I watched Prayers for Bobby again 2 night ago. This time, I really let out the water works. It still amazes me how much of my own life I saw in that movie. In certain ways, my mother is similar to Mary Griffith, although much less authoritarian but nevertheless, just as hard-headed when she thinks what she believes is true or right.
In many ways, I can identify with Bobby Griffith. I think most, if not all, gay people can relate to him. What he experienced before he took his own life is what most of us might have gone through in our early days, or are still going through right now. I remember what it feels like to grow up confused about your feelings towards the same sex. I remember realizing that I was different from everybody else, and that I was gay. I remember the pain and hurt when ignorant people around me kept mocking gay people, and saying that being gay is unnatural, sick, disgusting, immoral and perverted, because they would be talking about me. The worst was when you hear that God doesn't love gay people because we're a sin and an abomination, and will be condemned to hell when we die. All these things really kills your sense of self-worth. I never did anything to hurt anyone. I'm just being myself and for that, I'm going to burn for all eternity. Those days, I really didn't know what to think or believe. I didn't know who to turn to. I didn't care much about church anymore. It killed my relationship with God, as I felt that I was not worthy of His love, or anyone else's. Sometimes I'd get really depressed, and feel out of place. Sometimes, I'd feel so ashamed for being gay.
I remember the fear that I felt when I wanted to come out for the first time to my mother. I remember the utter terror when I saw the look of disbelief and shock in her eyes. I was so scared that she'd reject and stop loving me. She started to blame anything at all to believe that I wasn't gay. I guess I'm lucky she didn't try to 'cure' me, because she didn't want to believe me in the first place. In the end, she just pretended like I never said anything. The second time I came out to her was more than a year ago, and I was a little better prepared for it. This time, she expressed more shock and blamed herself and everything around me even more. And to this day, she chose to ignore what I told her. I can't exactly blame her for doing what she did, as the shock can be overwhelming. The dream for your child to grow up, get married and start a family of their own will be shattered.
When Bobby was rejected by his own mother, I felt his hurt. In a way, my mother had done the exact same thing by choosing to sideline the truth that I had revealed to her. How can you say that you love your child unconditionally, yet reject them because you let yourself be blinded by your beliefs and turn away from them when they tell you that they are different? All Bobby wanted from his mother, as I did, was for her acceptance and her unchanging love. After all, isn't that what unconditional love is? Accepting someone for who they are and loving them no matter what.
When Mary Griffith finally realized the grave error of her own ignorance and stood up to defend the LGBT community, I cried uncontrollably. What she said when she cried in the arms of the pastor and when she spoke publicly to relate her ordeal, was exactly what I wanted my own mother to realize. That there was nothing wrong with me. That I did not choose to become this way. That I'm born just the way God intended. That God loves me for who I am. That all I wanted was for her to love me just the way I am. That too much ignorance and intolerance of the word gay can be very hurtful, especially when it comes from your loved ones.
So you see, I almost became another Bobby, but I'm still here today. I guess I survived those years because I chose not to think too much and just keep moving on. I'm just thankful that I've realized that what I believe to be the truth. I just hope that in time, God will guide her see the truth that is already in front of her. I hope that one day, I will be able to hear her say,"I love you and accept you no matter what you are".