Saturday, September 13, 2014

I Hope My Daughters Never "Come Out"

It’s time for me to add my two cents.

Many celebrities have been somewhat forced by the general public to “come out of the closet” and tell us their sexual orientation. Society has decided that this is necessary. I don’t know why. We seem to think we own them in some way and that they ‘owe’ us that. I don’t get it. Does it really matter? Will they sing better, act better, or be funnier if we know?

Anyway, some people have recorded their own ‘coming out’ to their families. I watched two of these videos. They were young kids, maybe between the ages of 17 and 22, telling their parents they were gay. In one video, the parents were very supportive; in the other…

I can’t even begin to describe (or understand) the angry, hateful and hurtful response of the parents in that second video. It is never easy to witness hate on any level, but to see a parent direct that emotion (any degree of it) to their own child is… vile. I cried when I saw that. And to them I say,

Shame on you.

I can’t say that enough. Shame on you.

To judge your child because you believe that they are going against God? To anyone who makes that judgment in any way (for any reason) against another person I have to say: Who are you? Who are you to put yourself in the position of God? First of all, if God is the be-all and end-all, let Him be the one to judge them. Secondly, you preach that God is the ‘Creator of Everything’ and you seem to forget that that includes even your own children. You are not the Creator of them, you are merely the vessels in which they were brought forth. You were allowed the special privilege of bringing them into the world. There are so many people that wish they had that privilege. You were entrusted with their care.

And you broke that trust.
You judge your child (or anyone) on how they love or who they love? Shouldn’t you be grateful that they have the capacity to love? At all?

(Which is, in some cases apparently, no small accomplishment.)

Shouldn’t you be grateful that they are alive to experience love of a romantic kind? And to be able to share it with you? I would bet my life that the parents who’ve lost young children and babies would kill—literally kill—to be able to be in that position, to have their child alive and present to be able to share with them anything. Anything at all. If your child is alive and healthy, you should be eternally aware of that blessing. Blessing.

Shame on you.

I will include myself in that. Shame on me. And I will include every other parent. Shame on all of us. Because we all played a role in this, collectively, to some degree, in the expectations we put on our children. Whether it be to fulfill our own dreams that we didn’t or weren’t able to for whatever reason (like forcing a specific career), or to simply conform. Be like me. Be like everyone else. Don’t make waves. Perpetuate the societal norm (even if we don’t like it). Don’t color your hair like that. Don’t dress like that. Don't feel that way. Don't say those things. Don’t be like that. Shame on any parent who judges their children, forgetting that they themselves were children, too.

In any case, we are denying them the opportunity to be who they really are. What we should be doing is to encourage them to be.

I remember when my older daughter was in preschool. There was a little boy in her class that came to school every single day wearing a Batman cape and hood. I was so happy to see that. To see that his parents were allowing him to be him. I also remember when my daughter was 11, she painted a streak of green color in her hair. She loved it. But she came home from school crying because other kids made fun of her for it. Now I know that children can be cruel, and it can’t always be helped, because they are learning. But it is our responsibility as parents to teach our children to be good people. I know that I struggle daily to let both of my girls know that they should never—NEVER—have to be afraid to be who they are. And I also let them know that they should never—NEVER—attempt in any way to take that same right away from someone else.

Parents do not own their children. As parents we are given the privilege of caring for and tending to another being that is going to contribute something to the world. Every person alive contributes something, in some way. As parents, our job is to guide them. To guide them to be the best person that they can be—in whatever capacity, and to be a person that cares for people. All people. Male or female, any color, any race, any ‘difference’. It is our job to show them love and to show them how to love—not how in the specifics of who and why (and there should never have to be a reason why or why not), but to be able to love and to show love.

We should NEVER be ashamed of our children for being who they are. You are not here to take credit or discredit for them. How arrogant is that? If our children can be true to themselves, we should be proud of them. Especially if they’ve had to stand against the tide to do it. And even that pat on the back goes to them, not you. Because they did it. Not you.

We are all part of the same Whole. Every single one of us. It is our small (and they are small) differences that play a role in the contributions we have for that Whole. If everyone were the same, no one would have anything to contribute, and the world wouldn’t evolve.

In a perfect world, no one would have to explain their differences. We could just be. Nobody would have to “come out”. What bearing does that have on anything? I hate that we constantly draw lines between “them” and “us” as if there’s a difference (in any capacity). We are all human beings. We are all connected.  We should just be able to be who we are and be accepted by those around us, as people. Parents would know of their child’s sexual orientation simply by seeing who they brought home for dinner, and there would be no reaction, whoever they brought home.

For you children who are forced to come out—and I’m including all of you, celebrities, sports figures, adults—because you are all someone’s child: I’m sorry that it has to be this way for you. I’m sorry that you have to suffer in any way for being who you are. I’m sorry that it seems necessary that you have to stand up and expose yourself like that, as if you are adversely different from the rest. And I’m sorry that part of your contribution to the world is something that has the potential to hurt you.

Know that you are the pioneers. You are affecting positive change. That ideal world that I mentioned earlier? You are contributing to that, and your actions now will make that happen later. You are Rosa Parks, you are the suffragettes, you are the whistleblowers. You are every person that takes a stand against injustice (I know that is small consolation right now).

And you are my hero.

As a parent, and one of your parents in this Collective, know this, too:

I love you and I am very proud of you.

When I hug my child in my small corner, I am hugging you, too.

That being said, I hope my daughters never “come out”.

Because they shouldn’t have to.