Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Parental Acceptance, My Coming Out Story, and The Reason for this Blog.

When I started this blog I promised it wouldn't just be another collection of some homos rantings. I didn't however promise there wouldn't be ANY ranting. I do have something that may not so much be a rant, but a story so to speak I would like to share.

Those who know me personally more or less know that I come from a rather conservative Christian upbringing. When I say that I really mean my father and step-mother. My parents divorced when I was 11. I then soon after came to live with my father, who, after meeting/marrying my step-mother became a hardcore Christian.

When I first came out I was reminded that while he loved me he believed that I was living a sinful 'lifestyle" and that it would send me to hell. My mother has always been very accepting of what I am. She even has met Kentucky boyfriend. You may be wondering what all that has to do with my title. Well, to be honest, a  lot.

During most of my teenage and adult life the relationship with my father has had somne ups and downs. Sometimes we barely spoke civilly and other times we have gotten along very well. Since my coming out in May of 2004, there has been one major issue. My father still does not accept who and what I am. Normally I do not seek out anyones approval. I grew up the kind of kid you see on TV who has little if any friends and tried their best to be "cool" and do what they felt would make them "cool" It wasn't until after I moved to Ankeny, Iowa from Omaha, Nebraska that I changed my outlook on life. I met one of my best friends to this day, Adam Edwards, and he helped mold me into the man I have become. Adam helped me realize something that I have applied to my life since. You are pretty much damned if you do and damned if you don't, so you may as well do whatever the hell you want to. Also, you can never make everyone happy, so focus on what makes you happy. Thus, I decided that I would shed one by one my fears of being accepted. I started caring less and less about what people said. I started caring more about my own comforts and less about fashion until one day I decided to come out.The date was May 25th 2004. I was 20yrs old.

Now this was not an easy transition. For one thing, I was still dating my longtime girlfriend. I still had to break up with her. I didn't want to admit that I was gay. I didn't know what her understanding of gay people was. She too grew up in the church. I didn't want Amanda to think it had anything to do with her. I eventually did break it off with her. It was actually a week after I had publicly come out on the blog I kept at the time. 

Amanda, obviously, was not the only obstacle to get over. Once my parents knew...I had to run that gauntlet. My mother was more disappointed in the fact I wrote her a letter rather than just call her or told her when I was in town and handed her said letter. She wasn't so much disappointed in me as disappointed in herself for making me feel I couldn't just tell her. My father was not so gracious. As I stated before, he informed me that I was going to go to hell. This as you can imagine depressed me for a very long time. It was already hard enough to reconcile my faith with my sexuality, but then to have my own father throw it into my face made things worse. Also, it would be proper to note that while all this was happening I took an overnight position while working and going to school during the day. My social life went to complete hell. So, with no friends and very little support from my close family, I went into a deep depression that mixed with my financial troubles due to unreliable roommates cause me make an attempt on my life. My jacked-up mindset felt I was completely alone. Having no one close to turn to, I felt it was my only option. I have since learned how crazy my thinking was. I actually don't like talking about my suicide attempt. It was a dark time in my life and it only brings back bad memories. The only reason I am bringing it up not only because it goes with the whole struggles I mentioned, but I wanted to finally explain why the teen suicides inspired me to create this blog. I of all people know that is does get better. I have met some wonderful friends and co-workers who love me for me and regardless of what I am. This realization mixed with my knowledge of the pain is what truly drives me during this blog. I can't help but think that if more of us in the gay community would worry less about our hurt feelings and more about how other can learn from them that we could help prevent what is happening to our gay youth...or at least how they handle it. 

Now, back to the original point.   Since coming out and coming to terms with it, I have felt like a huge weight had been lifted. I was free to be the person I truly was. I knew it would still be a struggle of a sorts to fit in, but at least this time it would be the real me fitting in. This time it wouldn't be some prepubescent kid trying to get people to like him, but rather an adult trying to get people to treat him the same as everyone else. 

Most of my efforts have paid off. I have more friends that I know what to do with and people adore me regardless of my sexual orientation. There are very few people who don't know I am gay. There has still been one major issue I have not been able to get over...my father's acceptance. It seems no matter what i say and do he is totally unmoving in his position that I have CHOSEN a immoral and destructive lifestyle. I will give him a little credit that it is no longer the elephant in the room. When I first came out I couldn't even broach the the subject. Slowly it has come from that to now I make jokes about myself and he at least can find the humor. I just usually make sure I don't tell anything too out there. He also seemed to take it well when i told him I was engaged to a Canadian drag queen, but that could be because we were both on our 3rd drink. 

I was under the impression that maybe my father had softened in the last 6 yrs. It took me a while to come to terms, so it would only seem natural that he would. I realized a couple days ago how wrong I was. We had been discussing the retention election of the 3 supreme court Justices here in Iowa that got ousted in the last election. His opinion on the matter had me awestruck. Despite everything, despite having a gay son,and despite all that I have said; he still voted to have them removed citing that they had over stepped their bounds and were making radical law from the bench.  This hurt. It's one thing to have the state throw into your face how society still feels about your make up, but to hear the same rhetoric from one of your parents is another. While I have never let my fathers opinion dictate how I live my life I still long for the day when he finally accepts that I haven't chosen anything. I realized the other day I probably shouldn't hold my breath.  This breaks my heart. I was rather down because of it, but I decided not to let it stop me. Instead to use it as more fuel to motivate me to make a difference. The next day I contacted OneIowa , and GLBTQ rights organization in Iowa,  and am currently waiting to hear how I can help despite my inability to drive and my lack of financial stability. I am no longer going to wait around for the day when I will march with my dad in the current pride parade. I know it will never happen. Instead I am doing what I can and using my father as a reminder of why I need to stay passionate. I know I am not the only GLBTQ member who has struggled to make their parents happy. Who was or are still afraid to come out because of what they may say, think, or do. Instead I am using my experiences to hopefully empower and give hope to those reading this blog to know that even if our family and friends do not accept us for who we are we still have allies. We can make new friends. It sucks, but it's better to have people like and love you for who you really are than for who they think you are. It has been quite a journey to get me to this spot. I still have a lot left to learn, but I will continue to share my experience along the way. 
 ~Drew Ronny
*P.S. Please comment and add your opinions. They are greatly appreciated. 

Michigan assistant AG fired after targeting openly gay student leader - CNN.com

Michigan assistant AG fired after targeting openly gay student leader - CNN.com