Tolerance and Acceptance Trumps Death Any Day

Do you? Do you really? I’m not a parent yet, so I approach this discussion from a different perspective. I think by now, the case of Rachel Crites and Rachel Smith has made national headlines. Two Maryland teenagers disappeared on January 19, after telling their parents that they were going to a movie. No further contact was made. Their bodies were discovered on February 2, as the apparent “victims” of suicide, by way of carbon monoxide poisoning.

A sheet of paper, stuffed into Crites diary, contained the message, “Wherever I end up laying, whether buried or cremated, I want to stay with my true love, buried next to her. This is my choice. I’m sorry.” Oh. OH. OOOHHHH!!! Her sister has said to the media that “they didn’t run away because of their sexuality.” They didn’t? Hmmm….sure sounds like it to me, but hey, I can only give my opinion of the facts as they are presented. I can say this though, my oldest and dearest friend, Diamond Diva and I have been through it and back over the last 17 years, but I have never, ever referred to her as “my true love”.

For whatever the reason, it’s a tragedy that these two young girls chose to take their own lives. I recall my teenage years and they were tough. It seems that teenagers are convinced that “today everything is as important as it ever will be”. They turn minor things into life altering experiences and they get so caught up in “the moment” that they can’t see “the future”. Remember:

You: Guess what? Rhonda didn’t speak to me this morning at the bus stop.

Gail, Friend: That’s because Rhonda told me that Sheila told her that, Tarika told Sheila, that Dominique said that Pam and Keisha told her that they, saw you talking to Ricky in the hallway. And you know she like Ricky.

You: We was just talking about homework. Dang!

Gail: I believe you, but Pam and Keisha said ya’ll looked really sneaky.

Thus, the end (most times temporary) of your friendship with Rhonda. Not sure if guys go through it, but even the most level-headed teenager will have at least one of these ridiculous conversations in her lifetime. I can’t imagine compounding the normal teenage nonsense with burgeoning feelings of homosexuality.

If these young ladies had expressed their homosexuality to their family and friends, I can only hope that they were met with open arms. If you can’t tell by reading my blog, I’m pretty much a live and let live kinda person. I don’t give a damn who you chose to love, as long as they love you back and treat you well. Period. Sounds simple, but I truly believe it and I try to live it.

I’ve always felt that way. If I become a parent, will that change? I sure hope not. Of course the future visions of my son or daughter growing up, being healthy and happy. I’d lie if I said that I didn’t dream about the big wedding I’d try to convince each of them to have. *lol* But, none of that is guaranteed. Not their life expectancy their health, their happiness or their heterosexuality. Would I love a homosexual child less or treat them any differently? Today, at the age of 30, in my wide eyed, liberal, non-parental mind, I’ll venture a bet on no. And even if I changed my mind and didn’t approve or support their feelings and the situation, would I want them to become depressed and suffer the fate of Smith and Crites? According to the National Center for Health Statistics, there were 31,484 cases of suicide in the United States in 2001. Of that 31,484, 7.9% or 2487 were teenagers between the ages of 15-19 years of age. Wow.

What do ya’ll think? How would you react in finding out that one (or more) of your children was homosexual? Would it matter? Would your opinion of them change? Would you be able to accept the situation? Tolerate it? I bring suicide into the discussion, only in reference to this particular case. I understand that for some people, this issue (sexuality) is deeply rooted in their spirituality/religion. Let’s be respectful of everyone’s opinion and their right to have one.

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21 thoughts on “Tolerance and Acceptance Trumps Death Any Day

  1. Wow. I hadn’t heard. How sad.

    I think it is harder for fathers. Mothers just wanna love their babies no matter what.

    I just cannot see someone choosing a lifestyle where they know they’ll be hated and ridiculed…I believe you’re born that way and can’t help it.

    I already know that if my sons are gay, nothing changes, they’re my babies. Now the men in their lives….it will take some work for them to not care.

  2. This story breaks my heart. It’s so sad and unfortunate. I hadn’t heard about this one. But it is a sad fact that we lose far too many young people because they’d rather face death than the disappointment and rejection from family and friends. It has to stop.

    I would love my child no matter what. I couldn’t imagine it any other way. I wouldn’t want to bury my child for something that could have been avoided. Great post! Raising awareness about tolerance is so important.

  3. Here in my city, two 17 year olds plotted against the grandma that did not approve of their relationship. The girlfriend hit the grandma with a hammer, then they set the house on fire. The girls are in prison now. Sad.

  4. Glad to hear your take on the situation and promoting love of your children no matter what. If more parents were like you, the world would be a better place. I grew up in the deep south and didn’t really know any gay people until I came to DC at age 18. My longest best friend IN LIFE is gay and I’ve learned so much from him and his gay friends. I am thankful that to some extent I understand it, and I know that I would still love my child the same. I think depending on the environment and religion you were reared in, kids are made to feel so guilty and shunned about certain things. We should teach acceptance of differences, especially to the next generation as they get more focused on the haves vs. the have-nots and all the other things that divide young people.

  5. If only people could learn to accept and love their children rather that put their own expectations on to them. I would support my child if they were gay because I know they are going to have enough problems out in the world without having to face the same bullshit at home.

  6. As a parent, i’ve discussed this issue with my child and she knows that she would be accepted regardless. She’s not gay, but the discussion needed to be had because parents NEED to be open with their children to promote awareness and tolerance. There are a lot of lesbian girls that have made passes at her and we’ve discussed it as being okay for them to make a comment, but not for them to force themselves on her just as I would had it been a boy. There is no attraction barrier.

    It’s a shame that some parents are so dismissive of their children’s sexuality and the adverse effects their attitudes have. I completely agree that we should live and let live, but that’s easier said than done for so many. I’m just glad I’m not the parent who’d disown their child over something like this.

  7. @ everyone – Great to hear such positive comments.

    @ African Girl – I agree – I think that it is harder for fathers. Is it just homophobia in general?

    I’m hoping that a couple of fellas will chime in. Fresh, Organized, Enigma, West, Thinking, etc – Where ya’ll at?

  8. I have frank and open discussions with my daughter about sex and sexuality often. I think she’d feel comfortable telling me if she were gay. And I would support her, as long as it does not get in the way of her getting the hell out of my house and begining college in August! LOL

  9. No matter what I would love my child. My parents raised me to be tolerant of the differences of others and I know that no matter what I was loved. I’d like to provide the same to my own children some day.

  10. @ Beauty – Hey girl! Hmm, what type of questions? Of them and they’re feelings? Or of yourself and they way in which you raised them? Just curious.

  11. I hadn’t heard about this. That is soo sad. I wish people wouldn’t place that kind of judgement, at least not on people so young. We should be raising them to be #1-comfortable to talk to their parents, and #2- comfortable with who they are and being in their own skin.

  12. tdj- I would wonder what happened geneticly(sp) or maybe it was the enviroment. I don’t think all gay people are born that way. I think sexuality is a very complicated part of human behavior.

  13. I am a parent and while my first and honest answer is that I would be tolerant and accepting, a part of me would be heartbroken. Perhaps for my own selfish dreams of seeing my daughter becoming a parent, having a traditional (whatever that is) family. A mother’s love is strooong though, and Im’ sure that if presented with that, I’d bounce back and love her just as much as I always had. At least I hope so.

  14. @ Beauty – Intersting point. I do think that people are born gay, but I think that sometimes they don’t connect to that part of themselves until later in life.

    @ Les – Thanks for visiting! I appreciate the honesty.

  15. well you and I share similar thoughts on how and why those girls died. I think they came out as well and the family wasn’t accepting but all that is speculation on my part.

    I have two children, one of each.. now how would I feel HONESTLY I would be DEVASTATED but I wouldn’t shun them.. it would be my own demon I deal with inside but not taking it out on them.. they are MINE regardless and always will be… I won’t love them anyless but I probably would be disappointed that things I dreamed of for them may not happen.. but at the same time, as long as they are both happy it wouldn’t make any difference to me eventually after I got over it.

  16. I’m late to the party, but the first thing I would do would be to hug my daughter and tekk her that daddy is still daddy and that I love her every bit as much now, as I did before she told me.

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