I think most of you know that I have two children that I believe to be the two finest children that ever lived. This rant is on behalf of my son, LJ. Most of you also know that LJ is gay. He told me a few days after he turned 14 and now, at 24, he has matured into an absolutely incredible young man.
I also have an 18 year old nephew who is gay. His parents have not been exactly accepting of this news. They haven’t thrown him out or anything, but he truly feels unaccepted much of the time. As someone watching from the outside I see so many things his parents are doing wrong and I see many ways my nephew is making everything worse. Both sides could behave better.
I took off to campaign at the polls against amendment one here in North Carolina last Tuesday. Unfortunately the amendment passed, but I’m still glad I tried. My nephew came and stood with me for a while. He told me he was going to NYC for a short trip and that he had made arrangements to stay with LJ and his boyfriend Colin. In the course of the conversation he shared with me something his mother said, it was that, while she accepted that fact that LJ and Colin had a relationship, she didn’t really want her son to be around their ‘lifestyle’. I remember him saying it, it caught my attention, you know when you hear something that just hits you ‘wrong’. I wasn’t really mad when I heard it, but the longer I’ve thought about it I’ve begun to do a slow burn.
The lifestyle. Excuse me, the lifestyle? She wants to talk about my son’s lifestyle? I can tell her about it. His lifestyle included graduating from college with honors, and following his dream to move to New York City. His ‘lifestyle’ includes, working two jobs in addition to auditioning whenever possible and working with his friends to get a fledging theater company off the ground. It included working every single day in April; taking extra shifts at the coffee house to help cover for a co-worker whose father had died, while at the same time taking over for his supervisor at the park who had gone to pick up the baby he and his wife were adopting from Ethiopia.
His lifestyle includes working, buying groceries, cleaning the apartment, feeding the cats, going out to eat with friends, sending his mom flowers for Mother’s Day, and accompanying one of his best friends to her doctor appointments now that she is eight months pregnant because her husband is working out of town. And it also includes living with the man he loves. They have been together for nearly eight years now. It hadn’t been Colin’s dream to live in NY, but he gave up his life here and moved there because he knew it was LJ’s dream. Their lifestyle is just like any of ours, they work, pay bills, pay taxes, live and love. I believe my SIL’s (and many others) image of a ‘gay lifestyle’ has him running around in leather chaps attending orgies. People need to wake up and see reality.
I love my SIL, we’ve been friends since 1978, since before we met either of our husbands. But this hurt me. I’m not say anything about this to her just yet, although I will eventually. She’s had a rough few years. We lost her oldest son, a boy we all loved very much, to a drug overdose just after he turned 20. He was five months older than LJ. He had gotten his girlfriend pregnant and since she’s got drug problems too, my BIL and SIL are raising the child. You know, maybe it’s not LJ’s lifestyle she needs to protect her son from.