Today I want to offer encouragement. The lovely people who have been posting videos and memes lately in support of their children who are LGBTQ+, makes me smile often. The video with a Dad talking about loving his children regardless of their identity. The Facebook post by a Mom who wants her children to know just how unconditional her love for them is. The meme talking about acceptance and coming together. These are all uplifting, and although I would love to leave it at that, I wish to encourage a re-phrasing of a common language thread throughout.
“I will love my kids regardless of who they choose to be.” “I want my children to know that no matter who you choose to be, I’ve got you.” “Everyone is unique. You can be whoever you want.” These are great messages, and if they were talking about career choices or educational paths, there would be nothing wrong with them. Unfortunately, these statements are in regard to sexual orientation and gender identity, and therein lies the issue. What all of these messages have in common is that they view sexual orientation and gender identity as matters of choice. The people expressing the message have only the best of intentions, and it’s not their fault that this language is so deeply woven into our cultural dialog. They probably don’t even see the error, and most of us don’t either. A positive reception amongst so much negativity is refreshing, so much so that any errors in language are generally overlooked. In any event it’s there, and we must encourage those wonderful and accepting people to say it in a more understanding way.
“I will love my kids regardless of who they are.” “I want my children to know that no matter who you are, I’ve got you.” “Everyone is unique. Express yourself.” These simple changes in language make all the difference. They take your message, which is already positive, and give it a level of understanding. In addition to being supportive and loving, you also get it. The idea is to take away the implication that these things are choices. I was in the closet for 34 years, and I didn’t finally come out because I ‘chose’ to be Queer. I chose what terminology to refer to myself with, and I chose to come out, but I’ve always been Queer. This is important, because we often don’t think about it. We make many decisions around our personal identities … but what we are is not one of them.
I want to applaud those expressing the support I’m talking about. Your love and acceptance toward your children makes me happy. You’re doing it right. Coming out is really tough, and when those closest make their support known so publicly, it really shows everyone that your children live in a safe environment – free from judgment, where they can be honest with and about themselves. That’s what everybody deserves. I hope you accept this message of encouragement to now use language that expresses your understanding as well as your support. Make it known that without prejudice, without assumption, you love your kids for who they are.
Oh, and keep up the great work. 🙂