“Didn’t the one gay guy get kicked out because his roommate felt that he would assault him?” Auntie says in the middle of one of the awkward silences.
“Auntie! That is not o..,” I start to say but my daughter puts her hand up.
“I have this, mom,” my daughter says. “Yes, that is what was reported, but I am sad to say Auntie, that is a wrong assumption that a lot of people make. Assault and rape are about control. Who someone chooses to be with in a relationship should be about love.”
My mouth falls open, when did my daughter get so grownup? Just a year ago she was so emotional and moody trying to adjust to civilian life and figuring out her life.
I see her squeeze her girlfriend’s hand and my heart overflows that she is so happy.
When she first told us I was confused, sad, and deep down hoping that this was just another phase. I see how she has changed and understand now, that it is not a phase, this is her, and this is why she is so happy.
Parents, family members, friends and acquaintances will go through different emotions and reactions when someone comes out. These emotions are often a time a reflection of their own inner dialogue about that person or personal insecurities. When someone you know comes out, despite your own personal beliefs, this is their choice to make who they are known and it should be respected. Your choice is the same as every other day before this and it is if you want to remain in their life.
When someone decides to let you know their sexual orientation or gender preference, this will be because they either trust you or they think you need to know. Read this article from belongto.org for additional ways to provide support and show respect, click here.
Learn how to have a constructive conversation and really understand their journey by watching the video below from Celeste Headlee.
Being authentic is important to build or maintain strong relationships, be aware that supporting your LGBTQ family or friend may mean the loss of some people in your life that do not understand what this means, click here to read an article from Strong Family Alliance of one mother’s experience. There will be bumps in the road and new things to learn about, click here to learn how to support LGBTQ Friends and Family.
If the person that is coming out to you is a veteran, they will have additional emotional baggage from being in the service. Likewise, if you or other family members are veterans, keep in mind that the environment from the military has more than likely influenced your perspective on this subject. This may be the time to have a session or two with a professional who specializes in LGBTQ family counseling so they can help facilitate conversations and questions, click here to visit the VA’s LGBTQ Resources.
You should also contact your local Veterans Service Office to be connected to resources for LGBTQ Community.
Watch for future articles on family dynamics during the holidays.