Just like that, I’m a Cool Gay Uncle.
How did I get here?
I LOVE IT
Is this what people stick around for? Is this what procreation is all about?
I have extended family I never see, they have babies I don’t give a shit about. These babies grew up. Sadly, sometimes they are pointless babies. Sometimes these babies move away, or get displaced by divorce. Sometimes they’re just drama babies; I only hear about them when something is dramatic.
But sometimes, sometimes…
SOMETIMES THEY’RE LITTLE GAYBIES!!!
On Sunday I went to my family’s Christmas gathering. It was, much to my surprise, DOPE AF. Most of the people there I haven’t seen since I was very young, about 13. When I came out as lesbian (tbd on whether or not I identify as lesbian) to my immediate family, I kind of lost touch with them for about… 6 years? We talked sometimes, it wasn’t a total disconnect (which is why I don’t usually bring it up, I wasn’t totally exiled, just mostly lmao). I also needed space from them, my childhood was very homophobic. I didn’t want space, but it was necessary. Because of the disconnect with my immediate family, I also never saw my extended family.
This event was for the side of my extended family that I never see. We spent the whole day laughing and hooting and hollering like I haven’t ever in my life. These were people that are made of the same stuff I am. Part of me is overjoyed, filled to the brim with love and happiness and a sense of belonging.
Then, like a gust of cold wind, I am overwhelmed by what I’ve been missing. How much shame, pity and resentment I received in place of love, for so long, from those I trusted. I don’t know how I can forgive my immediate family, but I think it’s happening on its own.
Time passes, and I care less about the past. I care more about the present. The now is filled with joy and love; if you know where to look. While there are members of my family who still treat me with profound hostility, who resent me, who belittle me, and who wish me harm; the majority of my family just wants to get to know me.
They are my extended family that just isn’t really in the loop. They have a gay son now, and they’ve seen what happened with me and my parents and sister. They know there is drama, but they don’t know about how hostile and violent my sister has been towards me. If they did, they would’ve banned her from the event. My personal experience coming out to my family was traumatizing, and now my mother is on a mission to not repeat the same mistakes.
This confounds me.
I am the warning sign for what happens when you don’t love and support your gay child. I hope they understand that. I don’t think they fully comprehend the damage that family rejection does on a person, but I know that they aren’t going to let it happen to my little gay nephew.
I worry that he doesn’t know any of it yet. He seems to know he is different, but I’m not sure if he knows how amazing it is to be different. He lives in a very small, close-knit rural community. Most of the people in his high school never leave this small, shit town. I asked if he was interested in any subjects at school, he said he wasn’t. He used to read, now he doesn’t. I worry he might be losing interest, and gaining angst. This happens to all teenagers, so it’s normal. I’m probably just being too all up in his business. I’m also probably projecting my experience onto him. I can’t help it, he even fucking looks like me. He looks exactly fucking like me. WTF, blood relatives tho, man.
What does anyone say to little gay country boy? What could even help? His dad wants to toughen him up. His mom wants everyone to accept him the way he is. I want him to prepare for reality (positive, but practical). Are things so different now that I don’t have to worry? Not in my experience. I doubt it will be better fast enough, and certainly not where he’s at…
As for my mothers interest in supporting him; I am glad, I am grateful, and I join in. I am disappointed that she did not feel this way about me, but I am so relieved and so ecstatic that she has learned from it and turned herself around. Before, I wondered how we would ever move on from how things went. Now, I just wonder about my little gay cousin, and try to make sure he knows he has a really, really cool gay uncle.
This post was supposed to be less than 500 words for brevity/variety/clarity’s sake but FUCK IT, I HAVE A LOT TO SAY. If you made it this far, congrats; you are a true moth amongst mosquitos.