The movie was a one-hour documentary about a handful of families with gay children. (As an aside, I should note that “children” in this post is used to describe a family relationship, as everyone in the documentary was over the age of eighteen, as near as I could tell.) Both children and parents alike talked openly about the coming out experience and how everyone responded to the situation and handled the revelation. The families themselves were from varied backgrounds. Families from liberal and conservative backgrounds as well as religious families (including one Mormon family) participated in the documentary. Also, various ethnicities and various geographic regions were represented.
As each family told how their child came out and shared their emotional experiences and how they handled the situations, the viewer got a strong sense of the variety of responses that gay children face when “breaking the news” to their parents. They even told the heartbreaking story of one young man who was thrown out of his own home upon coming out to his mother. Fortunately, for that particularly guy, he found a family willing to take him in.
Fortunately, the rest of the families came to some level of acceptance and found a way to maintain their relationships with their children, though the road was not always smooth. Indeed, some parents admitted to starting out trying to change their children at first. In fairness, it was good to see one lesbian in the documentary admit that she could’ve handled the coming out process a bit more tactfully and sensitively. I felt this helped to remind everyone that we kids make our share of mistakes in the coming out process, too.
One of the most touching parts of this movie for me was to hear some of the fathers’ responses. At least two families told how upon finding out, the father immediately wanted to call their gay son. The one wanted to reassure his son that he was loved no matter what. Another wanted to call and apologize, because he realized that he had said some things that were hurtful, especially now that he knew his son was gay. In a world where most gay men expect our fathers to be the most upset due to our sexuality, it was moving to see fathers who showed such deep concern and compassion for their sons in such an instant way. The fact that these men were not the type to be accepting right away (both had come from conservative upbringings) merely underscored just how meaningful their immediate actions were.
After the movie, the GAGV invited some of their local speakers to hold a panel discussion. I hope to review the highlights of that discussion in my next post.
For those who may be interested in seeing this movie, both screening information and ordering information is available on the movie’s website. (See the link in the first paragraph of my post.)