Every day for the last ten years I have driven Syd 100 miles back and forth to school. I wanted to provide her a better education than what I knew our county could provide so I enrolled her in a private school. I believe it would expand her mind and allow her to explore avenues that I and her mother, my ex-wife, did not have growing up. That ideology has paid off in ways I never imagined. Just as an example she went on a class trip to Italy…ITALY!!! Not Maggiano’s Little Italy in Buckhead but overseas Italy!!! She LOVED it.
I say that to say, without exception our daily trip in the morning is mostly talks or radio and our ride home includes me turning off the radio and asking her about her day. She ALWAYS has a story to tell and today was no different. “Dad, “X” told me to let you know that she is gay and “Y” also told me to tell you he is gay too. They asked me to join the GSA.” Now I have learned a lot about my daughter by listening to what is said, not what I hear so of course this threw me off course a little. I said, “I kinda figured “X” was gay but I knew “Y” was gay.” She laughs and says, “You have great GAYDAR.” Wait, what did you just say? GAYDAR?!?!? How does she know about GAYDAR? Who taught my daughter that slanguage? Oh crap is my daughter gay and in the gay student alliance? Is this what she is telling me? Does that mean no grandkids? Are me and the missus gonna have to make a new baby? At 47 years old, new kids so I can have grands???? Yeah, crazy shit is flying around in my head.
So being the politically correct, mild manner person that I am not the next words out of my mouth are, “ARE YOU GAY?” She looks at me and says, “No dad I am not gay. They asked me to join the GSA because I am a fair person. I treat everyone the same.” “But why would they ask you to join the gay student alliance?” It’s not the gay student alliance dad. It’s the gay STRAIGHT alliance.” OHHH, but my mind is still not convinced. “Are you gay?” “NO”. “Are you sure? “I am sure?” “If you are I’m ok with it. I have a gay cousin.” Wait did I just pull the white peoples “I have a black friend” card? Shit that’s not what I meant when I said that. “Dad, I am sure. I am not gay.” “So you like boys?” She looks at me with that WTF didju just ask me look that runs in our family and says, “NO!” “Great, so you’re gay.” “NO DAD!!”
She goes on to explain how “X and “Y” have announced their homosexual and lesbianism to their parents and I respond, “I know why they want you to tell me. They want to make sure they don’t lose their best friend and advocate” but what I also think is she wants to gauge my reaction and determine how tolerant I really am versus what I claim to be (actions speak…). Over the last year or so I have seen my daughter manifest intolerance for bullies of any kind. She is defining herself, not conforming to society and its morals. I LOVE IT!!! She says maybe and the next thing I say is, “Are you going to tell your mom?” “NO, she will not understand” and I agree. Her mom will assume someone is trying to "gay" her daughter. That’s how her mom thinks. Someone is trying to change her daughter into a homosexual. She feels that being a homosexual is a choice and not who you were born to be but that’s another post entirely. I tell Syd you will have to talk to her eventually and she agrees.
Syd then tells me that the GSA is going to Pride and she wants to go. If you didn’t know about Pride let me explain. The gist of Pride is it is a parade in Atlanta to demonstrate solidarity for the LGBT+ community. It’s more than that but you get the point. Now it just so happens that Pride is happening on a weekend that is also my brother’s birthday. We typically do some birthday thing and I explained that to Syd. She was obviously disappointed but I am big on family events and even BIGGER on birthdays. She says she understands and we talk about other things as we drive home. In the back of my head I hear this small voice, “You are stifling your daughter’s ability to be an activist, to have a voice. Wasn’t that a part of the reason you chose for her to go to a private school? Let her go and watch her grow.” I cut Syd off in the middle of what she is talking about and tell her what thought just popped in my head. She looks at me and smiles, “Thank you daddy.” I tell you the same thing I told her. How can I stop my daughters’ development over a birthday weekend? This is important to her and I am proud that she wants to stand with her friends. I LOVE IT!!!! “Now how do you tell your mother?”
The following weekend is her mother’s weekend for visitation (I have custody). When I pick Syd up from school I start the conversation off with, “How was your weekend?” DID I GET AN EARFUL FROM THAT QUESTION!!! “Dad, I told Mom about “X” and “Y”. I told her about the GSA and Pride. She lost her mind. She doesn’t think I should go because I can catch the gay from them.” I was laughing so hard I damn near gave myself a headache. You cannot catch "the GAY"!!! Syd says, “I know!!!!” Her mom asks her every question under the sun regarding homosexuality EXCEPT she doesn’t ask Syd if she is gay. She tells Syd these stories about being gay and tries to tie it to the Bible. Syd doesn’t understand what her mom is trying to say so her mom finally says, “Being gay is a sin.” Syd throws it back at her by using my analogy, “Daddy carries a rock everywhere he goes. He says it’s to remind him that his sin is no different than your sin.” Again, I am hollering laughing. My daughter is fighting back and standing up for her beliefs. Mind you she is being respectful while doing so BUT she is doing it. I LOVE IT!!!
Her mom then tries to get Syd to talk to some old man who she works with. Apparently he has knowledge on “gay” and can talk to Syd about what she is going through. Syd is pissed, “No. I am not talking to him. Mom, do you, specifically you, think being gay is a sin?” Her mother responds, “Well…kind of.” Her mom doesn’t want to say yes because then she has to admit that her daughter is sinning by being gay even though she never asked Syd if she IS GAY. It’s hilarious to me. In my laughter I say, “I only asked you one time and you said no. Your mom is afraid to ask at all. Hilarious!!!” Syd looks at me and says, “Dad?? Really?? You asked me at least four times in one day.” “No I didn’t.” “YES you did” and she proceeds to remind me of each time I asked, “Are you sure? Why the GSA? Yup you’re gay. I won’t have grandkids?” and all the other things I said during that car ride. Damn, did she just defend herself against me? Did I really say no grandkids out loud? Wow, I love it?? LOL
So my daughter is going to the Pride parade with the GSA from school. She is going to stand tall and support her brothers and sisters and ensure no one bullies them. My daughter is becoming a fierce advocate for those that are oppressed and I couldn’t be more proud of her!!! Now don’t catch "the gay"!!!!!