Keeping Families Together
The Asian And Pacific Islander Family Pride Blog
December 24, 2010
T’is the Season of Hope
By BELINDA AND JOHN DRONKERS-LAURETA
Merry Christmas everyone! Yes, we know, we should be saying Happy Holidays, but here we refuse to be PC. Happy Holidays just doesn’t do it, so bland, so vanilla. Merry Christmas conveys much better the mood that comes over many people this time of year: that slowing down of the pace of life, that feeling that everyone is just a tad closer together, that peaceful and joyous mood. Even if you do not believe in Christmas and what it celebrates, we are convinced you cannot escape that festive, warm glow that the season brings. This is the time to go home and be with family and friends enjoying small talk, exchanging gifts, and eating good food, especially if it is food you grew up with, food from the old country. Did you know that food is the last thing to fade for people who come to this country? Six generations after your ancestors settled here searching for a better opportunity, their descendants still eat and talk about food from back home.
We have heard so many heartbreaking stories over the years that we know for some of you this happy talk is not real. Some of you cannot go home. Your family has rejected you because you are LGBT. Some of you can go home as long as you do not bring your partner. Your family knows you are LGBT, but doesn’t want to deal with that reality, does not want to talk out loud about it, wants to keep things quiet. Or, you haven’t told your family. There are also awful images of young LGBT APIs out on the street, huddled in doorways, hungry, trying to stay warm and dry and not even thinking of Christmas at all. These are APIs who are without any support. It is beyond sad, because APIs are famous for their strong family bonds and here those bonds are shattered.
API Family Pride’s missions, “to end the isolation of API families with LGBT members,” and the name of this blog, “keeping families together,” are expressions of what we do. We work to overcome the obstacles of a homophobic culture that tears families apart and keeps them apart. We educate to remove the ignorance shrouding sexuality and identity. Of course, all we have done and all we are going to do does not help you now for this Christmas going home, but if we keep on doing this and if you keep on helping us, then more and more LGBT APIs can go home for Christmas, and, before you know it, everybody can.
What else is there to say? Maybe this: As it took time for you to embrace your sexuality, so it will take time for your family to understand your sexuality. Give them that time. Coming out to your parents is scary and difficult, but you have two advantages: you are their child and you start with an API’s mutually strong family bond. Step carefully, nurture the existing bond, slowly teach them. It is not going to happen overnight, but we have also heard many stories over the years where it has happened.
Wishing you a Merry Christmas and success in the New Year.
Belinda and John Dronkers-Laureta are board members of Asian & Pacific Islander Family Pride apifamilypride.org