A Parent’s Pride – By Jennifer Meyers
Let me just start by saying – our daughter is amazing! (But what parent doesn’t think that, right?) From the moment she was born, her dad and I knew we were in for quite the journey with her. For one thing, in the moments after her birth she hardly cried. Just stared at us with these huge, startlingly blue eyes. Since that day I’ve often said to others, “Aly sees the world from a unique and beautiful perspective. Her world is a spectacular place, and someday I’d like to live in it!” She has a gift for drilling straight to the heart of injustice, irony, and hypocrisy; but she also sees with amazing clarity the beauty, the inspiration, and the optimism.
So, when she told her father and I that she was a lesbian, we were neither disappointed nor surprised. We simply thought, “Okay, we’ve reached a new path in her life’s journey.” I know that on the surface this is not the most enthusiastic response, but let me explain. Aly came out to us around the age of 12, which she recalls as a series of messy but necessary conversations with her parents, a pivotal time for her.
For us it was different. You see, what she didn’t know was that her father and I had already had years’ worth of late-night conversations, contemplating the various futures for our children. Including asking, “What if one of our daughters is gay? Does it change her future? Does it change our love for her?” And the biggest surprise to us was that the answer to these questions turned out to be “yes”.
As a lesbian, Aly’s future will be fraught with challenges to her identity from those who believe personal freedoms and personal choice only apply to those who look and act like them. She’ll face a double whammy of discrimination, as a woman and a lesbian. She’ll have to put up with lewd comments from young men who think they can “turn” her. She’ll face a world that isn’t designed to connect two lesbian soulmates. Having a child with her soulmate, if they choose to have one, could be challenging. So yes, it does change her future. It will be different from what straight women experience. No less wonderful, but different nonetheless.
Does the fact that she’s lesbian change our love for her? YES – our love for her is all the more intense knowing that despite these many challenges, she’s bravely come forth at such a young age to face them head on with courage, with pride, with maturity, and with composure. She knows who she is, and she’s not afraid to live the life she was destined for. Amazing! She’s our daughter – a writer, a poet, a lover of animals, an athlete, a great big sister — and a lesbian. And we are so proud!
A Child’s Pride – By Aly Meyers
When I came out to my parents, nothing really changed at first; coming out to them was a gradual process that took about a year. I told them when it was relevant and moved on. Life didn’t stop, World War 3 didn’t start, the only difference was that I was a little bit more my authentic self.
However, coming out doesn’t mean that you suddenly start being real. It doesn’t mean that you immediately buy a pride flag and get into politics. After being in the closet for so long, it is hard to find your way out. It’s like having one foot outside of the closet and the other foot inside, still in the dark but having seen some of the light. Keeping up a façade for so long made it hard to distinguish what was a fabrication of identity and what was really me. I didn’t talk about the girls that I had crushes on, I didn’t tell them when I started dating them, and I didn’t talk about LGBTQ issues. I didn’t share my life with them even though I may have wanted to.
Don’t cry for me, though. Eventually I found my way out of that dank closet. After all, it was cramped, smelly, and quite lonely in there. It is a moment of realization queer people have, where you come to accept that it does not matter if people are uncomfortable with your sexuality. People’s opinions about you are entirely their business and therefore their problem. It was never up to queer youth to make allowances for others. Even after coming to that realization, though, all of the slurs and news stories and laws and speeches and other hateful crap weighs on you. It can be lonely. It can be scary.
And now, many of you straight readers may be asking yourselves, “How can we help?” but to be frank there is no easy solution. To all parents of LGBTQ children and anyone wishing to be a better ally, my only advice for you would be to have an open mind. My parents had no problem accepting that I was gay and sometimes they do not understand everything (that is to be expected), but what is important is that they listen to me. As a young lesbian, that is all I will ever ask of the older generations: to be open to new ideas and willing to listen to things that might make you uncomfortable. And, like my mom, be a superhero.