Thursday, June 13, 2013

Coming Out Day for Families & Friends

When my partner, our son and I were travelling across the US talking to different groups within and without the Episcopal Church, one of the things that we noted early on -- people want to talk about their gay or lesbian loved ones. More than that...they NEED to talk about them.

I have heard horror stories from gay men, full of heart break as they were cast off into the outer darkness by people who supposedly loved them. I know that the stories of many lesbians and their families are just as tragic.

When we first started our journey, we thought we were to share OUR stories, share OUR lives in this Episcopal Church. The first thing we learned was that as soon as someone heard our story, they wanted to share theirs. And we realized that it was very, very good.

We heard from a son of a gay father, a sister of a gay brother, and many moms of gay or lesbian children. People wanted to tell us of their friends that were gay. They told us how important these people are to them.

To feel that one cannot speak of a loved one for fear of bringing shame upon that one or of being shunned by someone because of that person keeps many people quiet. Yet, just as the purpose of Coming Out Day is to help people realize that we are all connected, so is it important for families and friends of gay folk to be able to share their stories. It normalizes a situation.

Regardless of our personal story, sharing it allows someone else (and the storyteller also!) to realize that no matter how taboo, how alienated, how damaged, we feel, there is another within listening distance that has a similar tale.

When we share our stories, we realize how we are connected. We realize that we do need one another.



ADDENDUM:

I actually began this post several months ago - in October. Life being what it was at the time, I just never got around to finishing it. As June is Pride Month and the Pride events are happening everywhere, it seemed appropriate to finish and post.





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