A short story: Family

 

IMG_3791.jpgSince I was little I’ve heard my parents tell the story, more than once, that when they introduced me to my grandparents, they fell to their knees, looked sky wards and begged their God for forgiveness. My grandparents said they would use force of prayer.  They were insistent and even brought senior members of their faith with them.

My parents, wrapped me up tightly and fled. We went straight home – where we stayed indoors, with the blinds down for 3 straight days before daring to leave the house again. It had taken my parents 7 years to make all the arrangements necessary to have me with them. I was a gift they had always wanted and they were not to going to let anything happen to me. 

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I was happy at home. I had everything I needed and more. I was loved, cherished and got to laugh and learn without fear. My parents were always supportive and happy and eager to make the best of any situation we encountered. 

I remember when I was bullied at junior school. My teacher, who witnessed the whole thing, leaned against the schoolyard railings puffing on his pipe. When I sought his help, he advised  me to ‘defend yourself like a man’. The next day, I tried but landed up getting slapped and punched so hard that my parents had to pick me up from hospital. They were furious; and especially  rilled by the advice from my teacher. 

I was taken out of school and moved to one nearer to them, but not before my parents paid a visit to my former teacher and classmates. It  was an especially proud day for me. Not everyone can claim to have parents who are world class musicians, who work with some of the best-known celebrities. They wrote songs for a living and moved in some of the most exclusive circles. I was never far behind.

My parents met over a piano, drum-kit and one very annoying world-famous singer – they still refuse to tell me whom it is. Apparently it was love at first sight, and the song they wrote together became one of the biggest selling hits of all time. I love their story. Especially since they told me that even then they knew they wanted me.

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In my teens I spent a lot of time at protest marches. My parents accompanied me to all of them. I was born with an innate sense of justice and anything that smacked of the lack of it, really got to me. I would spend hours designing banners and badges, writing to politicians and public figures, and arguing with my classmates and teachers – and later lecturers. 

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These days I work as a lawyer, representing people in discrimination cases. Recently, the partners of the firm launched a workplace initiative which has become increasingly popular. They want to encourage people to come out at work, and to reassure people that they are safe to be themselves. 

I find it interesting.

I’ve had to come out all my life. Ever since I was bullied at school, I realised we do not live in a world that is grateful for those of us who are not perceived to be the ‘norm’. In fact it can be antagonistic and violent. I have spent many nights throughout my life worrying about my parents, wondering what I can do to make sure they are safe. Javid and Mitch have given me everything I have ever wanted and when I come out to people that my parents are both gay men who love each other, I do so with pride and with love, but I haven’t always met with a similar response. Still, my parents  taught me the value of honesty and that I can be happy being myself. They taught me that they would support me to be anything I wanted to be. Perhaps when my grandparents dropped to their knees the first time they met me, it was they who should have been asking for forgiveness.

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