I have three siblings. Two of them are gay.
I think I subconsciously knew it all along, but I never said anything to either of them about it because I didn’t want to call them out before they were ready or, heaven forbid, be entirely wrong. But I wasn’t wrong--I knew. I could just...tell. And not for stereotypical reasons, either (though my brother did play the flute and take dance, and my sister did softball and rugby). There was just something about their souls that whispered to me, “This is who I really am.” I knew them so well that I just knew.
So when they each came out in their own ways, a big part of me was not surprised. What did surprise me was their courage to step out from behind the fake lives they had created for themselves and be what they are. I was surprised by their willingness to accept themselves and say, “This is me--take it or leave it.”
Others’ opinions have never bothered me, but I know the “What will they think of our family now??” question weighed heavily upon our family. There was worry and fear and denial and anger and shame as people slowly found out about my homosexual siblings. But people’s reactions were not at all what we’d expected. Very few people have harassed us or them. My late Grandma Fern, upon hearing the news about my brother, laughed and said, “Well, duh. I could have told you that.” (She knew all along, too.) Then she said, “That doesn’t change anything. I love him. He’s the same person.”
We are coming to a beautiful place of acceptance in our family, and an expanded notion of what it means to love and be loved. We have so many unexpected members: girlfriends and boyfriends and foster children and even house pets (which were forbidden to us as children but are now adored).
We are all learning to love bigger and love better.
It’s Pride Month, and I am proud of my brother and my sister for being brave enough to be themselves, and I’m proud of my family for opening their arms to accept more people (and pets) within that embrace.