I was asked by a few people, after I wrote about my experience at Love In Action last week, to detail how my family has accepted my coming out as well as my marriage to my husband. In a nutshell, I am both pleased and disappointed in how my family has reacted to the reality of my sexual orientation and marriage. They have come a long way, yet still have a long way to go.
As most of you who read my story know, my family is very much against homosexuality for religious reasons; this was probably the driving factor for my being sent to Love In Action. Though this has not changed in any way, my family has changed tactics in how they deal with the issue. I think this change stemmed from the fact that we didn’t talk for about a year after I came out. I wouldn’t call them and they wouldn’t call me.
After this year or so, I think my parents realized that I was still their son, and that I myself didn’t change; that though they disagreed with my “lifestyle”, they still wanted me to be a part of their life. Thus, they started to reach out to me, and we had many awkward phone conversations – one of which I still have stuck in my memory. During that conversation, my mother expressed to me that I would one day come back to God, see the light, and meet a great girl. That I would longer struggle with homosexuality, and that I would be healed from my sin.
That conversation sums up what my parents feel about my sexuality, as well as my marriage. I think they are still “holding out” hope that my husband and I will get a divorce, and that I will turn straight. My father has stated on numerous occasions that he knows many “ex-gays” who are now married with children and that change is possible. When I tell him about the pain and depression that I experienced during my Love In Action days, he attributes it all to me “knowing that I am living in sin”. He stated to me that my depression was caused, not because of the message of Love In Action, but because when we engage willingly in sin, our lives and emotional state, will reflect that. Thus, my parents have never apologized for subjecting me to “reparative therapy”, for any of the negative consequences that I had because of it are because of my “homosexual lifestyle”.
Thankfully, many in my family have not been like this, and have accepted my sexuality and my marriage. Yes, I have had one particular group of Aunts and Uncles who, in essence, cut off all communication with me, but the outpouring of support that I have been given from the other side of my family has made up for it tenfold. My grandmother accepts me and husband as a married couple, and has welcomed both of us into her home. My Aunt Amy and cousin Abby were thrilled when I announced to them my engagement and subsequent marriage to my husband, and have also been very supportive.
Overall, I can say that though my family is not where I would want them to be, they have at least grudgingly accepted the fact that I am gay and that I am happily married. They may not like it, but they realize that if they want me to be in their life, they will have to accept it. Though they may think that I will one day become “straight”, I know that this is not possible, and I am one day holding out hope that they will realize that there is there is nothing wrong with being gay and that LGBT people can live a happy and productive life before the world and their God.