You probably know “Amelia,” the pseudonym of the HuffPo blogger who has written extensively, and beautifully, and heart-breakingly, about supporting her gay son, who self-identified at a very young age and whose first crush was on Darren Criss from Glee. She became a blogger by chance, because she decided to speak out about her son and come out as a mother of a gay son, something many of our parents and loved ones can probably relate to.
Well, she knocked it out of the park again with her latest post, in which she addresses talking to her middle son–she has three sons–about being gay. Her middle son declared that he wants to be gay when he grows up, like his older brother is.
A few months ago, it was one of those horribly disgusting summer days where the heat and humidity just won’t quit. As luck would have it, two of our very good friends, Sam and Toby, have a pool and invited us over to save us from the heat’s torture. Sam and Toby live in a very cool and expensive part of town not too far from us. They have a house that our kids refer to as “the castle,” and a carriage house that is bigger than our home. They boys love Sam and Toby and love visiting their place. We had been in the pool for a couple of hours, and all the manic energy that kids release in a body of water had dissipated. We were taking some time to just chill in the cool water.
My middle son was tired, so he was nestled against my chest as I floated on my back.
“Mom,” he said, breaking the silence.
“Yeah, baby?” I said sleepily.
“I want to be gay.”
That brought me to a halt. I brought him into my arms and put my feet safely on the bottom of the pool.
‘Well,” I started, then stopped. This was unexpected. My middle son had never had boy crushes like my older kid, and last year he wanted to marry a female classmate. Neither of those was a big deal. It was the way that he phrased his sentence that made me pause. He wanted to be gay. That was so different from our older son, who simply announced that gay is who he is.
“Why do you want to be gay, sweetie?” I asked, his little head still snuggled into me.
And of course, his answer cracks me up:
“When I am grown up, I want to live in a big house like this and have a pool.”
Amelia’s response is inspired.
Ah, OK. So this was something very different. It just so happens that none of our heterosexual friends live in big houses with pools, so I could see where his thought process was coming from.
“Being gay isn’t something you can want and wish for,” I told him as I stroked his wet, blond hair. “Being gay is something you are.”
He raised his head and looked at his older brother. “He gets to be gay.”
“Yes, he does. But he’s gay because he wants to hold hands with other boys. He wants to have boyfriends and maybe marry a boy one day.”
“Like Toby and Sam.”
“Yes, like them. But that doesn’t mean he’ll have a house like this. Does Michael have a house like this, or Johnny?” I asked, mentioning two of our other adult, gay friends. My son shook his head. “And you don’t have to marry a boy to get a house like this. Some of Sam and Toby’s neighbors are like Mommy and Daddy, a boy and a girl. So no matter if you like boys or girls, you can still grow up to have a big, fun house like this.”
“OK,” he sighed and put his head back on my chest. I know I could have left it there, but something pushed me forward still. I bounced his body until he was looking at me again.
“Do you like boys or girls?” I asked, looking into his eyes.
He cocked his head and thought for a minute. “I haven’t decided yet.”
“And that’s OK. Not everyone figures that out when your brother did. You have lots of time.”
“When you do figure it out, I won’t love you any more or any less than I do right now. No matter who you like, Mom will always love you to the Moon and stars and back again.” I hugged him close to me.
But here’s what really gets us, and what the central point of her story really is:
“What my middle son reminded me is that being gay isn’t only his big brother’s story. We are a family. Having a gay son is part of my story too, and part of his dad’s. Having a gay brother is part of my other two sons’ stories, and that should not be belittled or ignored. And since it is part of their story, they should always be allowed to ask questions, and it’s my job as their mom to answer them, honestly, every time.”
This is why we write this blog, why we are inviting guest posters and other folks to join in, too. Queer family is about so much more than parenting as lesbian and gay folks or as bi folks or as trans folks or as queer folks. Queer and trans* people are whole people and our stories are a part of the fabric of our families. Without a doubt, Amelia’s family has been changed by having a gay son in it and we’re so glad for her. We’re glad that she is glad. I look forward to a future when more parents, more families, are as inclusive of their LGBTQI kids, not just accepting and tolerant.