The day your child leaves

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On Twitter, former Catholic speaking leader Joseph Sciambra had something to say about parenthood.

You may recall that Joseph Sciambra is a former gay porn actor who acquired a religion; he was a Catholic who wrote about how terrible it is to be gay in Catholic publications, but he apparently recently became Russian Orthodox without changing his shtick.

Sciambra wrote::

“The day your child comes out as LGBTQ is the day your life changes. 2. Fast 3. Sacrifice 4. Endure because hardship awaits 5. Live with a joyful heart.

What a miserable thing to say.

I sure hope Sciambra doesn’t have children.

I started thinking about what I would do if my own child came out as LGBTQ.

If Adrienne comes out as LGBTQ, I’ll say “Hey, me too!” then we’ll talk about it.

We’ll talk about how it was taboo in the 90s when I was growing up. We’ll talk about how the kids in the Catholic school sometimes said “gay” in a mocking tone, and I went home and asked my mom why they thought an archaism for “happy” was an insult. I’ll talk about my mom refusing to say anything at first, then telling me how horrible LGBTQ people were, how no better than pedophiles.

I’ll remind her of my response, in 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic was raging and Adrienne couldn’t play with her friends. She asked “was there a pandemic when you were a kid?” and I said ‘yes there was’ and told him about the HIV virus and how everyone was claiming it was ‘gay cancer’. I told her about the ridiculous superstitions, the idea that it was God’s punishment, my mother told me that it jumped the species barrier when a “male steward” had sex with a chimpanzee because the homosexuals have no self-control. I told her that my mother wouldn’t let us watch Captain Planet or that an episode of Bill Nye the scientist we watched when we studied the immune system, because she didn’t want us to know what AIDS was. I told him that I had gone to a secular university for undergrad, that I had taken a course on AIDS to fulfill a scientific requirement because it suited my schedule, that I had learned all kinds of things I had never experienced before. I watched the video of a nun reading aloud the names of children with AIDS she had cared for. I saw the AIDS quilt patch with a teddy bear sewn in, a memorial to a dead baby. And I said in my heart that God didn’t do it. We would talk about all that.

I will tell him that in the Charismatic Renewal, we were told that the Virgin Mary cried because of LGBTQ people and that the punishment that was coming would purify them from our society. The tolerance of LGBTQ people was a sign that we were at the end of time. Besides, it was disgusting, because gays have sex from behind.

I will tell him that one day, after having kept him for a long time, I confessed to my mother: “I think I am homosexual”, hoping that she would send me to conversion therapy so that I would not commit Fishing. I said “homosexual” because I didn’t know a word for “bisexual”.

And my mom said, “You’re not, because if you were, I’d shoot you and get us both out of our misery.”

And then she smiled, letting me know it was a joke, and explained that such feelings were just my teenage hormones. They would go away with time.

And I didn’t talk about it anymore.

And I thought to myself that I was straight.

And I believed it.

And I went to a Catholic school for graduate school, and I loved Jesus very much, and I married dad and then she was born, because being queer doesn’t really make you a freak. You continue to be human whether you are LGBTQ or straight. You find love where you find it, and you talk to God and do what you think he wants, and good and bad things keep happening. But it was very hard for me to repress a large part of myself like that. It made me feel dirty all the time. It gave me nightmares that I still don’t like to think about. And when I finally came out of the closet, to myself, I felt horrible. I felt like God couldn’t love me. I was angry at a God who purposely created something he couldn’t like. And honestly, I’m still here, feeling this terrible feeling and not knowing what it means. Sometimes I’m afraid to sleep at night.

No, on second thought, I won’t say all that.

It will probably come out in conversation later, but I won’t say any of that at first.

If my daughter comes out as LGBTQ, I’ll just listen. And then I’ll tell her that she’s my beloved daughter and that I’m proud of her, and that I love her just the way she is.

And I’ll remember, if God is a Father worth my time, He tells me the same thing.

picture via Pixabay


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