Something happened in my life that I could never have imagined since I was born.
In June 2016, a 21-year-old son (Jang Ye-jun) told his mom and dad to read a letter when he wasn’t confident and left the house. What the son left on the table was a letter and a booklet for LGBTQ parents. Even when she saw the word ‘sexual minority’ in the book, her mother Vivian (real name Kang Seon-hwa) did not even suspect that her son was gay.
At that moment, something he had never imagined happened. One sentence from the letter my son had written immediately caught my eye. ‘I am a gay male.’ From then on, no letters were visible. Vivian’s first thought was literally ‘shock’.
At the same time as the shock, I felt like I was falling from the category of ‘normal’. Vivian, a flight attendant at a domestic airline for 27 years, boasted that she had lived a very smooth life. After graduating from school, I immediately got a job at a stable company, and luckily, I got along well, so I fell in love with my husband and got married. I thought that a life that is very ordinary and enjoyed by many people is the most successful life.
While working as a flight attendant, there were times when I had a gay couple traveling as guests, and as I traveled abroad countless times, I learned that it was a ‘Pride Festival’. In June, when ‘Pride’ is held, I also saw rainbow flags hanging from each store. However, I never imagined that LGBTQ people were very close in our daily lives, and that 0.001% of them could be their sons. Vivian recalled, “It was a prejudice in itself that I couldn’t even imagine what would happen to me.”
After her son came out, Vivian felt a rush of guilt. I thought, “I will try my best, thinking that I shouldn’t say hurtful things to my son. I’m confused because I don’t know yet, but give me time. I am so sorry that I gave birth to such a difficult life.” Contrary to her mother’s heart, her son Ye-jun was once again hurt by the fact that he made his parents feel guilty. In July 2016, Vivian, a mother, started attending ‘LGBTI Parents’ to better understand her son.
Acquiring a new identity as a LGBTQ parent
Vivian, who appears in the story above, is one of the main characters of the documentary film ‘The Way To You’, which will be released on November 17th. The movie tells the story of Nabi, a 34-year-old firefighter, and Vivian, a 27-year-old flight attendant, an activist of a LGBT parent group, breaking down walls after my child’s coming out, something I’ve never imagined.
The two women, working mothers and older women who were unfamiliar with the word LGBT, suddenly acquired a new identity as LGBT parents. Director Byun Gyu-ri, an activist in a soft pink skirt for the Sexual Minority Culture and Human Rights Alliance, has captured the image of a very ordinary middle-aged woman being reborn as a woman fighter against prejudice over a total of four years.
Like the title of the movie ‘The Road to You’, what kind of path did Ye-jun’s coming out become for her mother, Vivian? Vivian, who has been a flight attendant for 30 years, has become a ‘walking out’. When a junior in his 20s, who is the same age as his son, asks, “How about me as a daughter-in-law?”, he proudly says, “My son is gay.”
Going further, Vivian broke down her strong wall. Trapped in the frame of ‘crews should be like this’, he used abusive language as an expression of friendliness to young juniors in the past, and viewed them as inexperienced. Now I can see my juniors on an equal footing. Vivian said, “I was able to break the mold on my own. It started out as a child’s coming out, but eventually I grew up.”
I hope you end up with this movie by chance
When asked, “What kind of path do you want this film to be for the public?” Vivian said, “I hope that the world that each of us imagines will expand a bit by accidently watching the film.” This is because the world where sexual minorities exist is a world that no one can imagine.
He continued, “What I ultimately want is a world where heterosexuals can communicate with each other with the idea that it may not be natural. It’s a natural question,” he said.
A month before December, voices calling for the enactment of the ‘Anti-Discrimination Act’ within the year are rising. The movie ‘The Road to You’ is on the way to change. This documentary, which was released on November 17th, is a hope for people living in 2021 and a step closer to change.
Soyoon Lee Editor: [email protected]
Source: HuffPost South Korea – Athena by www.huffingtonpost.kr.
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