So, I went home to my parents this weekend. It’s only the second time I’ve been home since I came out at the start of April. There have been lots of phone calls, text messages and even emails, but I have barely been home and the gay issue hasn’t been mentioned in any conversation between me and any member of my family since the ninth of April.
Until yesterday morning. My mother was sitting in the front room, knitting a cardigan for one of the grandkids. I went in for a chat. It was a typical mother-son chat. She interrogated me about a number of my friends, most of whom she’s never met, and I answered with vague half-truths. One of the people I mentioned happens to be married with children. She chose this as an excellent opportunity to pounce.
“Don’t you wish you could get married like him?” she asked.
For a split second, I thought she was being far more liberal than I would ever given her credit for and was asking a question about gay marriage. But she wasn’t. Of course she wasn’t.
She continued, telling me that I shouldn’t rule out marriage, that many homosexuals were happily married to women and that I could have normal life with love and children. She never says “gay”, and she pronounces “homosexual” with a short “o”.
I told her I didn’t want or plan to marry a woman, but I was reeling in shock, as she continued knitting, barely looking at me, obviously trying not to be too confrontational.
I had just realised something. She thinks the alternative to marrying a woman and having children is remaining alone. She thinks that I agreed with what she’d said when I first came out. She thinks I plan to be celibate, that I am not going to partake in what she euphemistically called the gay lifestyle.
OH MY GOD. I didn’t come out properly. I’m going to have to do it again. I still haven’t fully got over coming out the last time.
I’m going to have to take my parents aside, and say, “Listen, Mammy and Daddy, remember when I told you I was gay, well I have something else to tell you. As well as being gay, I also want to sleep with men.”
THIS IS LUDICROUS!
Of course, I could have clarified this while I was talking to my mother yesterday, but I was genuinely in shock.
She continued probing, trying to establish that homosexuality makes you unhappy/is bad for you. She asked me if I was angry, or bitter, or sad that I was homosexual.
I muttered “no” under my breath.
I am, of course, bitter. But not because I’m gay, but because I’m gay in this family. It’s little wonder that I’ve allowed myself become a sexless zeppelin.
Thankfully, my sister chose this time to get locked in my parents’ bedroom. There was drama and laughter as me, my mum and my dad all attacked their bedroom door, first with my student travelcard, then with a butter knife, then with a screwdriver, a chisel, a hammer, a hacksaw and eventually an electric drill. It was great fun, it took the best part of three quarters of an hour, made us laugh and distracted us from my black sheep status.
The “issue” wasn’t mentioned again this weekend. As I said goodbye, I clarified that I was busy for the next three weekends (which is, thankfully, the truth) and that I won’t be down again for at least a month.
God (/Kate Bush) only knows what that visit will bring.