Even though I can accept that for most people (?) there is no link between the two concepts, I belong to a segment of the population whose lives have been marked by this statement. And no, it doesn’t mean that I want to parade 24/7 in a rainbow jockstrap and have sex in your front yard, even though lots of people think that way.
By the moment I was aware I was gay, I had already been bombarded with negative information about it. Macho culture was the norm where and when I grew up. The most popular insults when I was a kid had to do with making fun of men who enjoyed an indiscriminate and never ending welcome to the most disparate elements in their butts. Religion was no help. The fact that being who you are is subject of discussion was never any good. Compromises were always dependent on me and at very fundamental levels.
A space where I wouldn’t have to weigh in my safety when trying to figure out life.
Now, even having written this and fully accepting it as a fact, I can’t say my conflicts were actually that intense. I know too many stories of too many people to dare feel sorry for myself. What I can say, though, is that I will never know what would have been of my life had I not been forced to deal with that question.
A parent came to me for advice a while ago, worried because there were some behaviour changes in one of the family’s children. While I appreciated the interest, I soon discovered that there was no real problem with the child, in the sense that there was no conflict with these changes in the child’s eyes. This parent was only imagining the child’s future according to culturally and/or self imposed prejudice. I pointed out that because of time and location there was very little to worry in regard to the safety of the child (no matter what all this could develop into).
Of course this parent worried out of love, and that’s the reason why we talked about it. Looking back to what I said, I think it applies to more than just sexual orientation worries.
What I wish to have had growing up ‘different’ was a space to decide freely who I wanted to be. A space where I wouldn’t have to weigh in my safety when trying to figure out life.
This text is not meant to blame anybody of anything, it’s just meant to acknowledge this reality, which is very foreign to some people. I did my best to keep this text as gender neutral as I could to preserve identities, but more importantly to improve the feeling that this text is meant to you, the reader, who may be a parent.
Big thank you to Maria Laura Gonzalez for helping make my English look as good as she does! (She looks very good, by the way!)