There's been something that's been weighing on my mind most of this year to be quite honest. Mike and I both have had the joys of telling our parents that we were getting married. But not all of our parents were as excited as we were. Being gay men has proved to have it's challenges for the both of us and some of the issues were brought up in the past, and buried as soon as they were shown.
I've never had 100% support from both of my parents on many things in my life. In fact when I decided to make the move from Moorhead, Minnesota, to Boston, Massachusetts, my father told me that he didn't think I'd make it and that I should move back to Montana. I used that doubt as fuel for motivation and made my move and my life in Boston. Boston is also where I decided to come out. It was a big and important time in my life and I had the full support of my mother, and I honestly couldn't have asked for more. I felt very fortunate because there are a lot of gays who don't have the support of anyone in their family.
My relationship with my father after my coming out turned into a military-like "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." And it came to a point where I realized that I was so bothered by this that it was eating me up. I finally came to the realization that I wasn't missing out on anything, he was the one who was missing out on my life. I have plenty of amazing people in my life who love me for who I am and accept me no matter what. When that clicked in my head the road became a bit easier and things didn't hurt quite as much. Of course every child wants nothing more than love and respect from both their parents, and when they feel it's been lost or they are now having to fight for it, it's almost heart breaking and painful.
Over the years I've learned that people can say some hateful and awful things about people that they don't even know. We are all guilty of being judgemental and catty, myself included. And even when we make general remarks that aren't about a specific person per se, they still hurt. Words can never be taken back, even if the feelings that brought those words to fruition change...the words never leave.
Michael and I have been married now for just over 6 months! And in that time our respective parents have come a long ways. I honestly couldn't ask for much more when it comes to how I am treated by his parents and how my parents treat him. But that being said, the words of my father still sit with me. The "it's a choice" speech still baffles me to this day, but I digress. And other things that have been said by others, even though long ago now, still remain inside me and I can't seem to let them go.
My plea today is to all the parents out there, current and even future one's, Love your children unconditionally. It's hard enough for a child to grow up in this world with all the bullying and hatred that is spewed at them in their day to day lives. They don't need to come home and feel the same things in a place that should be a refuge from the war zone that is their life. While as a parent you may never fully understand why your child is GLBT or anything else for that matter, your job is not only to love them but to provide them that safe place where they can go when they don't think there's anywhere else. When you say things to your kids that you may think might be in jest or come out in the heat of the moment...remember that those words could very well be stuck deep inside the child like a knife. I'm 31 years old and will never forget some of the things that were said to me. Love your children, accept your children, and do it unconditionally.