By TERRY DODDS
This is the first time I am writing for the Blade, but I hope not the last. I was born in Mexico City, but I am now an American citizen.
Mexico is generally a very Catholic country. I am going to tell you two different histories and the very different reactions from two families about the reactions when their respective sons told the parents that they were gay.
Story No. 1: In Mexico, there is a big population of originally Spanish people who came to Mexico during the civil war in Spain. Mexico happily opened their arms to them. Those families generally speaking keep stronger Old Spanish traditions, in fact, much more so, than the Spanish people that live in Spain.
One of these families has a son who, for the purpose of this story, will be named Ernest. Ernest was a very cute and studious son who earned a Ph.D. He, like most of these Spanish-rooted children do, was still living at home and had a girlfriend. Their wedding day was three months away.
Given the kind of people they were — and the time, around 1975 — this couple had never slept together, and they would have gone that way until the wedding day. Obviously the girlfriend felt that something was not right in this regard, because she told him: “Ernest I am not marrying you, if we don’t have sex before our wedding.”
Ernest did try, but he couldn’t do it. He just didn’t feel the appetite for it. So the girlfriend broke off the engagement. He wasn’t disappointed.
The parents were very sorry about the marriage being off and kept telling him to be patient, that she will be back soon. He began to go out with other friends; his parents didn’t know what he was doing.
One Friday night as he came home late, he found his mother in an ocean of tears, she could hardly speak. She said, “Oh Ernest people are so evil, you are never going to believe this, a person called me tonight and told me that you are gay and that is also the reason why your girlfriend wants nothing to do with you anymore. Also they told me that you have man lovers, and we as your parents are the only people that don’t know about all this.”
Ernest, saw this as the golden opportunity, that he had been long looking for, so he told his mother: “Mom, I am so sorry, that people have upset you, but I might as well tell you, that it is true, there is nothing I can do about it, also there is nothing wrong with it, people are just different, I am also a mature man, so this is my opportunity to tell you that I am going to move out of this house and live on my own.” He then left the room. The mother cried even harder.
The next morning he came down later than usual and found his father reading the newspaper, the father spoke first. He told him, “Son, I know about the conversation you and your mother had last night. Let me tell you, right or wrong, heterosexual or homosexual, you are my son and I love you. I don’t understand this, but I will respect you, you can live here with us as long as you want or leave this is up to you, this will always be your house, we will always be your loving parents and the doors are always open for you.”
Without too much transition he asked him: “What do you want for breakfast?”
The second story involves a Mexican family with four boys and two girls. One of the sons we’ll call Oscar. He was a very neat and hard working man. He never had a girlfriend, but nobody in the family ever suspected (or if they did, they never vocalized the idea, that he might be gay).
On his 45th birthday, he decided to tell his mother that he was gay, hoping for understanding and respect. When he told his mother, first she cried, then she asked him to go with her to see a doctor, to check what was wrong with him. He tried to explain that there is nothing wrong with hime. He just was gay and there are millions like him.
However he had given his word so he went with his mother to the doctor. The doctor explained that it was not a temporary condition, he was born gay, he was gay and he was going to be gay for the rest of his life. There was no medicine or treatment that could change that. Oscar felt he had at least kept his promise to his mother.
She asked him to please, please, not to tell anyone in the family, specially his father because this will surely kill him. Oscar’s father was not going to be able to live with that shame and embarrassment.
The following week the mother appeared in front of the whole family with a scapular and a habit. (A scapular is two hanging shapes, with a cord holding them together in a way that they can hang around your neck, showing one at the front and one at the back. They both have the same religious image. The habit is like the gown that some monks use, but in this case you dress as a particular saint that you want to honor.)
This is almost like paying forward, by dressing this way — you are requesting a favor from the Saint: I dress and advertise you and I want you to grant me a wish. The mother stated to the whole family that she was asking for a “very special miracle” that she desperately needed. That was the reason for this display.
Even when the rest of the family knew about the “catastrophe,” all the brothers and sisters were OK about it. The father was never told and he either didn’t know or pretended not to know. The siblings never let on to the family that they knew about it. It was a real demonstration of family hypocrisy and ignorance.