I was born and raised in an informed family. My father, particularly, is knowledgeable about the global issues of the day, like the Greek crisis and Syria War. But, I know, too, that I am different from the rest of the members of my big family. How I think, what I believe, and my opinion on things, is 180 degrees different from them. And recently I found out another source of contention that might be a potential conflict between us in the future.
One time, I was working on a school project for which we had to create a website and report about a global or social issue. I choose LGBTQIAP (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual and pansexual) as the topic for my project. I was already a bit worried about it because I would have to present it to one of the religion teachers (a Christian), and I didn’t know whether the presentation would become a heated debate or a nice talk. As I was working on it, my mom came in to ask me what topic I was working on. I looked at her and took an uneasy breath.
"What is it?" She repeated.
"Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender." I answered softly. I hoped she would say “Oh” and leave it at that. Instead, she asked me why I chose the topic and to tell her all the details of my presentation, which eventually led to us arguing. I thought “I’m dead”, when she asked me,
"You don’t support same-sex marriage, do you?"
I didn't know then if I should proudly say “yes” and get a serious lecture from her, or if I should repress my thoughts and say “no” for my own good. I looked at the floor, and still didn't know what to answer. I just kept silent while my mom went on about how it was wrong and that we should not support it and so on.
And then she began to give me me some “religious” thoughts to put on the solution's tab in my assignment. I pretended to agree with her suggestions, while noting that they were so different than every single solution that I wanted to put down
"Thanks, Mom," I said and then returned to my room without anything more to say. It is mind blowing for me. I never guessed that my mother would think so differently than I did. I didn't know how I should react. It felt like I was being forced to believe what she believes, and it didn’t seem healthy.
So that's how I knew my mom is homophobic. How I found out about my father was a different story and it happened not long after the U.S Supreme Court decided to legalize same-sex marriage. I was bored one night and was checking out Facebook, looking at my old account, when I thought checking out my father's account (we’re not friends on Facebook). I typed his name and clicked his profile.
At first I laughed at pictures of me that he posted when I went to New York City. Then I clicked on his timeline and found out some appalling stuff. I forgot what picture it was, but it was something that said there are no homosexual creatures besides human. I don't know if I should laugh out loud at the stupid picture or if I should get angry and disappointed because my father and my mother are homophobic. Then I scrolled down and found more homophobic posts on his timeline. I wanted to argue with him, but I knew that wouldn’t be a good idea.
Since then, I feel like I can't be free. I see how it could potentially clash with my plan to take gender studies in graduate school and to have a serious career in gender and sexuality. I feel that I cannot tell my parents what I want to do or what I think. And I know that they will yell at me for not thinking about LGBT like them like them, that it is a disease that needs to be cured.
Syafira Pritami Angelina is a high school student who dreams of studying gender studies someday in the future. She still struggles with school and in her spare time, she loves to do Model United Nations, talk about Human Rights and listen to music while eating popcorn."