Recently, I became aware of something when I was visiting my family. We were looking through various photo albums with my nephews (my parent’s grandsons) who were in town visiting from outside the country. So there are a couple of big books, plus about 6 so-called “brag” books that contain 15-20 photos each. Not to mention the display of photos on top of the entertainment cabinet in the living room.
I come from a family of 4 children. There’s my oldest brother, who had 3 girls, my 2nd older brother who has 2 sons and my sister who had 2 boys also. So the grandkids are all adults now… and there are 2 great grandchildren even. I am the lone gay person in the family. I have been in a relationship with my partner for almost 24 years.
So what did I realize on that visit? I realized that there were no pictures of me and my partner in my parent’s house! I felt sad and mad when I realized this. Sure I am in the photo albums, but it’s by myself, with my siblings or with my nieces. If you were looking at these, you would think that I was single! How could my parents deny that part of my life? How could they give me so-called “conditional love”? We love you, BUT… you’re gay, in an interracial relationship too… plus you like to do weird things with your hair or what you choose to wear. No, they didn’t say that but I have to wonder what the hell they are really thinking.
I know people have their own journeys as far as coming to terms with being gay or lesbians. Same for parents, siblings, friends, co-workers, etc… they have their own journey to come to acceptance of their loved ones. When I finally came out to my parents about 10 years ago, I told them about PFLAG (Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) and gave them some brochures and phone numbers. I don’t think they ever read them, and I know they never went to any meetings. They have one friend who had a gay kid who died of AIDS, but I doubt they ever talked to her about it.
So where do we go from here? I love my parents, but from my perspective they need to try harder than what they are doing. You would think I was guilty of a horrible crime, that I was a terrible human being, by how they are treating me here. I get it, I know I can’t compete with the grandkids… but my siblings have their spouses in those books. And other than my oldest brother… my partner and I have been together for more years than the other couples in the family. And it’s not like they don’t have pictures of us either, I know for certain that I have given them some over the years. Who knows where those ended up?
What happened to unconditional love? I know my parents voted Yes for Prop. 8, but I still love them. They have done so much for me and my siblings. I was honored that I could give a heartfelt speech at their 60th anniversary party earlier this year. They always invite my partner and I over for holidays and birthdays… and my Mom always give him a hug even.
I hope we can get past all of this… but as of now, I need to prepare myself for hearing things I may not want to hear.
Update: I confronted them about it, and they denied any wrong doing. I talked with some other parents with gay kids, and they suggested I give them a nice framed picture of me and my partner. I gave it to them for Christmas, and it was still there when I last saw them, so I have no right to complain anymore.
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