Dear Papa Bear,
I'm in a long distance relationship with my mate of almost four years now.
Recently we've been trying hard to see each other since we haven't exactly met more than twice. The only problem besides some financial issues is dealing with his parents.
Recently, we both came out to our parents, him about being gay and me about being bi. His was more recent, I had come out about a year or so earlier. My parents have taken it lightly and tend to just avoid the situation or bringing it up, but I can at least discuss my boyfriend coming down to see me sometime this year for about a week. His parents instead want absolutely nothing to do with him being gay or me, accusing me of being a sexual predator even though I have been in this committed relationship for so long. They also tend to act as if I do not exist and even though I have tried to talk to them on several different occasions over the phone or webcam, they instead get angry and accuse my boyfriend (who is older than me by the way) of rallying against them. I don't understand what kind of sense that makes.
His siblings, especially his sister, knew he was gay and I actually got a good friendship going on with his sister, however it is surprising me how she along with his brother, are ganging up on him as well.
I stopped trying to talk to them out of fear that they would do something to my mate, but it uneases me that they would choose to ignore such a big part of their son. My boyfriend also suffers from some anger issues which he is trying to fix, but have clouded his mind so much as to not trust his parents anymore and won't try to talk to them anymore about us.
We're trying to make plans to meet up this winter, but so far every plan has fallen through due to parental difficulties. I'm planning on moving out next year, but he won't be able to for another 2 years.
I do love him, and I am sure of that. And I'm also sure he loves me as well. I'm just scared that something might happen between him and his parents and I want to know if there is anything possible I can do to help calm this situation down.
Thanks for your help,
* * *
Right to the point: there is nothing you can do to intervene between your boyfriend and his parents to “calm the situation down.” Any involvement you have will only be perceived by his parents as interference or worse, so it would be wise for you not to try.
There are several reasons why people are homophobic: 1) they believe what their religious leaders tell them that it is sinful; 2) they were indoctrinated from a young age to hate and fear homosexuals, bisexuals, and others who deviate from accepted heterosexual norms; 3) they are ignorant and don’t really understand it and, therefore, as is natural in humans, they fear what they do not understand; and 4) the most homophobic people are actually aroused by gay sex themselves, which scares them, apparently, into being aggressively anti-gay. See this interesting article: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-big-questions/201106/homophobic-men-most-aroused-gay-male-porn).
If religion is not the issue here with either of your parents, then one thing you can each do with your own parents is try and educate them. The more they know about gay and bisexual people, the more they can understand that it is not a threat to them (there are dozens, if not hundreds, of books on this topic, so I will just say a little research at the library could lead you to some good books).
You are also doing well by setting yourself up as an example of a non-promiscuous bisexual person by being in a long-term relationship with one man. It might take time for your parents to see this, but eventually they will have to admit that you defy the stereotype in this manner the longer you two stay together.
Prejudices and fears such as homophobia are usually ingrained deeply into the human psyche. They are therefore extremely difficult to reverse. It would be very surprising to see any homophobe suddenly “see the error of their ways” and become accepting of gay or bi people overnight. People can change, however, over time. It takes effort and persistence on your part, and sometimes even then you will end in failure.
If I were you, DT, I would continue to make plans to be with my boyfriend and work on what will hopefully become a loving relationship that will endure. In the meantime, continue to show your family, by example, that you are by no means horrible people who deserve rejection. Be kind and open to your family (without kowtowing to them) and don’t aggressively try to change them. With luck, they will eventually come to their own conclusions that will benefit all of you.
Bravo to you for being yourself and being open about it.
8/5/2012 07:00:58 am
DT, I am a sad bear to hear of your relationship issues because of homophobic parents. In the past week or so, I've heard this from a few people. It saddens me that parents would do or say these hateful things, or show these hateful ways to their children, no matter their ages. Like Papabear, I wish you the best of luck in your relationship. And I hope that if you ever choose to have or adopt children, that you raise them not to fear differences but to embrace them with open minds. Big bearhugs!
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