A 21-year-old’s parents finally accepted him as gay, and Twitter is so happy for him.
Azya Babula tweeted about a recent conversation he had with his parents, who are ex-Jehovah’s Witnesses, and it went viral.
My parents(ex jevoha’s witnesses) finally told me they loved me and fully accapeted me being gay and then we had a full 2 hour convo about boys and exes and stuff. 21 years later y’all and the burden has been lifted off my shoulders IM SO HAPPY BUT CANT STOP CRYING pic.twitter.com/vGAE65jw5I
— Azya (@Azthecutest) November 24, 2018
His tweet included a video of him trying to hold back happy tears right after his parents told him they loved him and “fully accepted” his homosexuality.
By Wednesday afternoon the tweet had been retweeted 54,000 times and liked over 400,000 times.
“When I tweeted was the day I fully felt their acceptance and I could be my 100 percent self,” Babula tells Yahoo Lifestyle five days after the exchange that changed his life.
While this would be a huge deal for anyone who has felt rejected or suppressed by parents, it’s particularly monumental in this case because Babula comes from a family of Jehovah’s Witnesses. According to JW.org, “Jehovah’s Witnesses reject all sexual misconduct, including homosexuality.”
Babula’s parents became Jehovah’s Witnesses before he was born, so he grew up in the faith. But he was never baptized so he was never “a full on JW,” he says. “The elders would pressure my parents into having ‘talks’ with me and discourage me from going to college or participating in anything that is ‘worldly,’” he says. But he resisted. “I was never a Witness because I always knew they would never accept me and I never wanted to belong to such a horrible organization.”
He knew the church would never accept his sexuality, but he was hoping his parents would.
“The first time I tried coming out, I was in seventh grade and I told my mom and it did not go well,” the full-time student shares. “My parents grew up in communist Poland, so being gay is something out of the norm for them.” They thought their son was going through a phase. “Being gay is taboo in my family. We never talked about it really; we avoided the discussion at all costs.”
His relationship with his parents worsened after they first rejected his homosexuality. “We fought a lot after that,” he shares.
They didn’t speak about Babula’s sexual preferences again until he was a sophomore in high school. “I tried telling them again but they insisted it was not the case and I was just confused,” he recalls. This dismissal was difficult for him. “My depression became overpowering and it started to affect me.”
The elders caught wind of Babula’s lifestyle choices. “There was talk but me being gay was never directly addressed.” Then they found his Instagram. “That was a whole ordeal,” he recalls. “My father lost his ‘privileges’ in the congregation because of my ‘worldly’ Instagram.”
The Witnesses were proactive about combating his depression, but not in a helpful way. “That’s when the Witnesses really started to infringe on our family. They accused my depression of stemming from not ‘having enough faith’ and said I should pray about it. They started to blame my parents’ faith and questioned their parenting.”
This is where his parents drew the line; around the time he was 17, they left the church. “That’s when they realized that JW’s are a cult they no longer want to be a part of,” he reveals.
This was a step in the right direction for his family, he says. “After senior year of high school, our family truly flourished.” But they still “just couldn’t get over the ‘gay’ part,” the psychology major says. That all changed a few days ago. “We were just all sitting on the couch watching the news and my dad just jokingly goes, ‘You sure you’re gay? Like positive you don’t like chicks?’ And I said, ‘Yes, I’m sure I am gay.’ We then kind of laughed it off and went into a two-hour convo about what I feel, how it all is, how I want my life to be and my future husband and kids,” he recalls.
His parents were very interested and listened. “They told me that now they understand and that they fully accept me and apologized for the lost years.” This is what he’d been waiting for. “It was a very long and hard road to get where we are but I am finally so content.”
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