As I stood in the dining room, walking toward the kitchen and listening to Sam talk, my heart broke in two. I remembered the day I came out to my parents as Trans, I remember them not taking me seriously and my heart screamed with the knowledge that the one person in her life who would have understood, who could have fought her corner, was not there when she needed it most.
I came out to my parents about 3 years ago now. I came out to my mum in a panicked email the day before I started therapy. I came out to my step dad in a blaze of glory, screaming at the top of my lungs that he had no idea what I was going through and that he didn’t know the half of what drove me out of school. I came out to my biological dad in an attempt to find some answers about his feminine side and if this was something that he had ever questioned in himself. Every time was different, but every time the same result.
You’re too young to know what’s right for you. Don’t rush into things before you’re sure this is what you want. This is just a phase, you’re just over reacting to being a bit sensitive. Don’t tell people about this, because they will never let you live it down once the phase is over.
My parents would not take me seriously. I geared myself up each time for the violent disowning. I expected the blatant Transphobia right off the bat. It didn’t come, I was left in this weird emotional limbo knowing any day could be the day they realised this was real. It was a ticking time bomb, where I had to live each day in the knowledge they thought this was all some big joke.
I saw a lot of myself in Sam. I saw a lot of parrallels between myself and her when it came to my relationship with my current girlfriend, but the biggest emotional touchstone was this single moment that is often overlooked in LGBT coming of age stories, the period of not even being taken seriously. It rips us of our right to fight our corner and try to win people over. It rids us of our right to complain about our situation because “others have it much worse, being disowned or kicked out”. It puts us in this place that just invalidates a huge part of our personal identity in the eyes of the people we often want approval from the most.
That’s the real tragedy of Gone Home for me. I put myself into Katie’s shoes, imagining us to be one and the same person. The guilt I feel for not being there for Sam is insane. I could have been the person to advocate for her from a position of knowledge that her feelings for Lonnie won’t go away. I could have been the one to talk to her about falling in love with girls. I could have been the one to believe what she said, to let her feel like what she was feeling was validated by the world. As it stands, she will think back on a family who didn’t even have the respect to get angry. Who didn’t have the guts to cry.
It’s okay Sam. Be happy in love. Lonnie, keep her safe.