[Dash of SAS] Dear parent whose child has just come out
Deep in your heart, you knew this day would come but it was still a bit of a shock to you…and maybe a bit of a disappointment. You knew even before, way back when they were a kid. Maybe it was the way they acted or did not act, how they dressed or did not like to dress, how they walked or how they talked. A parent always knows.
In case, you are confused or thrown off by my choice of pronoun, I am deliberately using the pronoun “they” to mean both boys and girls and to include those who wish to be referred to using the pronoun “they” rather than “he” or “she."
You used to say, “It’s okay to be gay” when speaking or thinking about other people’s children but always secretly wondered if you would be able to say the same if it were your child.
And now that your child has come out, you don’t know what to do, you don’t know what to say.
You want to say, “It’s okay to be gay, just don’t get a boyfriend (or a girlfriend, as the case may be) – ever” but you know you would never say that to your child who is straight. You would even encourage that child to fall in love, get married and have children so you can have your much longed for grandchildren.
Are you disappointed about the prospect of not having them? On one hand, who says you can’t? There are so many ways to have kids nowadays – straight, gay or single. But that’s beside the point. For your children to have children is your dream, they may have a different dream for themselves now and that is something you will have to get over.
When your child was born, you were filled with hopes and dreams about what they would be someday and being gay or any other sexual permutation in between wasn’t exactly on that list.
But those were your dreams, your musings, your aspirations.
This is now the part of the parental cycle where your kid is growing up and you let them decide, even if it means growing up in a way that is different from your expectations.
Your child has come out and is settling into who they really are.
It’s not a phase. It’s not a whim. It’s not something that you did or did not do. There is no one to blame. There is nothing to change.
This is who your child really is. And they need to know that you will love them, respect them, and will not look or treat them any differently because they like boys or girls – or both – or have transitioned from being your baby boy into a woman. (Or the other way around.)
Whoever it is they are now, they are still the baby you once spent countless hours watching over as they slept, the child you raised and the adolescent whose belligerence made you grit your teeth while you prayed for patience. It’s still them, only now with a mind and will of their own.
Unsettling as it may be, it is no longer you who knows what is best for them. They know themselves well enough to know.
They need your love and acceptance, perhaps even more now. No if’s or but’s and what if’s. No “sana” or “pwede bang," no negotiation. Just acceptance and love.
At some point in their life, they will encounter people who will question them, ridicule them, and discriminate against them. They can expect the rest of the world not to understand but not you. With you they need to feel safe, they need to feel secure.
They can expect other people to turn their back on them, but not you. Please, not you, the father, the mother, whose child has just come out.
I’m writing this to you as much as I am to myself. Maybe I’ll need this reminder to myself someday. Maybe I won’t. Either way, this is my promise to love my child for whoever they choose to be. Yes, it’s scary. Yes, it’s filled with a lot of unknowns. And yes, you are terrified for them but don’t exactly know why.
It’s just as it was when they were first born, when you vowed to them and to yourself that you would love and protect them always – just as you should now. – Rappler.com