As a queer Pilipinx American, it is difficult to come to terms with “love” towards my father. As of Sunday, June 18, 2017, marked as Father’s Day, I couldn’t stop thinking about how I, a closeted queer who will live under the same roof with his (conservative?) father, can express his affection towards someone that embodies being stoic and macho. In thinking about strategies to handle the situation, there is a lot of factors that had to be considered.
One factor of this process is definitely having to redefine “love.” My father upholds the mainstream, heteronormative view of love as he sometimes teases me about being the man of any relationship to support his loved ones. Having to grow up into his perception definitely showed a lot of challenges because of internalized battles of me fighting against the mold with standards that I am not comfortable with. Despite those taxing battles, the mold should be challenged to incorporate more queer perspectives.
Another factor is upholding what my father and I do have and going off from there. Despite his stubborn reactions and his dismissive remarks towards certain ideas, he is still my father which is a privilege I shouldn’t take for granted. Hopefully, one day he and I will try to come into terms of what truths we both hold.
As my dream trip to Hawaii started off on Father’s Day, having to be surrounded by a whole new area outside my parent’s house reminded me of a life that felt free and less complicated. No longer was I condemned by parental supervision or having to go back into the closet. In Hawaii, I can act, behavior, speak, breathe, laugh, love as queer as I want. Having a body of water that stretches miles upon miles away from me and my parents helps to make it possible … Yet, I know that having these partitions are not sustainable. Since I am planning to live with my parent’s house for a year to save money and to pay off my student loans with the income of my fellowship job, I definitely have to reconcile the close proximity to my parents, especially my father.
Having to live back to my parent’s house might provide an opportunity to heal and work out the concerns I have. It is time for me to stop making excuses about needing to escape from reality, pain, and hardships.
A kasama (friend) gave me the advice that spaces are not always permanent. Space itself changes and the people who lives in those spaces change as well, including us. The advice echoes into my noggin because of how it alters the framework of “running away” or “moving on” that I was stuck in. The advice gave me the power to envision a queer space in my house that I can try to create with the hope that the changes will allow my parents to change.
There is a long road ahead of me in tackling this issue. With the goal of rekindling my relationship with my parents, I hope to arrive in a space that is safe, fun, and caring for everyone at home.