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Homosexuality: A mother’s perspective
By Becky (beckyg)

At times in our lives we have defining moments that change us. As a parent of a gay child, this was definitely one of those moments. Before we were labeled “diverse”, we were pretty much the average American family. We were middle class. We raised our children with family values that any parent would be proud of. We took them to church. We spent time with them at their schools. We were the envy of a lot of our family and friends because none of our children had ever been in any kind of serious trouble a day in their lives. Our kids were straight A students, worked since they were in their early teens earning money to pay for their first cars and part of their clothes. They were responsible and hard working. All of them graduated in the Top 10% of their classes with honors. What more could we ask for?

Looking back, I guess I knew my son was a little different than most of the other boys. I had helped to raise a lot of them in my job as a child care provider. He was never rambunctious in the way a lot of them were. I remember an aunt buying him a toy Jeep at 5 years old and thinking he would never play with that. He was creative and intelligent and would rather be doing some kind of art project or baking cookies with his great-grandmother.

He never had an interest in girls. My husband thought maybe he was a late bloomer, like himself, but we were soon to learn otherwise. My son had always had trouble with transitions to new things so I wasn’t all that concerned when the anxiety showed its ugly face when he was transitioning from high school to college. It was never that bad though. He was vomiting and crying before he would leave to go in the morning. It was at that time that I suggested counseling. It didn’t seem to be helping at all.

On Martin Luther King Day, when my son was 19, he came out to me, his dad, and his sisters in e-mails. It was very short and to the point simply saying that he was still the same person and he would answer any questions we had. I couldn’t sleep that night due to nerves about a class I was teaching that evening. I got up checked my e-mail and that’s when I found it. I went in, woke his father, and said “Adam is gay.” His response was “Oh, he is not. Go back to sleep!” One of my daughters was not surprised by this revelation at all, the other more so. When we got up the next morning, my husband and I went in Adam’s room. I gave him a hug and told him I would always love him and it was okay. Adam’s father was worried that it was something he had done or not done as a parent. I did express my upset that he would never get married or have children. He told me wanted to adopt and that maybe someday the laws would change and he would be able to marry too.

After that morning, I bought some books and did some reading and learned a lot on this subject that I didn’t know much about. Probably daytime talk shows were my best education on the subject. Neither of us ever doubted the fact that Adam was born this way. I was very worried about how Adam’s grandparents would take the news. My husband’s family are members of a fundamentalist Christian church which have always taught the “sins of homosexuality”. I specifically avoided telling them for many months. Word got around to them, and one day my mother-in-law approached me and said “We know and it’s okay. We both believe homosexuality is inborn.” I was shocked and surprised. Adam wanted to tell his other grandparents the very next day. This made me extremely nervous because I knew my Dad was very homophobic. In fact, one time when my son was out practicing to drive with him he told him bluntly that homosexuality was not okay and if anybody tells him otherwise, they were lying. My dad told Adam that he was his “favorite grandchild and nothing would ever change that.” My Dad has moments when I think we’ve made progress and then others when I think he’s still got a long way to go. This is usually not something that is dealt with in a day. It takes a lot of courage to change hearts and minds and that is why coming out and talking to your parents every chance you get, will help them move in the way that you want them to.

After Adam came out, we sought out a GLBT friendly counselor who did help him tremendously. All the anxiety and depression he was feeling eventually was gone. Its like he was finally able to live in his own skin.

I have been active in PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) from the beginning. Our tri-fold mission is to support, educate, and advocate on behalf of our GLBT loved ones. This is a journey I would not trade for anything. I have done things that I never believed I could do. I have lobbied at state and national levels, gave written and spoken testimony to help change the laws for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people. I have served three years as President of PFLAG and on the board for an additional year. In addition to this advocacy, I have helped move upset distraught parents to loving and accepting their children for who they are. I am especially proud of that! PFLAG is an organization based solely on unconditional love and I can’t say that there is any organization that can compare to it! Adam has also served on the PFLAG board and is still doing our membership via e-mail from Louisiana where he currently resides with his partner, Michael.

Tell your parents about PFLAG! ( www.pflag.org )

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