ONTD Political

I Didn't Deserve to Lose You: An Open Letter to My Anti-Gay Parents

2:34 pm - 10/14/2012
[TW-Sexual assault, also this contains a pretty frank discussion of homophobia, and does contain homophobic slurs]

Dear Mom and Dad,

I was filling out an application the other day. It asked me what I felt my greatest accomplishment thus far was. I thought for a moment and answered that I am most proud of surviving all that came with coming out to you as a lesbian.

I am an adult and a college student with a job and a life apart from you. I've been told that I don't need you, and for the most part I rarely think about your absence. I have said before that I sometimes forget that I ever had parents; my life is too busy to dwell. Part of that is denial, isn't it? Being 20 years old hardly makes me an adult, and one always needs family, no matter his or her age.

I have lost friends, extended family and mentors as a result of coming out, but all those are secondary to parents. Friends come and go, extended family move about and expand, and mentors are replaced as one ages, but parents are needed. My first mature relationship, my first heartbreak, when friends turn on me, my big adventures, my successes and failures -- I want to share these experiences with you. I'm supposed to share them with you. I want you to be the first to know about my engagement. I want you to help me with the wedding planning. I want you to come with me to pick out my dress. I want you, Dad, to walk me down the aisle. I want you to be excited when my wife and I announce that we're expecting your grandchildren. I want you to be there when those children arrive.

But you won't be. You will turn up your nose, as you have done since I came out, and as you will continue to do. You will be somewhere in Tennessee, ranting about my sins, while my brother and older sister take your place at all these milestones.

I have always been a hardheaded, independent kid who never quite fit into the conservative, legalistic Christian box you had set up for me. Maybe it was easy for you to step away from me. You have to understand: I have spent most of my life attempting to run away from myself. The first thing I was ever told about homosexuality came from you, Dad. You were explaining that I couldn't join Girl Scouts because "they let homosexuals be den mothers." You elaborated, "Do you know what homosexuals do, Shura? They rape children." I was 8. Several months earlier I had been introduced to rape by a monster in a rest-stop bathroom outside Savannah. I didn't want to be a monster.

And if the sermons and radio programs that I was constantly hearing were correct, I didn't want to go to hell, either. Everything in our conservative Christian world was telling me that I was disgusting, perverted, ruining America and dangerous to children. I hated myself. I was willing to do anything to get away from myself, including suicide.

Yes, I was a difficult child. I wasn't easy to raise, or easy to love. And in the years leading up to my coming out, I was perhaps the most difficult.

You may not have suspected that I was anything but straight, but others did. From 15 to 17, when I wasn't living with you, I had few friends. Instead, girls would loudly accuse me of looking at them in a sexual way, called me "dyke," "fag" and "lez." They would strip down in front of me just to accuse me of masturbating to the image later. The harassment culminated in a month during which two girl would slip into my bed at night, pin me down and sexually assault me, all while whispering in my ear, "You like this, don't you, dyke?" I didn't feel like I could tell anyone about any of it, because I didn't want the subject of my sexuality to come up. I thought it would be written off because of the suspicions.

I was right. When I came out to you last year, that was one of the first things out of your mouth. "Why did you whine about those girls?" you demanded. "Didn't you like it, girls touching you? You like that. Why did you pitch a fit about it?"

Let me provide you with an answer: I didn't deserve it. I didn't deserve believing that I was disgusting, a monster or going to hell because of others' ignorance and hatred. I didn't deserve being ostracized and harassed because of others' ignorance and hatred. I didn't deserve to have my body violated because of others' ignorance and hatred. And I didn't deserve to lose you because of your ignorance and hatred. But all those things happened to me.

As a result, I have grown up. I have learned to stand on my own two feet and keep myself from being affected by others' actions. I have learned to be confident in myself. I have learned that in life there are hard choices to be made, and I have learned to make them. I have learned to rely not on others for my validation but on myself. I have learned to love myself.

My life is not always easy, partially because of your absence from it. How I am going to pay for college and where I am going to go on school breaks are constant worries. But you are the ones who are truly missing out. I will do great things. I will bring about positive change in this world. I will have a beautiful life. I'm quite convinced that my future kids will be adorable and ridiculously cool. You will miss out on all that.

I feel sorry for you. Your hatred, your ignorance and your fear are blinding you and took away your daughter. I will not dwell on this. I have living to do.

With all my love,
Shura

source
zeonchar 14th-Oct-2012 07:24 pm (UTC)
Was just about to post this. Great letter! She is so strong for writing this!
nesmith 14th-Oct-2012 07:28 pm (UTC)
The world needs more people like her and fewer people like her "parents."
alicephilippa 14th-Oct-2012 07:32 pm (UTC)
What a powerful letter. Sometimes it is sadly the only way to a resolution. Whether that resolution is reconciliation or catharsis it doesn't matter.
furrygreen 14th-Oct-2012 07:33 pm (UTC)
"Why did you whine about those girls?" you demanded. "Didn't you like it, girls touching you? You like that. Why did you pitch a fit about it?"

I would've asked my Mother if she enjoys being raped because, you know, she's straight.

I truly have a hard time understand why parents could kick a child out because of their sexual orientation. Hello? Hate the sin, love the sinner. Sound familiar? I can't believe parents who do this honestly love that child. Even if just to keep trying to convince to turn to the light.

I mean, my sister is gay and I'm a pagan. Of course we get the "you're going to Hell" but she still loves us and has never disowned us. We hear the lecture a couple times a year but...

I wish I could hug this Shura.

Edited at 2012-10-14 07:41 pm (UTC)
scolaro 14th-Oct-2012 07:42 pm (UTC)
I wouldn't asked my Mother if she enjoys being raped because, you know, she's straight.

My first thought as well!
Why is logic/common sense so hard for some people?!
hoodoo 14th-Oct-2012 07:50 pm (UTC)
this was heartbreaking to read :(
knittingknots 14th-Oct-2012 08:38 pm (UTC)
so much so. The world is sad enough as it is, without adding to the burden of grief by allowing hate to do things like this.
perthro 14th-Oct-2012 08:43 pm (UTC)
I have to be honest, I... would not be nearly as tough as she is, in her situation. ::shakes head:: I don't know how she does it. Shura deserves a million internets and awesomeness for the rest of her life.
caerfrli 14th-Oct-2012 08:51 pm (UTC)
I just can't understand parents like that. I've got kids and a grandkid. I wouldn't even disown them if they joined a cult or voted Republican.
elasg 14th-Oct-2012 08:58 pm (UTC)
You're so strong, so brave. You're going to be a wonderful wife and mother and your kids won't ever have to deal with the mental abuse of being told that there's something wrong with them because of the way they were born. I hope you and your wife have a wonderful life together because you DO deserve that.
romp 14th-Oct-2012 09:35 pm (UTC)
That is well written. She sounds like she understands how fucked up her parents are and that none of that belongs to her. Still, that's intellectual and she may struggle sometimes with the feelings that aren't rational.

It's gutting to be rejected by a parent. Even if you know all of the above, our culture tells us that parents, and especially mothers, love unconditionally. So if you can't keep even their love, how worthy are you of love from anyone?

Gah. At least as society learns and accepts, people who lost the parent lottery have a greater chance of finding support elsewhere. I hope this letter is read by many people.
moonbladem 14th-Oct-2012 09:39 pm (UTC)
She comes across as an intelligent, articulate, and a very strong person, despite all her heartbreaks, disappointments, and crap she's gone through. I truly wish her all the happiness her heart can hold.
tigerdreams 14th-Oct-2012 09:58 pm (UTC)
It honestly amazes me that she can find it in herself to sign off with, "With all my love." She's a much more loving and forgiving than I am.
urplesquirrel 14th-Oct-2012 10:24 pm (UTC)
I know. She's far, far more Christian in her attitude (no idea about her beliefs, but still loving them and wanting to make amends is what Christians are supposed to feel towards someone they've fallen out with) than her right-wing conservative parents are.

Edited at 2012-10-14 10:45 pm (UTC)
nepthys_12 14th-Oct-2012 10:18 pm (UTC)
She is so amazing and courageous. Her parents are complete assholes.
mickeym 14th-Oct-2012 10:18 pm (UTC)
Reading this broke my heart. My son is not much younger than her -- almost 18 -- and has been exploring his sexuality. And I've told him over and over again, no matter WHO he ends up with, no matter their gender, I will love him. I can't imagine NOT loving him, no matter what.

It's pretty much beyond my scope of understanding how any parent could disown their child, or walk away from them, kick them out, whatever. I just don't get it.

I would love to find this courageous young woman and give her a hug (or ten), and offer to be her mom.
gloraelin 14th-Oct-2012 10:27 pm (UTC)
Beautiful... and horrible. And I totally feel for her. I cut off my parents [not because they were harassing me because I'm pan, although I'm sure that would've happened if I came out to them] and it's one of the hardest things I've ever done. Society tells us that family is the most important thing EVAR, even in subtle ways like the advertizing we see. But sometimes our blood family is not the family we need -- sometimes our chosen family is the most important thing.

I hope she finds a love and has as many wonderful children as she wants, and has a supportive group around her.
boogans 14th-Oct-2012 10:34 pm (UTC)
She's incredibly strong and courageous. I wish I could be that brave.

But I'm not, so in the closet I'll stay when it comes to my family.
carmy_w 15th-Oct-2012 03:59 am (UTC)
*hugs, if you want them, until the day you don't have to be brave anymore!*
urplesquirrel 14th-Oct-2012 10:41 pm (UTC)
I couldn't imagine disowning my children for anything less than, like... they turn out to be a rapist and an axe murderer. You know, something unquestionably evil. The idea that someone would do it because their kid is anything other than 100% the way you want them to turn out is so alien to me.
darth_eldritch 14th-Oct-2012 10:55 pm (UTC)
I want to give *HUGS* to her and everyone here, if you want them, who has ever experienced, or expect to experience should they come out, any degree of this hate and/or ignorance.

I just don't understand this kind of hatred and rejection.

Edit to clarify.



Edited at 2012-10-14 11:00 pm (UTC)
mentalguru 14th-Oct-2012 11:22 pm (UTC)
She's a wonderful loving person who deserved better parents then the ones she got. I deeply admire her and hope she finds the family she needs in other people some day.
coraki 15th-Oct-2012 01:51 am (UTC)
What her father said to her about the girl scouts after what she had suffered a short time before. So callous. What a horrible person. I know we can't pick our families, but I hope whomever she spends the rest of her life with. The family will take her in with open arms and she becomes a part of theirs.

It's her parents loss.

I wish I could give her a hug.
wathsalive 15th-Oct-2012 05:37 am (UTC)
What a powerful letter. I see a lot of parallels between her story and mine.
jennilee 16th-Oct-2012 01:11 am (UTC)
me too, except my dad can fuck off permanently. i wish i was still close with my mom but unfortunately they are a package deal.
valarltd 15th-Oct-2012 07:04 am (UTC)
This breaks my heart. She's the age of my oldest.

Both my daughters are bisexual and both are out. We have been their support system. My fundamentalist husband rethought his beliefs and is now vice-president of our local PFLAG.

I really don't understand parents who behave as hers did. They are stupid, and hateful people, who do not know what they have thrown away.
May she make that difference she wants. May she find her wife, and may her children be as adorable and ridiculously cool as she could hope.
And may her parents learn better.
tiddlywinks103 15th-Oct-2012 07:08 am (UTC)
I will bring about positive change in this world. I will have a beautiful life. I'm quite convinced that my future kids will be adorable and ridiculously cool. You will miss out on all that.


Get it, Shura!!! Her parents suck ass, she knows and has accepted this, and her life with be the better for it. Awesome. Hopefully, she has gotten, or will get, therapy for her sexual assaults and things, as she deserves.
caterfree10 15th-Oct-2012 04:39 pm (UTC)
This is exactly what I'm terrified of if I ever come out to my parents. For all they frustrate me, I still love them and imagining life without them unrelated to death is terrifying for me (well, the death loss still scares me, but that's at least expected at some point for all children). Add the rejection of top of the horrible things she experienced and I can't imagine being that strong at all. That Shura is is amazing in its own right.
halfshellvenus 15th-Oct-2012 08:19 pm (UTC)
Fantastic letter. I feel so for her, having her parents react as they did, but to have her at least intellectually know that it's their problem and has nothing to do with her... that's the hardest step of all. One day, she will believe it emotionally and without question. She's on the road to her serenity with this grief.

Didn't you like it, girls touching you?
This seems to hit gay people more often than straight, the idea that ANY person of the potentially desirable group must therefore be desirable.

THOSE girls touching her are not the same thing as the abstraction of "girls," some of whom are attractive to her and not bullying and abusing her.

I'm glad she has her sister and brother to help her through this. She hasn't lost all her family, and that makes it a little less hard. And sometimes, that also makes all the difference.

jaded110 15th-Oct-2012 09:04 pm (UTC)
Her parents don't deserve her as a daughter, in my opinion. I'm glad her siblings stuck by her though. I wouldn't be this strong since my parents mean more to anyone. :(
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