Friday, 16 May 2014


I can't beleive that its been a year since the last IDAHO - time flies, now, of course it's IDAHOT., the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia.

I was wracking my brains thinking of a topic to tie in with the themes of education and homophobia when Papa asked if I could write about a subject dear to his heart - the acceptance of family.

It all came about because one of his friends had been telling him about the fact that his son was gay and that he was now in a long term relationship. The father was concerned because he felt his son was going to miss out on so much of family life and, also, that he was never going to experience the joy of being a grandparent.

Over the past year or so, since they've been friends, the son has gone onto get engaged to his partner and the father has, through his friendship with Papa, seen that a gay relationship can still result in a happy family life - albeit a different one from the one he may have expected for his son. He is a regular reader of the blog and that in turn helped him to see that our family is really no different from any other - we just handle certain things creatively..

Papa then went on to talk about his own family. How in Chinese culture being gay is just something that is not talked about. He was open with his parents from a very young age but, I suppose, like many other parents, not just Asian ones, they were hoping it was just a phase or that he would eventually meet the right girl. Of course, he never did and when I came along his parents, and family, had to accept the fact that we were a couple and that they were probably never going to have grandchildren to carry on their family name. We soon changed that...

As society changes so attitudes change and Papa's parents welcome us all to the family home and accept their two 'ang moh' grandchildren as if they were their own flesh and blood. Indeed the boys both refer to the Asian cousins as 'Cousin...." and 'Cousin....' thus emphasising their role in their family lives. The boys recently had a vote on their favourite cousin (I overheard them) and the Little Prince won - mainly because he was a boy and serving in the Singapore Armed Forces (sorry little princess - but I'm sure it will change, and anyway at least you came second!)

My own parents were pretty ok about my 'coming out' - my Dad said it wasn't the best news he had all year, when I told him, but it wasn't the worse. My mother did that thing of telling me she knew all along - "Great," I said, "Then why didn't you tell me!" It would have saved a lot of heartache and anxiety on my part.

I listen to children in the playground now, particularly in secondary schools, discussing gay role models, such as Tom Daley or gay characters in their favourite TV shows, openly. Whatever their opinions may be, at least there is discussion. Yes, there is prejudice and yes this needs to be addressed, but things are moving in the right direction.

As I prepare my book for publication (hopefully) people ask if I am ok with being so open about our family life - but if we aren't open then who will be? Change comes from people not being afraid of what may happen. Hopefully, we can help to dispel that 'fear' of the scary gay agenda - I hate that phrase!

By looking at our family hopefully, some people have lost their fear of 'gay' parenting. I don't think we preach, we just tell it like it is. If our opening up our lives helps people to understand about the 'modern family' then it has to be a good thing.

So today's post is about openness in family - after all if we can't be open with them then how can we be open with the rest of the world.

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