February 12, 2012

gotta say it

when i was seven years old and introduced to the first lesbian i had ever met - the hairy-legged person with breasts that prompted me to ask my mom if "she" was a boy or girl - i never thought i'd stand up for gay rights.

when i was eleven and this same lesbian came to visit and wanted to watch the depeche mode video on MTV i never thought i'd stand up for gay rights OR like depeche mode.

when i was thirteen years old and found out that my cousin was gay and wanted to go see NKOTB with me, i totally didn't think i'd ever stand up for gay rights.

when i was fifteen years old i kissed girls (and i liked it) and i loved depeche mode.

when i was sixteen years old i got pregnant.

i wanted a girl. i had a boy. i put him in a dress one time when he was about 6 weeks old, but in my defense, what mother that wants a little girl and happens to have girl clothes on-hand doesn't try that (or think about it) at least once? it was a dress i had worn at the same age, but i digress.

when he was nine months old, i knew. i knew with an intuition so strong that it had always been a part of me. i knew that my son was gay when he was nine months old. before he could even walk or really speak. he saw a pair of ruby-red glitter slip-ons at the store, the dorothy shoes that every child dreams of, the ones that will magically deliver you home with three clicks of the heel.

at that moment i knew that i would have to stand up for gay rights.

when my son was five he realized that no matter what mama told him, the world was hard. i probably actually did tell him that, in various ways, but i let him be himself at home and when he wanted to be himself in public i had to gently guide him without shaming him or letting the effect of other people's shame get to him. i had to shelter him knowing that i couldn't always protect him.

when he was five years old the kids started picking on him. he always wanted me to paint his nails and one weekend i forgot to take the polish off before he returned to school. adults started picking on him. cashiers would laugh openly when he'd proudly state that the barbie or the doll on the counter was his. it got so painful that part of him died.

the part of him that was the happiest when he was playing dress-up with his cousin or the daughters of some of my bestfriends at the time.

some of those people are not in my life anymore but i am so grateful for EVERY friend of mine that supported my son and i. not one of them ever, EVER judged him and their daughters grew up sharing with my son some of his most joyful moments.

for years my son denied a part of himself that those that loved him knew all along.

many folks out there, including his father, would like to think that he is gay because i wanted a girl or because i dressed him up and later let him play dress up or because i let him play with dolls and painted his nails. i get that some people would like to think that i raised him gay.

i don't really care what people think but perhaps in that way that we are somewhat mostly responsible for creating our own realities, maybe i did. or perhaps i was just blessed enough to be entrusted with helping this little person get to know and love himself.

regardless, i wouldn't change a thing about it. i love my son and i always have, even when it hurt because i knew the world was cruel when confronted with something the it had yet to fully understand.

i was seventeen years old when i started college and much of my focused studies were related to gender communication. i felt empowered by what i was learning but the world still got to my son and i still felt too uncomfortable to stand up for my son, each and every time. when i would watch those shows where the parents allowed their child to cross-dress it would break my heart because i didn't know which was worse - was i doing my son a disservice by not letting him be himself to the extent he was comfortable with or was i protecting him from unnecessary damage to his young spirit? i didn't know what to do, this was like 1998 and i hated hated hated when well-meaning individuals would mention "gender identity disorder" as if to make me feel better.

my son does not have a disorder and he never did.

my son didn't come out until he was fifteen but i hadn't seen him as happy or full of life since he was four and dressing up like powerpuff girls with one of his best girl friends.

tonight someone got into a bit of a discussion with him and began to insist that:

1. he had nothing against gay people

2. being gay is wrong

3. people can choose to be gay or choose to fix themselves if they think they were born that way

4. if people think being gay is okay then they must "think it's okay for satanists to eat people and not believe in right and wrong"

i feel that is a fair assessment of the points made, just so everyone has an idea of what type of logic we're dealing with. i respond first by being sarcastic and mentioning the mating rituals of the clown fish (nemo's totally gay) in the event that the female in a mating pair dies. when this kid still insists on making the same "argument" and restating that he doesn't think there's anything wrong with gay people just that being gay is wrong and people can choose the same way they decide what to wear and so on and so forth, i got kind of pissed.

my final response, and summary of this entire discussion, in contrast with my boiling blood is proof of how much i've grown as a woman and a mother. it boils down to this:

i don't normally like to argue but it is possible to have intelligent communication with anyone that is capable.

if i say that homosexuality is not wrong, that does not mean that i don't believe in right and wrong or that i don't know right from wrong.

i am not here to get into a philosophical debate with someone that has no idea how to even make an argument based on reason.

however, if you read the argument again, you will see that there is none.

killing people = wrong.
loving people DOES NOT equal wrong.
it doesn't matter who you are or who you love.


  1. You are an amazing mama and I have this strong suspicision you have an amazing son! Love and hugs!

  2. Wow. Someone needs to give you a microphone. I wish more people could speak do openly about love, loss and the way life really is. Beautiful post.

  3. april. wow. thank you. i believe in messages from the universe and it's really interesting how i'm getting these little nudges to speak. and loud. your comment has meant a great deal to me <3


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