It was about 15 years ago when my son came out to me and his dad. All I knew at that time was how much I loved my child, and it didn’t matter to me what his sexual orientation was. The loss that I felt was wrapped around my dreams for his future, and didn’t have anything to do with who he is, but who I am.
I knew then that I would not see him walk down the aisle to be united with the love of his life, nor would I see him beaming with joy at the arrival of his children. I feared for his safety, given the horrible hate crimes that were occurring at that time. I did not lose my dreams of him playing sports and going through high school participating in the typical male activities and camaraderie I had only imagined to that point. You see, my son is also legally blind. I had adjusted to that when he was five: no soccer, no volleyball, no basketball, no football. He participated where he could, and we looked for other avenues for him to shine.
We had a difficult adolescence. He was thirteen when he told us he was gay. We had the immense pleasure of dealing with the normal teenage angst of wanting to belong, peer pressure, bullying and teasing – along with all of the issues piled on top by a culture that believes that being gay is a sin and an abomination. This is a period of time when self-esteem is being strengthened in heterosexual children, but is often when it weakens for our LGBT children.
Our whole family was subjected to the loathing that being gay brings out in others throughout one fall when our son was a junior in high school. Over a period of three months, our car tires were slashed, the locks in our car were drilled out so we couldn’t get in or out, a Molotov cocktail was thrown at our house, and I was shot at through our kitchen window. This occurred in an affluent neighborhood in the northern suburbs of Chicago, and we received no support from the police until I threatened to take it to the newspapers. It was a period of fear in our lives, and gratitude for supportive neighbors and friends.
Over the last fifteen years, our youngest child has grown into a fine young man. He is an absolute delight to be with as he moves through a life filled with love and compassion for others. He is in the process of planning to walk down the aisle to be united with the love of his life, a wonderful man. It is possible, in some states, for the two of them to adopt children. I rarely fear for his safety, although hate crimes still occur with some frequency. I am looking forward to many years of joy with him and his family.
Over the last fifteen years, the cultural situation has changed. Some people are more accepting of the concept of a continuum of sexual orientation. Some people have taken the time to become educated, and have opened their minds to tolerance, if not complete acceptance. We have made strides in gaining equality for our LGBT loved ones, but not enough. I believe that we eventually will, but we will need to create a separation between church and state in order for that to happen. Something I thought was already supposed to be – based on our constitution.
As a mother, I want to see BOTH of my children treated exactly the same in my country, in my state. Because my country’s constitution says that is what we are about. I want BOTH of my children to easily move in our society without fear of reprisal because of who they are, who they were born to be. I would like to see National Coming Out Day abolished – not because of what it stands for, but because it is no longer needed. As a mother, I want to see all of our children raised to be exactly who they are so they might stand tall with grace, and with ease.
I send blessings to all of our LGBT family, and I ask each of you to take the time to give your LGBT friends and family members a hug, and tell them how much you love them. I’m asking you to take the next step in making National Coming Out Day an unnecessary observance.
If you would like to understand more about what it is like to grow up as a LGBT teenager, you might like this book. Leeann from MI says “Am I Blue? is a brilliant YA anthology that should be required reading in every classroom! Dealing with homosexuality in teenagers and their parents and friends, these stories will move any reader–gay, straight, questioning, or bisexual. This anthology helps gay kids understand that they are not alone, while shining a light on what it feels like to be homosexual for straight readers. The stories have similar themes, but range in genre, giving every reader something to thoroughly enjoy. I can’t recommend it strongly enough!”
Georgia Feiste, owner of Collaborative Transitions Coaching, Inc., located in Lincoln, NE, is a personal growth and leadership transition coach, writer, and workshop facilitator. She is also a Usui Reiki Master. Georgia specializes in career, business and personal life transitions for people seeking change in their life. Her passion is success grounded in purpose and passion, standards of integrity and priorities in life. You can also find her on her websites http://www.collaborativetransitions.com and http://www.rainbowbridgecoach.com . Georgia can be reached at (402) 304-1902 or you can schedule a 30 minute consultation via Automated Appointment.