29 April 2010

The Prodigal Blogger Returns

I guess I needed a break from more than family drama. Ten days is the longest I've gone without blogging since I started sixteen months ago. But now I'm back, somehow rested and ready to resume.

Don't worry I'm not going to inflict any heavy philosophical oratory or stultifying legal analysis on you, gentle readers. My life is not all lofty dry analysis from some remote ivory tower. Actually it's been quite full lately, so much that for the last ten days it's crowded out any blogging. I've been having a great time. Work continues to be lots of fun since we all just sit around playing with iPads of course, and I've kept in touch with lots of friends individually and made new ones with whom I've wryly hammed it up in rollicking chat sessions about everything from Bach to pajamas. I found a new hotel that will give me mileage points with every stay; this place has big queen size beds on really high box springs with thick European mattresses and comforters and sheets with that only-in-hotels cool texture that almost audibly rustles when you slide in. For somebody like me who usually resents the time wasted in sleeping, it's nice to look forward to going to bed.

Last weekend I took the kids to the beach; we decided the water was still a bit cold for riding the waves, so we all built a huge sand castle instead. On the way home I bet my son $1 (his idea!) that the big box of Fruit Loops and Apple Jacks he'd noticed in the kitchen cupboard WAS brand-new from a Costco run and not some forgotten box from a year ago; when we got home he checked the date and was dumbstruck to find that dad was right. Don't you hate it when your dad's right. Fortunately it's rare. I insisted that an honest man pays up when he loses a bet, so he reluctantly handed over the dollar in his pocket. I asked if he had any money to buy a snack at school the next day, and when he said no, of course I gave the dollar back. If the weather cooperates this weekend we may go for some swimming and tennis and lying by the pool, maybe even some basketball; son and heir didn't do too badly last time and is improving.

The travel schedule continues, and with my airline of choice offering double mileage points for all flights through the end of next month, plus packing it in with hotel & rental car stays, by mid-May I will have my 8th round trip ticket from mileage points since I started all this traveling. Most are already allocated for future travel plans though. Including the big trip this summer back east, woot woot! First Boston for the four weddings (and no funerals, please God), then New York which the twins are dying to see, then on to DC for the 4th of July! It's gonna be amazing. I can't believe it's less than two months away!

In case anyone's wondering what's going on with the extended family. My dad did reply to the note I blogged about earlier, the one in which I told him I loved him too, I just needed some time away because I'd felt so beaten up. He said "OK, let me know if I can help, and we'll talk again when you're ready." Like I said before, he is a good and kind and decent man who wants the best for his family as he sees it, and does try very hard to respect his grown childrens' prerogatives. I respect him for that. I also don't think he realizes how long a break I might end up needing. I'm not sure yet myself. But like my little blogging break, I'm sure I'll know when it's over.

I haven't been completely silent though. While off line here I couldn't help jumping into discussions elsewhere in cyberspace, including this excellent one over at Mormon Matters which I highly recommend to everyone in the Church, gay or straight. I was also dismayed to see the incredible bigotry that persists in pockets of orthodox Mormonism like St. George UT, where the school district's decision to authorize gay clubs at area high schools has prompted a bunch of the local knuckle-dragging Neanderthals to pull out their crayons and write angry protests to the newspaper in Salt Lake that merely reported it. I'm sorry if that sounds uncharitable but if you read some of the comments to the story, you'll understand. The ignorance and irrationality is astonishing, really. We may have made lots of progress in some areas but clearly lots of work remains. But I count my blessings too; at least I'm not in Iran where they execute their non-existent gay citizens.

And finally, with uber-conservative Justice Antonin Scalia today eviscerating in oral argument those who want to keep secret the names of Washington state voters who signed petitions to put Referendum 71 on the ballot to kill off domestic partnerships there, and final argument now set for 16th June in the Prop 8 trial, I'm feeling pretty darn good. The plane is half-empty, I get a whole exit row to myself so I can stretch out across three seats to write this post, soon I'll be back home and able to work at my own desk and compliant with my own dress code, the kids will be back home again, and life will be very sweet indeed.

18 April 2010

Next Chapter: In Which Rob Replies To His Dad

Thanks to everyone for your time and suggestions, I really appreciate the care and concern. After due reflection, I decided that I just wasn't yet ready to re-engage on anything of substance with the family yet.

I have always been a conciliatory peacemaker within the family and I'm sure they expect I will just come around soon and agree to their terms for continued participation in the group. While I appreciate the advice that I should keep lots of communication flowing right now, my only leverage to prod my family off their prejudice and deafness toward dialogue and understanding is the presence of me and my kids in their lives. To step back from that for a while would be no hardship for us; we don't live close to any of them and don't see them that often. I don't know of any other way to demonstrate that I mean what I say, that I'm not going along with their demands that I act like I never came out and that I continue to self-censor whenever I'm around them. And since it would be so extremely unusual for me to simply withdraw for any length of time, eventually they'll understand I really am serious. Actually I've really enjoyed the last few weeks of peace and quiet, of not having to worry about any of this. It's been very restful and therapeutic. I need more of that.

So here's what I sent to my dad this morning:

Dear Dad:

I love you too. The kids and I are all doing fine, life continues as normal. I have felt so beaten up by the past month's events with the family that I need some time and space. I will be back in touch.


I love my dad and my family. And it's important that I not cede this issue to them.

16 April 2010

Next Chapter: In Which Rob Hears From His Dad And Wonders How To Reply

E-mail from my dad today:

My son: I love you very much and have missed your calls and updates on how you and the twins are doing.

Much love
Your Father

OK, friends and readers who've been following my wrestles with the family's reactions, you know what my dad has said before. You know what my siblings have said. You've read here what I would like to say back.

I do love my dad and have told him so many times. I understand his reaching out. I know he won't be around forever. Tomorrow morning while I'm sleeping off tonight's party he could be nibbled to death by ducks in a park. Whatever.

But honestly I don't know if I'm ready to resume the conversation yet. The one we had last time was like a one-two sucker punch not in the gut but a bit lower down. Then followed the next week by an hour of the most intense tongue-lashing I have ever endured in my life from another family member. It was probably the single most brutal week I've ever endured at the hands of my own family.

I'm still recovering from all that. Having lived overseas for a while, I'm accustomed to long periods of little contact with family members, and right now, frankly, I'm glad to be there again. It's restful. It's peaceful. I need some time away to heal.

I don't wish to throw a hissy fit or a tantrum like a 5 year old and stomp my feet and say I'm not gonna talk to you no more if you don't let me get my way. That's not it at all. But I know what they all think, and I have no more patience for facades. So if I talk to them again and they're honest, it's going to be unpleasant. At least for as long as they hold to current attitudes, which so far they seem unwilling to even examine or talk about, let alone think of changing.

In such circumstances, I think the best thing I can do for everyone is to simply stay away for a while until somebody says OK, we are willing to listen to you and give good faith consideration to what you say. I don't see the point in talking before they're willing to do that.

Meantime, my dad misses and loves me. I understand. And I don't want to be cold or harsh or ungrateful. But I am feeling so beat up by all of them that I just don't know if I'm ready to re-engage yet, even in response to a message like that.

I know some of you will say man up, put your feelings aside, respect your dad and his olive branch, etc. Don't think I haven't already thought at great length about all the reasons and arguments for doing just that. No need to browbeat me further about it. But that's exactly what I've already done several times over the past few months as his objections to my "lifestyle" became more and more strident, till it got to the point of . . . well, of our last conversation. Frankly, there's been a serious breach of trust there, and while I sympathize with his missing me and the kids, it's going to take me a while before I'm ready to risk it happening again. It's like the story of the puppy who approaches its master and is greeted at first with nice strokes and scratches behind the ears but is then suddenly whacked on the nose with a newspaper. After that happens a few times, eventually the puppy learns not to trust the strokes and scratches, and it takes longer and longer for the puppy to be willing to risk getting whacked again if it keeps approaching the master.

Is that fair to my dad? I'm sure that was never his intent. It's not his nature to be like that. As I've said before, he is a good-hearted, well-intentioned, kind and honorable man who wants only the best for his family as he sees it. And, for all that, this puppy has gotten whacked on the nose once too many times now. It's gonna take me a while before I'm ready to go back.

OK, have at it, everyone.

15 April 2010

Cross Post

Check out my latest column at Brody's Notes & Scribbles.

When you read it you'll understand the origin of a new word I want to push into the lexicon:

Huckabee: verb. To cling to a mistaken idea while ignoring compelling evidence that proves otherwise.

14 April 2010

The World's Most Magnificent Job Application

When I was five I heard some music that almost hypnotized me with its melody, its precision, its structural complexity. Of course I couldn't have articulated all that as a kindergartner, but it was true. That was a major early life imprint and I have loved the music of this composer ever since. He lived a while ago but his music is timeless. I love lots of modern stuff too, jazz, rock, techno, even zydeco. But this guy's music has stood the test of time and many modern popular musicians will acknowledge his genius and his influence on all music that followed his.

He lived only 65 years and actually lost his sight near the end of his life. He also had 20 children by two wives (not polygamous). He had constant financial stress, of course. And more than once he applied for a music director's job which he didn't get. But as part of his application for one of those, he wrote a set of pieces which included that one I heard at age five and which has influenced my life ever since. I wanted to share it with everyone.

Watch at 1:27-1:29; the two musicians in the foreground catch each other's eye and smile, as if to say "Isn't this fantastic." I know how they feel. And notice the ages of the musicians too; though the music is centuries old, these are young people playing it. Obviously they know quality, and they prove this music has universal appeal for all ages. In parts they almost seem to dance as they're playing. It'd be hard not to! IMHO this guy's music should be the soundtrack for heaven. BTW, his name is Johann Sebastian Bach.

12 April 2010

Grown Up Rob Talks to Teenage Rob

Today Chris asked what I'd say to my 18 year old self if I could give 100 words of advice. I realized this would make a perfect blog post and would also be a fun bit of reflection and looking back. So here it is, in 100 words, what I wish somebody had told me back then and I wish I'd taken to heart.

Dear 18 year old Rob:

You're too fearful. You have courage, use it. Break out of the bubble; the world is far wider, more wonderful and filled with opportunity than you think. Explore and embrace it. Don't be afraid to be true to yourself.

Your time really is limited so pack every day with purpose and accomplishment. But stay humble, you'll always need to learn and grow more. Laugh, have fun, but avoid trivia. Love much, be humble, keep your faith, work hard, serve others. You'll have great trials, but great blessings too. Always be grateful for them and you'll always be happy.

Grown-up Rob

Anybody else want to give this a try? I'd love to read what the rest of you who are sufficiently past your 18th birthday would say to your 18 year old selves now that you are wise and grown up.

09 April 2010

About That Family Letter

Thanks to all for your thoughts and concern. Many points very well taken. I value everyone's input and perspective and am grateful so many of you took the time to help.

Let me clarify one thing I said before. I don't know if I will ever actually send this letter. If I do, it won't be for a while, and it will be revised further. Several of you advised that I take out the one year "deadline" and, given what I know of my family, that may be a good idea. Several of them have the tendency to dig in their heels and push back if they feel pushed, not because of the merits, but solely because they rebel against being pushed. It may well be better to simply give them the year and then, around Easter 2011, if they are still mired where they are now, let them know how things will be going forward.

Thanks again to all my family here who've been so supportive.

I will now attempt to return you to your regularly scheduled drivel.

08 April 2010

Letter To My Family, Revised

No first draft is ever worth anything, so an important document like this letter requires lots of thought and revision. I've done some polishing (and a little cribbing from Andrew's ideas) and present the result here for everyone's thoughts. No, I don't know when I'll send this. Things are very quiet at present; except for my brother, I haven't talked to anyone in the family for over two weeks, or to my dad for nearly four. I'm okay with that. When they're ready to talk again, they'll reach out, and I'll be able to judge the best time to send this letter.

Dear Family:

Now you all know. Each one of you reacted as I expected. Now I'd like to talk to everyone together.

Most of you wish I'd never come out. You've gotten angry with me for "causing discord in the family" by telling you I was gay. I've been told I would be "selfish" if I didn't keep silent. I've been called an "activist" trying to "pressure you" into "accepting an abnormal lifestyle" because I tried to share information you didn't have. You've assumed I've done something that justifies excommunication. None of that is true and I'm sad you've worried yourself by thinking unnecessary things.

We've always been a close-knit group. I've been there for you, you've been there for me. No family is perfect, but I've always felt very lucky to be part of this one.

But now it sounds like I'll continue to be accepted only if I conform to everyone else's templates and never talk about my friends, who I love, or anything else that hints at this thing that so agitates some of you. You've already told me all that is off limits. You want me to continue pretending as the price of remaining in the group. That's conditional love and it tells me you want me back in the closet. Dear family, that has to stop. I'm out of the closet and I'm not going back. I'll be judicious like always but I won't self-censor and I won't wear a mask. That's not "pushing an agenda," it's simple equality of action and treatment. I'm not hiding my head in the sand anymore and you can't either.

I don't get the "selfish" thing. I told a simple truth. I'm the same person you knew before. The only change is you know me better now. Everyone yearns to be understood and appreciated by those they love. You too. How it's "selfish" for me to want that I don't know, unless you all assume agitation and anger over my coming out is normal so I must be inflicting them deliberately and that's selfish, is that it? But doesn't that just show your attitudes toward being gay, rather than my motives? How is it not "selfish" of you to tell me "It's not about you!" when I'm the one who's endured the years of slurs and homophobic jokes and hurtful attitudes, and suddenly when you realize it's me you've been talking about all this time, it's clear you can't get away with that anymore?

Dear family, my coming out isn't selfish, it's just getting rid of a charade that served none of us well. All your hurt and anger and fear is so unnecessary. I wish you'd listen to me explain why. Other LDS families have rallied round their gay kids and said "We had no idea you wrestled with this for so long, we're so sorry you felt like you had to face it alone, it must have been awful for you, and we're sorry if we said or did anything to keep you in the closet. Thanks for telling us." How I wish that had been your approach.

I know I've challenged your paradigms and I don't expect you to change opinions overnight. But you'll stay stuck in hurt and misunderstanding if you refuse to talk or try to learn more about this thing you clearly know so little of. I won't be hurt if you refuse, but you'll hurt yourself by not learning and growing. I have lots of information that will help you get past your fears, but you have to do what St. Paul said: investigate, search, don't be afraid to question a status quo, to learn something new, to question the bases for your own beliefs. Joseph Smith wasn't. If what you believe is true, then it can withstand examination. Don't be afraid to talk and learn about this.

It will actually be very important that you do that. Here's why. God was right to say it's not good for man to be alone, and I'm not going to be a monk for the rest of my life. The Church says I must lock my heart and starve my soul and refuse to do what it says is the price of heaven for everyone else. But it can't explain why, and trust me, I've studied the question exhaustively. Some in the church claim that after this life I'll be changed into a happy straight guy and get a wife then. That's like saying "condemn yourself to lonely isolation in this life and your eternal reward will be to change to something you never wanted in the first place." Now there's an incentive. Sorry. I don't want to be straight. I'm delighted with the way God made me and I don't want it changed, ever.

I also want what you take for granted: a happy marriage. So understand this: I'm going to try to have one again. I don't know if it'll ever happen. I hope it does. I won't abandon personal standards in the process. But if I find him, I'm going to want to be with him and marry him. Then the choice will be yours how to react. I know I can't do it the way the Church currently claims is the only way. That's fine, it's better to be honest about what I can and can't do, what I want and what I can't go through again. I'll let God sort things out later. He knows the true and righteous desires of my heart far better than any LDS leaders who are trying to guess what He thinks about me. My faith and beliefs are not in or with them, and I trust the 9th Article of Faith which tells us that we don't yet know everything about God's plan, including this subject.

I think a year is plenty of time for everyone to think, ponder, read, pray, learn, investigate, discuss, and make your peace with where I'm at and where I'm going, to decide what relationship you all want with me and with my partner/husband going forward (if I find him). So if by Easter 2011 I'm with someone, or if I find him thereafter, we will from then on be a package deal. I will expect him to be accepted just as any other boyfriend or spouse of any of you, with no euphemisms, no pretending, no divided holidays, no requests that it just be me. It will be both of us or neither of us. That will be non-negotiable. I hope you will forgo judgment and condemnation and instead choose love and acceptance. Other LDS families have managed this and ours can too. Mom and Dad always said the only thing they wanted for each of us is to be happy. Well, this will do it for me. I hope you will respect that and that I can continue to be part of your lives for as long as we're all around.

I'm grateful for your desires that I be happy in this life and the next. I ask that you respect that I know what will make me that way, better than anyone else. My heart has greater peace now than ever before. I'm confident that this is how God made me, that He knows what will make me happiest. I believe He wants that for me like He wants it for each of His children, and that He'll be pleased as I try to reach that goal. I'm confident that He approves of who and what I am; that was made very clear to me as I prayed sincerely to know.

I know this may throw a huge wrench into many of your beliefs. I also know that it's your duty as a Christian to judge based on the fruits of others' decisions, not by what you personally might have preferred or chosen if you'd been in their shoes. And as I said before, every fruit of my decision to come out has so far been wonderful, and I expect that to continue. If you honestly look at everything you've always known me to be, and try to understand the intents of my heart, you'll be able to comprehend and share the same comfort I've received. There is so much for you to learn and I hope you'll be willing to explore it. A great place to start is www.ldsfamilyfellowship.org. And there's more. Just ask and I'll be happy to share.

I love you all as much as ever and wish only the best for each of you. Please stop worrying about me, there's no reason for it. I hope someday you can be as happy for me as I have become for myself.


01 April 2010

Back At The Bro

Correspondence with my brother continues. Here's my latest in response to a number of questions he asked.

Hey Bro, thanks for your note.

I wish everyone in the family had responded to me as you have, with tolerant acceptance and support and good faith questions. I like these kinds of questions because they force me to think and focus and condense and clarify for myself too. I'm going to answer in a different order than you presented but I promise I'll hit them all.

What does this mean for you?

It means I'm no longer torn apart inside. I'd long since resigned myself to a life of secret, silent, miserable pretending, going through the motions of being straight but inside seesawing between fighting what my heart really wanted and daydreaming of how wonderful it would be to have it. It was never safe to be authentic with anyone; I had to watch every word I said, every movement, every action, every interest, every opinion. The self-censorship was 24/7 for years. Imagine the stress. I could never open my heart or feel safe with anyone. I endured years of mockery and homophobia, even from our own family, never daring to speak up. Imagine the loneliness. Even when--or, perhaps, especially when--I was married.

Coming out means all of that is gone, thank God. The hurricane in my heart is only a memory, replaced by peace beyond what I ever thought possible. I no longer have two halves of my soul inside, silently but constantly at each other's throats. I'm just a single, unified, peaceful, contented Rob, happy with the way I was made. It's such a relief I can't tell you. For several days after I first came out, I would spontaneously burst into laughter from sheer relief and happiness. And I still feel that way! I only wish Dad and the sisters would be willing to actually believe that. [One sister] doesn't even want to hear, let alone talk about it at this point. Being gay and Mormon is no picnic, but in many ways I am happier, healthier, in a better place now than ever before in my life.

How have you changed?

I asked the kids how they'd answer this. They said "You're not frustrated all the time anymore. Before, you were always tense and stressed, We could see it in everything you did and even your relationships with other people." Now, they say, that's disappeared. I'm relaxed, calm, more tolerant and accepting of others, I'm much more easy-going and I'm a lot happier all the time.

They're right. I can feel it too. I'm all of that, plus more patient with myself and others. Before coming out, I went through the motions of being a Christian, but inside I remained a self-centered judgmental hypocrite. But since coming out, I seem to have really adopted and internalized all those Christian virtues I used to just pay lip service to. I don't judge others anymore. It's easier to be patient and forgiving. I'm far less pretentious. I don't care about material things so much. Every day seems like a wonderful gift and I feel such gratitude for everything I have, for kids, family and friends, for my health and skills and the fact that I finally found the courage to be honest about who I've always been.

It has been such an amazing journey. I've acquired so many priceless friends who I love and who have welcomed me into their lives with open arms and trust and confidence, and I've been able to do so many wonderful things, all because I came out. Yet Dad and the sisters just can't or won't see it as anything but me spitting on the Iron Rod and running headlong toward the Great & Spacious Building. That makes me so sad. Their prejudices are unfounded and unnecessary and I could give them a lot of comfort if they'd just be willing to listen. But I know everybody has to take their own time to deal with this.

I want to know how my big brother will change because of this choice. If at all. What next? Will it change your lifestyle? Does coming out mean that you are now free to act on all of the feelings you have? 

Well, I've changed significantly already, in all the ways I've already mentioned. And let me just clarify something. "The gay lifestyle" is a media-driven myth. There's no such thing, which is why I never use that word (it drives me nuts, in fact). There are as many ways to be gay as there are gay people. My "gay lifestyle" is going to look a lot like my "straight lifestyle" has. The only difference will be that when I talk about who I'm attracted to, date, love or marry, I'll be talking about a guy. And when I actually do any of those things, it'll be with a guy. Other than that, I'll be the same person acting the same way you've always known.

Another change, though, is that I've been forced to re-examine my relationship with the Church. While I'm grateful for some sparks of effort to try to reach out, they've been inconsistent and half-hearted, and overall the LDS Church remains deeply, profoundly anti-gay. According to its theology, the very concept of homosexuality should not exist. The LDS Scriptures can't explain it, so current leaders flail about with their own personal theories which the rank & file latch onto as though they were revealed truth. But no president of the church--the only one authorized to state doctrine--has ever said anything about it in his official capacity other than simply repeating what the Bible says. And there's solid Biblical scholarship which persuades me that the six verses in the Bible that mention homosexuality are not the condemnations most people think. So IMHO the LDS Church offers no more guidance than any other Christian sect confused about this subject. And that means I have not only the right but the responsibility to seek personal, individual revelation & inspiration for my own life's decisions.

I think Proposition 8 was a mistake the Church will continue to pay dearly for. The twins agree with me; before I ever came out to them and after hearing only my brief explanation of Prop 8, they both said everyone should be able to marry who they wanted and the Church was wrong to oppose marriage equality. Theirs is the mindset of an increasing number of voters and Latter-day Saints who will eventually make the policies and change the rules. In fact, the twins have been pushing me for some time to find the person they call their "other dad."

Coming out by itself doesn't "mean that I am now free to act on all of the feelings." I wrestled with that for a long time when I first came out, because I had no idea what I was going to do as far as that issue. Now, 18 months later, I've resolved it. God was right to say It's not good for man to be alone, and I have no intention of voluntarily remaining a Mormon monk for the rest of my life. The Church says I should but it can't tell me why, other than to say if I do, then after this life I'll be changed into a happy straight guy and get a wife then. Well, sorry, that's no incentive. I don't want to be straight, I'm delighted with the way I am thank you very much. So I've told Dad and the girls that they had better be prepared for the possibility of me finding someone. I don't know if it'll ever happen. I hope it does. But if I find him, I'm going to want to marry him. And the family will simply have to deal with it. I'm not going to suddenly abandon my standards. But I do want what all the rest of them take for granted, a happy marriage. Only this time I'll do it the way I always really wanted to all along. I understand I can't do it the way the Church says is the only way to Celestial Kingdom Top Floor. And at this point I say that's fine, it's better to be honest about what I can and can't do, what I want and what I can't go through again. I'll let God sort things out later. He knows the true and righteous desires of my heart far better than any leaders of the LDS organization who are trying to guess what He thinks about me.

In fact, I'll tell you this before I tell the rest of the family. I'm going to give everybody about a year to make their peace with my coming out and to decide what relationship they want with me and with my partner/husband going forward. If by that time I'm with someone, or if I find him thereafter, we will be a package deal. If other members of the family want me in their lives, they're going to have to accept him too, on the same equal footing as they would any spouse who marries into the family. If they're not willing to do that, then they'll have to accept that I won't be part of their lives either. It'll be their choice.

I know you don't expect to see any quick changes in Dad's or our sisters' points of view on the topic nor in the church's stand on the issue. I think a year is plenty of time for our family members to figure out whether they're going to choose love and family or judgment & condemnation. As to the Church, well, I have become a bit of an activist for this cause I guess. But I think the Church needs people like me to push it forward and demand that it walk its own talk. This is how it happened in the run-up to finally getting rid of Brigham Young's racist ban on blacks and the priesthood. I think the same process will be necessary for God's gay children to find a place at the table. And I want to spend the rest of my life working for that, so that my gay brothers & sisters younger than me don't have to endure what I did.

I would like to know what you feel has been accomplished by coming out.

I've found a degree of personal peace and happiness that I never thought possible. I feel whole, happy, authentic, honest. That's a very healthy thing. My kids like me better. I'm a better friend and a truer Christian. From here on out, my life will be far happier than it ever could have been otherwise. Every personal result of coming out has been wonderful, marvelous, miraculous.

I've also ended up throwing a nuclear bomb into the family's complacency and forcing several of them to confront a prejudice they'd do almost anything to preserve. But I'm not going to let them drift along anymore. If I have to bear the brunt of their anger and panic and horrified tirades about What Would Your Mother Think If She Were Still Alive, if that's the price of ultimately getting them past their homophobia, then I'm willing to be the target. Growth can be difficult but it's always worth it. And our family is capable of being better than they've been about this. I think I have more faith in them than they may have in themselves.

Sorry if this was longer than you expected, but hey, you asked the questions!