Things gay people want to be told
Try it for a change. Speak with kindness and acceptance, or at least with an open mind. Say, “you're amazing,” or “awesome,” “fabulous,” or some other equally pleasing adjective of your choice. Do not qualify your compliment with a but or an even if, and mean it.
I love you son, you are as perfect as you were when you were born. There's nothing wrong with you, but a lot wrong with the world for not loving you the way I do. You're just like me, son, strong and brave. You're just like your mother, kind and beautiful. But I'd rather be like you in the way you’ve faced everyone, even me, when I’ve tried to sway you into becoming what you're not.
Apologies and fears
Say sorry. Because there's always something to be sorry for, even if it's an unspoken word or an acknowledged sentiment. Sorry I didn't want to listen to you before and sorry if I didn't know what to say. Sorry for my silence, for hoping "it" would pass or wouldn't affect me if I ignored it. Sorry for wanting to preserve my peace at the expense of your happiness. Sorry for never telling you that it's okay if you're gay.
Gay, gay, gay. Say it and stop being scared of it because it is not a germ that infects or a tar that dirties, but a gift. Without it you wouldn't have seen that there are other ways to live and be and dress and act and love, other than what is readily prescribed to us at birth upon the first sight of our genitals. Be grateful for limitless possibilities and wide open paths. Love the word gay, the word lesbian, transgender, bisexual and queer. Use them properly, and attach them to kind sentences. Otherwise, people who are less kind will hurl them as insults at those you love.
Ignorant is worse than gay
Say hello, like you would to any other person. Refer to our partners by their names instead of friend, roommate, or you-know. Stop giggling about our lives. Stop whispering about our relationships. Discuss with us our homes and our families, our children or our pets. Ask us about our plans for the weekend. Talk to us like we're normal, then maybe you'll realize we actually are. Allow us to bore you!
Stop obsessing about our sex lives, unless you're ready to answer the same exact questions about your husband, your wife, and your orifices. When in doubt, pretend you're being told what you're about to say. If it sounds stupid, or offensive, or illogical, it probably is. Care if your questions reflect you in an ignorant light. Realize that in this age, ignorant is a worse accusation than gay. Fortunately, ignorance may be changed.
Instead of dark alleys
Imagine what the world would be like if you said the word lesbian lovingly, if you told your son that he's the smartest and cutest boy that everyone is going to love. Imagine if you told your lesbian daughter that the way her girlfriend should treat her is the way you, as her father (or mother) does.
Imagine if your child could run to you when he is heartbroken, because you didn't call him broken when he told you he was gay. Imagine if you had your son's boyfriend over for dinner instead of having him lie to you and then meet men in sketchy motels and dark alleys instead. How much would it cost you and how much would it mean to him if you said you were happy he found love?
Imagine if we didn't threaten our gay children with a life of loneliness and difficulty, and instead promised them stability and happiness? Maybe they would seek love in the open instead of paying for affection or accepting abuse. Maybe they wouldn't jump from one bad lover to the next because they'd want better for themselves, because they know that nothing could ever top the love they have from you. Maybe if they valued themselves more, they'd take care of themselves. They would minimize their risks. The world changes for anyone who is certain his or her absence would break another person's heart.
If we had a pattern to follow for kindness and love, if we weren't raised in disappointment simply for being who we are, maybe we'd hold our lovers and friends to a higher standard. Maybe we would love better, and also be easier to love.
The same world
Imagine if the world accorded to your straight children — the love, acceptance, the dating lessons, the anticipation of a spouse and family — was freely given to your gay children? Imagine if you told your gay son the same things you've said to the straight one: “I'm so proud of you, I want you to find someone who will take care of you, you are a wonderful man.” Imagine if you taught all children that same-sex love is the same love between their mom and dad?
You can take part in creating people who treat everyone equally. How different would our lives be if no one questioned the universality of love? – Rappler.com
Shakira Andrea Sison currently works in the financial industry while dabbling in several unrelated projects and interests. She is a veterinarian by education and was managing a retail corporation in Manila before relocating to New York in 2002. Follow her on Twitter: @shakirasison.
All illustrations by Robx Bautista.