Childrearing

Here’s What Not To Do When Your Gay Son Comes Out To You

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gay-men-holding-handsSometimes we get to witness a really nice thing happen when children come out as gay to their parents; sometimes they are met with unwavering, unconditional love, and you remember that the world isn’t such a terrible place to live. And then there’s the family in the video below.

I’m going to issue a trigger warning here for homophobia and abuse. Towards the end of the video, I needed to walk away, make a gigantic cup of coffee, and come back. So just know that it’s pretty hard to watch:

[youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1df_i26wh-w]

When Daniel comes out to his family, they begin by telling him that they love him, which sounds disingenuous from the moment they say “but…” to the point that his mother tells him to get out of the house. Once Daniel’s parents start to hit him, call him a piece of shit and a queer, it’s pretty clear that they are walking garbage cans incapable of love.

Their reasons are varied and numerous and all stupid. They tell him that being gay is a choice and a sin. They remind him that they have gay friends, so it’s not that they are being homophobic or anything. They try to explain that they can’t have him in their home because someone might mistake their acceptance of their son for acceptance of his sexuality.

I haven’t given a lot of thought to my child’s sexuality, nor have I really asked myself what I would do if she came out to me one day. It is an inconsequential point who she loves, so long as they love and respect her back. Sometimes I wrap myself so securely in my privilege and progressiveness that I forget that this is what other people face, and my heart breaks for this man.

My husband watched the video with me this morning, because if there’s one thing I won’t do it’s be pissed and miserable by myself. He pointed out that this is one reason he doesn’t like religion and sees the family as brainwashed against their own son. I don’t disagree with him, but I don’t completely agree with him either.

There is a problem with the way that the church teaches about homosexuality, and it does sometime breed hateful people, but that’s not the whole picture. I know plenty of religious people who manage not to disown, degrade, or beat their gay children. To do that, you already have to be a piece of shit. For those people, religion is just another blunt object that they can use to hurt someone.

When Daniel’s mother is attacking him, he calls out “what’s wrong with you people?” more than one time, and that was the part that really punched me in the throat because there is genuine confusion there. He probably knew that his parents were intolerant, but you can hear how bewildered he is by their betrayal and rejection. It feels raw and new.

By now, Daniel is probably out on his own, and people have begun to rally around him. There’s even a gofundme here to help defray his living costs. If I could talk to him now, I would tell him that I hope one day his parents see what living turd kernels they are and beg him for his forgiveness.

But I would also tell him that the chances of that happening are slim. Once an abuser, always an abuser. I would tell him to be true to himself and not to think too hard about why his parents rejected him so violently. It’s on them, and it’s not his fault at all. He is a brave and strong person who has the right to live his life open and without fear and not as something more palatable to bigots, even the bigots he had the vast misfortune to be born related to.

I wish him the best, and I’m going to start drinking around lunchtime today, I think.

(Image: Syda Productions/Shutterstock)