Real Life Story
How Parental Support Helps Queer Relationships Grow
We spoke to queer couples and their parents to find out how trusting each other made their relationships more beautiful.
As Lexia Eala turned 26, she decided that she was no longer happy playing a game of hide and seek with her family. After all, she was in love, and she wanted to celebrate it with her loved ones. Even though she didn’t expect her Catholic family to accept her relationship, she decided to stop hiding. She told her mother that she was in a relationship with another young woman, Dana Ang Espina.
Though Lexia’s mother took time to accept her daughter’s relationship, she eventually did. From not wanting to hear about her daughter’s girlfriend to praying for her, she has come a long way.
In a world where same-sex couples have to live through hate and stigma, parental approval is validating, liberating, and empowering. Both Lexia and Dana believe that there’s nothing comparable to it.
“No amount of acceptance from friends, from other family members, can ever measure up to what [parents] give to their kids,” Lexia admits. Having hidden her relationships before, she now realises the importance of parental acceptance.
With acceptance and support, Dana has noticed positive changes in her life. “I feel like [telling my parents about my relationship] has really helped me become a better daughter and also a better partner,” Dana explains. Coming out to her mother has taught her the importance of honesty. It has also made things less awkward between them.
Dana says that this has been a two-way journey of growth. Her mother, Babylyn, agrees. “When [your kids] can tell you about their relationship, that is a good thing.”
Babylyn believes that things will only get better between them from now on.
“She will be more open to discussing anything about her life with me, not only in the present but also in the future,” she says. Their mother-daughter relationship has now become more intimate and trusting. Previously, they only discussed work and studies. Now they can talk about almost anything.
Many LGBTQI couples in the Philippines are fighting for parental approval and respect. Dana believes that parents need time to embrace same-sex relationships because they are on a new and unfamiliar journey - one that’s not easy at all.
Karla Alfonso, who identifies as queer, reminded parents, “You can’t change your child, you can’t change who she’s with.” Karla is in a relationship with Francine Malantic, and her mother, Lindsey, accepts her girlfriend.
“I started to see her as part of the family the day Karla told me that she had a girlfriend,” says Lindsey and was in fact excited to meet her. “When we first met, it was like we’ve known each other for so long,” Lindsey smiles.“I trust her, and I know she will make Karla happy,” she adds.
For Francine, Karla’s mother’s approval makes her relationship stronger, and more secure. “It validates the relationship,” Francine smiles. As Karla’s first female partner, she admits that many others still question their relationship. “People think that your first queer relationship might be a fluke, a trial for the person who has only ever dated the opposite sex. When the parents of that person accept and approve of the relationship, the insecurity goes away,” she elaborates.
Karla is grateful for the support of her parents in both words and actions – and in what they don’t say. They never bring up her past heterosexual relationships or the possibility of being with a man and having a family. “They’re just accepting in a way that they are respectful of the relationship. We [plan to be] together until the end, there are no other possibilities for me, and they are also like that.”
Though these heartwarming stories of change and acceptance bring nothing but hope to the LGBTQ community in the Philippines, there are downsides to parental approval. "It makes things more expensive," Lexia jokes. "Now we’re expected to get each other’s parents' gifts as well!''
Author: Romano Santos
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