"It was one of the watershed events in my life, like your first car, your first day at university, or when you decide to like coffee or dislike Madonna. They were the decisions that, one way or another, started to define your life and your identity. For me, of course, the one that truly stands head and shoulders above all those mundanities was the day that I finally decided to inform my parents that I was straight.
It seemed so absurd not to tell them. I was an adult; I'd moved out years ago. Everyone close to me knew I was straight. And my sister swore up and down that my father had known for years.
I don't know what exactly I was expecting, but what I got was that reserved and quiet resignation and forced understanding which seems to be unique to people of my parents' generation. My mother, who has always disliked the term 'straight', kept using the word 'heterosexual', which made me feel a bit like a lab animal.
My father didn't let on whether he'd known or not, but his composed exterior did seem reasonably genuine. As with most other things, he was processing it all deep inside himself: "My son is a straight man. My son is attracted to women." We've always got on fine, and I do think that he didn't want to turn into the stereotypical disappointed dad.
Introducing them to Elizabeth was the next hurdle. This, of course, was like having to do the whole announcement all over again. This was when it all became real. I was inviting my parents into my whole 'heterosexual' world. Luckily, Liz is incredible, and once they'd met her, my parents enjoyed her very much as a person. After they'd left, Liz and I had a good laugh at my mother's studied usage of the word 'heterosexual'.
I should have known that the final hurdle would be big family get-togethers like Christmas. My mother has quietly made it known to me that she'd 'prefer' that Liz not come, the pretense being not upsetting my grandmother. It's not the first time that my mother has pulled this tactic out of the bag, by the way - make my grandma the villain. I just want to scream, 'Grandma knows!' She's known I was straight since I was 14! Never have I felt more accepted by anyone on earth than by her, and she's 85! Why do you think that I talk to her, Mother, and not to you? It's because she was the one who looked deep into a teenager's eyes and said, 'Well, don't you forget that God loves you , and I love you....Now go out there and meet some gorgeous girl!'
An anonymous story written by someone in the IKON community.
How (Not) To Speak of God by Peter Rollins