This guest post is from Annette Gross at PFLAG Indianapolis.
Last week, I was on the phone with a good friend of mine, someone who has known my gay son since he was 5 years old. We were having a very nice conversation when all of a sudden she used “those words” – “it was so gay!" Needless to say, I was shocked. But I was not shocked enough to not use my big guns – I told her exactly how I felt. I told her that what she said was wrong and that it was homophobic. She stuttered and stammered, and tried to talk her way out of it.
“Oh, it’s nothing, it’s what everybody says.” I would have none of it. “No”, I told her, “it’s wrong. When you talk like that you are saying bad things about my son. I will not tolerate it.”
Again, she tried to make light of it, but I would not back down. I told her I didn’t want her ever again to say those words in my presence. I said I cannot stop her from saying what she wants when I’m not around, but I would hope she would think before she spoke.
She didn’t apologize, but I could tell she knew I was right. That’s the neat thing about standing up for our “cause.” We know we are right. We know we are right to stand up for our children. No one can stop us from loving and defending our LGBT kids.
It’s one thing to argue these points with legislators and politicians. But it’s another to take a stand when talking to friends and family. We always run the risk of losing a friendship or a close relationship. But what choice do we have? What choice do our children have? They need us as a bridge to the straight community – to people who may not know the right words to say.
Believe me, I did not like having to say what I did to my friend. But I hope that by doing so, I might have changed her perceptions. Maybe in the future she’ll think before she speaks. And who knows, maybe the next time she hears someone use those words, she’ll be the one to defend the LGBT community. I can only hope.