Coming out to the family members is frightening and can lead to many different situations. Part of LGBTIQ people get to experience love and support, part suffer fear and rejection. For us, it was both. I got rejected by my father at first and after seven years I have had the change to see my father getting better and learning to accept me as his homosexual child.
Somehow it’s little bit funny that my dad was the first one to see the attraction between me and Janina even before we had the courage to say it aloud to each others. He asked if we were having “some kind of love relationship”. I was shocked and I think I might have answered in freudian manner “not yet”.
Few weeks after that incident I had had my first kiss and we were ready to admit to our parents, that yes, we are now more than just good friends. For my father, speaking the truth has always been extremely important and I felt I should not keep this from him when he had asked about it. So I came out to him.
My dad was born during the 1950’s. His family was big, seven boys, two girls and parents with small three bedroom home in the countryside. He has always been living in the same village of 5000 people and he did not attend high school.
With that kind of history it’s probably not wonder that he was very much against me being something else than straight. He told me, that in his mind it wasn’t right and Janina should not visit our house again. It absolutely broke my heart as a 17-year-old teenager and it’s still the most hurtful moment of my life. Most of the time I’m not trying to think about it because it still hurts so bad after seven years.
We didn’t talk to each other a year afterwards. My mother took care that I could go on with my life as best as I could while still living in my childhood home and Janina was welcome to spend time there. But me and my father didn’t talk and I was honestly afraid that we weren’t going to be okay ever again.
Time and space
It took me moving out to attend university for me and my father to start mend our relationship, two years of family parties and holidays for me and Janina to attend as a couple before my dad slowly saw that my relationship and identity was here to stay.
Then happened the miracle. It wasn’t a moment of glitter and light, neither I can pin point it to exact date or a year, but things changed. He started to tell jokes to us, he might call and tell me about his day and ask how Janina was doing, he started to include us as a couple and it got bit better year after year. Sometimes things are still bit awkward, but I’m trying to be understanding for it too. He has grown so much as a person and I still have a meaningful relationship with my father and we are welcomed to visit him anytime.
I am so thankful for holidays we have spent with my father and the help he had offered. I think my marriage is never going to be easy for him to understand, but he’s trying and that is all I can hope and ask. I know he still loves me and that he has grown to love my spouse too in the way he can. I’m happy to say that things are now better than in a long time.
He couldn’t attend our wedding because my parents divorce was very messy and hurtful and he couldn’t stand to face my mother. At least that’s what he said after he told me he hadn’t anything against me and Janina. I think I can believe that, he let us have the wedding party at his house and helped with the expenses. It was though for me that he wasn’t there, but I’m trying to make my peace with it.
Building the bridge
People are not black and white even though often we would like to think so, sometimes they need time to think, see and learn new things. The whole world is never going to understand LGBTQ people’s experiences, because it’s not every one’s way, but that doesn’t mean people aren’t able to be kind and considerate. Sometimes it’s good to try to keep the door cracked so family and friends might have a way in when they feel ready. One just have to remember to do it so that their own mind will stay healthy and happy.
Have you experienced something similar? How do you feel first hearing no and later fragile yes? Can you forgive something your family or friends have maybe said after you came out?