June 13, 2020

THE LANGUAGE BARRIER

my dad

says my name slowly,

emphasis on the “L”,

like a foreign word:

Lesbian.

incorrect—

Bisexual,

but his dialect hasn’t extended that far

quite yet

Queerness is a new language,

yet to be fully tested on his tongue

because the taste is bitter:

a mouth full of misconceptions,

or full of Lesbian’s rejections

or full of the 1970s.

 

I wish my parents were bilingual,

so maybe they’d pick up on the 

“B” and the “T” and the “Q”

of a community I call home—

they recognize the “L” 

but can only pronounce the “G,”

and tend to mesh the two together.

The alphabet of the queer language continues to overwhelm them

and they aren’t to blame—

translating with systematic programming

will result with grammatical mistakes,

and missed letters,

and honest confusion,

and choppy communication.

 

maybe, 

when they’re more fluent,

they’ll understand when I say:

“Mom, Dad, I’m Bisexual”

and not translate it to

“Mom, Dad, I’m experimenting”

or

“Mom, Dad, it’s just a phase,”

but for now I keep working.

exposing them to a new language, 

correcting their grammar, 

and slowly,

very slowly,

holding full conversations.