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Thursday, May 10, 2012

SL Letter of the Day: Make Your Own Family

Posted by Dan Savage on Thu, May 10, 2012 at 10:29 AM

I'm a 26 y/o gay guy in the Midwest. I came out to my family years ago and it has been an uphill battle ever since. (Ironic that my family has been the biggest group of douche bags to me even though it's because they supposedly care for me, right?) After a while my mom stopped trying to send me to ex-gay camp and started to be cool with things.

My father refused to have any sort of discussion about the topic for years and everyone in the family went after me for "pushing things" and saying that I "need to respect him for who he is like I ask other people to do." I know they targeted me instead of him because they're all afraid of him. Last Thanksgiving I finally broke down and called my dad and told him he's an asshole and that I was bringing my BF home for Christmas and if he didn't like it he could go fuck himself. He later told my mom I could bring him home if we slept in different rooms.

I was willing to take that at the time. But we went home for a wedding this weekend and I refused to sleep in separate rooms. My mom points out that my siblings had to do the same until they were married, but I also didn't have the luxury of bringing home whatever person I was fucking since I was in high school. I'm also unlikely to see my parents pay for a big traditional 20k wedding at the country club for like they did for my other siblings. I feel that I'm a 26 y/o adult, it's none of their business whether or not I get married (and it's not legal where we live!), and this is another extension of their silly bullshit "values" that caused this whole mess when I came out in the first place.

My mom and I got in a Cold War standoff about this, which culminated in her directing me and my BF to a hotel room for the night. What do I do Dan? Do I continue with these "baby steps" or tell them to fuck off until they treat me like an adult?

Fucking Always Reliving Messes

My response after the jump...

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Your only leverage over your family, FARM, is your presence in their lives. Tell your mom and dad that you respectfully insist on equal treatment from your whole family—your mom, your dad, your siblings—and make it clear that your presence in their lives is conditional upon receiving that respectful, equal treatment. Then get out there and create your own family, FARM, however your family decides to treat you. Because you're going to need your own family one day—in whatever form it takes—whether your dad and mom come around or not. Parents eventually pass away, siblings inevitably drift apart. Create a family of your own now. You're going to need it.—Dan

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Thanks for responding, Dan. In your opinion is having to stay in separate bedrooms "until we are married" respectful, equal treatment since my siblings had to? Or is this different considering the circumstances? And you're right about starting my own family too. I was on the fence about whether I want kids down the road, but when you put it that way.—FARM

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If your siblings had to stay in separate bedrooms until they married their BFs/GFs, FARM, then you and your BF do too. Tell mom and dad that you'll respect their rules and that you're looking forward to your 20K-wedding-at-the-country-club. And, hey, if your family does come around—if they start treating you with respect—forgive them for everything that came before. Don't throw it in their faces. Take yes for an answer.—Dan

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