In celebration of Pride Month, I want to give an appreciation post for my reason. They attend Berklee College of Music in Boston as a vocal major and minoring in recording and production.
I am such a proud mom as they have come a very long way. They do not allow what others think or say affect their loving disposition. I have learned so much and experienced a tremendous amount of growth because of them. I am a fierce “Mama Bear” and an ally of the LGBTQIA+ community.
Sending love and light to you all. Cheers!!
Handling a child who comes out
There is no handbook dedicated to parenting and there is absolutely no blueprint drawn to show you how to keep the foundation of your relationship once your child comes out to you. But if there is one thing that I hope to do along this blogging journey, is to help those who have no clue what or how to handle this situation learn how to self-coach themselves to continue and even improve a healthy and loving relationship with your child.
My child came out to me as gay in middle school. Not only was that a huge blow, but also reminded me that my initial suspicions were in fact true. When my child was around 4-5 years old, they loved to wear my heels and would walk better in them than I could, and constantly exploring all forms of gender expression. They were more in touch with their feminine side than most boys around that age. I dismissed it as them being curious and not understanding role differences. After all, they were just a child.
As I tried to come to grips with reality, I immediately blamed myself and a multitude of questions started to flow.
Was it caused by divorcing their father? Did not having a strong male influence attribute to my child’s homosexuality? Should I have fought one last time to keep my marriage intact? As a single mother at the time, I worried that my feminine influence sparked their homosexuality. Shouldn’t boys spend more time with their father or a male influence to show them how to behave and how to be a man? The answer is absolutely not. Having a male influence has nothing to do with a person’s sexuality. Homosexuality is not a choice or a phase. It’s a born trait as if being born heterosexual.
Did I do something wrong in pregnancy? That’s the first question that came to my mind when my child came out. See, I found out I was pregnant with my son at 5 months. Immediately I blamed myself for not paying attention to my body and just maybe 5 months of no prenatal care attributed to my child’s sexuality. How wrong I was and just plain absurd.
Will my child have an additional target on their back by being both African American and queer? That alone is enough to send you down a spiral. With all the injustices that African Americans suffer, my fear was they would be treated more harshly due to their combined race and sexuality. I thought of several ways to prepare them for this world and how to navigate through it.
I dove into the self-blame rabbit hole. Was allowing them as a 4-5 year old to walk around the house in my heels the cause? How could I preach honesty and self- acceptance with these contradictions? A part of me still thought I could “fix” them. I noticed how my behavior affected them and had to deal with myself. My original method of “try to blend in public”, “only share your preference with trusted friends/family”, etc. were more damaging to them. I even took them to church and told one of the deacons that my child needed prayer because he was being attacked by the devil.
After I mentally exhausted myself, I entered the freeing and final phase of Acceptance.
There was nothing to “fix”. They are perfect the way God made them.
In reflection, that was the absolute incorrect way to handle something so sacred that they trusted me with. They became withdrawn and not their usual cheerful self.
I had to back up and sincerely apologize. I realized it was more about protecting my emotions and what others would think. That was my “A-ha” moment.
It was time to put action behind my acceptance. What can I do as their mother?
I had to educate myself on the LGBTQ+ community and learn to be an ally. I dug deep into my faith as a follower of Christ. Complete acceptance and support for my child changed my thought process. Who cares if others believe homosexuality is wrong by society’s terms?
This journey has resulted in a lot of uncomfortable conversations with family and friends. I had to set boundaries and even remove family members from our lives. As a mother, my children are priority over everyone else. Those who cannot accept who my child is, they have no place in our lives. There is no room for shame.
I am inspired by Dwayne, Gabrielle and Zaya Wade and their story. Zaya Wade is a transgender young lady and I commend them on their process of acceptance, ally-ship, and protection. Zaya is comfortable with who she is and is obviously happy. (https://www.nbcnews.com/feature/nbc-out/dwyane-wade-says-trans-daughter-zaya-knew-gender-identity-she-n1138196)
For parents dealing with a child who has come out, it’s important that you understand what your child needs and showing them that they are loved no matter what.
An open mind glues family for forever.
My child is completely content with who they are and happy. I noticed once I let go of the worry and fear, my child instantly became fearless. Knowing that their mother supported them 110% changed how they approached life. Recently, my child came out to me as non-binary and advised me of their pronouns of “they/them”. So, if you see the word “they” instead of “he” it is my way of respecting and supporting them.
Do you have a similar experience? I would love to hear your stories and feedback.