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 😉
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!”.