Friday, May 01, 2015

Morning Email

Photo description||: A rainbow coloured heart with the word love written across it over the rest of the sentiment ... makes a family.

Oh, how they have changed.

I got up this morning to a really nice email from a fellow in Toronto telling me that his great niece had seen me present in Calgary and had been inspired by my presentation. That's always nice to hear, of course, but I wondered why he was writing to tell me this. He then said that he too was gay, fat and a bit older than me. Clearly his great niece had describe me as well as my presentation. Also very cool.

But what I want to write about is what happened.

A young woman attends a conference, hears a speaker that reminds her of her gay uncle, who she then, afterwards, calls. She is clearly close to this man. She clearly had a drive to share her experiences with him.

There was a time, not long ago, where lgbtqq people simply disappeared out of their families lives. Often disinvited. More often made to feel, by attitudes and by behaviour, unwelcome. Everyone lost, of course, and no one will ever know the cost of that mutual abandonment.

But here, in Calgary, a young woman rushes to call her gay uncle in Toronto.

He's family.

They are family.

Maybe instead of 'family values' we should be working towards the day where families, like this one, value each other.

What a great way to start the day!!


Belinda Burston said...

I agree! One of my friends gave me a cushion for Christmas that says, "Family Forever No Matter What." I love it and believe in the sentiment with all my heart.

CapriUni said...

Hey, Dave -- have you seen this ad campaign by Honey Maid (snacks / graham crackers)?

This is Wholesome

I don't tear up at commercials like I used to. But this one gets me, every time.

Andrea S. said...

That day, sadly, is not entirely gone. I still know people who have been cut off from their family. And I know others who still relate to their families to some extent but have confronted so much homophobia in the family, so much invalidation of their identity, that they are no longer happy or comfortable when they are around their family so they have gradually minimized contact.

But, yes, it is good that we now live in a time where not all families are like this, only some of them. And some of the ones that aren't like this have been very embracing.

Once, some years ago, I saw part of a talk show in which three teens came out to their parents as gay or lesbian on the air. I missed seeing the third one, but the Mom of the gay boy wept when he told her--NOT because she was upset that he was gay, but because she realized how hard it must have been for him to come out and how scared he was and wished so much that he could have known that she would be okay with it because it broke her heart that he had been struggling with this not knowing that it was safe to disclose to her.

Then the Mom of the lesbian girl did get really upset at her being lesbian and said some awful things to her. So the Mom of the gay boy confronted the other Mom asking how she could possibly reject her own daughter and hurt her this way. And the Mom of the gay boy told the lesbian girl -- a girl she didn't know, a girl she had only just met right there while filming/airing the show -- that she would meet the girl for coffee, she wanted to stay in touch with the girl and told her she was okay, there was nothing bad about who she was and she shouldn't listen when her mother puts her down.

(This was a Spanish speaking talk show, I think originally produced/broadcast in Mexico. But I imagine it would be easy to find similar dynamics in many countries, cultures, languages.)

clairesmum said... is still such a variable and unpredictable situation, with family members having all sorts of personal reactions..and often a real push to have everyone express the same position publicly!!
there is the family you grow up..and the family you create for yourself over your life....if all goes well, many in the first group are also in the second....but this is often not the case.

Shan said...

I entirely approve of the niece making phone calls to her gay uncle.

Anonymous said...

I struggle with the word family .What does it really mean to me. My parents died in 2012 within 2 weeks of each other, my grandaughter had just had a double lung and heart transplant .My extended family did not reach out to help my immediate family. My aunts became very distant and i could see how my mom was the glue to the shattered image i thought was my family. In 2013 i was diagnosed with breast cancer and endured 6 months of intensive chemo that me so sick. I felt so alone and scared on many levels. My best friend aka mom was not here to support me. Being present for my kids is what carried me through.My son was 14 and was struggling with everything that was happening and what did happen. I wish i didn't feel like the forgotten soul on this journey that i have been on. its so hard to move forward and be okay with the people who i thought were my family were not there for me. i guess i made it on my own strength and will.