Each week, PhilSTAR L!fe addresses a reader's concern about relationships, career, and anything they want to talk about through its advice column: Asking for a Friend.
Dear L!fe friend,
My parents accept me for identifying as a lesbian, but my dad doesn't support me participating in same-sex relationships. He calls it "irrational" or "illogical" for people of the same sex to be together. To him, it doesn't make sense because "humans are supposed to be couples in order to reproduce more humans out of love and people with same genitals can't do that!" I tried to research for rebuttals, but doing so only worsened my mental state.
Moreover, I've dated one girl in the past, but broke things off because the guilt of having to hide her was just so strong. I just want to be like any normal teen that posts pictures about their significant others without the fear of breaking my familial relationships. I love my family so much and I know they love me back (they never fail to remind me every day).
I am very conflicted about this matter. I want to date girls openly, but I don't know how I can talk to my dad about it. I'm so lost and I've been moping about it for the last two months.
I'm sick of hearing "just give him a little time" because I know how stubborn my father can be. No amount of time will ever change his mind. He is a man that functions out of logic so I must reason out with him (P.S. we both suck at communication).
What do I do?
Dear Lesbian Lover,
Don’t get sick hearing “just give him a little time” because, really, time is your ally. Your father needs time to understand what gay love is all about. Nevertheless, a window has been opened for him—that he accepts you as a lesbian. That’s step one.
How he will transition to step two—coming to terms with you having a relationship with an individual of the same sex—is a process. And every process needs time. That’s where you need to exert effort.
In a society where homosexuality is tolerated but not fully accepted, there will always be a struggle. And the pangs of your struggles are showing now. Be patient.
By being patient, you need to exert effort when it comes to dealing with your father and dealing with the affairs of your heart. You see, I’m a stickler for family love, peace, and harmony. Talk to your father about it. If you fail in your first attempt, because you said you and your father “suck at communication,” try again. And again. You can ask help from your mom to help your dad understand the situation.
In a society where homosexuality is tolerated but not fully accepted, there will always be a struggle.
Understanding involves a paradigm shift. And every shift, be it plate tectonics or understanding a homosexual love affair, needs time. It may appear moving at a glacial pace in the beginning, but it’s inertia nevertheless, however minuscule the movement is. He’s your father, come on. He loves you—one proof is he accepted your preference. And he will come to terms with himself that he cannot deny you the happiness you deserve—the happiness to fall in love, the joy to be free to express yourself.
You can’t hurry love.
And there’s no instant gratification. We labor hard for it. And forgive the platitudes, hard labor bears sweet fruits. Prepare for the yield. Get ready for harvest season. But first, you need to till the soil.
Also, when the time comes, is the girl you want to introduce to your family and the public worth it? Remember, you are a teenager. You also need to protect your heart. (I’m smirking at myself now because I also have the tendency not to protect my heart. I’m 50 and am still vulnerable to pain caused by failed relationships. But I always come around because I know time is my ally.)
Another thing to remember: you can date girls and you don’t need to post it on social media. The public has nothing to do with your relationship. The more private you are with your affairs of the heart, the better peace of mind you will have. Social media is a virtual jungle populated by some predators. Why expose a budding affair to the lions? It pays well to gatekeep privacy many times.
For now, Lesbian Lover, find the gumption to talk to your dad. Assure him of your respect and love for him. And don’t tell me you “suck at communication.” You don’t suck at it. That you were able to send us this letter shows that you are good at communication.
I wish you well.
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