His name is Ben. His parents have made me more angry than I can recently remember being.
His name is Ben. He's my dance partner for a performance.
His name is Ben. He's my friend.
His name is Ben. He's gay.
And his parents disowned him for it.
He came to morning rehearsal, looking upset and was asked multiple times what was wrong and evaded. Blamed lack of sleep, end of term papers, etc. Can't say that anyone was buying it but it eventually got dropped.
While we were alone in the studio, I asked him again what was wrong, and he was near the verge of tears when he asked me to sit down because he had something to tell me. And so I sat. He took a deep breath and finally told me he was gay.
I say finally because I've had a feeling since I met him. He's not the effeminate very-obviously-gay type at all; he's the opposite. He looks like a jock. Acts like one of the boys. But I had a feeling, but never pushed the subject, figuring he'd tell me when or if he wanted to.
When I told him that it didn't matter, didn't change anything...that he was still Ben and I was still me and nothing was different...the tears finally did spill over, and he told me his parents didn't have quite the same reaction when he had told them the day before. Understatement of the century. I'll spare you the nasty things his father said to him because they near brought me to tears, but the closing remark was, "No son of mine is a *insert gay slur here*, so you're no son of mine." His mother drove him back to school in silence. Not a word from either of them since.
I sat there with my friend, while he cried, and I did my best to comfort him, despite the boiling rage that was hiding just beneath the surface. I told him all the things I should: that his true friends won't care, that it doesn't matter who does, that he is the same person as he was before he decided to come out. But what can you do to soothe the hurt of a parent's rejection of their own child?
The rage is still here. I thought this was the 21st century. I thought this was Canada. I thought we were accepting...not just tolerant, but accepting. I thought a parent's love for their child was unconditional.
Apparently, I thought wrong.
My friend is hurting like hell right now. Not because of some random stranger yelling a slur at him, or a jerk at school. Not because of someone who's opinion doesn't matter to him at all. No, he got cut much deeper than that, by his own father, while his mother stood idly by.
And that is WRONG.
Ben deserves better. Everyone like Ben deserves better. And it makes me sad and angry that they don't have it yet.