs to see her smile. He has told her so many times that her smile makes him feel good about life. He has never liked the stench of sweat on her, she does not blame him; in his shoes perhaps, she would have not liked that as well. He goes to the bedroom to freshen up. She prepares dinner. He watches television. She takes a quick shower, sprays deodorant.

He is still watching television. She then arranges dinner on dining table, he comes and sits. He does not notice that she has freshened up. She is hurt. He tries to start a conversation. She is too hurt to speak; he gives up right at the time when she decides to give in. She wants to know how his day was. She hopes he would ask her how her day was. He finishes dinner in silence and so does she. He does the dishes. She does her part. She sees him watching her. She finishes the work and goes to the bedroom; she looks in the mirror and smiles. She washes her face and neck again, especially behind the ear. She knows he likes to kiss her there. She climbs into bed and waits for him. He does not come. He is watching television. She tries to sleep. He comes to the room and kisses her behind the ear, slowly moving towards her neck. By this time, she is angered. She feels like a sex object. She does not respond. He stops, turns around and tries to sleep. She is on the verge of crying.

Such little things often happen especially when the couple is newly married. Whose fault it is in this scenario? Who would take the initiative to correct the errors and misunderstandings? These and many more similar questions still remain to be answered. What's your take on this?

To trust someone after being betrayed once becomes difficult. Trusting the same person again seems almost impossible and in addition to that we often find ourselves unable to trust anyone easily. We are humans and we tend to protect ourselves from being hurt again, we tend to envelope ourselves into a vacuum we create to keep people out of the full trust zone and hide our vulnerable self from the world. In doing so we end up pushing away the people who really care for us and those who are actually worth being trusted.

A broken heart takes time to heal. And, unless and until it is completely healed; it would be difficult to move on.

There are different kinds of people in this world -

1. People who do not trust anyone.

2. People who do not trust easily and even when they do trust someone, they keep check of the trust level.

3. People who do not trust easily but when they do, they trust completely.

4. People who trust very easily and trust completely.

The last group of people are more susceptible to being betrayed, that does not mean that the other three groups remain untouched by betrayal.

Where there is trust, there always is a risk of betrayal. And once it happens, there is ought to be pain and lingering doubt. It stays there somewhere at the back of your mind, how much ever hard you try to get rid of the thought.

How do we save ourselves from betrayal? How do we know whom to trust? Would we find the answers in some book? No self-help book or article is really going to answer these questions for you. Search for the answers within.

The second group of people who keep check of the trust level actually activate their instincts, which guide them in trusting the right kind of people and to the right extent. It is only when doubt arises, the instinct fails and they are exposed to being betrayed.

There always is a voice at the back of your mind telling you that trusting a particular person in particular circumstances and with a particular matter is not a good thing to do, it involves risk and it is important for you to be alert. Always heed to that voice.

Once betrayed does not mean that you should not trust again. We must not only continue putting our trust in other people, we must also learn to trust again the person who has betrayed you once. That is, if that person is an essential part of your life. Either on a personal front or a professional front. You have to trust yourself to be capable enough to trust that person. You must trust your instincts to guide you appropriately.

We are often betrayed by those whom we trust and we trust those who mean a lot in our life. Letting them go is not always the option and is not always easy. When letting go is the choice you can make, you are better off without the negative influence in your life. However, when the concerned person is someone from your close circle, letting go is not really a option. We must learn to survive against the negative influence.

Healing your broken heart does not necessarily mean getting rid of the lesson learned from the betrayal of the past. It simply means moving on, in a way that helps to get rid of the negativity attached to the betrayal. The more we think about it, the more we talk about it, the more pain we feel.

To start the healing process, it is essential to detach yourself from the pain. First and foremost, step is to stop thinking about it. It is equally important to stop talking about it. Stop telling others how you have been betrayed by someone and how much hurt it has caused you. Each time you re-live the betrayal, you are allowing the negativity to gain control of your thoughts. And by doing so you are blocking the positivity that would sharpen your instinct and guide you in future.

Second step of the healing process is to forgive the person who has betrayed you. Whether the person is deserving or not deserving is another matter altogether. Forgive the person for yourself, for your peace of mind. You cannot move on without forgiving the person who is the cause of the pain. You need not forget the lesson the person has taught you. Forgiving the person will help you get rid of a lot of negativity that feels likes a heavy weight on your chest. It will clear your mind and make you alert, sharpening your instinct.

The third step of healing process is to open your heart to all the positivity life has to offer. Imbibe as much positivity as you can. Look around you, there are people in your life who are worth being trusted. People who really care about you. People who want you to be happy. People who have positive influence in your life. Spend time with them, share with them and learn from them. Bathe in their love and positivity.

The final step of healing process is to start trusting again. Open your mind to new opportunities... to future. Free yourself from the bondage of doubt and believe in your strength - your instinct.

May your heart be healed.

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