It’s easy to be liberal. As long as you only need to talk about it. It’s easy to be accepting with gypsies (I know, Roma is the politically correct term, but most of them refers to themselves by this name), migrants (the correct term regarding some of them would be asylum seekers) or gay people (if they are not in my family).
The test of liberalism is when, let’s say my grandma’s garden in Borsod is ruined by gypsies in the summer, or the wave of asylum seekers destroy my living environment, or, not to mention, my daughter comes out as lesbian.
I know people who call themselves liberal but hate gypsies (not just the ones, who steal from grandma’s garden, but all of them), migrants, and they would lose it if their kid would be the one not being on the “right side”.
By the way I consider myself someone who lives according to conservative values. I work, pay taxes, I never even tried any drugs, I don’t drink and I’m not promiscuous at all. No wonder, that one of our religious Christian acquaintances told me and my wife. “I admire you, because you’re not religious but still raise your children in a normal way.”
In principle, however, I’m liberal and I think everyone should live the way they want, the way it’s good for them. As long as it doesn’t harm others or the community of course.
So with such a background I’d been thinking a lot whether my liberalism would survive a practical test. If my grandma was regularly robbed by gypsies, if migrants would camp in my garden, or if my kid came out as homosexual. For 50 years I was only talking about my values… and then came the test.
My elder daughter started to be suspicious. In fact: she’d been suspicious for a long time! She never played with Barbies when she was little (thank God, I’m sick of that “woman”), she never wanted to dress up as a princess or a pink fairy. But she played football, and she wasn’t bad at it. She got fed up with it when she turned 12, and my naive wife was even talking about it years later that finally “she decided to be a girl”. Well, she did become a girl, but she didn’t become one “like that”.
Dorka was over 18, but even as a young adult, she didn’t date guys, she wore boyish clothes and all in all, she wasn’t someone who people would generally describe as feminine. Sometimes we don’t notice things that are right in front of our eyes but after a while I started to suspect something. I told my wife: “You’re her mother, I think you should talk to her and ask if she’s gay.” After some hesitation she agreed and then maybe a day later - I don’t really remember - she called me abd told me on a swooning voice: “I talked to her. She is indeed gay.”
What can I say, even the most liberal people wouldn’t burst with joy when hearing these news. Because in your head you imagine what life is going to be like. You imagine walking your daughter down the aisle, playing with your grandkids, and… and… So, news like this can crush these dreams. And then you are thinking, talking to your kid, you progress everything, and then you realise: this might not be the best thing that happened to you, but it’s definitely not the worst.
Dorka cheered me up that I can walk Zsófi (her sister) down the aisle, and, even though she’s gay, she is planning to have kids. Finally, as she later acknowledged it as well, a long and unnecessary period of hiding had ended.
Well yes, after you’re over the first shock (which didn’t really happen to me, because, as I said, I suspected it), you will be rather happy. Not because your kid is gay, but because at least she dares to be open about it. Because like this, she has a chance to have a normal, happy life. If she’d had to lie all her life, pretending to live a good life in a seemingly happy marriage, then she wouldn’t have that chance. So all in all it’s always better to live like this than like that. Especially if your friends and family think the same way.
To our pleasant surprise, our friends and family took the news very well - as it turned out, Dorka’s generation was told earlier than us - and they look up to her because she dares to concede - not being different, but being herself.
To be exact, I had one Facebook acquaintance who didn’t understand how I could be alright with this. I asked them what they would do in a situation like this. They said it would be impossible, this would never happen to their son or daughter (who are almost grown-ups now), what an absurd thing to say. And, they might be right. Not about their kids not realising one day that they might be gay, but with such an attitude on the parents’ side, they would never admit it. They would live - as I said talking about Dorka - as emotionally damaged fake heterosexuals or forever lying, closeted homosexuals.
Of course there is a chance that if this happened to my acquaintance, they would look at things differently. As Dorka said in a short film: “...my entire family took it very well, even my conservative grandma.”
It seems like love overrules prejudice.
Translated by Ibolya Nagy