I did an intake recently on some one who told me their parents are very homophobic. I laughed, and said, “Well, we will work on that,” and then they noticed all the super gay pictures of my wife and kids and I all over my office. They started laughing hysterically. They thought it was freaking awesome that their homophobic parent made an appointment with the most Queer provider in the area. Divine intervention no?
That happens more than you would think.
I’m used to it now. I charm the parent over about six months and they have NO clue that I’m married to a woman. Then at some point when our relationship is solidified I drop it in that I have a wife or they can’t ignore the pictures any longer, and we talk about their pre-conceived notions of Queer individuals. I’ve only had one person drop out of treatment after this confrontation. Out of many. Many stay.
Many have their mind blown and re-evaluate their beliefs. Often because in the course of this conversation they realize their kid is some sort of Queer also.
I am a Queer magnet. It happens. I’m cool with it.
As an aside I have to point out, because my wife totally got me, we were talking about Mickey Mantle…weird because we both dislike baseball…and I said “Of course I know who he is, he’s a cis white dude,” and she said, “Well so is Santa.” Touche. Sometimes my wife gets me.
Anyway, I see both ends of the spectrum personally and professionally. I see kids just coming out to their parents, young adults who have come out, and parents who are struggling with their children’s sexuality or sexual orientation.
My absolute favorite phone call is a distraught parent who wants to come in to learn how to best support their child who just came out to them. That amazes me. I’m like, kudos and thank-you. You acknowledged that your kid is going through a lot, and you reached out to a professional who you probably heard is Queer who can help. Strong work.
My least favorite are sessions leading up to the holidays. The pain and the struggle is so real.
It’s hard for my wife and I too. Do we send a Christmas card to her parents or not? We didn’t this year. She chose not to. Do we expect a card from them? Sometimes we get one, and it’s usually religiously based with a zinger in there that just twists the knife.
My wife’s struggle is unfortunately common in the Queer community. So many of my clients struggle leading up to the holidays. Do they reach out? Do they not? They find solace in friends, as we do. They find solace in significant other’s families who are supportive, as we do. They sit with the pain. As we do.
Queer Christmas’ are like Queer birthdays and every other holiday where we have to face the fact that we are alienated from our families due to our sexual orientation or gender identity.
But ever the optimist, I cite Belle’s Enchanted Christmas and point out the best gift any one can receive at the holidays is hope. Hope that one day families will heal the bonds caused by discrimination. Hope that even if we don’t heal the wounds between family members we can heal our community. The Queer community needs to focus on saving lives of all our individuals who feel isolated and alone. Our suicide rate climbs. And I hope that one day it will be zero.
I’m doing my part. One homophobic parent at a time. I’m not under any illusions though, it’s totally the pictures of my boys that win them. Who doesn’t like a woman who has the cutest twin boys in the world? Even if she’s lesbian?
To my Queer community: You are NOT alone. You are beautiful. You are loved. You will find your family.
To the Hetero’s: Make sure your Queer neighbors and friends are not alone this holiday season. Walk the walk.
To my Wife: You have found your family. We love you. And yes Santa is cis-white-hetero. Touche.