I was overwhelmed by drastic emotions. What should I do? Who should I share it with, who can I confide in? I was divorced, and I couldn’t say anything to my son’s grandparents.
Over 30 years ago, when I was a young girl, I listened to ‘strictly confidential’ town stories about a local hairdresser, Suki, who’d never had a girlfriend.
My older sister told me that when he learning his trade and living in student halls in Banja Luka he was constantly surrounded by girls. They made jokes about his ‘feminized’ movements, teased men who went to him for a haircut, even though there were two other men’s hairdressing salons. I didn’t understand anything at the time, but I remembered one word they used often, which would later be given a different name – LGBT.
I had no idea that I would, indirectly, find myself in that circle. And I realized this the day my son came home from school crying. I was about to find out this was just the culmination of a long time of him refusing to tell me about the problems he was going through. I thought: it will pass, ‘just children being children’. I saw the fact that he was different from his peers in many ways as a uniqueness. He was an excellent student, although quite timid… I was overwhelmed by drastic emotions. What should I do? Who should I share it with, who can I confide in? I was divorced, and I couldn’t say anything to my son’s grandparents.
A small, ever-curious town, just like in the time of the hairdresser Suki, who remains only an urban legend.
I had to face this with seriousness, while keeping it completely secret. I didn’t even find encouragement in the fact that there are NGOs that deal with this, wanting to help children who feel different, as well as their parents.
I realised that bearing the stigma of an LGBT person isn’t much easier in larger cities. Because they have neighbourhoods too. I was having a hard time dealing with my own situation. I had to understand whether this was a problem, or just life in its essence. And then, share this truth with my child every day.
I watched some films, I remember there was a director from Croatia, Dana is her name – she made a film about it. It’s odd that I felt a little bit more at ease when I saw how bravely she told her parents the truth about herself. But I’m not as brave as Dana. I am not that brave even today, I do not want my name appearing anywhere. Despite knowing that being open might help me and other parents deal with it more easily. I don’t want to pretend to be modern, and say: it’s all normal. Because it’s unusual. A taboo topic, shrouded in a thick coat of silence. Maybe that’s why coping is harder.
I was brainstorming about how I can help my child? I can see how this so-called modern society views the issue. Domestic politicians are silent about it. Those from the international community insist on saying that this is normal. The American, the ambassador, is usually supportive; so is the Swedish ambassador. Lots of opinions on social media. Swearing hits me the hardest. The swearers would be the worst soldiers in war.
What I realized is that nature is one big pot, in which everything is brimming with diversity. And this should be respected – everyone should simply choose the part of the pot that suits them best.
I’m just a mother. My son is LGBT. I know where I live and I know that my courage to say my full name and surname would only be welcomed by those who don’t understand. These are torn out pages from my diary.
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