Bonding With Parents Of Gay Children
Mothers often bond with each other over shared experiences with their children. Lifelong friendships bloom from raising kids together, helping each other through challenging moments. Sometimes, however, some of those experiences can feel lonely and isolating, as if nobody else could possibly understand.
I was reminded of this overwhelming emotion the other day. A parent of a student called to give me some background information. I had not met with her child yet, but she wanted to speak with me before our initial meeting. After giving me a very general overview of her teenager, her voice wavered and she quietly said, “My son is gay. He has just come out and nobody knows.” Karma.
Last year, I wrote a blog with my openly gay son about our experience when he came out. Since then, I have heard from people all over the country. I have had tearful conversations with parents who feel scared, lonely, and sad. And I have met parents who are incredibly brave, strong, and committed as well. Together we have a very unique, powerful, and immediate bond.
Ironically, this particular mother had no idea I had an openly gay son. I explained that she was not alone and that there were many other parents out there willing to reach out and be supportive. She just had to be brave enough to look.
Support For Parents Of LGBT Youth
Three years ago, I received tremendous support. My husband and I had incredible friends who supported our family and lifted us up. Our parents and siblings were strong, encouraging, and full of love. Our son, when he was ready, found acceptance and support with his friends and at his high school. But this is my view from the road now. Three years ago, I was that mom on the other end of the phone. So as she started to cry, I did too.
Listening as she told me her story, I felt that wave of sick sadness. Any parent who tells you they simply embraced that news without so much as a hiccup is exaggerating. We all have our personal and private journeys when raising a gay teenager, but undeniably, we feel a deep bond with other parents of gay children. This mother’s loneliness brought me back to a similar period in my life.
We need to pay it forward. Today, we share a common bond that hopefully one day will be more mainstream because our society has chosen to embrace the equality our loving children so deserve. And in honor of Pride month, I ask each of you with a gay child or a child you suspect might be gay, to reach out and without hesitation, openly support and love them hard. We get one chance to be a great parent. Don’t miss this one.
For resources for parents of LGBT youth and more information, contact The It Gets Better Project at Itgetsbetter.org or PFLAG at www.pflag.com. Click on the Coming Out tab for further information.