23 Jun A LETTER TO MY MOM
I am a Chinese, second-generation, middle class, cisgender, queer, and non-disabled female. I acknowledge the impact my positionality has on my understanding of the subject matter in this article.
Throughout my life, I’ve always had trouble communicating with you. Growing up as a bilingual child, it was normal for me to either not understand what you were saying, or for me to walk away, frustrated that I couldn’t articulate the right words to you. But the night that I came out to you, I understood everything that you had said to me.
I told you that I was gay, that I had known since I was four years old, that your other two kids already knew and they were okay with it, that I was born this way and I couldn’t change it. You asked who taught me to be like this, and then you told me that I couldn’t be like this, that everyone else wouldn’t be okay with this, that boys have to be with girls, and that you would never let me see my friends again.
I asked you to still love me. You didn’t say anything.
This carried on for a while, with both of us repeating the same things over and over again. I locked myself in my room that night, with my earbuds in, blasting my music while you stood outside my door, shouting at me. The next day, Dad told me that he already knew that I was gay, that he would’ve preferred that I had waited until after graduation to do what I wanted and that I should just not talk about it anymore. That was a different kind of hurt but it wasn’t as bad as yours.
It wasn’t the worst case scenario, but it was definitely the worst I’ve ever felt.
The first time that I came out to my sister, she told me to not tell you yet, because my brother was already causing a lot of trouble at the time and that you wouldn’t be able to handle me on top of that. The first time that I came out to a family friend, she told me that you would cry if you ever found out. She was right.
A few weeks after, I heard you in your room, crying on the phone to my aunt. But you didn’t tell her why you were crying, because you were probably too ashamed to let anyone know that you have a gay daughter. Instead, you just told her that your kids were no good and that you didn’t think it was worth it anymore to go to work every day. I felt bad, but another part of me didn’t because this whole situation was ridiculous.
For two weeks after coming out to you, I was a complete mess. At random times in the day, I would cry, or get angry, or just not feel anything at all. I had no control over my emotions and no idea how I should be reacting. I just wanted someone to tell me what to do, but that was ridiculous too. So I did what I could, and just kept myself busy. I went on runs, studied for summer classes, went to work, and most importantly, messaged my friends.
My friends were the ones who supported me, and who I never doubted would support me. They cheered me on when I told them I planned on coming out to you, they comforted me when you reacted negatively, they offered me a place to stay, they continued to check up on me, they made me laugh and smile, and they just made this past month much more tolerable.
So despite the way that night went, I don’t regret coming out to you and I don’t think I ever will. I spent two weeks crying about it after spending almost two decades worrying about how you would react. Now that worry is gone, and although we haven’t resolved anything yet, I still feel this big sense of relief that I’ve never felt before. It’s absolutely liberating.
You grew up in a different country with different values, and I don’t want to hold that against you. But after gaining this new sense of freedom, I don’t ever want to let it go. So I’m not going to ignore this part of me and pretend like that night never happened. I’m not going to let you ignore this part of me and pretend like that night never happened. You either accept all of me or none of me, because I will not accept your conditional love anymore.
Your Gay Daughter