When my sister left for her sophomore year of college, I didn’t see her for three months. This was strange because she only went to school 40 minutes away and she used to come home every once and a while in previous semesters. She also wasn’t answering her phone messages and I couldn’t drive yet. I later found out why she hadn’t been home for so long when my mom sat me and my other two sisters down and said to us, “Please promise me when you go to college you won’t come back gay.”
Yikes. My parents were never too outwardly homophobic while I was growing up, just occasionally. There was one time towards the beginning of my high school experience that I was watching a TV show called The Fosters. The main focus of this show is about a house of fostered children by two openly gay, married women. I remember my dad coming home from work and seeing me watch an episode with the moms kissing and he said with an aggressive tone, “Turn this crap off.” This was also around the time I was told I was not allowed to watch Glee anymore because some of the characters were gay and my mom “didn’t like that”. This reminds me of Martin and Kazyak’s Hetero-Romantic Love and Heterosexiness in Children’s G-Rated Films. It wasn’t often because there was little representation of any lgbtq+, but whenever I watched something on TV with gay characters I was told to turn it off. I grew up loving these same hetero-romantic Disney movies only to find out it was approved by my parents to enforce myself and my siblings to be straight because that’s what my parents wanted. Guess what though guys, it didn’t work!!! Four out of five of your kids are #gay!!!
Bringing it back to why my sister hadn’t come home in so long, the reason was because she came out to my parents. A few years earlier, my brother had come out and after my parent’s initial anger and tears, it became like his queerness wasn’t a part of his life. We never talked about it, he’d never bring a boy home and the rest of the family didn’t know. My sister didn’t want that for herself so she sent a letter home saying she was gay, she was proud, and she didn’t want this to be this big secret in her life.
Currently, she lives with her fiancée in an apartment 30 minutes from home and after a few years of getting used to it my mom is very supportive and has grown in a lot of ways. My dad, on the other hand, continues to this day to not even look at my sister’s fiancée in the eyes after they’ve been together for two years. It’s wild to me that someone can be so obtuse and demeaning when he goes to church each week and pretends to be a loving individual.