I used to be great at meeting parents, my own parents taught me to be polite, kind, and very gracious to them. I always try to put my best foot forward to show them that I am a positive influence on their child rather than a possibly reckless one but in the last few years I have shied away from meeting parents. Friends usually laugh this off but I am deeply disturbed that a preconceived idea of who I am is what represents me. I used to be known for my brother’s antics, the name “Trainor” haunting teacher’s nightmares for years afterwards. When I finally landed in their classrooms they shrugged me off to be just like my brothers. Now though, as I stand as my own person my reputation proceeds me but with a new word.
I had a friend who was a little flustered and she told me her mom thought that since I was gay and we hung out that she would turn gay and that I was planting feminist propaganda in her head. In truth, I did understand the feminist movement until I came to college and some heterosexual friends explained it to me. I had no idea the impact until Emma Watson got up in front of the UN to start the He For She movement two years ago. Yet, despite my lack of knowledge, it was assumed that because I am gay that I am a raging feminist that is against males in all aspects. This is far from the truth. The incident shook me a bit but I brushed it off hoping that other parents wouldn’t jump to the same conclusions. My friend Claire came home one time and mentioned how she had mentioned to her parents that I was gay. IT was off handed, simply another fact about the friend that was coming to stay with them over a break. Claire brushed it off and said her parents didn’t care.
When I finally met these parents I realized that she was right, they didn’t care. It was simply another facet of who I am, never questioned, never brought up, just another fact. I wasn’t sure if I liked that knowledge or the knowledge of people knowing that part about me prior to when I was ready to disclose that information. To most people the word “gay” is just another term for homosexual but for me it was a ten yearlong battle to finally accept it. That is a bit dramatic but I take a lot of pride in how far I have come in accepting myself and being comfortable telling others. Parents, though, aren’t always so enthused to see that I am who their child decided to hang out with. I have never murdered anyone but people always assume that gay people have an agenda to convert everyone else to this lifestyle when in truth I wouldn’t wish this upon my worst enemies.
As family weekend comes around again I can’t help but think of how I can avoid meeting parents. I don’t like the confused looks, the assumptions, and the way they look warily from their child to me. It isn’t as fun a weekend as some might expect. I was talking to a friend the other day and we talked about how some people won’t disclose our sexuality to their parents or else their parents won’t let the room with us. I shrug and hate that I understand, even though I want to educate their parents on how my homosexuality does not affect the way their child lives their life. My current roommate and I have been friends for a few years now and she is still straight and her parents take me to pride every year.