This past Father's Day our 6 yr old daughter asked my wife if our family was "Normal" because she didn't have a dad, and her friends in first grade were asking her why--even though we taught her from a very young age that there were many different types of families and they were ALL NORMAL. So my wife wanted to make her feel more comfortable by telling her that her best friend's mother was also gay--which was true. OOPS! I know my daughter's friend's mother very well and she confessed to ME that she was still in the closet --but her parents and children still do not know. Even though she was OK with my wife knowing--I neglected to tell my wife that this woman's sexuality was a secret, which proved to be a very bad oversight on my part!
This woman is now divorced, and was raised by a strict, conservative Latin family and was afraid of their reaction if she came out to them. I understood her choice--and respected her privacy, but I did suggest she consider coming out for her OWN happiness--as well as for her family. So, my wife had innocently blurted out to our daughter that her friend's mom is "JUST LIKE YOUR MOMS." Oh boy, so now my wife and I are in a hot, pickled mess! I NOW have to somehow UNDO that fact--without my daughter wondering WHY it was such a big deal--or perhaps a BAD thing. Oh, how LGBT shame has an insidious way of slipping through the cracks.
So, I had to make up something quick to say to my daughter so she didn't run and tell her friend what "Secret" she now knew about her mom. I, unfortunately, had to lie to her, which I hated to do. I just said, "Honey, we aren't really sure who your friend's mom loves--so please don't mention anything to her-- OK? And I just KNEW what my daughter was thinking--WHAT'S THE BIG DEAL? She just gave me those eyes of knowing but she didn't say anything--so I quickly brushed it off.
It was one of the hardest things I ever did, since my wife and I have always been honest with our children--because we NEVER, EVER wanted them to feel ashamed of their mothers, their beautiful family--and especially THEMSELVES. And thus, my children have always been honest with all their friends and classmates. I truly believe BECAUSE of my children's comfort with the subject--and especially having PRIDE and NOT SHAME for both their family AND THEMSELVES--their friends grew to feel the same, and they now know my wife and I very well-- and EFFORTLESSLY grew to love and accept us ALL as NORMAL.
I truly feel bad for my daughter's friend's mother indeed but--I also feel bad for me and my wife for having to lie to our daughter and constantly "cover up" for this closeted gay women and send mixed messages to our children--which is going against everything we believe. Living lies not only hurts the closeted person but also hurts all those around them. It especially hurts our LGBT community by perpetuating shame, secrecy and insecurity that gets so easily imparted onto our very impressionable children--a generation that we are trying so desperately to influence in a more positive way.
I certainly understand the LGBT community still has many concerns about coming out--especially to conservative family members, friends, at work or in their community. Basically, because they fear the ramifications-- that they will be judged, lose their jobs or they and their children will be bullied or even harmed. Unfortunately, this can sometimes be true--especially in harsh, anti-gay states or countries. I, however WILL NOT live in fear--but I am also fortunate enough to live in such a progressive country as America. I've always been careful of my surroundings just by being a women, never mind being gay--and I also teach my children just to be safe in general.
I also refuse to live a lie because I truly believe 'THAT' will actually do my family and the LGBT community MORE harm than anything--or anyone else. (NOTE: we are NOT speaking of countries like Russia and Africa who have VERY Harsh anti-gay laws where they NEED to be extra careful of disclosing their sexuality for their own safety--see INERNATIONAL HELP LINES listed below for finding Outreach help in those areas.)
When LGBT members live a lie and give in to intimidation, shame, guilt or fear THEY THEMSELVES are indeed perpetuating the problem, and fortifying the seeds of discrimination and hatred to grow even stronger. This also hurts our Global efforts for equality and fighting hate crimes as well. But when we stand up for who we are--TOGETHER--we stop oppression in its tracks. Even though we risk losing our jobs or even our closest relationships with friends and family--we will STILL WIN in the end! Because we'll gain people's RESPECT (as well as our own.) Then--and ONLY then-- will we finally GET ALL the RIGHTS we truly deserve!
How can we EVER hope to achieve ANYTHING when our own LGBT community is working against THEMSELVES by being shackled by shame and guilt? The LGBT community MUST FIX THEMSELVES FIRST and break free of their own oppressive chains that bind them before they can ever hope for big changes in our society and for our equal rights around the world.
Coming out of the closet not only frees up the individual, but their entire family, friends, the LGBT community and our Future Generations. So if you live in a progressive country that respects YOUR GAY RIGHTS--UTILIZE IT! After all, we EARNED IT THE HARD WAY and truly DESERVE to have the SAME rights as EVERYONE ELSE! So COME OUT and BE PROUD! There is nothing, or no one to fear-- but YOURSELF!
*Here's some helpful "Coming Out" resources- AND a List of International Help Lines for Anti-LGBT Countries :