love derailed

January 7, 2010

often times i am asked, “how does your family respond to your sexual orientation?” my response is often mixed.  i believe it depends on the relative in question –though, i also believe there’s a common denominator, at least among my mother’s side of the family.

i’ve stated at other times that my family (cousins, aunts, uncles, and siblings) has always been very supportive. i’ve never felt any distancing from them.  on the contrary, i’ve felt their love stronger and our relationship grow closer throughout the years. yet there’s that common denominator: we all grew up pentecostal (traditional pentecostal). and in conversations with a few of them, they believe that my “choice” is one that will lead me to a very dark ending… still, they manage to put it aside and they love me unconditionally and wholeheartedly.

i always wonder if i have done enough to educate them on the reality of my life, both personal and social (from my relationship with my mother to the limited rights and protections afforded through the government).  i also wonder if they simply love me because i am, as they kindly call me, Froness: their lively, silly, life-of-the-party, loving, family-oriented relative who never forgets a birthday, always keeps in touch and encourages them to stay connected.

and i ask myself, is being Froness enough?  should i spend some time encouraging the removal of words like “fag” from their day-to-day chatter? or explain why i would like them to understand the need for Hate Crime Laws to protect me? would they care to know?  or simply dismiss it because they love me regardless and nothing changes between us?

i am a firm believer that “love wins out.” that it’s all about love.  that if you truly love someone who is GLBTQI, you will find a way to accept and understand what, in your mind, seems to be against “the norm.”

then there’s my mother –whom i know loves me unconditionally– and i question if love really wins out? or does love force her to accept without understanding? and is this enough for me personally and/or for the GLBTQI community?

by nature, i am always seeking acceptance. but i want acceptance as i am. not as you’d like me to be, or as you think i will be given enough prayer on your part and repent on mine.

love should not be about accepting without understanding and hoping the person will change… love, in its most sincere form, should accept AND understand that it can’t change the person nor would it want to.

in wanting to change the person, you change the essence of who they are.

i believe my family, most of them, view homosexuality as they would view a thief, a drug addict… that somehow i can stop.  that i will someday wake up and “see the light.” my mother believes she will one day cry tears of joy, that her vigils, bended knee mornings and fastings all gave the result she so petitioned her god for.

is my constant nudging at my mother to change similar to the one she has for me?

no.  because i don’t want to change something that is essentially her (like being heterosexual, or her brown eyes), i want her to change her view about me. i want to stop feeling like every time she looks at me she sees a legion of demons in the pupil of my eyes, i want her to stop thinking i’m going to burn in hell… i want her to stop thinking something took over her daughter.

my truth is that i cannot begin to educate my family on a secular level, what they have not been able to grasp at an emotional level…

because between me and their god, their god prevails and derails love to feel forced to accept without understanding.

~Sarahi Yajaira, 2010