Safety Comes Not in Weapons, Only in Love
by Denny B–S
When I came out to my dad, he called me a slut.
Well, what he said to me, fourteen, in an old family car, was “So, like a slut?” with his kid-ish smile. My mother found this disrespectful and inappropriate when she heard, as did her coworkers, but I wasn’t offended at all. Probably because I expected to be beaten within an inch of death, or called an indecisive whore who wasn’t welcome at his table, or worse, a confused kid who was too stupid to understand my own feelings. Really, I expected all three.
The world isn’t kind. Just look up how many countries will gladly kill LGBTQ+ citizens.
I got lucky. My dad, while uncomfortably in denial, doesn’t associate anger with my sexuality identity (pansexual). As a kid living in a world where I’m not safe outside, I can’t tell you the way it feels when a parent won’t try to provide safety. You might not even realize that your kid is now looking at you, for a secure place to admit whatever’s bothering them, more so now than ever. As a kid, all you want is someone who listens and tries, even when you don’t admit it.
You don’t have to like having a gay son, or a daughter saying “I’m nonbinary,”, or a bisexual niece. You don’t have to like drag performances. You don’t have to like Pride Month. You just have to respect it.
Treat an LGBTQ+ person like any other person. Treat an LGBTQ+ kid like any other kid. Because we are just like anyone else. And just like any other kid, we’re desperately in need of a loving parent to talk to.
You might say “But I’ve never spoken against gay people! I’ve never done anything to them!”
You don’t have to say a thing for us to be scared. My parents didn’t, but being anything but straight and cisgender puts a target on your back. Everything becomes dangerous. Everything becomes nauseatingly scary and unfamiliar. Even the people we love.
Show your support, or at least respect our existence. Do your research, and politely ask your kid questions. Respect our boundaries like before. We’re not new people. We’re just learning new things about ourselves, everyday, like any other kid our age.
But don’t put us in some special spotlight. Media makes us seem showy, like attention is oxygen and we’re drowning. What we’re drowning in is stereotypes and two sets of standards. There is no gold star lesbian or fashionable gay best friend. There is no flamboyant requirement to be LGBTQ+. We already have to deal with standards set by for straight people. Humans come in too many fluids to ever all mold into one corner. That being said, even LGBTQ+ kids don’t all identify the same as each other, even when we share identifies.
If you truly want to be supportive, if you want to ensure your kid’s safety, be their safety.
It’s the only thing you’ll be able to ensure.