My oldest sister came out to my parents her first winter back from college, the day before she went back to school in Rhode Island.
The holidays are always kind of tense around my house. My family, which gets along like the Brady Bunch every other day of the year, always has some kind of blow out when a holiday rolls around. That’s why when my sister was arguing with my parents in one of the upstairs bedrooms the day after Christmas, I just assumed it was another holiday episode.
I got anxious when I quietly passed by the doorway to catch a glimpse of tears streaming down my mother’s cheeks. Her face contorted in anger as she said, “ Fuck you” to my sister.
Everyone in the family has always fought like adults. Even when we were kids there was maturity to our battles. But never had either of my parents cursed at us.
My second-oldest sister finally told me Lau was a lesbian in the spring of that same year. Even still, it wasn’t until years later that I connected my sister’s coming out with that post-Christmas incident.
I had suspected Lau was gay for a while. I remember one of my middle school enemies sending me an instant message once saying, “Your sister’s a lesbian. Everyone knows.”
Even still, I was protective of her. She couldn’t be a lesbian. She was a tomboy, that’s all. She had a high school boyfriend she dated for two years. They were going to get married and have kids. A lesbian couldn’t date a man for two years.
I looked up to my sister; I wore her hand-me-downs. I remember thinking, “I can’t wear these anymore; I don’t want people to think I’m gay.”
For a few years after, my mom turned her attention on my other two sisters and me. It was as if she was on some kind of lesbian witch-hunt. If Lau could be gay, than any of us could be gay too. Any time one of us exhibited behavior similar to Lau, my mom would give us a disapproving look and say things like, “You don’t want people to get the wrong idea.”
I remember being so frustrated sometimes.
“So I’m wearing a tie-dye t-shirt?! I’m pretty sure Lau never wears those!”
Meanwhile, my mom would say things like, “It’s just a phase.” Or, “She’s just a ‘love the one you’re with’ type of girl.”
When I told Lau this, she simply said, “I kissed my first girl when I was twelve; this isn’t a phase.”
August 2010 marked roughly six and a half years since Lau was “out.” It also marked the month when my parents hosted a 200-person wedding at our house in New Hampshire for Lauren and her longtime girlfriend, Sasha.
My mom cried during the ceremony, not because she was upset that her daughter was a lesbian, but because she was so happy for Lau. We were all filled with love that day. It wasn’t a gay wedding; it was just a wedding, and it was beautiful.
I find I can’t wait to go home in December to await the birth of my new niece, which Sasha is having through a sperm donor who looks like Lau did as a baby.
I love my sister and I love my sister-in-law. I feel blessed everyday that I have the two of them in my life and I’m so thankful I have the type of parents who love everyone of my siblings enough to adapt and accept each one of us for who we really are.