A few days ago, I did something I never thought I would do. I attended my first PFLAG meeting with my girlfriend. I’ll be the first to admit that my only real context regarding PFLAG was through watching Queer As Folk; in particular, Debbie, the over enthusiastic PFLAG mom of Michael. I remember thinking ‘How cool is she to accept her son and further be a champion of gay rights?’ The reality is that it takes most parents time and lots of it to accept their child as gay.
I never gave much thought about the struggle a parent faces when their child comes out as gay. My parents have been gone for years, and while I’m sure they knew I was gay; we never had the time before their passing to have ‘that conversation’. Prior to my aunt passing away in 2006 and after I had came out to her, she said, “Your mother and I talked of many things and I will tell you she accepted and loved you for just who you were.” I know my parents accepted my girlfriend at the time as one of their own. She was always welcomed into their home when I would go and visit. For eight and a half years, she was in my life and in my parent’s lives. And even though it’s a conversation we never had, they loved her as much as they loved me.
I had no real need to attend a PFLAG meeting until recently. You see, I’ve been dealing with my girlfriend’s coming out to her family and the backlash. There have been many things said about me in the last few months that have been downright hurtful. Not directly to my face, but behind closed doors. As a result, I’ve been wrestling with a lot of anger. I’ve wanted to fight hate with hate and that’s thrown my walk with God into a spiral. I’ve been trying to understand how God’s greatest commandment (Matthew 26:36-40) became so hard for so many Christians to follow. Instead of loving, it’s been turned into hate and judging. I understand that is a by-product of ignorance and fear, but it still hurts.
PFLAG gave me perspective; perspective enough to say “I forgive you.”
I was angry because you don’t know me and yet you judge. You’ve never given me a chance and yet you think you know everything about me. My only crime is that I love her with all my heart and soul. Her only crime is she could not live a life of lies anymore and had to come out. We both walk in truth now. We both stand shoulder to shoulder as we navigate through this process. Thus, we attended our first PFLAG meeting. The parents there were no different than you. As a matter of fact, they echoed the same initial thoughts that you have had. They discussed how they went through a grieving process at first. They discussed how initially they tried to make it about them, i.e. ‘what will my friends think if they find out?’ They discussed how they had to come to terms with the fact that it wasn’t about them. It was about their child. They all assured me that with time, you too will reconcile your feelings. I hope and pray they are right.
It was in that meeting that I learned if we are ever to bridge the gap between us, I had to first forgive you and I do. I’ll be attending more PFLAG meetings. I also hope and pray one day we will attend one together, because at the end of the day, we both love her and only want her to be happy.