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Last month BTL asked readers to submit their most outrageous – but true – “Meet the Parents” stories in celebration of “La Cage aux Folles” coming to Detroit. The winner has been awarded tickets to see “La Cage” and his letter is printed below.
Congratulations to BTL Meet the Parents Contest winner, George Westerman:
Twenty years ago in the summer of 1992, my parents were planning a trip to visit me here in Michigan. Cliff and I had been together just over a year and had a moved into a flat in Ferndale. My parents were used to staying with me whenever they visited and it would be their first time ever staying with me and my boyfriend! We were excited for their visit, as they had been trying hard to be supportive of me ever since I came out to them. And they were doing a great job!
A couple of weeks before their visit, my mind went to a place it frequents: to the Land of Worst Case Scenarios. I suddenly had an intense fear that they might expect to be staying only with me. What if they assumed that Cliff would be leaving for the duration and staying somewhere else? That would be terrible, not to mention unacceptable to us! After talking with Cliff, we agreed that this had to be discussed with my parents before their arrival so that we all had the same expectation.
So, with my heart beating fast and practically in my throat, I phoned my parents. “We’re really looking forward to your visit,” I told Mom with my eyes squeezed shut with anxiety about the impending response to my next statement. “But we want to make it clear that when you stay here, Cliff will be here as well. He will not be going to stay with his parents or a friend, and he and I will be sleeping in the same bedroom. This is our apartment and we will both be here while you’re here. I hope you can respect that.”
I was not prepared for her angry response. She let me have it, but not in the way I expected. “I can’t believe you think so poorly of your dad and I that you assume we’d have a problem with you and Cliff being in the same room while we’re there! Don’t you think we’ve worked hard to be supportive of you? Do you think we’re shallow and petty?” I opened my eyes. Then I exhaled and smiled. My angst had been for nothing. It was a nonissue! Perhaps her next statement was the confirmation I needed to completely let go of my own fear about my relationship with Cliff: “You know, we’re really only coming to see Cliff. We don’t care if you’re there or not!”
My smile turned to a giant grin.
I told Mom that I loved her and couldn’t wait for their visit.
I’ve told this story many times over the last twenty years, and though my parents are both gone now, my telling of this story is a testament of my pride at the hard work they did after I came out. Thanks Mom and Dad!