At the age of 5, I knew in my heart that my son was gay. There were little tale tale signs, mostly...but I guess a mother just seems to sense things about their children in that innate, deep-down way. I resolved to raise him in a manner that he could figure things out by himself. I did not lead him in one direction or another. I simply let him be who he was going to be.
He was a shy child, having mostly female friends and not playing with very many boys. I speculated over that quite a bit. Was it because he was attracted to them at such a young age and did not know how to interact with them? Was it because he felt more inclined to do things that girls do? One question kept going through my mind...were you born that way?
My answer to myself was YES! As he grew older, he started to come out of his shell a little. He interacted with boys more, but he started "dating" girls. In retrospect, I realized he was testing himself...figuring out for himself who he was. I think also, that he was not yet ready for anyone to know his proclivity towards boys. When he was about 12 or 13, I tried bringing up the matter...in a sensitive way, of course...by asking him if he might be gay. His reaction was very strong. He denied quite vehemently, that he was not. So, I dropped the subject. When he was 15, he came to me on his own and declared to me, after pussy-footing around a bit...that he was bi-sexual. My reaction to this was total acceptance. I asked him "Are you gay or bisexual?" He looked at me and I could see the worry in his eyes. I told him either way, it was ok. The look of relief on his face was plain to see. He admitted that he was indeed, gay. Well, I said...you were born that way. He was amazed at how easily I accepted it. I think that he was expecting a negative reaction from me because so many other parents are not accepting of having a gay child. He was fearful that I would have that reaction too. I told him that he was my child and that I loved him more than anything in the world. I also told him that I would stand behind him and support him...come what may. I could see the relief in his eyes.
Since that day, my son and I can talk about anything. His gay friends have a "safe house" to come to when they visit him here at my home. They can be themselves and don't have to hide away. I remember an afternoon when one of his lesbian friends told me (she was 15 years old) that when she came out to her mother, her mother informed her that she "wished she had aborted her"! I was horrified! How could a parent say something like that to their child?? This child, who came from them...who was a part of them...who they raised and nurtured...could so easily be cast out?? That was a sad day for me. There were many more to follow as I heard different coming-out stories from different children. I asked them "Don't your parents realize you were born that way?" The answer from them was that they were told they chose this path. "They think you CHOSE to live a difficult life...that you CHOSE to be harassed and bullied...that you CHOSE to live in fear?" All I could do was shake my head and cry.
I know I may open up a can of worms with this. I know that there are people out there that do not think people are born gay. But you know what? I will stand up to them any day of the week and defend the gay community. I will stand up to them until the day I die to support my child and his human right to be who he was born to be! Am I straight? Yes, I was born that way! Is it ok? Sure it is! I was born that way! Is it ok for my son to be gay? Sure it is! HE WAS BORN THAT WAY!
**photo courtesy of Rainbow Alternative shop on Etsy**