In my last post, I reviewed the movie, Anyone and Everyone. In this post, I want to briefly discuss some of the highlights from the panel discussion that the GAGV hosted after the screening I attended.
The panel consisted of four people. The first two people was a woman and her gay son. Her son is highly active in the GAGV Youth program. The two of them shared their experiences from when he came out to her. The other pair were a married couple who also had a son come out to them. Likewise, they shared their own experience. Then the audience was invited to ask questions or offer their own comments. Much of the question period focused on how people could further help our gay and lesbian youth, as well as help them during the coming out process. A few also commented on the realization from the movie that parents of gay children often have their own coming out process, a concept the parents on the panel were able to offer more insights on.
One brave young woman spoke up with a somewhat different question. She told of her initial attempt to come out to her own parents. She indicated that her parents’ reaction was so bad that she eventually told them it was all a lie and that she had just been frustrated with her boyfriend at the time. Tonight, she was looking for advice on what to do, because she realizes she still needs to come out to her own parents, but isn’t sure how to proceed from here.
I think that one of the most remarkable things was that everyone on the panel as quick to express understanding with regards to her choice to go back into the closet with her parents, and rightfully so. I’d imagine the young lady probably feels a great deal of guilt over making that choice, let alone admitting it to a theater of sixty or so relative strangers. So it was appropriate that they addressed that first. They then went on to encourage her to try again, but to take her time and be sure she’s ready. They gave her a lot of advice, including suggestions on literature she might want to acquire and even that she might want to consider counseling to help her through what could be a difficult process.
Towards the end of the discussion, I decided to speak up and offer a few comments of my own. One of the things that I had noted as the discussion had progressed was that the panel consisted of parents who were relatively accepting of their child’s sexuality right away. I felt that someone needed to speak up to offer some insight on the other possible experiences, especially after hearing the other young lady speak about her own bad experiences. So I raised my hand and took a deep breath as I received the microphone. I hope to share my own thoughts (although it ill likely be a modified and refined piece rather than an exact quote from earlier) in another post. However, i will say that it was well received and I had more than one person thank me for speaking up afterwards.