Friday, December 2, 2011

Home For The Holidays Or “Are You Dating Anyone Yet?” (12/02/2011)

The holiday season is upon us and for the LGBT community, it can be filled with more angst, emotional, and psychological pitfalls than for the average person.
Even if our nuclear family members accept that we are gay, extended family members may not be so welcoming.  Because of the lack of acceptance of who we are, I think LGBT individuals become extraordinarily good at choosing and building our own families, made up of friends who become much closer to us than our blood relations.
That is because our friends accept us for who we are, warts and all, and we can live our truth around them, without fear.
Most of us would not be here today without our friends, our real family that we build bit by bit, stone by stone, when we begin the coming out process and lay the foundation for our new life.
I may be an outlier, but very few of my friends had an easy time of it with their families when they came out.  Some of them, years later, are still not allowed to bring their partners to their parents’ home.  Others are asked to please not mention their boyfriend or girlfriend around extended family members.
Now granted, there are many heterosexual individuals whose parents may not like who they are dating or who they married, but for the LGBT individual who is banned from bringing their partner home for the holidays it is not about the person they are dating and everything about who he or she is.  That is the difference that some do not understand.
When you are asking the LGBT person to deny who he or she is, when you are asking the LGBT individual to lie about who he or she is, when you are asking the LGBT individual to bite his or her tongue when Aunt Millie asks if he or she has met the right man or woman yet, you are asking him or her to commit a crime against his or her soul.  And that crime will not go unpunished because it is a crime against one’s self.
At a certain point, all of us will look at ourselves in the mirror and decide that the lies must end, a moment when we realize that when family members are asking us to pretend to avoid family conflict what they are really asking us to do is slowly kill ourselves with self-hatred.
For that is really the choice, giving in to the fear of hate or loving ourselves enough to embrace who we are, all of who we are, and live our truth.

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