Dear Dad: I Know you Wanted a Son, is a Dyke Okay Instead? (or) I Used to be Silenced, but That is No More.
“Are you one of the lesbians at your school?”
I think a lot about the fourteen-year-old that you will forever have immortalized in your brain. The one whose room you burst in on to ask that disgusting question. In that memory that I have tucked away in my head, I still have my fear and shame tucked away, one glimpse of my face and then I hear myself saying:
The way I see it, I haven’t seen you since.
The way I see it, you never saw me to begin with.
The word “lesbian” dripped off your tongue and fell out of your mouth with a revulsion that could only be compared to someone who had just walked in to a bad smell. You looked at me the same way you used to look at my mother after she had stood up to you after a long day.
The funny thing is, I hadn’t stopped to ask myself that question until then. I didn’t give myself space in my newly teenage brain for the occupancy of the word, lesbian. I wondered if I was afraid of my father, or I was afraid of the possibility of that word being the word that would best describe me.
“Your silence will not protect you.”
Fast forward five years, and Audre Lorde screams in my ears the day of the Trans March. Her words echoed and bounced through my synapses, collecting opinions like flowers waiting to be picked. Your silence will not protect you.
“I am queer.”
These are words I will never say to you, and the only thing I can feel is guilt. I weep for the child that you tried to out, tried to shame, for the beautiful person I was pushing you away to become. My silence protected me, but is now hurting me. I am mourning the loss of my past voice.
Your tomboy, your overall wearing, baseball cap donning, kid that you raised: she’s queer. I just thought you should know.