I Am Not Bi Because My Parents Failed

12/21/2018

istock/gilaxia

When I came out, I knew there would be people out there who would fundamentally be against me for a wide variety of reasons, whether it be religion, cultural differences, or just some good ol’ fashioned bigotry. It’s just something all of us in the LGBTQ+ community have to come to terms with and, as an out and proud bi man, I learned quickly how brutal people out there can be.

It’s never easy to read or hear these horrible things directed your way, even when it comes from a place of misunderstanding or ignorance, because it is centered on something about yourself that you have zero control over. Sure, these aren’t people I would ever want to be friendly with, but no one likes to be told the world would be a much better place without “you and your kind.” Alas, it is our unfortunate lot in life to face these kinds of comments and persevere as best as we can; preferably with a good sense of humor. I recommend the, “If heaven is full of people like you, I’d rather be in hell” line; it’s a real crowd pleaser for the religious zealots out there.

However, what I was unprepared for after coming out was that some people would not place the blame on me for being a bi man. Instead, they placed the blame for my “abnormality” on the shoulders of my parents. Of all the comments I have ever encountered, this one hands down takes the cake as the worst of the bunch.

I count myself incredibly lucky to have parents that accept me for who I am, not just when it comes to my sexuality, but in every aspect of my life. They support my career in a creative field, even though it’s not the most lucrative career path, because it is what I am passionate about. They helped me move to the big city, far from home, even though they think the rent is too high and the crime rates are frightening. Time and time again throughout my life, they have shown me what unconditional love and support looks like and have been the prime examples of what parents should be.

Therefore, seeing and hearing others criticize them for the way I am and the way I live my life strikes me to the very core.

I am not a bi man due to any fault on their part in raising me, that is just who I was born to be. However, I am lucky enough to be a proud, vocal, and accepted bi man because of the parents they are to me. I get to be myself, and help others like me who might not have parents who are like them, because of their support. That’s a gift I’ll never be able to pay back.

In my opinion, those calling my parents failures because they love, encourage, and support me unconditionally don’t actually understand what it means to be a parent at all. Would they be considered successful in their eyes if they had told me to be ashamed and embarrassed? Tried to change me through therapy or other means? Is it better for your child to be depressed, repressed, and confused just so you can stick to your preconceived notions of how people should live their lives?

The real kicker is that I am one of four children; I am the only one who identifies as LGBTQ+. We are all close in age (all ranging from 28-23), grew up in the same household with the same expectations, attended the same schools (even college), participated in the same sports, clubs, and extracurricular activities, and share several friends as well. Shockingly, they all still turned out heterosexual, leaving me as the lone bi brother. One would think that if our parents were churning out LGBTQ+ through their parental practices, they would have done better than one out of four.

I know that my parents laugh these comments off with good humor and a fierce parental dedication to me as their son; nonetheless, it pains me that they have to face these comments because of me and something about myself that I have no control over. However, they have never once complained or said anything negative about me being bi; they’ve only expressed worry that I am going to have a more difficult life because of what the outside world thinks.

While that might be true in some regards, I know I can face whatever comes my way because of who they raised me to be and who they are as parents and people in general. They are both intelligent, caring, and committed individuals who have overcome more obstacles and challenges in their lives than I ever expect to face; if they’ve taught me anything in this life, it is that you have to proudly be your authentic self and boldly face and fight oppression when you have they chance.

They are the best parents any person, LGBTQ+ or otherwise, could ask for, and I pity anyone who believes otherwise.

 

Blaize Stewart
Blaize Stewart is a recent graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he received a BA in broadcast journalism and a MA in journalism. He currently lives in Chicago, IL and works as an influencer relations associate for a full-service influencer marketing agency called Faam and as an adjunct instructor at Robert Morris University. Additionally, he runs the LGBTQ+ blog Out Loud, a space for members to share their experiences and thoughts on current events and more.