To love is to respect | Coming Out

Ein Baum in der Abendsonne auf einem Hügel. Darüber ist ein Screenshot eines YouTube-Shorts von Willow Heath eingefügt. Daneben steht: "Coming Out: To love is to respect" | Willow Heath | Christian Buehner / Unsplash |

British YouTuber Willow Heath asks how to deal with a parent that does not outright reject your coming out as queer but doesn’t respect it either.

So Willow Heath has a question for their fellow queers: How do you deal with a parent that does say they loved you but do not make any attempt to adapt to your gender identity.

I’m not sure if I count as queer. However this question resonates with me since my father is a narcissist. He’s not very good in the loving and respecting departments. Thus I reacted to the following answer by odmcclintic on YouTube:

It’s obviously different for everyone, the amount and maliciousness of push-back you’re willing to take.
BUT you have to remember that your parents spent years and sometimes decades with/raising the person you used to identify as. You’ve had all the time you needed (months, years and decades even) to come to terms with your transition to the point that you decided to come out; your parents deserve time as well.


This was my reply:

I’m not sure I agree with @odmcclintic. The moment to accept someones boundaries is always now never later. You can’t say I respect your identity but I will only accept it later. That doesn’t make any sense. Either you do or you don’t.

Fair enough: It might happen that parents misgendered you by accident since they are used to a certain pronoun. To err is human. This exeption aside it makes sense to compare gendering and correct naming with any other boundary.

You shall not make unto me any graven image

German author Max Frisch put it this way: The phrase ‚You shall not make unto thee any graven image‘ is valid for any loving relationship. If you love someone you do accept them at any moment. You do accept any change they undergo. If you made a graven image unto someone you would deny them any change. Thus to make a graven image is the opposite of love.

On a simpler level I’d argue that there cannot be love if there was no respect. And respect demands boundaries to be accepted, too.

The fact that parents invest in their kids does not give them the right to infringe their identity or their boundaries. As to how to react to a parent’s unwillingness to love and respect you for who you are I do not have a solution save what @dmitriirezvii297 said: Protect your mental and emotional wellbeing. Seek as much contact as you need and as little as is good for you.

Even though every situation is unique, I tend to go back to the saying: Anything that costs you your mental health is too expensive. With some people in my life I realised that it would’ve been more mentally taxing for me not to have a relationship with them, so we stay in touch. I just approach interactions with them with the mindset ‚you not understanding me doesn’t actually take anything away from my identity‘. But I think, when it comes to things like these, any decision made intently is a decision that will be a positive influence on your life[.]


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