I should start this post by saying I am a happily married straight woman. I have lots of friends many of whom are gay of both sexes, some are couples. I have two children…a boy and a girl who are living out of home and loving it…as am I. Both my children are straight though my daughter has had one same-sex encounter and yes, she told me about it. My children whether I like it or not tell me everything…..my son called when he lost his virginity and other stuff we will not discuss here. They tell me anything because they were raised that no matter what it was they could talk to me.
We have recently been debating on whether the Marriage Act should be changed here in Australia to allow gay couples to marry….my answer to this by the way is a resounding “Hell Yeah” but let’s take a step back for a moment because there is another issue we need to deal with which I believe will actually make it easier to achieve the above results.
Recently, I was on Twitter and watching TV as I do and I tweet about how a man in a particular TV show was quite a dish…A friend…let’s call him “Roger”….mentioned I was getting all hot and bothered….me knowing he was gay told him to admit he was getting hot and bothered too…and then he said something that amazed me…..
Basically, he said he had to look away from the TV because his parents where there and they were very homophobic. This amazed me because on Twitter he is quite open about his sexuality so I guess I am blessed by knowing the real Roger but what about his parents? He can’t “come out” to them even in this day and age when we think we are ready to take the step forward and make marriage legal.
Recently, Australian celebrity, Magda Szubanski “came out” on National TV. Her expression was she was gay, gay, gay, gay, a little bit not gay, gay, gay gay gay. However the difference between Magda and Roger is that whilst the public was not aware of her sexual orientation, all her close friends, family and even the industry of which she is part….knew. Don’t get me wrong this was a HUGE step for Magda and I congratulate her but did it make Roger’s parents change their mind…..unfortunately no..because they didn’t want to listen.
So, until WE, as a society, allow our children to decide for themselves what their sexual orientation is and we, as parents, love them regardless things will not change. If we can’t accept them just as “Roger my son’ not “Roger, my straight son” then we are not ready for marriage equality. The sad truth is to many teens have committed suicide rather than tell their parents of their sexual persuasion. This is what needs to be worked on first so that as we move forward if your child comes to you as says “Mum, Dad…I think I’m gay” your answer is “Great…have you found someone and do they make you happy?” Because as parents that should be the ONLY thing that matters to us when our children are in a relationship.
So it’s not just about acceptance, it’s about education. You can’t “catch” gay. It is not something someone MAKES you be, it’s not a disease or something to be scared of. Yes, people like my daughter may experiment with it and decide it’s not for them though if she had decided it was she would still be my daughter and I would still love her. That’s the absolute best thing I can do for her as her mother. Until the day we can see signs like the one shown below…are we really ready for marriage equality? Will we one day hold the sign below?
Finally, Roger (you know who you are) this is to you…I wish you the strength and courage to be able to talk to your parents and help them understand that no matter what, you are and always will be their son. That they know you are happy and healthy and achieving wonderful things in your life and as parents that’s all that should matter to them.