Sunday, November 1, 2009

Me growing up – part 5: the family and me being gay

Papi and mami

After he broke up with me, the first thing I did was calling mum and tell her about what happened. Actually, I told my parents that I had a boyfriend just after I got together with him. They were not happy, but I lived far away and saw them less and less.

I don't know what they thought at the time, but mum and I went on a trip to Paris where she and I got drunk together. That’s the first time we openly talked about me having a boyfriend and whom we would tell and whom not.

During that time, I didn't have a close relationship with my parents. I lived 2 hours train ride away and didn't go home to see them often, because I rather spent my weekend with my boyfriend.

I don't know how things changed, but over time, everything went better. I invited my boyfriend to my home sometimes, where he met my parents. They got along well and even met his parents once. But I lived a life where my parents didn't play a big role.

This changed over time, especially after I came back from New Zealand, where I met my second boyfriend, a New Zealander. To be honest, it was a relationship to forget. We shared nothing. We just had a good time with each other watching movies and doing other stuff…

Back in Switzerland I had a long-distance relationship with him and I was staying with my parents a lot. Our bond grew a lot, but I don't think we discussed gay things so openly.

This was in 2005. Now, things are very different. I talk very openly with my mum, and she asks about my boyfriend. Dad even met him when he came to Thailand they seemed to get along ok. While I was not so sure of my relationship once, mum said something sweet: “you know you can always come to me if you have relationship problems, maybe I can help you”.

On Christmas, the boyfriend will be with me in Switzerland, the first time I will be at a family Christmas in 6 years! Christmas itself doesn't mean much to me, but as a family event, it means a lot to me.

The fact that my boyfriend will be able to join makes it very exciting. Every year I got sent pictures from Christmas including my brother’s and my cousin’s girl- and boyfriends. This year, my cousin even has a baby. Times really do change…and I am not very old yet.

From what I hear from other friends, I am actually quite an average case. I know this is a generalisation, but I heard a lot of times that gay sons get closer to their mum over time but not really to their dads.

I am close to my dad, but we don't talk about relationship issues. I wouldn't even think of doing it. I don't know if I should, or if it’s totally ok to not talk about such issues with my dad.

I am really proud though that my grandparents (I still have all 4!) get to meet my boyfriend. Even though by now, everyone in the family knows I am gay, I want to be open with them and proudly present them my darling.

Grandma, grandad, my brothers and dad

My grandad is getting old and I am their oldest grandchild. Maybe they were hoping for great-grandchildren from me. They know by know there is no big chance for that, but now they have their great-grand child from my cousin.

The other grandparents.

I think there are a lot of issues related to my story that are worth discussing. I can think of many cultural issues for example. Most of my friends now are Asian and the way they grow up can be a bit different from my upbringing.

I was incredibly free. I lived away from home after I turned 19 and lived at least half a dozen time zones away since I was 21. My boyfriend’s parents for example are separated and his mum knows about him being gay and I even met her. But I am only going to meet his dad next week.

Coming out to family is a big issue we have to go through. We all do it differently. Some of us tell it while Gloria Gaynor is blasting “I will survive”, others will just slowly leak information to their parents, others chose never to talk about it even though everyone knows, again others get thrown out of their house, maybe even their families.

I realise I am privileged to have such a family and want to thank them for being so kind to me. See you at Christmas!


kawadjan said...

Nice post, BB. La BF visiting your family this Christmas sounds exciting. The fact that your family fully supports you in your relationship makes the visit all the more endearing. :-)

Was Once said...

You are definitely lucky with your family. N.Z. Is ahead of the curve, but do you think that the fast forward of gay rights over the last 20 years helped to bring it into their consciousness and acceptance?

Leon Koh said...

those are lovely pictures of your family.. hope you guys are getting along even better from now on

take care

fan of your blog!

BB said...

kawadjan. Yes it should be interesting. There was one episode before which made me cry, in a negative way. At XMAS 2002, my uncle (who is in some sort of church, not the official ones) said really insulting things about gays. I was so sad and ran into my room never to appear again at the table until everyone left.

I called my boyfriend at the time and he was supportive...that was very nice.

I am however curious to see how Christian uncle will react to meeting Hye Park:) The rest will be fine for sure...

Was once: My family is mostly Swiss. They are left-leaning social democrats, my dad is even in the local council for this party. But people's political colours often dont have anything to do with how modern or progressive or accepting they are towards us gays.

Usually gays are considered ok, but when they turn up in your family things might change. I think it's just a great unknown to them. They made us so they wonder what has happened that made us turn that way.

Obviously nothing happened, we were just born that way, but for parents who havent been in contact with gay people before, this may come as a shock!

Images of "gaydom" are still in their mind, like HIV for my dad. He keeps talking that I should watch out and be safe etc, as if that were a main concern of being gay....

Switzerland is however a great place to be gay for sure. It's the only country where the public has voted for a civil union bill, and 60% supported it. (including me of course)

Leon, thanks for your meant a lot to me putting up pictures of my family. They have no idea about the blog. But I think I dont have much to hide anymore now...

Florian said...

Nice to read about your "growing-up" and the family stuff. Well, yes, I do find some similarities too, though I'd never think of taking my Thai bf to my parent's house.. though they apparently accepted (had to) that I'm gay.. they would for sure prefer a european-university-type as bf instead of a thai boyfriend who (in their eyes) is just into money.. well.. - could be worse.