Years After Coming Out To Her Parents, They Finally Joined Her At A Pride Festival
Ymijan Baftijari came out to her parents years ago. Baftijari, a blogger and writer for Vivala, says that her mom knew early on that she was a lesbian, but she didn’t come out to her dad until 2013. While they slowly became supportive of her sexuality, they never celebrated the annual Pride festivities until this year.
For the first time ever, Baftijari’s parents and grandfather joined her in Chicago for the biggest annual LGBTQ party of the year — and they had a blast. In an interview with mitú, Baftijari says that Pride was a new experience for them even though they had heard about it before.
“After I came out to my parents I knew that they had to process something they weren’t too familiar with,” said Baftijari. “My mom was born and raised in Mexico and never talked to me about any queer friends or relatives. My dad was born in Ohrid, Macedonia, and the same thing goes for him. After a year or two of them feeling comfortable and accepting and embracing me, I thought I would ask for them to experience Pride with me. When I did, they always pushed it off and I was totally OK with that. It’s a lot of people. It’s a lot to take in.”
A recent study shows that Latinos and Catholics are now more accepting of gay relationships and same-sex marriage. It’s been a slow process, but progress is being made. The Pew Research Center report shows that “Six-in-ten or more whites (64%) and Hispanics (60%) say they favor allowing same-sex couples to be married legally.” In 2007, 38% of whites and 37% of Hispanics supported same-sex marriage. That’s a big increase.
“My parents have become so supportive of me so I never stopped asking and when I mentioned them coming to Pride this year, they said ‘Yeah, we’re definitely going to try and make it,’ which truly shocked me,” said Baftijari.
“In the back of my head, I imagined them calling me a couple days before the parade and saying that it would be too hard for them to come down to my apartment or that something would come up. I honestly didn’t set my hopes too high, but knew I wouldn’t be heartbroken if they didn’t come.”
Baftijari tells mitú that her parents expressed interest in attending the Pride march — especially because it was taking place right in front of her apartment — but she still couldn’t believe that they would actually come. It didn’t feel real until her parents and grandparents showed up outside her door.
“So when I got a call to come down and open the gate to my building I ran,” Baftijari says. “I thought it was a joke but there they were: my mom, dad, and my grandpa! My mom had just gone to Mexico to bring my grandpa to the states (because he’s deaf and mute and needs assistance when flying) and I nearly lost it. It felt so unreal to see them all staring and smiling at me waiting for me to show them what Pride is all about!”
Then her parents told her what any kid longs to hear: “They told me they wanted to make sure that I knew that they supported me and the LGBTQ community and wanted to make it at least one year to show how proud they are of their daughter.”
So, how did her parents react to all the craziness that Pride has to offer? This speaks for itself:
“My dad was waving the rainbow flag on the balcony and danced for four hours non-stop as the Parade went on,” Baftijari says. “He was so popular and I think all the love radiating throughout the city really made it magical for him. My mom was so sweet and took pictures the entire time and kept telling me how amazing it was. And my grandpa couldn’t stop smiling. I felt like I was on Cloud 9, and it was nice to experience it all with my family and my current girlfriend.”
She used this historic moment to finally be honest with her dad. And now as we see him having so much fun during Pride, we can say he’s come a long way.