After a while,we started to share with some people that our son is gay. I feel that it is important to tell people in order to gauge who is genuinely our friend and who is not. Those who may feel disdain, or who talk about our family behind our back, are not worthy of having a relationship with us. I feel that by slowly telling a select group of people, a safety valve is released, our world of supportive friends and family grows, and we can move forward feeling comfort in the fact that our son is accepted by those people who remain important in his life. Those who are not accepting will be deleted from our simcha list.
The reactions of the people I have told have been quite surprising, but maybe because I have been selective in my choices. The first person I told was a women who works closely with me. When she saw me after my son came out to us, she asked what was the matter. I replied that I felt that I was just run over by a tractor. When I explained why, she responded that this was the same expression that her best friend used when she found out that her son was gay. I told a good customer of mine and he told me what life was like in his family once his older brother came out. These were not the reactions that I expected.
My wife has been more reluctant to tell people. She has told a few of her good friends and the reaction is tearful and understanding.
There is one reaction that has been elicited by a few of her friends that is actually quite disconcerting. That reaction is "Oh well, it's his choice."
It's his choice?
Do you think he wants to limit his career choices...because it's his choice?
Do you think he has to worry about losing his job.....because it's his choice?
Do you think he should walk in fear in some neighborhoods...because it's his choice?
Do you think he wants to be ostracized from friends and family....because it's his choice?
Do you think he wants to lose some of his civil rights...because it's his choice?
Do you think he wants to be discriminated against...because it's his choice?
Do you think he wants to put his parents through this anguish...because it's his choice.
I think not.
Check out the website of the American Psychological Association, especially on the topic of choice....www.apa.org/topics/orientation.html