It’s amazing how tragedy can inspire such courage. Shelley is a socially conscious blogger, an ally, and a *serious* reader—more than a third of the titles she read this year are by people of color, and her goal is to “do better”! Her most recent post on growing up queer came from deep within and should be read widely:
As for my family, well, I can’t report that things went all that well. It’s one of the sadnesses of my life that my mother died before ever really coming around to acceptance and understanding as I’d like to think she would have eventually. But that doesn’t mean she stopped loving me, she always did and always expressed it, and yes, these things are complex, your family can oppress and love you at the same time and you know what else? Somehow you get past the pain and disappointment and you grow and thrive and life your life. Even if your family never does embrace your true self the way they should, that does not destroy you. You find support elsewhere, from teachers and elders and friends and lovers, you look around and realize that the joy and fulfillment of living as your own true self, your gay as a goose queer as the moon self, will sustain you.
I’ve segued into speaking to you, my dear precious beloved queer children and youths, so let me go on and address you directly. You may feel like you’re the only one. You may be sure your family and friends will reject you. You’re not the only one, not by a longshot. And for most of you, your family and friends will not reject you. They’ll keep loving you. Many will accept and embrace you immediately–that’s the result of these last 40-some years of the LGBT liberation movement. We’ve changed consciousness. There is much less bigotry and ignorance. Still, there will be some who let you know that they love you but also express their displeasure. This will hurt you terribly, but remember that you’ve got the rest of your life to watch them change, watch them come around and get over their homophobia; and in any case, your self-worth does not, must not, depend on them.
For those few whose family, captive to reactionary ideology, do reject you, hang on! You will find love elsewhere. You’ll end up with a whole other family. You will! This will not destroy you, not as long as you can hang on at this most difficult moment.