Keeping Families Together
The Asian And Pacific Islander Family Pride Blog
August 10, 2012
Are Messages Of Love Sufficient To Drown Messages Of Hate? What Else Is Needed?
By BELINDA AND JOHN DRONKERS-LAURETA
A few days ago we came across a handwritten letter from a father to his gay son severing all contact. When posting the letter, the son wrote: “5 Years ago, I was disowned via letter when I came out to my father. This is how hate sounds.” The letter has since gone viral; it is awful but you should read it.
Is It Hate Or Pure Ignorance?
Awful though the letter is, we don’t think it is the sound of hate. We hasten to add that hate is subjective and that we don’t have the context for the letter as would a son. In his accompanying thoughts, the son calls the letter a “terrible act of hate and cowardice.” When a son with (good?) memories of growing up with a father reads: ”Don’t expect any further communications With [sic] me. No communication at all. I will not come to visit, nor do I want you in my house,” then, yes, this could be an expression of hate.
For us, from the safe distance of involved watchers, it is a sad letter, not a hateful one. It is a letter written by an ignorant man and a selfish man, a man who cannot see beyond himself: “You’ve made your choice Wrong [sic] it may be. God did not intend for this unnatural lifestyle.” The letter says a lot more about its author than its recipient.
Messages Of Hate
As involved watchers we have the benefit of comparison. We have read and heard what we consider hate. The internet has plenty of examples. There is the godhatesfags.com website of the Westboro Baptist Church where the Reverend Phelps and his litter spew unbelievable messages of hate. Then you have Pastor Sean Harris or Pastor Charles Worley from North Carolina who wants to collect all lesbians and put them in a compound surrounded by an electric fence so they can’t get out, then do the same with “queers and homosexuals.” That way they can’t reproduce and in a few years they’ll all be dead. Problem solved. Makes you wonder where they got their divinity degree, or even if they have one.
Messages Of Love
But enough of hate! Among the many comments to the handwritten letter, there was one from a man who adopted a child who at age fifteen came out to him. Not a problem, the man wrote, and proceeded to define the difference between being a father and being a dad. A father is biological; anybody can be a father. A dad, however, is something you learn to become as the child in your care grows up and presents you with difficulties to solve. Coming out as LGBT is just one of those difficulties. The commenter uses the word “earn,” as in, you have to earn the title of dad. In his view the handwritten letter’s author is a father, but failed the test of being a dad.
We also read a letter from a mother of an MTF transgender child. It has everything, pain, confusion, a cry for help, but also a pledge of unconditional love and to be there when a mother is needed. We provide a booklet called Beloved Daughter as one of our resources. In it are letters from Chinese mothers to their lesbian daughters. The letters are frank in their descriptions of the process parents go through when their child comes out to them. They all have this in common too: an unswerving commitment to love and learn and stay a parent who counsels and guides.
Bringing Those Who Hate The Message of Those Who Love
We, obviously, take a lot of encouragement from the messages of love. By the same token, we are taken aback by the vitriol contained in the messages of hate. Those who spread the hate use arguments so over the top ridiculous that it is certain with time only the most fanatical will pay heed. We want the messages of love to drown the messages of hate.
Belinda and John Dronkers-Laureta are board members of Asian & Pacific Islander Family Pride www.apifamilypride.org