For those of you who didn’t know, Tuesday (Oct. 11) was ‘national coming out day’ in the States. The hashtag #NationalComingOutDay and #NCOD was trending on my Twitter, and since I am very active on Twitter in different capacities; it was quite something to witness. Let’s just say, my eyes weren’t very dry that day.
Apart from reading about strangers who shared their different stories that ranged from old ‘coming out’ stories to fresh ones; I also spoke to online friends who shared theirs. One of these friends—let’s call her Sam—and I started talking privately about the day. She confessed that she’d wanted to come out to her family for a long time, but that so far she hadn’t had the courage to do so. The stories that filled both our Twitter feeds made her feel hopeful to a certain extent, but she was still scared. She told me that she’d previously tried to bring up the topic of being gay with her mother, but that she’d been instantly dismissed. Instead, her mother carried out a long monologue about how gay people are sick, how their ‘urges’ are unnatural, and so on. Of course, that didn’t help Sam very much and she was—yet again—discouraged. Over the years, as gay rights have become more of a championed, public discussion and debate in [western] media, Sam’s mother has repeatedly said that she doesn’t get it. She’s also alluded that ”none of that” would ever be tolerated under her roof.
As such, Sam, who describes herself as shy and who has a hard time making friends, has shied away from other women; on the account that she’s scared that she might—at some point—develop feelings for one. Which has, as she told me, pretty much eliminated her chances of making any friends whatsoever. It broke my heart to hear her story, and it still baffles me so much, that a parent would reject their child based on that child’s sexual preferences (not that you should reject your child on any basis really). Now, I might not be a parent myself, but I just don’t get it. Your child shouldn’t have to live in fear, especially not at home. Sure, I could imagine that it might come as a surprise, or a shock for some parents to find out that their kid’s attracted to people of the same sex as they are. Fine. Sure. Take a moment, and maybe a breath or two. Don’t, however, disown them!
Sam told me that she’s taking a fall trip with her aunt and her family soon, and she’s planning on coming out to her aunt sometime during it. She told me that she’s currently in the process of writing a letter-like script about it, since she said she’d be way too nervous to just wing it. Should a child really have to go through this? The anxiety? Having to pen a letter about it? If you ask me: no. Parents should have unconditional love for their children, and this—according to me—is such a non-issue. Your child isn’t a murderer, they aren’t hurting anybody, they’re just attracted to someone you might not expect them to be attracted to! Besides, it’s such a western social concept anyway, heterosexuality. People shouldn’t have to ‘come out’, and they certainly shouldn’t have to be scared to do so, but I guess that’s the next step to work towards. Let’s just start with accepting those who do and acknowledge the courage it took for them to do so. Plus, I wish Sam all the best! I’m proud of you.