I got a few very interesting emails from folks who disagreed with my last post. The overall theme was the same as my friend I referred to on FB. I must admit I just don’t understand. When has separate but equal ever worked? How are we ever going to get equal rights under the law when we can’t even demand equality from the ones who claim to love us most? Allowing them to hide behind their ‘religion’ is bullshit just like it was for slavery. And please explain to me how allowing your family to pick an choose the parts of your life they ‘approve’ of is not a form of control. As long as we allow our families to segregate us in their lives, they will continue to think separate but equal under the law is acceptable. I’m not saying you shouldn’t love your family, but you should have enough self-respect and integrity to make sure they treat you as an equal or not at all.
I learned the hard way, separate but equal doesn’t work. And for the record, after everything my father did to me as a kid, I still loved him. I didn’t exclude him, he chose to exclude me because I didn’t fit the norm.1 He made the conscious choice to push me away. And by conscious, I mean being kicked out of the house at the ripe old age of 14 with a broken jaw and 2 broken ribs.
Ten years later, we tried to make amends but he still couldn’t accept me. He made it very clear he didn’t want me “flaunting my lifestyle” in his face. Meanwhile, I had survived being on my own at such an early age, not to mention almost taking my own life and being homeless. Even after all of that, deep down I still wanted his love. But after surviving some of the darkest moments of my life, I couldn’t just go back to his love knowing it was built on the condition I act or behave a certain way. So, I moved on with my life without him. I would call or visit only once or twice a year. And even then it was primarily to see my little brother. Yeah, it hurt but I was stronger for it. I had finally accepted myself for who and what I was.
Ten more years later, on his deathbed, my father was finally able to admit his regret. I already knew as I had seen the pain in his face over the years. but, it was heartening (and very empowering) to finally hear him admit it out loud. It was also a little bit sad that it had taken him 20 years to finally realize his mistake(s).
So no, I don’t think allowing our families to love us with conditions is acceptable. Granted, my story is a bit extreme. My father never gave me a chance to try and educate him. That said, the point is the same. We have nothing to be ashamed of. We have no reason to bow to irrational demands/restrictions by our families of half-acceptance. Demands born out of fear, ignorance, or lies. And until more of us realize that, I honestly don’t think we’ll have equality under the law.
- Granted my step-mother goaded him for almost 2-days before he finally lost it but still [↩]