'Ohana means family - no one gets left behind, and no one is ever forgotten. ~ Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois, Lilo & Stitch
I want to propose a toast, and to give a round of applause to all the proud parents out there who have break the silence and the barriers against homosexuality and have put their love for their children in front of the world, and in front of anything and anyone else, to give them their entire support and understanding for being gay. There is no bigger demonstration of love than supporting our children in their journey for self-identity and personality formation. We need more people like them. This country needs to have more parents that raise their children to know how to love and to be great human beings. Many of the social problems and injustices of the world would find an end if there would be more parents like them out there.
We are witnesses of two recent and significant dynamics within the LGBT community: Many young adults coming out of the closet through public channels of communication, and many parents of gay young adults giving their children their entire blessing and support, and in some cases their rejection, through the use of these channels as well. The Internet becomes once again a very powerful tool of communication and a platform for activism. The children who are individually showing the world who they really are, and the parents that are showing their individual support to their children through the use of public letters circulated through the internet, are not only two of the most noble and selfless gestures of love, but are also powerful tools to trigger collective activism and make social change an attainable goal.
Television was once the main source of information about the world. Today, this role is also shared with the Internet. Most of us have components of our knowledge that derive wholly or in part from fictional representations that are sent to the audiences through the use of one of these communications channels. Representations do matter; they produce specific and anticipated outcomes, especially in the news media world where modern racism is easily observable. In this sense, knowledge and representations about the LGBT community are not the difference. For many years, this group of people has being misrepresented, misunderstood and defined by everyone else but them. As a consequence, many members of this group have felt the obligation to find and use different strategies to camouflage and avoid who they really are. And in many occasions the main target of their camouflage is their own parents and family members.
Members of the LGBT community are all members of a minority group; although not in the sense of every other racial or religious minority group. They differ in many ways from the “traditional” racial and ethnic minorities in the sense that their process of identity formation, which occurs generally later in life, is completely different, and their claims and needs are also completely different, special and unique. However, because of their gender invisibility, this group is especially vulnerable to the power of media images, which calls for a need to redefining gender in media and society. In this sense, to the extent that more parents, and people everywhere, understand this as a fact and stop utilizing media images and definitions of the LGBT community as a reference to derive their perceptions and definitions of what it is to be gay or lesbian, more chances there will be for the LGBT community to have not only global respect, but also a much needed voice at the power table, and a place in the political agenda and legal discourse.