Hey, Mom (An Open Letter)

Hey, Mom.

No, not MY mom. You. The one with the gay kid.

Specifically: the one with the gay kid who thought homosexuality was a sin, who for a while was living with growing doubts about your child, worries you might not even have let yourself think. The one who, up until about three minutes before your kid said “I’m gay,” when you knew those words were going to explode into your life and you wouldn’t be able to keep them out any longer, prided yourself on not having one of them in your family (at least not openly).

Even more specifically: the one who looked into your kid’s eyes, hearing those words, and realized that the love you have and have always had for your child is greater than what your friends or your favorite TV/radio personality or your spiritual leader told you about homosexuality. The one who wanted to cry and yell “how could you do this to me?” but who realized in that moment that what your child was going through was far more difficult and far more life-altering than what you were facing. Who remembered that you are this child’s mother, and that the trust your child extended in saying these words to you shows how much that loving bond still exists between you. Who pushed back her own fear (terror) about what this meant to her life, who reached out, took her gay child in her arms, and said “I love you.”

Maybe you’re just starting a journey toward realizing that being gay is just part of your child’s life, and not a sentence to eternal damnation, not a phase meant to make you look bad to your fellow churchgoers, not the seduction of an innocent naif by a capriciously decadent society. Maybe your child came out to you years ago and you have made that journey and helped other struggling moms with it. Maybe you had a tough time getting through it and needed some support of your own while still standing by your child. Maybe you still think that homosexuality in general is bad/sinful/destructive, but you still welcome your child into your home, still ask your child to share his or her life with you. Hopefully you’ll come to see that gay people are pretty much just like you and me, but in the meantime you haven’t abandoned your child.

The important thing is: you love your gay child. You have accepted your gay child.

Your son, your daughter, did not choose to be gay. But you chose to love and accept them. And that is a choice not every mother makes.

So Happy Mother’s Day, Mom. And thanks.

(And if your gay kid doesn’t wish you Happy Mother’s Day, give ’em the guilt treatment. You’ve earned the right.)

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