Anyone who's ever had the experience of telling their family something difficult and possibly life-altering fears that the result will be complete and utter rejection, disconnecting them from the people they love and trust. Unfortunately, all too often that is exactly what happens. Especially when the difficult topic is sexual orientation.
As someone who's gone through the coming out process with some fairly disastrous initial results (my mother told me she'd prefer that I be a drug addict because it could be cured before accepting me for who I am), I know the pain of having your parents reject you. But for all their bluster, my parents regretted their decision to ask me to move out and understood that it wasn't a choice that I had made (just like my dad didn't choose to be straight, no matter what he thinks.) But even if it had been a choice, why is it any less valid? How does it hurt others?
The above clip, which shows a young man named Daniel coming out to his parents is heartbreaking to watch. As he tries to convince them (and they agree) that he has always been gay, his mother refuses to accept it, telling him that she loves him, but not the things that he is. She tells him that she knows it's a choice, and despite any kind of biological evidence to the contrary, to her, god's law trumps everything.
It's especially painful to watch as the woman in the clip strips her son of everything she's ever offered him because of his sexuality, as if his orientation is something sinful and disgusting and to be gossiped about. At least once she mentions that she doesn't want other people to think that she'd be okay with homosexuality, and it takes me back to a time when my parents said the same thing. The betrayal her son must feel must be monumental, that the thoughts and opinions of others are more important than those of the child she'd raised.
While some say that being gay is a choice, I agree with both the man in this video and commenters on Reddit who've pointed out that if it were one, it would not be a choice many would make. I often forget how easy I have it in San Francisco (where I get called a fag on the street maybe once every ten years), and how dangerous and isolating it may be in other parts of the country and in other parts of the world.
My hope is that this woman, who ends the clip by physically attacking her son, may come to an understanding and learn to accept him and recognize her mistakes; that her son can recover (if not completely heal) from this rejection and that he continues to have the courage to be himself to love who he wants and be open about who he is. And that he learns that even though being gay may not be a choice many would wish upon themselves while coming out, that it really can get better.
There's now a Gofundme to help Daniel pay for his living expenses. You can learn more here.