Claire Dickie on the isolation and pain of being judged because of your sexual orientation.
Most people are nervous about meeting someone else's parents for the first time but can you imagine what it's like to be a young LGBT person meeting your friend's homophobic parents?
My friend's parents are not fans of me. They don't yell at me, hit me, or make rude or insensitive comments, but they do hate me. When I have plans with one of my friends (for example, going to the cinema), they have to lie to their parents. They tell them that they're going with someone else or that there is a group of us going. If they didn't lie, they wouldn't be able to go. Their parent's reason for not letting them go anywhere alone with me? They worry that I'm going to "turn their daughter gay" and make a move on them.
Now, problem number one is that you can't turn someone gay. Most of my friends are LGBT anyway but haven't come out to their parents yet. The second problem with this is that I am about to celebrate my anniversary with my girlfriend. My friend's parents know this but for some reason, me dating another girl is irrelevant, and I clearly want have sex with my friends.
I wouldn't say that their parents are necessarily homophobic; maybe it's just me, or maybe they think that they're protecting their child. I don't know what they're thinking. But they're hurting me. My friends are my friends, that's all they are to me. I have no intentions of pursuing them in any way but I can never convince them of that. No matter what I say or do, I cannot make these parents trust me. I have never done anything to them to make them distrust me and yet for some reason, they hate me. I understand that parents want to look out for and protect their kids but what are they protecting them from? I am not a threat. I am not a problem.
When I know that my friends have lied to their parents to allow them to spend time with me, it really hurts. It makes me feel worthless and wrong. It makes me doubt myself and it makes me feel lonely because I know that my friends have to pretend to be somewhere else. With one friend in particular, our text conversations have to be deleted and covered up with messages about homework or something discreet, which makes me not want to talk to my friends because I know that our conversation will be forgotten and lied about later on.
This is a problem that I face every day. I can't spend as much time with friends as other young people can, so I get left out of things. I drift apart from my friends. I lose friends. And making new friends is even harder because I now have that fear that I'll lose them just because I'm a lesbian.
It wouldn't bother me as much as it does if it was just one family, but it isn't. It's all of my friends. To feel like you're not worth friendship just because you're proud of who you are is such a horrible feeling that is truly isolating.
Being an LGBT person in modern society is, for the most part, bearable. A lot of us don't experience any homophobia at all. But what people don't realise is the little things; the throwaway comments, the lies, the mistrust, and the underlying hatred. Those are the things that really wear you down.
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