Tuesday, January 20, 2004

Da Nile


My mom has a problem with me being gay. It's actually kind of weird because growing up, she surrounded me with gay men, who made up the majority of her closest friends. My mom was a fag hag. But apparently, even though she seems cool with guys being gay, she can't accept that her daughter is a lesbian.

I'm not trying to say 'poor me' or anything, because I'm well aware that other gay people have significantly more difficult issues with their families in regards to their sexual orientation. I'm grateful that my mother is supportive in pretty much every other endeavor I pursue, that we're able to speak, that I wasn't cast out of my family for being gay.

However, I find it kind of strange that someone as liberal as my mom is in total denial about her daughter being a lesbian. Every now and then, I'll bring it up as a full-scale conversation, just to really plumb the depths of what she thinks about the issue. The last conversation we had about it was a couple of years ago, and I asked her if she had any problems with me being gay. She replied defensively, as she is wont to do, and protested that she didn't have any problems with it and that she loves me no matter what.

I probed a bit deeper and she told me (in relation to my not getting an apartment because I'd told them I was gay up-front) that if she were a landlord, and she found out her prospective tenant was gay, she would probably not rent to them. A bit shocked, I asked her why, and she told me, albeit somewhat vaguely, "Because I'm straight and I have more in common with straight people."

I was floored. I mean, my own mother, who birthed and raised me amongst a gaggle of gay men! There was so much I wanted to say to her, like, Don't you think that someone's sexual orientation is just a small part of who they are, and that you could actually have loads in common? and If you replaced the word 'gay' with 'black', would you still feel okay about that statement? I don't think I pursued the prejudice very far, mostly because I was speechless with stupefaction.

She took my silence as an opportunity to forge on. She told me that she thought my being gay was just a phase, and that I just haven't met the right man. Hello! I couldn't believe my mom was saying this. It still baffles me. Her reasoning was that because I've been pretty overweight most of my life, I have body image issues. And because of these alleged issues, I've been prevented from meeting and, consequently, getting involved with the normal number of men a girl my age should be.

She probably wouldn't believe the hard facts if I pointed them out to her. I tried dating men. I've had 21 sexual partners. Of that number, exactly 2/3 have been men. My mom asked me if I'd ever thought of marrying a man and settling down in the hetero life, and whether I believed it possible. Now, I think anything is possible. So I stupidly said yes, that it's possible, but I really didn't think it was going to happen. I think it's possible that I might sprout purple horns, but you know, it's probably highly unlikely.

That conversation didn't really resolve anything. I've avoided the full conversation about the subject, but every now and then I will mention something to kind of gauge a reaction. I mean, if I was straight and dating men, she would ask me how things were going in my relationships. She would want to gossip, to be involved. I know this because she's my mom and that's how she is. So when she asks me nothing about my lovelife, especially if I'm seeing someone, it's a glaring enough omission that it's almost like her point-blank stating she doesn't approve.

I talked to her on the phone today, which is why this topic is on my mind. When I'm not feeling nervous and shit, I'm pretty excited about my upcoming date. My mom and I were chit-chatting and she asked me for my news, so I casually mentioned I have a date on Sunday, and she just so obviously didn't want to talk about it. She replied something like, "Oh yeah? Emmm.. that's great.." and then promptly changed the subject.

I suppose I should start getting around to accepting this. On another hand, I feel like she should accept it, because it's not going to change.

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