The Bible speaks of a blessing or a curse that can be passed down from one or both parents. Parents have the power to bestow a blessing on their children. Many give this blessing passively through their example and personal success. The good things they have they share with their children. Most powerfully, they speak words of affirmation to a child; these words give life. Similarly parents possess the power to invoke a curse that mars the life-path of a child, not always permanently, but the curse leaves the way cluttered with doubt and low self-esteem suffered by the cursed child.
I’ve seen this so clearly in the queer community. Many folks who become well adjusted in their sexuality and personality received the blessing from their parents. Even if there was an initial difficulty on the part of the parents to accept a gay, lesbian, transgendered child, once folks come on board and embrace their child, queerness and all, it results in blessing, confidence, health. Similarly, those folks I know who were rejected and even verbally cursed by their parents have had to struggle to accept and assert themselves.
The interesting result to the too often lack of blessing by parents/guardians in the queer community is the rise of surrogate parents. We see it so clearly in the drag community when a drag queen takes an aspiring queen under her wing and teaches her in the “drag arts”. The drag mother offers gifts, affirmation, sharing of secrets (how do you make bouncy boobs stay in?) celebration and support. One of the great roles we have in the queer community is to become surrogate parents to each other. Older members of our community can bless the younger, speak words of affirmation, belief and love.
I ultimately received my parents’ blessing regarding my queerness. But I have also benefited from the blessings of my “Auntie” Doyle, a courageous, charming, Southern belle of gay man I knew when I lived in Memphis. Doyle comforted me when I was confused and depressed, guided me when I did not know how to deal with all my boy troubles and spoke words of belief into my life. He would say to me, “Peterson, you are a diamond, a sparkling, beautiful diamond. Never forget that even a diamond sitting on top of a pile of shit is still a diamond!”
In our community, the queer community, we have the priviledge to bless one another, to undo curses that misguided and narrow parents may have heaped upon their children. We have the power to love each other back to life and give the blessing.