One in ten, a cruel statistic and unavoidable. Everybody likes to be different. Different dress, different colours, different personalities, distinct traits, different voices, different disablements, different handicaps, but gay different, no thanks, definitely No! No! No! No!
One in ten they say, are gay different. Gay by birth, not by choice, not by recognisable distinctiveness, but only by a personal creeping awareness that one is not fitting into the mould of the majority. Growing up in secret, unable to flourish and blossom, a stunted maturity for most, driven and restricted by the fear of rejection, and public condemnation. What a life!
Our choice as parents of gay children is that there is no choice. Our parenting role was never intended to be like this. Our dreams, our hopes, all our aspirations had foundations in a romantic future of home, family life, children, grandchildren and a contented lifestyle to old age; all very normal. This dream lasted until the gay culture came knocking at our door. For twenty years of marriage we had lived this dream, not knowing that our children were struggling alone with a dark secret. Our marriage became our reality one night in 1995 when our eldest daughter let us know that our only son had let her know that he was gay. A visit to my son’s Dublin accommodation followed and after a shared drink and chat in his favourite pub, I took my son home that night to share the news with the family. During the tears and the hugs and the explaining and the listening, the disclosure that our youngest daughter had similar gay feelings was announced by our eldest girl. This was a double blow that really knocked us back.
That night changed our family life forever. Self doubt and bewilderment replaced our contentment and blame was privately bounced around in the search for an explanation of the origins for this “abnormality”. We felt completely at a loss at what to do, where to start, which way to go, or who to contact. Each route seemed to be a dead end and we were restricted by the fact that we could not betray our children’s confidence until they themselves had come to terms with their situation. It was limbo land without openings.
Surrounded by darkness, with logic battling with confused thinking of pride of place. Thoughts of gay meaning homosexual, man to man, woman to woman, forbidden by law, dead ended by the Church, born as rejects of society yet created by the hand of God within a loving relationship. How can this be? How can He allow this to happen? Where does this fit into the great master-plan? Is it a God mistake? Such were our thoughts.
Aids, drugs, suicide, alienation, gender changes, marches, protests, friends, families, same sex marriages, in-laws, strange people, weird persons, symbols, customs, cultures, colours, dress, hairstyles, roughness, coarseness, sex language, greetings, gestures, affection, public expressions, cross dressers, dykes, butch, drags, bisexual etc, are some, only some of the myriad of thoughts that persecute the mind during this initiation to homosexuality. We are a late middle-aged couple set in our ways being forced to restructure our life expectations and thinking. Why this? Why now? Why you? Why me? Why? Why? Why? And the answer reaches beyond our knowledge for the present. A mistake by God maybe. There is no such thing.
All God’s creatures, us included, have been created with a role and purpose in mind. We are not mistakes! As parents of gay children, co-creators in this master-plan, we are part of that plan, and we have been entrusted by their birth to us, to co-operate with God in bringing our offspring to a maturity and completeness in His LOVE.