I’ve really struggled with this post. It’s been two weeks since I came out to my parents, and in all honesty I’m not sure how I feel about it. Whereas my bishop was very understanding and compassionate, my parents were much more…orthodox.
Two days before “the talk” I sent both my parents a link to this blog post and this blog post and said “please read these articles; I’d like to discuss them on Sunday when I come over.” I figured it would be better to give them a heads up about what was going on, partly because I didn’t want to deal with their knee-jerk reaction and partly because there was a good chance I’d chicken out if I didn’t.
I had a minor panic attack when I hit “send,” and a major panic attack when my mom texted me Sunday morning. She said that dad had wondered, she hadn’t, that they loved me no matter what, and that they would do their best to be understanding.
During our four-hour conversation they did make sure that I knew they still love me. As for being understanding…well, they tried, sort of.
A lot of the things they said were pretty hurtful and offensive. I know they didn’t intend to be hurtful and offensive, so I’m trying not to resent them for it, but my stomach twists every time I think about it.
As far as my mom is concerned the Church is the final authority on the subject, and it was very painful for her to see that I disagree with most of their official statements about homosexuality, especially the interview with Elder Oaks and Elder Wickman.
It was much more difficult with my dad. His general attitude is that since he doesn’t understand the issue it can’t be understood, and therefore isn’t a real issue. It took me at least half an hour of explaining before he finally got the picture that I’m not attracted to women that way. Even then, he offhandedly dismissed my spiritual confirmation that a mixed-orientation marriage is not for me, and told me I should still keep an open mind about that possibility. Then he told me to find a lesbian and marry her. Just thinking about it makes me want to tear my hair out and scream.
Even though I’m not angry with my parents (out of sheer force of will) I’m frustrated as hell about the whole experience. Coming to terms with myself as a gay Mormon was a harrowing experience, and although my perspective is very unorthodox I feel it is based on personal revelation. As far as they are concerned, however, at best I’m misinterpreting things, and at worst I’ve been deceived. In a church based on developing personal relationships with God, why is it so easy to disregard spiritual experiences that don’t fit the mold?
I decided not to share everything with them. They think I’m sticking with celibacy, although I made it clear that I am repulsed by the very idea. They made it clear that they wouldn’t approve of me pursuing a same-sex relationship. I sure as hell didn’t mention that I date guys now.
In the end I’m not sure what to think about the whole experience. I glad to have it out of the way, I guess. My mom texts me every couple days to show that I’m not cut off or anything like that, but the banality of the conversation is irritating. We both see the elephant in the room, and ignoring it like this shows that she thinks it’s something shameful to be avoided. I haven’t heard anything from my dad yet, but chances were I wouldn’t have heard anything from him anyway.
It will be interesting to see how things work out. Maybe their thoughts on the whole issue will evolve over time, maybe not. For now I’m content that they still love me and accept me as their son.