Hop Against Homophobia: Talking the talk — don’t just walk it

My daughter is bi. She waited a long, loooooooooooooooong time to come out to us, an absurdly long time. She genuinely thought I didn’t know and was anxious about what I, of all people, might say, LOL. Yeah, you read that right. Me. She was floored by how anti-climactic coming out to us was. I could’ve told her that I knew she was bi since she was 8 and said she wanted to marry nSync AND Britney Spears. If that wasn’t a big enough clue, I might’ve figured a few things out by the time she campaigned her high school to allow s/s couple tickets for Homecoming and Prom — and then took her first girlfriend (who I wasn’t supposed to acknowledge as her girlfriend since I wasn’t supposed to know my daughter was bi yet) as a s/s couple to the dance. So yeah, not exactly a shocker. I knew, but I never pushed. I thought my daughter knew how I felt, what I believed (I’ve never suffered from a lack of shut up about my beliefs), and she would come to us when she was comfortable, in her own time.

She’d worked herself into quite the state once she finally decided it was time to fess up, though. Of course, it didn’t matter to us. The only thing I care about and have ever cared about is that my kids are loved, respected and cherished by who they fall in love with. Race, gender, age, religion, where they are from or how much money they make is irrelevant. Frankly, I’d have bigger problems with political affiliation than anything else, but I might even possibly be persuaded to accept That Ultimate Evil as long as the tragically misguided soul treated my daughter like the Princess she is.

A lot of kids don’t have that.

My daughter’s first girlfriend risked being tossed out on her ear by her family if they found out. Not exaggerating.

My daughter’s second girlfriend wasn’t out to her parents, either. Her parents were supporting her through college and she couldn’t gamble on losing that.

It kills me that any child or young adult would feel compelled to hide who they are inside to the people who love them (or should love them) most and if you think it doesn’t slay me that my own kid was too afraid to tell me what was in her heart — for years — you would be wrong. I supported my daughter’s fight for s/s couple ticketing for school dances, but that was just a fight I knew about. What about the struggles I didn’t? The sneers at school. The hateful remarks. The bullying. My daughter didn’t feel she could come to me with that. She suffered through it without her parents to lean on. Both of her ex-girlfriends still do.

That’s why I support the Trevor Project. LGBTQ kids and young adults can call when they need that shoulder to lean on. 200,000+ cries for help have been answered. TWO HUNDRED THOUSAND. Please consider donating to the Trevor Project, which has the only 24/7 LGBTQ crisis intervention and suicide prevention program nation-wide. And please, talk to your kids. No, I mean it. TALK to them. In the end, my daughter waited years to tell us because she was afraid what people at church might think might be more important to us than she was. She was wrong, but it’s my fault she felt that way. I’m the Mom. It’s my duty and my privilege to make sure my kids know they are way more important to me than any church, any job, any anything. I failed at that.

Don’t fail at it too. Learn from my mistakes. Don’t assume they know. Make sure they do. Talk to your kids.

Today, I’m giving away a copy of my Riptide short story, Foreshock, randomly selected from comments below until 9:00 p.m. EST on May 20th. All of my royalties from Foreshock are being donated to the Trevor Project, but I’ll also add an extra $50 to this month’s donation, in honor of my daughter. From a humbled but grateful parent.

If YOU need help…

You are not alone. You are important and you are perfect exactly the way you are.

Click on the Hop Against Homophobia badge below to be taken the blog hop’s home page to visit 200+ other LGBTQ rom authors, reviewers and publishers who are taking a stand against homophobia to support the LGBTQ community for the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, May 17th.

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37 Responses to Hop Against Homophobia: Talking the talk — don’t just walk it

  1. B. Snow says:

    Augh, yes, I should have put links like the Trevor Projecct into my own Hop post. >.< My excuse is that I'm still new to all of this. They're such a great cause, and kudos for donating your royalties. :)

    • Kari says:

      I know there are other LGBT charities, local ones gasping for funding, but…Trevor wins points from me because anyone can call anywhere anytime.

      And dude, no worries, I was new not too long ago too. New just means you’re EXTRA shiny so don’t forget to put a little more swing in your strut. ;-)

  2. This was such a beautiful post. Really. I’m terrible at commenting, but I wanted to make sure and tell you that.

  3. Sarah says:

    Thank you for this post.
    My parents are fairly conservative, heavily involved in the church and live in a village. When they found out I’m bi they were quite confused and thought maybe it was a phase I’d grow out of (I was in my 20s at that point so unlikely!) but they still loved me regardless. And I’m very grateful for that.

    • Kari says:

      Sarah, my daughter is currently dating a guy, right? You’d be amazed at how quickly some people jumped at that as some bizarre sort of indication that she was no longer bi. Uh…er…no. LOL!

  4. Andrea says:

    Great post and I love that your prize includes a donation.

    andreagrendahl AT gmail DOT com

  5. KimberlyFDR says:

    Love should always triumph over hate and I believe it always will.

    Thank you for your lovely post and for taking part in the hop!

    kimberlyFDR@yahoo.com

    • Kari says:

      Change is coming. It’s difficult. It can be ugly and painful. But change is coming. I really do believe that.

      Thanks, Kimberly!

  6. Sas399 says:

    Thank you for your post. It is humbling that even an open-minded parent can not be seen as such by their kids. As a mom, I’ll take your comment to heart! Thank you!

    saskia399 at gmail dot com

    • Kari says:

      To be fair, it wasn’t that she ever doubted how I felt or where I stand.She just knew how heavily invested I was in that church and that the responses from some would be…unpleasant. And she was right. She knew more about that than I did.

  7. Kristi P says:

    I was reared in a very redneck part of the country by parents who, if they were homophobic, kept it to themselves. Luckily, I wound up at a liberal arts college with a vibrant lgbt community, and this ignorant, straight girl learned that not everyone could take the smooth course through life that I did. AND, it was NOT fair.

    I am very thankful for the education I received outside the classroom, and as the mom of young children, I hope I can help them see that being who you are inside is never wrong.

    Thank you for such an eye-opening post.

  8. Yvette says:

    That was a wonderful and touching post. Thanks.
    Yvette
    yratpatrol@aol.com

  9. Lisa says:

    Very touching post. You are a great mom. I just wish all kids could be so lucky.

    Thanks for taking part in the hop and for donating to the Trevor Project. I plan on doing the same.

  10. Suze says:

    Good post Kari. I serves to show that no matter how open we are with our kids, we cant always know whats in their heads – i’m just heading into high school age with mine and keep saying they can talk/tell me anything and have to hope they will.
    Love your donations.

  11. Crissy M. says:

    Great post! All children should be so lucky.

    Morris.crissy@gmail.com

  12. Christine Eagles says:

    Awesome post. Your daughter is very lucky to have a parent like you.

    Chris
    ceagles48218@yahoo.com

  13. Your daughter is lucky to have you :) Thanks for sharing!

    raynman1979 at yahoo dot com

  14. Carnell says:

    If there’s something I have learned reading heartbreaking stories of kids being rejected by their parents is that I have to make sure everyday that my own kids know that no matter what, I will never stop loving them.

    Thank you for being part of this hop :)

    viggnell(at)gmail(dot)com

  15. Layladawna says:

    It’s great that your daughter had a family so supportive even if it took her a while to figure it out.

  16. Penumbra says:

    Thanks for participating in this great blog hop, I’m really enjoying everyone’s posts.

    penumbrareads(at)gmail(dot)com

  17. Nancy S says:

    Mothers and daughters, always an interesting relationship with the misunderstandings, the pain and the joy. I have 2 adult daughters and there are times when I think they don’t know me at all and I’m sure they have the same thoughts but we keep muddling through. Bless you and yours.

  18. Emily W. says:

    Thanks for sharing a great post!! I’m glad you’re an understanding parent. I will never understand how a parent could just toss away their kids because they’re gay. I mean, there are parents of serial killers who stick with their kids and yet others will throw them away because they like their own gender??? That’s just not right and needs to be changed. I also admire you donating to the Trevor Project. It’s a wonderful organization that does a lot of good. Thanks for sharing!!

    tiger-chick-1(at)hotmail(dot)com

  19. L.M. Brown says:

    I am glad your daughter had the support she needed, even if her ex-girlfriends didn’t.

    Thanks for sharing and for your generosity to the Trevor Project.

  20. Erica Pike says:

    Your daughter is very lucky to have you, Kari. My sons are only (almost) five years old, but I’ve already begun to talk to them about these things, telling them that it’s not boy-and-girl, but can also be boy-and-boy, girl-and-girl and some people like both. There are also more things, like pink is not just a girl color (there was a boy at their preschool who wore a pink raincoat and got laughed at for it by one of my son’s friends. So sad that it begins so young!).

    Anyway, they will grow up learning that there’s nothing unnatural about being gay. I’m not just doing this in case one or both of them is gay or bisexual, but also in case there will be gay kids in their school, and just so that they’ll be accepting and open minded when they grow up. It’s a good thing that, although we don’t live together anymore, their dad agrees when it comes to teaching them this.

  21. Ashley E says:

    Your daughter sounds like a beautiful person, and I shall certainly take your advice to heart when it comes time to raise my own kids! I never want them to have to worry about me rejecting them over anything. Thanks for sharing.

  22. Rebecca says:

    What an amazing mom you are. My children are so young yet but I hope to share that same support with them as they grow into their own selves.

  23. Aren’t our kids funny! They consider how we are to the outside world but their perception of us is totally different. Both of my younger brothers are gay and I know my two sons (24 & 27) are totally accepting of this and it doesn’t even raise an eyebrow within our huge extended family. So I hope that our tolerance spreads to others outside our family which in turn may make some other young person’s (or not so young!) coming out easier.

  24. Judi P says:

    Heh, well, I am glad that at least one more person in this world had the support they needed. I know that when I have kids, I’ll make sure they’ll always know it’s alright to love anyone. Boy/girl doesn’t matter what sex they are so long as both are happy. Though, I hope more than anything, that by the time I ever get around to having kids, homophobia won’t be as big as it is today. I hope someday soon, All or at least some/most of, (because sadly, Hate never goes away) those hateful people and bigots see that, every one are simply people. People that love and cry and bleed and are sad. There is no “them” and “us” “gay” or “straight” we’re all just… people.

    Anyways, Enjoyed the post. ;)

    Judi
    arella3173_loveless(at)yahoo(dot)com

  25. NJ Nielsen says:

    Thanks for sharing that with us all and I would say your daughter is one of the lucky ones – I wish they all were.

  26. gigi says:

    Thanks for participating in the HOP.

  27. Anna says:

    Thanks for participating!!

    annawelch23456@hotmail.com

  28. Your story really hit close to home. My daughter came out to me as bi as well, and she was so terrified when she did that it broke my heart. Shaking and crying, even though we’d spoken so many times about my opinions on the matter, that I would never care one way or the other, I wanted exactly what you said: her happiness.

    I hear about parents who would reject their own children for something like this and I cannot truly wrap my head around the horror of doing that to your own child.

    Thanks for the link on the Trevor Project – I think I will be donating, most definitely.

    Twisted at Twistedhilarity dot com

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