“I’m so embarrassed.”
Her voice was hushed and strained. Her pain was palpable even through the phone wires.
I had called my friend regarding a different matter entirely, but during the course of our conversation, I informed her that I knew her daughter was in a same-sex relationship with her girlfriend. I wanted her to know that I know in case she wanted to talk about it. And she did.
My friend is a lovely woman who devoted her life to her family. One of the traits I admire most about her, she never has a bad word to say about anyone. With a successful career in the health care industry, she supported her husband and children and even found time to volunteer at school. They believe in education, not religion; she and her husband both have their master’s degrees and their kids are following in their footsteps. Their children are intelligent, accomplished, kind, and popular at school.
My friend and her husband fit right into the liberal landscape of Vermont; I was the weird one. Long ago we had learned to tread carefully whenever politics or religion was broached. Our state has advocated homosexual behavior for over a decade, starting with the push for civil unions, moving to same-sex marriage, and now suing Vermonters who refuse to celebrate gender-segregated “marriage.”
Because she is liberal, I was surprised to hear my friend divulge that she was embarrassed about her daughter’s same-sex relationship. I suggested that it could be a passing phase. After all, our state pushes homosexual behavior. No doubt the liberal arts college her daughter attended taught the kids all about liberal love. Plus, her daughter was hanging out with friends in same-sex relationships. Far from being genetic, sexual orientation was fluid, especially for girls. Perhaps she was simply looking for intimacy?
Before I hung up, I assured her of my love for both her and her daughter. But afterwards, I felt puzzled.
If a right wing evangelical conservative learned that her son joined the Air Force, she would no doubt be proud, not humiliated. If her daughter were “saving herself” for marriage, would she be ashamed? So, if my friend’s daughter embraced the very lifestyle that for years they promoted with votes, why the embarrassment? Why this disconnect between abstract and reality, between politics and home?
Where did their gay pride go?