I have been blessed with a wonderful family. I am not just talking about my blood relatives. I am talking about my friends too. My blood relatives include my Mom, Dad, 2 brothers and a sister, plus their spouses and children too.
I grew up in Monterey Park, CA. My parents are still living in the house I was raised in. I was the baby of the family, the 4th of 4 children. My Dad owned his own business with his brother, a moving company. He worked long hours so that we would have food on the table and be able to go to private schools. My mom was a stay-at-home Mom by the time that I came around.
Were my parents expecting a gay kid? Doubtful. They did the best they could. I am sorry that I took so long to come out to them. But they were very religious and I was afraid that I would lose them. I was quite late with telling them, only about 10 years ago. This was after I was living with my “roommate” Rasheed for 10 years.
Long story short, it all worked out fine. Everyone knows and we are accepted as part of the family. There were tears, raised voices, and bad feelings along the way. So it wasn’t easy…but it was worth it. They still have some growing to do, and I am sure that I do too. My parents supported Prop. 8 in CA which was very hard to take, considering that they have a gay son. There have been other issues too along the way, but we have never stopped talking or caring for one another.
I was planning to put this blog out a few weeks ago, but I felt it wasn’t quite finished. My family has been arguing with me about my hair a lot this past few weeks (see “Hair’s the Deal”)… and it has been very upsetting to me. Do they not respect me? Do they not love me unconditionally? I am not a different person because of my hair. Why can’t they see that and get over it?
We do our best to get together for holidays, birthdays and special occasions. They were important to us growing up and our important to us now as adults. Sure, we are busy people, but phone calls and emails are no substitute for seeing each other in person. This weekend we are celebrating my niece’s wedding to her fiancé.
My friends are my family too. When I was dealing with my sexuality and I couldn’t tell my family yet, they were there for me. First my friend, Joe in high school. He was the first person I came out to and a good friend for many years. After I came out to myself I was lucky enough to make some friends at the Gay & Lesbian Center in Hollywood. Damon, Dominique, Alfred, Bret and others were added to my circle as well as this guy named Rasheed. He wasn’t a friend really but more an acquaintance, a few years later we started going out and now 22 years later, we are still going strong.
So our circle of “Family” keeps expanding…And I hope it always does. We are not perfect, and we have our differences from time to time, but we will continue to make our relationships work because “family” is important to us.