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Land of the Free, Home of the Brave

My Beautiful Brother In-Law

My “in-laws” came to visit for a few days. I consider them my parents in-law and I believe they consider me their daughter in law. They are delightful people and very easy company. Lee has two brothers. One of them is gay. The statistic I chose to believe says that throughout history, 15 % of the human population has been gay. So, my in-law’s children are outside the normal percentages. 66.6% of their children are LGBT. They should get some sort of prize for that, some sort of medal.

I’ve thought a lot about what it was like for Lee to grow up as he did, in that mega church centered environment. He was prayed over countless times and they tried to exorcise his demons more than once. His brother was teased and tormented with only his big “sister” to defend him. Lee started drinking when he was thirteen, not sure who or what he was. I’ve thought about his brother, growing up in that town, that school, that home as well. He’s an entertainer and has been dancing his whole life. Family pictures are of him all decked out in some outrageous outfit and Lee in a ball cap. The other brother didn’t come along until a couple of years before Lee left home. He must have felt someone dropped him onto another planet.

I hadn’t given a whole lot of thought as to what it was like for the parents. Obviously, for many years, they believed there was something terribly wrong with their children, something that needed to be fixed. I’m sure they were afraid and desperate, believing as they did that their precious babies were doomed to a fiery hell if they couldn’t save them. After all, in their church, and according to their Bible, they were abominations.

Just as Lee had to find on his own just who and what he was, so did his parents. Somehow, they have reached a peaceful place where the sexual orientation and gender identity of their children are no longer things they fear and attempt to change, but aspects of their children they accept and even embrace. I don’t believe they fully understand Lee and the way he identifies with men. Their love, though, is undeniable and fierce, as a parents love should be. I know it was painful for them, getting to this peaceful, respectful and loving place. Even as I type this, I automatically type “her” instead of “he,” falling into their language of identifying my husband as their daughter.

While they were here, we went out to eat. We went shopping. We went to the grocery store. Lee and I held hands as we always do. Not once did they flinch or seem in any way embarrassed by us. Not once in all the times we have been with them, have they appeared anything but at ease around us, no matter where we were or who we were with. They remain devout believers of their religion. They remain active in their church. They still live in the same house, in the same small town. When I think of the change that had to occur in their minds and hearts, I am both amazed and inspired. These changes took place not in the safety of a new town under the umbrella of anonymity, but in the broad daylight of a small community that, like all small towns, views each other through the lens of a microscope. They are a very brave and courageous family. My Lee is the bravest of the brave and I am fortunate beyond words.

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August 26, 2010 - Posted by | The Straight Me | , , , , , , , ,

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