I’m From Phoenix, AZ.

by Philip Calderon

I’m From Phoenix, AZ.

I had known about PFLAG for a long time. I knew it was a straight organization for parents with gay children. I had just separated from my wife and was trying to find support for her. I had the whole gay community to go to but as a wife of a gay man my wife had no support. I decided to attend a PFLAG meeting then report back to my wife. However, the realization didn’t hit me until I walked into the meeting that this would be my first time interacting with a group of straight people as an openly gay man.

I found PFLAGers, well, sort of weird. There was Bunny so proud of her lesbian daughter and Boots who spoke so glowingly of her gay son and Nancy who was so funny and comfortable about having a gay sister. My brain just couldn’t handle what it was hearing. I wondered how long it would take before someone slipped up and called me a faggot.

I couldn’t recommend PFLAG after just one meeting so I attended several more. The weirdness continued but nobody slipped up. Then one day I asked myself what if these PFLAGers really meant what they were saying. What if these straight people really loved their gay children just the way they are.

I realize now that it took several months of a group of “gay positive” straight people challenging my long held belief that straight people could at best only tolerate gay people before I could get it through my thick skull that I might be wrong.

That day I started to let go of my fear of rejection long enough to start trusting straight people again. I hadn’t realized how unsafe I had always felt. Now I almost always feel safe because I know there are many more PFLAGer types out there than those who would do me harm. Now PFLAGers don’t seem weird at all.

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