Coming out to my mom was difficult. I’ve known I was a lesbian since before the word was in my vocabulary (age 7, btw). I understood I had an emotional pull towards women that went beyond friendship.
Apparently, some in my family suspected I was gay, too. I’ve been told by a family member of them asking my mom when I was 5 (!) if she thought I might be. What a tomboy I must have been…I did keep stealing my brother’s best Hot Wheels cars and despised dresses. A tree or three was climbed. Funny how we assign certain activities to boys and others to girls…I look forward to the day we stop socially assigning behaviors as feminine or masculine.
I was born in 1971, so the world I grew up in was quite hetero-normative, and one did not discuss sexual orientations. Being anything other than straight and cisgender wasn’t good. I grew up hearing all the myths and stereotypes about gays. All those things I knew I wasn’t. All those things that said I was horrible, just for the normal feelings I had. Being gay was a key reason I felt so alone in my childhood, even with a twin brother.
I came out to Mom when I was 23. It didn’t go well. We spent the next four years hardly talking or seeing each other, though I lived less than two miles away.
Mom had to grieve. Grieve the dreams and expectations she’d put on me. She had to lose the daughter she wanted to have and accept the one she did have. We loved each other so much, but it was a complicated relationship that never resolved itself. While I never got Mom to go, attending a few PFLAG meetings at my local chapter was wonderfully helpful for me. I came to understand a struggling parent’s point of view when their child comes out. Support your local chapter. Check them out here: https://pflag.org/
My piece, Coming Out, expresses those struggles of coming out. Of revealing one’s true colors to a world that is viewed predominately from the hetero-normative viewpoint…very straight, very cisgendered, and very white.