Love and Understanding, A Book Review and Parents of LGBT*

A Departure from Script by Rochelle Hollander Schwab, listened to on Audible.

Parts of this book were hard to sit through. It was well worth the experience, though. I say the following with love and understanding.

The journey of acceptance spoken of in this book is individualistic for each person, LGBT and each of their family members, particularly parents. Faith is an integral part of many people’s lives. The hopes and dreams (expectations) parents have for their children are filled with generations of traditions and values, regardless of where a parent or family member lands on the spiritual spectrum.

My mother is still mourning her expectations, but as I grow happier, she sees what was missing when none of us accepted me for me.

I’ve been an out lesbian for over 20 years. Despite that extent of time, only for the last six years have I fully accepted my orientation. My acceptance was a trigger for my parents. They realized finally that my happiness was hindered by my individual, yet parent-supported, parent-enabled, lack of acceptance. My support of LGBT youth in an effort to help them find acceptance of themselves by themselves sooner in life has put the issue in front of them so grandly and publicly that my parents are now having to come out as parents of a lesbian to their church friends. My parents are having to dig into themselves and their faith to figure out where their lines are drawn, which of those lines are based in bigotry and not faith, and which lines need to be erased based on their understanding of their spiritual truths.

Faith is their main concern, but it’s not their only concern. My mother finally broke through some of her pain to admit that, though she never tried to “gender-police” me, she still had hoped and dreams (again, expectations) that I would find a man secure enough in himself to accept my own strength and strong personality, grandchildren, and for wanted me to be happy. She knew I was different “from other girls” my entire life, but she was afraid I would experience hardship if I couldn’t love a man. “The world can be harsh. You’re dating pool is smaller. I don’t want you hurt physically, emotionally, or to be alone for the rest of your life!” These same concerns are why I took until I was in my early 20s to come out and another 15 or so years to find self-acceptance. After years of open, honest communication, we’re all healing. I hope other parents can use their love to find understanding.

Some LGBT might agree about the lack of coverage in the middle with Sheila and Naomi. After their friendship’s course, I still think Sheila’s missing some understanding. I won’t ruin it for you, though. Friendships are full of a maintenance requirement. Maybe some day they’ll be able to discuss the possible lack of understanding.

About Ann Townsend

Ann is a published author, speaker, and LGBTQ youth advocate; and has been a professional web application developer since 1997. She holds a medical A.S.; a B.S. in Management with an Emphasis on Computer Science, Minor in Psychology; and a M.S., MBA with an Emphasis on Management of Information Systems. She is the recipient of multiple awards of recognition and is currently pursuing her PhD in Media Psychology. She is currently a senior lead application developer in municipal government and the CTO of SSCodeWorks, LLC, developing applications for government synergy and geo-services for serious and recreational location-based mineral propecting. Prior to working for a municipal government agency, she was the majority owner of two small businesses, including Gold Core Networks (GCN), a general partnership. Until 2013, GCN provided internet web hosting and web application development, servicing the Central Valley and multiple U.S. corporations. GCN contracts included a two year contract with the fourth largest school district in California, assisting in the implementation and augmentation of their accounting web application. She was also CEO and chief developer for Midas Accounting Packages, Inc., a niche-market, diverse, ahead-of-its-time tech start up with the primary product of an adaptable, multi-industry accounting web application. In 2007, Ann was hired by a municipal government agency as one of two implementation and 24/7 support personnel for its accounting web application and developer of multiple interfaces between disparate financial applications and systems across 13 departments. Since 2012, Ann has been the lead custom mobile and web application developer. With her current employer, she has developed and/or maintains seven custom in-production mobile and web applications, including an application to digitize, collect, track, and report on property base-year values; and a budget application to digitize, collect, track, and transparently report, enumerate, and document budgeted IT charges for all departments. A recent project was for human resources from position request by a department through employee separation.