Keeping Families Together
The Asian And Pacific Islander Family Pride Blog
February 11, 2011
Can Children Teach Parents? They’d Better!
By BELINDA AND JOHN DRONKERS-LAURETA
Antithesis—The Destabilizing Event
You’re sitting at the table. Seated across from you is your son or daughter. He or she just told you of their sexual orientation different from yours: he is gay or she is lesbian. You sit thunderstruck, in the time it took for them to tell you, the world as you knew it is obliterated. All you thought you knew has gone. And what they just told you, you have no way to connect with any mental or experiential frame because you don’t have one, you don’t know anything about “that stuff.” More likely, all you know is what you picked up in careless conversations with friends or from misguided clergy; all of what you know about “that stuff” is dreadful. That is why you are so totally at sea.
Thesis—Getting Your World Back Together
Now what? Actually, we have a few recommendations for you here. One, while still in the violent whirlpool of your emotions hang on to this: the person in front of you is the same person he or she was before they told you; still the person you taught how to walk and then walked to kindergarten; still the person who snuck out of the house and came home late; still the person whom you argued with and sent to college. They did not change in those few seconds it took to complete that terrible sentence. Second, ask them for patience and time so you can put your world back together, at least as much time as it took them to gather the courage to tell you. And third, begin to learn. Reach out because contrary to what you think, you are not the only API parent with LGBT children. Ask your LGBT child questions, ask them for literature. They know far more than you do, because as an API family you never talked about sex, but they had to and went some place where they could. You can also go to our website or call our hotline. We have information and contacts. But learn!
Synthesis—All Is Well With the World Again
Your learning process may take years, especially if you want to get into the details of sexual orientation and gender identity and the many gender expressions. There is a whole universe of new things to learn, but you don’t need to learn all that. Your goal is simply to accept, love and respect your son or daughter. That should not take that long for soon you will learn that to have a sexual orientation different from what is accepted as the norm is actually quite natural and has been part of the human condition since there were humans. It is also far more prevalent than you thought it was. And lo, LGBTs are not at all the schemers with an agenda to pervert the children of America. Your child will do you proud, he will achieve things to brag about to family and friends. And the nicest revelation: A child teaching parents and introducing them to a whole new world different yet the same. Now that is worth celebrating.
Belinda and John Dronkers-Laureta are board members of Asian & Pacific Islander Family Pride apifamilypride.org