4/21/08

The Pain of Having a Homophobic Parent

Today I went through a very painful situation.

The relationship with my father has always been tense to say the least. Well, my father let it be known today that somehow he had been living with the idea that Gina and I were just roommates - even after I came out publicly before we filed for partnership four years ago. The kicker is that his position is that being gay is a choice, and that I chose to be gay and he doesn’t accept that. Basically he feels embarrassment at the thought of telling his friends that his daughter is a lesbian.



I think he has this picture in his mind of lesbian life being the equivalent of an adult movie.

I can understand how he might think that because of the portrayal of gays and lesbians in the media. Yet I don’t know what to do with that information, because regardless of the media I am his daughter. I feel like that simple fact should make him willing to try to see things in a different light – especially if I am living a decent life and handling my responsibilities.

I feel like he doesn’t care about how I feel, only about how he feels.

I feel like he wants me to be ashamed of who I am, when I know that I should really feel pride about being a strong gay woman in today’s society. He says being gay is a choice, I say so what – if it is or isn’t, it doesn’t matter to me – he should love me regardless. If I chose to be gay or didn’t choose to be gay – I am still gay… and he should still have love for me.

If he can’t feel good about me as a person, how can I feel good about him as a father?

I am trying not to judge, I am trying to remain impartial and stay neutral – understand his position and why he feels the way he does. Sad thing is that I do understand, I just don’t agree… so I agree to disagree but… it still hurts. And, I don’t judge him because that it is not in my jurisdiction. But honestly, I want to hug him and let him know that it’s okay… it’s okay to have a gay daughter.

And that I love him anyway.

8 comments:

Dorothea said...

Why must this happen again and again? I have a similar experience with my mother. She honestly thinks I'm gay only to hurt her feelings. She is ashamed of me, I am a disappointment to her. She refuses to meet my wife, she refuses to recognize that we filed partnership a year ago.
I have tried to find a way with her, but I didn't succeed. I hope and pray that you and your father will have more luck. Or perhaps more love for each other.

Paula the Surf Mom said...

You know Julie I have been blessed that my parents decided early to accept me for what I am…. It has not always been easy for them I know, it has not always been a smooth trip and the one person I thought would have the most trouble with my sexuality, my father, (who is a pretty hard core military officer), is the one who now supports and respects me the most…

For your dad I like to leave a little something my dad sent me once when we were have some problems…

It’s the lyrics to the Judds song “Love Can Build a Bridge” and it says it all about the love between a father and a daughter.

I'd gladly walk across the desert
with no shoes upon my feet
To share with you the last bite
of bread I had to eat

I would swim out to save you
In your sea of broken dreams
When all your hopes are sinking
Let me show you what love means

Love can build a bridge
Between your heart and mine
Love can build a bridge
Don't you think it's time

I would whisper love so loudly
Every heart would understand
That love and only love
Can join the tribes of man

I would give my heart's desires
So that you might see
The first step is to realize
That it all begins with you and me

When we stand together
It's our finest hour
We can do anything, anything
If we keep believing in the power

Love can build a bridge
Between your heart and mine
Love can build a bridge
Don't you think it's time
Don't you think it's time

It will get better Julie

~Julie Phineas~ said...

Thank You So Much for Your Kind Words Ladies!!!!!

Lesberita said...

I am also incredibly lucky to have two very supportive, accepting and loving parents. At first, my Dad, although very supportive of my being a lesbian, still didn't believe in gay marriage. Since then, him and I have had several long conversations about it, and he is starting to open his eyes and see that marriage isn't about a man and a woman, but rather two people who love each other and want to show their commitment in front of friends and family. I am getting him to see beyond the traditional definitions, and realize that gay people deserve the same marriage rights as anyone else. He is already very supportive of civil unions, which is a big step in the right direction.

If you keep talking to your family members openly and show them that being gay isn't a choice and ask them to accept and love you no matter what, time will heal their embarrassments, frustrations and hopefully open their eyes to the mean of true, unconditional love.

Acquafortis said...

I have the same problem with my parents but especially my mother. I had to actually flee from their house and my country.
They will never change.What can change is how you look at them. Not waiting anymore for their approval but giving yourself approval.
Not waiting for them to love you as you would like to but love them as persons who happen to be also your parents.
It is a life-time process.

Beebo Brinker said...

I feel you on this. its really hard when a parent or whole parts of your family don't accept and/or ignore the whole gay factor.

Its like they edit parts of my life to make themselves feel comfortable. It makes me wanna scream.

I chalk up their attitudes up to ignorance and pray to the universe that they see the light.

On the other hand, I have my dad and brothers and a whole slew of friends who think being gay is like having freckles. No Big Deal.

But it Is upsetting to know that people feel as though gay people don't deserve the same rights and respect as straight people.
And Its even more upsetting when its people that you love.

thewishfulwriter said...

I think the parent/child relationship is the hardest to manage when fear and uncertainty surrounding homosexuality is involved.

My folks struggled for a good bit before starting to fully accept me as a lesbian. I repeated, several times, "love me for WHO I am, not IN SPITE of who I am..." thankfully, they do.

Several members of my family kept saying: "We don't understand it, but really, we just don't want life to be hard for you..."

I told all of them that LIFE wasn't hard for me. Coming out to family WAS. That was the stressful part.I could give a shit what someone I don't know thinks of me and my partner. Having the support of my family is what mattered most.

One thing I did that really helped my parents early on was to get a book titled: Straight Parents, Gay Children. It's an older book, but one of the best I've read on the subject. It validates everything most parents feel when hearing their child is gay - but also explains what the child goes through. It was written by the father of a lesbian and includes several stories from other parents.

I read the book, took notes in the margin (because I knew my folks would read it if I personalized it) and sent it off. I think it really helped because they could see I was considering what they were going through and they had a better understanding of what it was like to be me.

Hang in there. I know it's hard.

Anonymous said...

i used to have a pretty good relationship with my dad, when he still thought i was straight. ever since i came out, almost a year, every conversation has been shallow and at times, one sided. talking about business and work. being asked basic, shallow questions about work and travels and friends from my youth, not current or new friendships. even though he and my step mother both know i am in a long time committed relationship for over 3 years, its never questioned or regarded and in fact brings a quick subject change if even remotely mentioned on the phone. its hurtful and ridiculous. there are times when i feel they would have been more accepting if i had come out as a crack addicted street whore, pregnant with a pimps child. i guess this is all to common in our community. but i guess thats why we all call each other 'family'.

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