Guest Post: The Reasons I Have Loved Raising Gay Sons

It’s the 1st of June and LGBT Pride Month has begun. But more importantly, today is Blogging for LGBT Families Day and I’m delighted to be taking part! As many of the regular UK Yankee readers will know, both of my brothers and their respective husbands are gay. To celebrate these fabulous men in my family, I have invited my mom on board to talk about her experience of raising two gay sons.

(You can read more about the baby-book I wrote for my brother when he and his husband adopted their baby at The True Story Behind The Baby Files.)

And I just want to say, in honour of Blogging for LGBT Families Day: the love, laughter and acceptance that has been brought into my life by, at first two boys, and now four men has been phenomenal. I adore these four guys and their kids with all my heart. You all make the world a better place!

Now…introducing…my mom. Here’s where it all began 😉

Why I've Loved Raising Gay Sons by UK Yankee

MY SONS (Early Years)

As the mom of 2 gay sons I have enjoyed as sings the Wrigley Chewing Gum jingle, “Double the pleasure, double the fun.” Although I would also add that for their Dad & I, double the worry with the fear of an intolerant world. Starting out, I never gave a thought to my children’s sexual orientation. I immersed myself in the fun and frustration of their individuality… Alisa rebelled against the “pretty princess” stereotype. She preferred sports and inciting her brothers. Charlie was creative, funny, mouthy, sarcastic, and old beyond his years. Sam was social, leader of the pack, and indignant. From early on, Tom, my husband, and I never pushed the boyfriend/girlfriend thing. We preferred that our kids understand that they must know themselves and be themselves without feeling that their identity was reliant on a current love interest.

Blogging for LGBTQ Families Day Blogging for LGBTQ Families Day

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

UK Yankee International Women's Day-Mom and the kids in Florida
WAY too cool for school!

MY SONS ARE GAY (Call It Gaydar)

As early as elementary school, Tom’s and my intuition went off for Charlie. Call it gaydar or just knowing your child, we sensed Charlie may be gay. In fact, we’d sometimes ask each other, “Do you think he’s gay?” This was the ‘80’s and AIDS, the “Gay Epidemic”, was in the news every day. People were hurling insults at homosexuals, telling them that they deserved this disease as punishment for their depravity.

When I’d think about my beautiful and expressive preteen son, I would feel terrified of the intolerance that he may have to face should my suspicions be true. My Mother Bear instincts would protect him with my life. If I could change the situation for him by changing him, I would. But, deep down, I have always known, AND BELIEVED, our sexual orientation is something we are born and blessed with.

Charlie rocking his cowboy phase.

mY SONS ARE GAY AND (Questioning)

I love the song by the Scissor Sisters, “Take Your Mama”. In it, there’s a verse stating, “something different, all the girls they seem to like you, cause you’re handsome, like to talk, & a whole lot of fun.” Charlie and Sam were just that. In high school, they were never without a gang of friends, many of them girls. They had dates (with girls) to all the school dances. In the ‘90’s, at a Catholic high school, one could never imagine a same sex date!

Through those years, the boys never brought up the subject of their sexual orientation. Although we still wondered off and on regarding Charlie, the thought of Sam being gay never occurred to us. Remember we believed in, “Know thyself first, then choose a partner.” I guess they were busy exploring their options. Though, I found out short years later, they were beginning to question and Know.

Blogging for LGBT Families Day at UK Yankee

I LOVE my gay sons

Charlie and Sam came out to us respectively at age 19. In Charlie’s case, it was, as Alisa put it, “The missing piece to the puzzle of Charlie”. What a joy to know that he knew who he was: Out and Proud! What a worry to a mother that someone’s intolerance may hurt my son!

As I watched Charlie thrive in his openness, I began to worry less and become more of an activist for LGBTQ rights. I found it increasingly easy to let people know my son was gay and that was more than fine with his dad and me. Once when I was discussing my concern with Charlie over the hate he may experience from a homophobic person, he calmly put it into perspective saying, “The way I look at it, that’s their problem, not mine.” Well said!

Another thought that Charlie shared when discussing homosexuality as a “choice” with a heterosexual, ask him/her “Did you Choose to be a heterosexual? Or did you just know you were?” Very Well Said!

My sons are very different

Sam chose a different path to come out to us. He was away at college, and we had plans to see him the next day. He called us on the phone the night before we were to see him saying, “Before I see you tomorrow, I just wanted to let you know that I am gay.” It totally blew me away! Again, I immediately worried that someone would hurt him physically or emotionally.

This was just a year and a half after the hate crime murder of Matthew Shepard. Sam said that he wanted to call us with this news because he wanted to have it out in the open before we saw him the next day. My husband told Sam that we loved him unconditionally and calmly suggested that this be further discussed face to face when we saw him the next day.

only human but willing to grow and learn

Sam’s coming out left me stunned by the fact that I was a hypocrite. Here I was, a parent who always believed and professed that children should grow up knowing themselves so that they could be happy and productive adults. And yet, in my mind, I had already slotted Sam into the role of heterosexual. It’s never too late for one to review one’s shortcomings and improve for the future!

Blogging for LGBTQ Families Day

MY SONS ARE GAY AND I LOVE THEM THAT WAY!

The years that I have been “out” as the mom of two gay sons have been wonderful! First, Charlie fell in love with Hector. Then they had a beautiful wedding surrounded by their families and friends. In 2014 they and we were blessed with the arrival of their son, James. Charlie is a Doctor of Nursing Practice and Hector is a Nurse Practitioner. In their professional and private lives they make this world better for so many people!

Sam has been elected to the State of Illinois House of Representatives for his third term. He was the first openly gay man in our county to run for this position. He married Lowell in 2015 and with that marriage, we happily added Maddie, Drew, & Max as 3 more grandchildren.

When I was young and I planned my perfect life, I could not have ever dreamed of this. I really had no idea that my best life would include the pleasant surprise of having two gay sons. At present, our family of thirteen people consists of nine males and four females. To coin a phrase, “It’s Raining Men, Halleluja!”.

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29 thoughts on “Guest Post: The Reasons I Have Loved Raising Gay Sons

  1. It is wonderful that you are so open and honest. I wish more people were like that. I’m so happy that your family is doing so well and they are all happy people. It’s not what you are but who you are that really matters. This was a beautiful blog.. thank you

  2. Oh Alisa, this is so lovely! What a woman your mom is (and your dad sounds great too). She’s written a great account here, please let her know I really enjoyed it! x

    1. I just clocked your comment Emma. I’ve done one better than tell my mom, I’ve directed her to your note. She’s delighted so many people have enjoyed reading her post! Lots of love,xxx

  3. What a fantastic read, I wish everyone could rad this and feel this mums happiness and love. I love the advice of letting them discover themselves before they enter a relationship. I wish I had done that for myself, I learnt the hard way. But thankfully now I have a wonderful marriage. With my eldest being 13 I am yet to know if she is gay or not, to be honest I wonder as she shows no interest in boys or crushes and most of her girlfriends all they talk about now is boys. I am absolutely happy to have a gay child, my only concern is the fuel was people can be. Luckily the world is more tolerant now than in the 80’s but still so many people remain so ignorant. So happy for this beautiful family #TweensTeensBeyond

    1. Thank you so much for this beautiful comment! Your daughter is lucky to have you as her mother no matter who she loves in her future life. xxx

  4. What a wonderfully honest and open account. I can feel the warmth in your family and I’m so happy for all of you. It must have take some courage to come out in the open both for your children and you as their mom. And yet that does bring such peace of mind.

    1. Thank you so much for leaving this warm and lovely comment! I mention on my home-page that my family is a rag-tag bunch of people who all came together in a tangle of love, laughter and crumbs. This has so much to do with my parents and especially my mom. I was really lucky to grow up with them! xxx

    1. Hi Tattooed Mummy! Thanks for your lovely comment! I’ve enjoyed reading your own posts about your gorgeous daughter. I know my mom will be so happy that you commented! Lots of love! xx

    1. I have to agree that my parents are great! 🙂 My mom’s life approach has resulted in us having a wonderful family of blood-relatives and those who have just been folded in. She doesn’t realise what a great matriarch she actually is! Thanks for your beautiful comment! xx

  5. This is just so wonderful. I wish all gay children had parents like you. Who just loved and accepted them. So many don’t and that’s just so sad

    1. I agree! There is so much healing in acceptance. I wish the philosophy of acceptance would be front and centre at school. If children today understood how important it was to accept others as they come, so many misunderstandings and so much grief could be avoided! Thank you for your lovely comment! xx

  6. Halleluja indeed! What a lovely post. And what a lovely Mum you have. She writes with such clarity and intelligence, I loved reading this. Thank you so much for sharing with us at #TweensTeensBeyond

  7. Alisa this is so beautifully written. I love your mother’s honesty and her love of her family is palpable. I love her approach of letting them know themselves first. What a fabulous mindset.
    I think we all hope as parents that we will be supportive of our children’s decisions in life and your mother is a great example of putting that into practice. Thank her for sharing this with us. #TweensTeensBeyond

  8. I have been blessed over the years to watch and experience the love and acceptance of this family unfold in SO many ways. Judi, what a beautiful and eloquent blog about 4 men and their children who make my heart and soul abundantly happy. Alisa, you, Minnie Sue and Mr. UK Yankee do the same. Everyone should be as kind, caring and generous as all of you. The world would certainly be a better place.

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