Aug 13, 2016 4:27 AM GMT
NYT: By Name Withheld, I grew up in a strict evangelical home and participated in our church as a child without fully understanding its principles. As an adult, I don’t subscribe to any religion. My immediate family, however, continues to be deeply religious and very much adheres to what I now believe are extreme views. They are, of course, free to worship as they please. I, however, take issue with the hypocrisy in their own lives. For example, they are strongly anti-choice, yet one had an abortion during a complicated pregnancy. They are “pro-family,” yet gave up an adopted child that became “too difficult.” They boycotted a parental wedding because the bride and groom were each previously married; participating would have “blessed the sin.” There is also a personal aspect for me in that they openly oppose L.G.B.T. rights, support politicians and groups that are extremely anti-gay, attend schools that require opposition to gay civil liberties in their codes of conduct and belong to anti-gay churches. I’m openly gay. I have been told that I am not welcome in certain family members’ homes because of my “lifestyle choice.”
While all of this is certainly confounding and hurtful, I’ve come to terms with it and have limited nearly all of my interaction with my family, living a happy, successful life with friends I consider my chosen family. My relatives know why I no longer speak to them or attend functions, but they think this is entirely my fault.
In the very near future, however, I will have to participate in milestone events like a funeral or two (inevitable) and a wedding (likely invitation). I will undoubtedly be confronted about my absence over the years, by those who fully know the reasons for it and by those who should. I realize there would be more appropriate occasions to offer an honest reply, but I don’t feel comfortable avoiding a direct answer or shouldering the blame. I’m thinking of saying something along the lines of “I’ve always felt it best to put as much distance between myself and those whose decisions have hurt me and my friends.” I’m struggling, however, because while I feel this is enough of an answer to provoke some thought, it doesn’t suggest that I was forced into this situation. Does that answer suffice, or should I offer to go into further detail?