Dear Mother Phawker,
I know this time of year brings out the fun in family dysfunction for everyone, but this one’s a doozy. See, in my extended family there are three homosexuals. That’s not the problem, though. The thing is, they’re all very barely closeted and it drives me nuts. Each one of them has a partner, who is brought to family functions and introduced as “so-and-so’s friend,” despite the fact that these couples live, own houses and in one case, are raising a child together.
Ma, I don’t begrudge anyone happiness and I’m glad my loved ones have found loved ones of their own. But it irks me that we all play this game of not acknowledging what are obviously committed, long-term relationships. People talk in private, everyone assumes these people are gay, but nobody has ever come out and asked. This “discretion” is supposedly for the benefit of the really old folks in the family, who I guess are still allowed to go on pretending gay people don’t actually exist, like in the old days.
How can I preserve family peace while refusing to participate in what feels to me like one big homophobic game of charades?
They’re Queer, They’re Here, Now Can We All Get Over It?
Dear Friend of Friends,
I could turn your nom de plume back on you, and say you’re the one who needs to get over it. Mother feels it is never OK to “out” someone, no matter how comfortable you may feel with the person’s assumed homosexuality.
You say your family members’ lives with their same-sex partners include shared living, child rearing and mortgages, and apparently none of these are kept secret from the family at large — old and young. Why are the actual words so important to you, if they seem so unimportant to your family members? You say you feel your family is playing a big game of charades, but remember that charades involves actions and not words. How you — or your blood relations — label your life is much less important than how you live it.
Remember that in life, what you show is much more important than what you tell. Your gay-lovin’ cousins seem to be showing that they are in stable, productive relationships with people whom they consider family. Treating them as such is the respectful and genuine way to show you’re Gay-OK.
Positively Oozing with Holiday Cheer,
ABOUT THIS COLUMN: We are not your mother. Your mother is at home, watching “Deal or No Deal.” Sure, you could call and ask her, but that will just turn into a whole “thing,” what with the shouting and the running and the exploding and the crying. Instead, ASK MOTHER PHAWKER. Besides, your mom needs a break. Why do you think they sent you to college in the first place? And really, haven’t you asked her enough stupid questions over the years? Instead, direct all I-need-a-hug, it-hurts-when-I-pee and other how-to-deal inquiries to Mother Phawker at Mother@phawker.com. She loves you no matter what.)