Here’s the thing about gay pride. We are not proud of our daughter because she is gay. Just like we are not any more proud of her because she has size 8 feet or brown hair…that is a part of her, how she was born...who she is…. What we are proud of is the fact that despite all adversity in today’s world for the LGBTQ community…she had the courage (at 13 none the less) to be her true self and share that part of her, not only with her family (which is a big deal), but also with the world at large in the form of an Instagram account and then with a blog on our business website. Can you imagine sharing something, that to some, is so controversial…something that can potentially get you made fun of, physically hurt or even killed? (We hope to goodness she will never be on the receiving end of any of those….but look around…it is a real possibility.) And despite all that, all the possible sh*t that she can deal with…she still chose to 1) live in her true self and 2) share with the entire world, so others coming behind her may have the courage to do the same.
We have actually received messages from individuals who do not have a family as loving and supportive as we have been....which is just heartbreaking. Adaliah has been an inspiration to some and for others simply a person they can talk to about their feelings. Did you know the suicide rates among the youth LGBTQ community is higher than among heterosexuals? One major reason is youth not being able to embrace and feel they can be themselves...who they were born to be. If you are someone struggling with being able to share your true self, you absolutely have a safe place in us. Feel free to talk with us and share your pain and hurt, nobody deserves to feel unloved.
Let's talk about that for a minute, as we are sure some people read Lisa's blog post, the one Adaliah wrote or this blog and think at 13 does she really know? That is the most ridiculous idea ever, if you think about it honestly. For me (Ben) I knew by the time I was 5, or probably even younger that, I was very much into women. Did anyone, my parents...family...friends, ever question whether I knew at such a young age?!?! Never once did anyone ever think I was too young to know. While not always the case, the vast majority of people know what makes their heart skip a beat. So, when our 13 year old says she is a lesbian, we have no reason to think she is too young to know.
We very purposefully chose the title we did for this article in the hopes that maybe a family member of someone struggling to be their true selves will accidentally read this and maybe, just maybe, see the damage they could be doing to someone they care deeply about, even unintentionally. We are open to discussing with anyone that needs a listening ear or someone to whom you can ask some questions. We have an understanding of some of the religious struggles with this topic, but keep in mind, we both come from Christian families and Ben was a pastor for almost 12 years. Sexuality, religion, and all of life is not as black and white as we human beings so often make it in our minds. One thing we know is exactly what our daughter says, "Love is love", regardless of sexuality, race, religion, nationality, language, etc.