It's a family affair

First of all, I wanted to thank everyone who has expressed concern and sympathy for my aunt's illness. Last week was very rough. A week ago Wednesday, my aunt recieved impossibly good news. The tumor, the doctor said, was benign. That euphoria quickly gave way to resignation when she learned on Friday that the benign result was from a fat deposit around a much larger cancerous tumor.

My aunt is the member of my extended family to whom I am the closest. I would not be who I am if it weren't for her--when I was three days old, she gave me the name Jeremy. I will choose to look at her illness in the best possible light until all avenues of treatment have been exhausted. Thanks so much for your kind words and prayers, she can most definitely use them in this trying time.

So, speaking of family, this weekend I saw 'For the Bible Tells Me So' at SIFF. It's a documentary that chronicles five families who have grappled with their faith when one of the children comes of the closet. The film hit very close to home, and tears were literally streaming down my face for at least the last half hour. The film is never condescending, but definitely looks down on biblical literalism. It features some great interviews with some of the world's most progressive Christian thinkers, including Nobel Peace Prize winner Desmond Tutu, Peter J. Gomes, and Rev. Larry Keene. They are beacons of sanity making the rational counterpoint to the hellfire and brimstone that Jimmy Swaggart, Jerry Falwell, and their ilk espouse.

I truly feel that the reason I exist on a plane that is "less than" in my family structure is because of the church. My parents cannot reconcile my sexuality with their religion, and, as a result, I am not as worthy of their love as anyone else in my family. I have always placed the blame for this separation squarely at the feet of religion. This film helped me to remember that not all organized religion demonizes gays, and, in fact, the Episcopalian church recently confirmed a gay bishop.

I will be buying a copy of this film for my parents when it released on DVD--chances are they won't make it through the whole thing. They'll shut it off and consider it left-wing propaganda, but this film gave me hope that one day, I will be considered equal to my brothers. That's a hope I haven't felt in a very long time.

(Pictured is me and my niece at my dad's 70th birthday.)


Me said...

Great pic! I'll be thinking of your aunt. And we'll have to buy one of those DVDs for Sam too!

GayProf said...

I am sorry about your aunt. That seems unkind to have given her a false diagnosis. I will send good energy her way (and yours).

Nilla's big sis said...

Your posts about your parents always make me cry. Now that you have friends who love you dearly.

Earl Cootie said...

I often feel grateful (blessed!) that my family was never terribly religious, almost a rarity in the Deep South. I'm lucky that I never had to find out what would happen if my orientation were not fully accepted.

I hope your aunt gets well. (And yes, that is a great pic!)

Nilla aka Tennille said...

What a nice sister I have, motherhood agrees with her I think. And she's recently religious, so not all christian/catholics are crazy with the anti-gay agenda. And I think I know of quite a few people who's religious families (and no longer religious families) would be very interested in that documentary.

I'm so very sorry to hear about your aunt. I think about her often since you told me about her illness.