In the trans community, a lot of us worry about how our parents will react when we come out. Will we be accepted, rejected, or even subjected to violence? And unfortunately, a lot of people tend to offer this advice: Don’t worry — if they love you, they will see you are happy and accept you! It will all work out!
Except very often. . . it doesn’t work out. Not even close.
What’s even worse is that often times if we are rejected by our parents, we are told they will “come around eventually”. This is giving false hope in a lot of cases. And I can personally attest to having one of these parents.
I will first give credit where credit is due. . .
Years and years ago if you would have told me I’d have a great relationship with my mother, she’d accept me soon marrying a woman, and introducing me as her son? I would’ve thought you were hallucinating. But she is now all of those things. I am beyond fortunate to have even one parent who is in my corner. Sadly, a lot of trans people have two parents that are like my father (or worse than him).
When I came out to my father as being transgender, he turned his face to me. “You can’t do that here,” he said. But “that” is what I AM. We have barely spoken for months. He leaves the room when I enter. During the subsequent time I have stayed with my parents, he has forced me to shave my face or I will be kicked out of the home. Thankfully, I now as of this week have a place to move to with my fiancee.
But he completely pushed me aside.
It hurt. It stung. It burned like a fire that my father no longer wanted me. He no longer wants me. He will never see me as his son. Hell, I don’t even feel like he sees me as his child anymore. So many times spent in the same room with him silent, turning a cold shoulder to me. And so many times when he got up and left the room, just because I entered it.
It hurts. But I knew this would happen.
My father is not only a “my way or the highway” kind of guy, he’s a diehard, right-wing conservative. Politics are his religion. He spends hours of everyday consuming right-wing media, whether it be FOX news, listening to AM broadcasts, reading Glenn Beck’s latest book, or surfing Republican blogs. I just don’t fit into his red way of life. He sees me as a disgrace. And he has always been like this. I have always assumed that if he knew the truth, he’d one day just push me aside.
Despite knowing him and having a pretty good idea of what he’d do, numerous people assured me it would “be okay” if I came out to him.
Including my mom.
People assumed because my dad loved me, that love would just solve everything. (However, it begs the question if you can so easily abandon your child, do you in fact really love them? I don’t think you can, but that’s a subject for another day). I mean, I am his child. This man made me and has been around my whole love. He just has to love and accept me, or “eventually come around.” That is what countless people assured me of. But I knew in my heart they were wrong. And creating false hope only made my situation worse.
I can still recall working my third shift job after my dad rejected me. Sitting up all night, I sobbed and it felt like it would be without end. In the months that followed, I contemplated suicide several dozen times, more seriously than I ever had in my entire life. I watched this man I had become close to devolve to a stranger, and treat me like I was an enemy. Of course, why wouldn’t he? I was a threat to his “way of life”, and these brain-washed FOX zombies? Well, love doesn’t overcome if they are taught that love is a weak and useless emotion in the first place.
To this day, I still cry about the father I lost.
And my situation could’ve been much worse, too. News headlines are filled by gay and trans kids being tortured, abused, or killed by their parents for coming out. This is why it makes it all the more dangerous to just tell kids they will be accepted “because their parents love them”. As much as we want it to, as a society, love truley doesn’t conquer all.
It stings, burns, and aches that my gather will never accept me. Hell, he won’t even ever truley love me and I’m not sure he ever did. But don’t sugarcoat it to me. Don’t tell me it will be fine when I knew all along it wouldn’t. I would rather know the painful truth than hold onto one little false hope that maybe he would actually care.
I think that’s much, much worse.