Michael Sam’s Dad Is Not Thrilled

12 Nov

“Michael Sr. is never going to be the spokesman for Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays. He’s not thrilled about his son’s sexual orientation. But he also hasn’t disowned his son. He never says his son is going to hell. He doesn’t talk about trying to cure him or make him straight. In his own rough-hewn, coarse way, Michael Sr. has accepted that his son is gay. “I love my son,” he said, “and I don’t care about what he do.” – Buzzfeed

Let’s talk about the awfulness of the statement, because it is awful,and it is one of those things I see in thinkpieces–however well written–that reveal deep ignorance.

Do LGBT kids (especially of color) require their parents to be anywhere near spokespeople for PFLAG? I didn’t even know what PFLAG was in my neighborhood. And as POC Queer folks are we cursed to be responsible for our parents lack of “thrill” about who we are? Because being gay, or being any sort of way that isn’t 100% macho or of your gender, causes ones parents not to be thrilled.

I recognized the un-thrill in my Mother’s voice when I told her I was getting married.

“Congratulations” She said. That was it.

A lot of my white gay friends and my partner were incredulous about my relationship with my mother. “You mean you haven’t told her you are gay?” I hadn’t, at least not directly. I told her directly that I was getting married, and she said congratulations, and she told my sister she was upset that I hadn’t “come out” to her in person.

Being gay, you get a lot of barriers put in front of you, barriers of propriety, about how you didn’t do something the right way, or you didn’t say the right thing. My mother is “not thrilled” and “hasn’t disowned me” and she also “loves me” in her “rough-hewn” way, but it is a love that is exhausting to accept because it speaks in code to avoid any direct truth.

Is that how love is supposed to be?


We are cursed, because we look like them, so we are required to explain them; by the middle class, by academia, by thinkpiece writers, by the upper-crust, by white gay friends. When we succeed in any way, we are asked to explain our own parents. If we do we are apologists, if we don’t then we are poor victims of abuse, regardless of the situation. Meanwhile the burden of their love weighs on our successes. We are our family’s victims and we are their educators. We come from them but we must always be a higher form than them. We must be perfect.

I plan on inviting my mother to my wedding. I hope she makes it.


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