My mom's family has a saying that is near and dear to our hearts:
Family Is Where It's At.
Being raised in an LDS home, this probably doesn't sound surprising. It's like a theme built upon another established theme, perhaps you've heard it once or twice:
Families Are Forever.
So when you hear about gay youth being kicked out of their homes for being gay, or when families turn their backs on their brother, son, daughter, cousin, aunt, uncle, sister when they come out, it's heartbreaking. I guess there's an hidden asterisks attached: families are forever, unless of course, one of them is gay. I can speak from experience when I say that even the thought of losing your family is a terrifying agony. So many people delay coming out to their family because even the possibility of being utterly rejected is too real, and should it actually become reality, it would be horribly devastating.
My own family has been more amazing than I probably give them credit for. I know they struggle. I know that where I am now was never in the grand plans that my parents had for me. But all in all, they still love me. My parents haven't abandoned me. My sisters still want to see me. I still get to be an aunt to my nieces and nephew, and a chew toy for the nephew-dog.
I know I'm lucky. I have a family who tries. They don't understand it, I know they don't. But they try.
For all their awesomeness though, they will probably always be separate from the parts of my life that lead me to Pride. I would be willing to bet that neither you nor I will catch them marching in a Pride Parade. They've probably never heard of PFLAG. I wonder if they'd ever really be "proud of my daughter and her wife," like one of the signs in the parade today proclaimed.
In the Pride Parade, the PFLAG group always makes me cry. The signs they make, the smiles they wear, the honest love they express...it's beautiful. But it's also difficult to watch. It makes me cry.
But as I walked the Festival with my girlfriend and our straight friends who were with us, I realized that I do have my own PFLAG. Maybe my parents aren't members, maybe my sisters aren't, but maybe they will be one day. Until then, I've got some really amazing friends who love and support me no matter what. My awesome friend Greg said to me today, "as long as you're happy, I'm happy." And our other friends feel the same way. I know they've got my back. And that's a great feeling.
PFLAG is an organization that is built upon themes much like the ones mentioned in the beginning of this post. They seem to understand that family is where it's at, and no one is any less important because of where their life takes them. I can definitely get on board with people like that.
So thanks to the people that are my PFLAG. Your support means more than you know. Your love and friendship help to get me through the cloudy days, and help me smile more on the sunny days. You are my family too.
Indeed, family is where it's at. And I am so lucky to have mine.