I’m sorry if this letter puts you on the spot. That isn’t my intention. There are about three million thoughts swirling around in my mind, one of which being that this is a conversation we’re never going to have. At least, not one that’ll progress past a few stern looks and mumbled words.
I’m going to begin by letting you know how grateful I am for you. You sacrificed your lives and your homes to give me and my siblings a better chance for life here in Australia. I never took that for granted.
Growing up, it was never really clear to me how you felt about my sexuality. There was always a sense of ambiguity. It was never a matter of you sitting me down and ‘giving me the talk’. Would that have changed things? If we hadn’t brushed it aside, would we be at this point?
When my siblings would lightly joke about how flamboyant I was, you would giggle with them. You watched me sing and flounce around on stage with bright eyes and applause. When my older sisters dressed me up in skirts, you took photos and smiled. Whenever I got my hair cut, Mum, you would wait and gossip with the man who did your nails – every shrill joke he made, you would match with an even shriller laugh.
But whenever a gay couple came on screen during a movie or show, you’d go quiet. You sat idly during church meetings whenever sin and sexuality were discussed. When I asked you if you were ticking ‘yes’ on the letter you received in the mail, I was met with a self-righteous shake of your heads and an evasive ‘no’.
Were you silently hoping this was something I’d grow out of? Were you praying I wasn’t serious when I officially came out to you earlier this year? Was I no longer the son you could parade to your friends for having good grades?