Keeping Families Together
The Asian And Pacific Islander Family Pride Blog
November 30, 2012
How To Convince Some Parents That Diversity Includes Sexual Diversity
By BELINDA AND JOHN DRONKERS-LAURETA
The election is over and our LGBT community scored impressive advances. The “ship of state” is on the right course. Still, not everyone likes the voyage the ship is undertaking. There are people, still too many, who are opposed and stubbornly refuse to come on board.
A Mother Has A vision
A divorced mother and her gay son have not been in close contact for a while. It is a situation both regret and the mother decides to do something about it. She invitesher son for lunch.The son agrees glad that his mother wants to begin the process of understanding him as a gay son. He asks API Family Pride for a Circle. A Circle, or Family Circle, is a gathering of API LGBTs and accepting API parents of LGBTs who can answer from experience the questions some parents have when they start their own journey of understanding and accepting. We have done several of these and the results have been encouraging. This one was not. The mother wanted to meet her son only to tell him that she had a vision wherein God told her that to be gay is wrong. Her son came with his partnerto introduce to his mother, the mother came with reparative therapy sign-up sheets so that her son could begin his conversion and conform to the vision shown by her God.There was no coming together.
A Father Does Not Listen
In another instance, a requested Circle never got off the ground. Parents of an API gay man came to visit their son here in our Bay Area. The man told his parents he was gay with devastating results. He asked for help. We began contacting people to form a Circle and proposed some dates, all to no avail. The father adamantly refused to meet with anybody: not with other LGBTs, not with parents from LGBTs, not even with accepting parents from his country. The father cursed his luck and fate to have a gay son and hoped no other parent would have to experience his agony. How could life continue when he got back home? He gave his son instructions on what to do—“refrain from nasty activities”—and wanted proof that his instructions were being followed. He had faith in God and trusted that his God would make everything all right. And so the father raged and the mother cried. And the fumes of his anger obscured from him his son’s pain.
Honesty And Willingness To Listen Are Key
A Family Circle needs a willingness to come together and an openness to hear what the other has to say. Both are necessary, but if either is not, then we need to do something else to keep a family together. It is a complicated business for there are paradoxes at work: God’s unconditional love has some conditions after all and if those conditions are not met, then a loving God tells some parents to castoff their child.We need a wayto penetrate that impenetrable wall of righteousnessand convince APIs that their LGBT children are not sinners, but part of the rich sexual diversity that exists everywhere.
Belinda and John Dronkers-Laureta are board members of Asian & Pacific Islander Family Pride www.apifamilypride.org