Look, we get it. When we told you that we are gay, you weren’t really expecting it. All sort of emotions rushed into your head. You may have been upset that something like this could happen. You may have been confused about what this means in context of God and faith. You may have even been wondering if we were really sure we are gay. You made sure to tell us, however, that you love us. This made us cry.
But you’re still not sure about this “whole thing”.
And that’s okay; it really is. By the time we told you, we had years of coming to terms with it ourselves. All of the questions you asked yourself about us, we asked about ourselves and we came to the realization that, yes, we are gay and pursuing a relationship with someone of the same sex is a part of the path that will bring us the most peace and happiness. Deep down, you think we are making a mistake.
You always pictured us married to someone of the opposite sex, buying a house, having kids, probably like you did. That’s not going to happen, now. Actually, it never was going to happen; you just know it, now. We’re completely willing to give you some time with this, but while you’re adjusting, life is moving on for us.
With all of the socially acceptability out there, life still isn’t always that easy for gays. Many families reject their gay members completely. We know you’re not like that, but we’re also perceptive. We can tell that your uncomfortable with things. When we talk about “gay stuff” (which apparently means anything that reminds you that we are gay), we can hear the clamminess in your voice. We can tell that you’d rather not talk about it. In these situations, it’s as awkward for us as it is for you. We continue to call you on the phone, to drop by because we believe family is important, like you do. We are also, however, meeting new people, people who don’t get all awkward when we talk about “gay stuff”. They are excited for us when we tell them that we’ve met someone new. They want to see pictures and when we pull up the Facebook profile of that special someone, they say “cute!” (and we agree). It’s nice to talk to these people; it’s easy. They don’t just tolerate our presence, they seek it out. They don’t get quiet when we tell them about the great date we had last night. In fact, they are excited for us.
You probably get to the point where you tell us that you’re “okay with everything”, but you’d prefer if we’d not bring anyone home, especially not around your kids. They’re young and you just don’t want to have That Conversation with them yet. We know what you are talking about, but it sounds a little hollow. (Do you explain the relationship dynamics of every couple that your kids encounter? When they are around their friend’s straight parents, do you dread that this might bring up questions about sex?) We understand, but we’re disappointed. We thought you were farther along than that.
Just like your kids are important to you, they are important to us, too. It hurts that you’d think our presence would be detrimental or problematic. So, it’s easier if we don’t come around as much. We realize that you’ve stopped “adjusting” and we aren’t completely happy with the place you’ve settled into. It’s a place that seems to allow you to exclude us, but think that you’re acting towards us with love. But we can still hear the ring of discomfort in your voice. We’ve never heard love produce that particular frequency, but we have heard it produced by fear.
Things are going well with Cute and it would be the point where you’d bring them home to meet the family, but now we’re uncomfortable. You see, Cute is very important to us. We love Cute. Cute’s probably the most important person in our lives because that’s what happens when you fall in love and start to share your life with someone. But we remember how you asked us not to bring someone home. We remember how you didn’t want to have to “explain” us to your kids. We don’t really trust you to meet Cute, honestly. We can handle you being awkward around us-we’re used to it-but we’d be rather pained if your discomfort showed around Cute or if you said one of those really hurtful things you say (the ones you say without knowing). We’re just not sure if we want to risk it. We recognize that we are ringing with that tone of fear, but we still don’t introduce you. It’s easier that way.
Cute proposes and we enthusiastically accept. We don’t invite you to the wedding. We know that you’ll have an internal moral dilemma upon seeing our wedding invitation and you try to decide if attending a gay wedding would be showing that you support something that you don’t believe in. We figure that you won’t come and even if you did, you’d be mired in that moral debate the whole time and definitely wouldn’t bring the kids. We’d rather our wedding be shared with people that we can create an atmosphere of unreserved joy and love. So we don’t invite you, because its easier that way. Our friends are there. They’re the ones who thinks we are both “cute!” in our wedding pictures (and we agree).
We adopt kids, sign up for the PTA, go on vacations, celebrate birthdays, go Trick-or-Treating, complain about the cost of class pictures, and wonder if the the little ones are eating enough fruit. We send out Christmas cards, birth announcements, upload vacation photos to the Internet, but we don’t send them your way. Besides, we know that you’d have that internal moral debate about wether or not to put the pictures up on the fridge (you probably won’t), so we just save you the trouble.
Your kids are grown (biological reproduction gives you a head-start) and with your kids out of the house, you start to think of us more. You think about family a lot these days. Times are different now, and you don’t think “stuff like that” is that big a deal anymore. You decide to call, but we don’t answer. We’re on the phone to with one of the other parents from the play group – the one who thinks our kids are “cute!” (and we agree). We see your number pop up on the phone, but we don’t want to have yet another superficial conversation right now where we completely avoid talking about “gay stuff” (which, being married and having adopted kids, would leave a fifteen minute conversation about the weather) and besides, we have dinner to make. Later that night, we think about your call. We think about all of the times we tried to engage with you about our lives, but you wouldn’t. A memory of you saying how you think marriage is sacred and should only be between man and woman flickers into our mind and a familiar old resentment bubbles up. We push it back down. Family is important. We tell ourselves we should give you a call tomorrow. We make a mental note and stick it somewhere between the reminder about ballet lessons and the one that says it’s our turn to bring snacks to soccer practice.