Monday, August 30, 2010

black girls don’t belong in closets: part 3. dad:


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via Freedom Fighter by aliciasanchezgill on 8/29/10

after i'd gotten over the immediate outrage, relief, shock and hurt of coming out to my mother, i decided to call my father. i wasn't sure what his response would be. but i knew i had survived the worst, and might as well get it over with. my dad, although we were not as close as we had been, was almost always a happy listener, a great advice giver, and generally loving and supportive. i told him about my history of child sexual abuse (incest) many years after it happened, and he believed me, and was loving and compassionate. plus, based on my sister's response to my coming out, i didn't think he'd be too surprised. but i was still a little nervous. and reeling from the 30 minutes of berating and two hours of crying that had come before.

me: daddy, do you know what today is?

dad: um…sunday?

me: yeah, its also national coming out day. so, i am going to do it. here i am. coming out to you.

dad: oh, well. can't say i'm surprised. but congratulations on coming out day! i'm glad you finally told me! will you call me more often now?

me: um, so that's it? and yes, i will call.

dad: yeah, what am i supposed to say? i mean, you know i love you. i'm proud of you. you're my daughter. my first daughter. i love you. period. what else needs to be said?

me: but i'm queer. don't you care?

dad: queer?

me: yeah, like i'm open to dating people of different genders. (blah, blah political rant).

dad: uh. *silence* …is it ok if I just call you regular gay? when I was growing up, queer was a bad word for gay people and meant odd. there's nothing odd about you as far as I'm concerned.

me: sure dad. you can call me a lesbian. but then what if bring home a boyfriend one day?

dad: *uproarous laughter* boyfriend? yeah right.

me: what??!?! i've dated men before.

dad: yeah, and they were gay too. *sorry, ex-boyfriends if you feel like your sexual identity has been compromised.

since coming out to my father, we've laughed more. been more honest. i tell him about my life. i let him in, we joke. i tell him about crushes. it's like high school. and i am so happy to still have one parent who loves me, accepts me, listens and supports me- unconditionally. (not to mention a sister, brother, fabulous step-mother, aunts and uncles, with whom i'm out, and completely honest, and completely loved, supported and held). my dad recently told me he got a mailing from p-flag. i teared up a little bit.

coming out was scary. period. but it was truth telling, and empowering. the loss was painful. from friends, my mother. and there are times, even though i am completely, unabashedly out now, that i wonder about safety of outing myself to strangers. one of the things that straight folks having the privilege of never worrying about. i came out because i couldn't live a life where i was not all of me. authentic. i know that, even though i lost my mom, (temporarily, i hope) i have a fabulous new family. community. i also recognize that some don't have the same privileges i do, with regards to a safe community in which to come out, work stability, being cis gender, living in a big city, or knowing thier rights around gender/sexual identity discrimination. since coming out, i have had many, many friends come out to me. it's so nice to be a safe space. the best thing i could have done, besides coming out to the world, is coming out to myself. i deserved it.

and as i continue to deal with the grief of loss, and rebuilding relationships, and creating new ones, i have learned when to fight, and when to let things and people go. especially toxic ones. because no matter how much i wished i had a mother at my hypothetical gay wedding (that we all know won't happen), ultimately, my most important relationship is the one i have with myself.


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