The Struggles of Homophobic Relatives and How to Deal With It

Dealing with a homophobic family

Brooklyn D'Alessio

     Looking down at the card I remember my eyes instantly filling with tears. It was not the first time it had happened, I knew I had to hide who I was and just smile through the pain. But reading this as a child who grew up with the impression that your family would never judge you for who you are, I knew something wasn’t right. Having to hide who I was attracted to or change what I was wearing is something I never thought I’d have to do, but things change.

     For most of my life I was told to not talk about my sexuality around my grandparents, because they were old school and didn’t understand that girls can like girls and boys can like boys. So when I was around them I had to make sure that I didn’t talk about the LGBTQ+ community. 

     Being pan sexual in a family full of homophobic christian grandparents is something that not many people have to go through, but for those who do know exactly what I’m talking about. 

     My grandparents on my step dad’s side are the most religious people I know, they say grace at every meal and go to bible study two days a week. Every Easter they have a party at their house and when you walk in,  they say “he has risen” and wait for you to say “he has risen indeed. The first time I went to their Easter party they said this to me, and I had no idea what it meant. The entire family looked at me waiting for me to say the words, I just stood there not knowing what to do. Eventually my mother saw what was happening and said it for me, knowing that if she said it, they wouldn’t notice that I didn’t.

     Over the next few months I started wearing more clothes that I felt comfortable in, band tee shirts and ripped jeans. I remember going to my grandparent’s house one afternoon to see them and say hi. When I walked in, instead of a nice hello, my grandmother looked at what I was wearing and said “Is that really what you like wearing?” I was shocked, no one had ever said something like that to me before. So I responded with something that I knew would make them forget about it, knowing that if I said anything else I wouldn’t hear the end of it. Knowing that if I told them that I really liked My Chemical Romance and ripped blue jeans they would not have understood.

     Two years ago on Valentine’s Day I get a card from my grandparents, it says “ We love you very much and if you ever want to talk about the love of God and how you can get involved in church ask your step-father.” This was a breaking point for me, they knew I was not religious and did not feel comfortable in churches, and yet they brought it up again and again. That is when I decided to tell them how I really felt. I told them that just because I wasn’t religious like them didn’t mean that I was a bad person. Just because I wasn’t straight didn’t mean I was broken. I am my own person with my own thoughts and beliefs and nothing they could say or do was going to change how I felt.

     Being apart of the LGBTQ community has taught me very important things about myself and others. It has taught me to feel empowered about who I am, and it has helped me learn to help others. Through the last few years of my life I have been embracing my family for who they are, I know they will never change and it wouldn’t be beneficial for me to try to change them. If you or someone you know is going through the same thing, hold on. Believe me it gets better.