I’m not a parent. One day, I hope to be. I realize that my significant other and I – no matter how much we prepare – will never know exactly what we’re getting ourselves into. But I do know this:
We are going to love our child(ren) unconditionally.
Easy for me to say now, right? Fine. Still true. I know too many children who society may disregard as defective with parents who love them just as much as mine love me. And, to many, my being gay makes me defective. Here’s what really pisses me off – and yes, I considered wording that differently, but I need to appropriately convey my disgust: Somehow, there are parents out there who promise to love their child unconditionally and then that child does something they don’t agree with and the conditions become clear. Somehow, there are parents who have a disagreement with their child and they throw them out. They torture them. They discard them.
My parents didn’t understand my sexual orientation at all and they had been raised under rules that say being gay is bad. I would say they were raised under rules that would say being gay is worse than other “sins,” so-to-speak. But in many ways, I was lucky: Despite upbringing, within a few seconds to a few days, both parents said something like, “I don’t get it. I don’t necessarily agree with it. But I love you.” They had more questions than answers and more stereotypical statements than logical stances, but they said the important thing: “I love you.”
You can give your child anything they want in the world. You can shower them with gifts, experiences and love within the parameters you set for them. But if you don’t love them unconditionally, you’re lacking what I would call the most basic parental principle of all. Because of parents like this, kids kill themselves. It’s that simple. Because of parents like mine, kids have a fighting chance.
Some of you may be saying, “What do you know? You’re still a ‘kid’ yourself and you don’t have any.” Sure. I have a lot to learn and years to go before I have my own child. But I challenge you to tell me why unconditional love is bad or why you think it doesn’t exist. And before you condemn your child, put yourself in their shoes. Step back. Relax. React. After all, isn’t that what you would’ve wanted your parents to do?