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Testimony: Coming out to my mother (by Linda Liles)

Community/Meta Testimony

Linda Liles, who comments frequently on the Prop 8 Trial Tracker, recently wrote a very compelling comment about the process of coming out — one of 358 comments to date on a post introducing front-page blogger Rob Tisinai to the P8TT community — and another example of the robust and meaningful discussion engaged by participants every day on this web site.

In the spirit of the next phase of the Courage Campaign Institute’s “Testimony: Equality on Trial” project, in which Americans will be asked to provide their “testimony” in the form of videos, pictures and text, I asked Linda to write a longer-form piece about coming out to her mother, which she did just last month. It’s essentially a “story of self” — the integral element of our Camp Courage training program, which more than 1,600 people have experienced in trainings across California.

Linda’s very thoughtful and provocative post will be the first in an ongoing “Testimony” series of posts about coming out, written by P8TT community members and others. If you would like to participate, please share your coming out story — or if you are straight, share a story about a friend coming out — in the comments below and we’ll consider posting it on the front page as well (don’t worry about the length; if your original story is short, like Linda’s original comment, we’ll ask you to write a longer-form piece as well).

Eden James
Managing Director, Courage Campaign Institute


Coming out to my mother

By Linda Liles

Have you ever jumped off a high dive?

You know those intense sensations that hit you as you step off that solid platform and into the empty air? It’s exhilarating and yet petrifying! You’re panting and yet you can’t seem to breathe! And you feel strangely detached, like a spectator, watching your own fall.

Those are the feelings I had when I came out to my mother last month.

I hadn’t intended to do it. I had come to the conclusion that my parents would be better off never knowing. They’re 79 and 82, and staunchly conservative Christians. We’re talking faithful Focus on the Family followers and supporters. The Bible is the literal, inerrant, infallible Word of God. Period. They have dedicated their lives to their faith. Nothing is more important. And there is nothing more antithetical to their faith than homosexuality.

I am a living, breathing contradiction to everything they believe.

But when I was visiting with my mother we drifted to the subject of my ‘friend’ in South Carolina. And my mother started digging. Do any of you have mothers like that? You know, the kind that can ask question after question and force you to divulge much more than you ever intended? That’s what my mother was doing; and the questions were getting uglier and nastier until I finally couldn’t let it continue, so I just went ahead and told her.

I think we were both stunned by what was coming out of my mouth. My revelation was so shocking that neither one of us could fully comprehend what was happening. An eerie calmness seeped into the room, wrapping itself around us. Emotion was too frivolous at that point. We sat there talking in hushed tones as chill realization took up residence inside us.

She argued.

I tried to be understanding while holding my ground.

She quoted scripture, and told me I was wrong. She told me how wicked and sinful my deviant lifestyle was. And she told me it was unnatural. I told her that I know how I feel, and that I’m not wrong. I asked how a loving, monogamous relationship could be wicked; and I told her that for me, it was very natural.

Afterward, I felt completely numb. I couldn’t believe what I had just done. And I hoped that her reaction was just that…a reaction; and not really how she would respond when given a chance to think it through.

A week later my mother pulled me aside to tell me that she just wanted me to know that it would have been easier for her if I had told her I had cancer. She was full of emotion this time as she pronounced her verdict. I was shameful at best; stolen by Satan at worst. I was showing total disregard toward my children, my parents, my relatives, my ancestors. I needed to turn away from my wickedness and draw near to God. The very least I could do is live my life devoid of companionship for the remainder of her life.

She refuses to meet my girlfriend.

Of course I’m grieving. But I’m angry too. My mother is one who has been duped by people like Brian Brown and Maggie Gallagher into thinking that all gays are perverts, deviants, and controlled by Satan. And let’s not forget James Dobson, and the thousands of church pastors who act as conduits, enabling these liars to relay their hate-filled false information to their gullible congregations week after week. The groundwork is carefully laid; they leave no opportunity for their supporters to objectively consider the wealth of information from scientists, psychiatrists, psychologists, physicians, historians, sociologists, and anthropologists who have documented, time and time again, that we are not mentally ill; we are not in need of curing; and we are absolutely identical to everyone else in every way but one. As we heard from one of the people that Arisha Hatch interviewed for the NOM Tour Tracker, “God’s law trumps Man’s law”, and as long as they can convince their docile flock that their lies are God’s law no amount of reasoned discourse will have any affect.

I have been a good daughter, a good mother, a good woman; and my mother knows that. But she has to turn her back on me in order to not turn her back on what she has been told to believe.

Those who oppose us would say that I should just go back in my closet; in fact, they would call me selfish for not going back. They would point to the anguish my mother is enduring and call me cruel for making her experience that. They would use her trauma as one more proof of the horrible consequences of my “lifestyle choice.” But I am not the one at fault here! We are not the ones at fault here! They are! They are the ones who have preyed on the gullible, naïve masses; spewing their lies and distortions with abandon. They are the ones who have characterized us with such hateful, damning language. Their relentless, almost gleeful persecution of us has left those who are faithful adherents to their shared beliefs no choice but to likewise hate and reject us.

It’s hard to come out. And we have to do it over and over and over. And I admit there are still times I choose to just keep silent. But at the same time, if we don’t come out, if we hide or give into fear, then aren’t we, in effect, accepting that mantle of guilt and shame those who persecute us would have us bear?

I didn’t choose to be a lesbian. I am choosing to live as one; proudly and unapologetically.

294 Comments

  • 1. Alan E.  |  September 1, 2010 at 1:45 am

    A great big gay hug for you Linda!

  • 2. nightshayde  |  September 1, 2010 at 9:41 am

    A great big straight hug for you, too, Linda!

    Obviously, I can’t do anything to heal the wounds made by your mother and the people who have conditioned her to provide something other than unconditional love to her child.

    I can, however, pay it forward in a way — by pledging that I will love my daughter unconditionally regardless of her sexual orientation. When she grows up, I want her to find her soul mate — someone who will love her, honor her, and cherish her. Someone who will always treat her with kindness, respect, tenderness, love, and compassion. I really don’t give a rat’s hindquarters about the shape of her soul mate’s “naughty bits” (I love that term for some reason – always pronounced with a British accent in my head … but I digress).

    I will also be open and available to provide support to any friends she might have who are struggling with issues surrounding sexuality. My home will be the welcoming one. I’m not afraid to love people others reject — especially when they reject them for really stupid reasons.

    I find it extremely disheartening that there are so many people out there who think their own image in the eyes of church members or in the eyes of God is more important than the health and happiness of their children. I find it encouraging, though, to be reminded that there ARE people out here who love & value people for who they are & don’t buy into the crap spewed by FotF, NOM, or any other pro-discrimination/anti-equality group.

  • 3. MelG  |  September 2, 2010 at 4:27 am

    Thank you nightshayde for your beautiful words. I love how through your actions, there will be more people out there like you.

  • 4. Stats Girl  |  September 1, 2010 at 1:53 am

    Linda,

    Thank you so much for sharing your story.

    I consider myself lucky because my older sister is also gay; when I came out to my parents it wasn't a big deal. In fact, my family members (both immediate and extended) have very warmly welcomed my partner into their lives.

    However, my partner is not so lucky. She is here only on a temporary visa, and the rest of her family still lives in her home country in Asia. My partner often feels like she is lying to her parents when she tells them she does not have a boyfriend (they ask fairly frequently). Technically she is not lying, but she is withholding the truth. She has no doubts that when she comes out to her parents (most likely years from now) they will disown her. It breaks my heart to see how much pain it causes her when she thinks about telling her parents. I've met her parents and they love her very much; they are very proud of everything she's accomplished. It doesn't seem fair that one minor detail could override all of that pride and joy.

  • 5. Straight Grandmother  |  September 1, 2010 at 9:55 am

    You are lucky, and one day you will be there for your GF when her journey to truth and openess begins. You will be her steady rock.

  • 6. Sagesse  |  September 1, 2010 at 1:53 am

    And the other CA race to be concerned about: Boxer vs Fiorina. Debate tonight.

    Boxer vs. Fiorina: Battling for the Center in California
    http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,20

  • 7. Spencer Wulwick  |  September 1, 2010 at 1:54 am

    If you go to the menu selection for "Act Out" and then click on the sub-menu "Come Out", you will find a series of 10 articles that I have written, on this topic, of my personal coming out experience over a period of nearly 70 years.

  • 8. Straight Grandmother  |  September 1, 2010 at 2:53 am

    70 years??? I will go read your story. Thank you so very much for sharing.

  • 9. Spencer Wulwick  |  September 1, 2010 at 1:57 am

    Oops – I thought the url would show in the comments but it didn't so I am repeating my comment here. If you go to http://www.actoutsavannah.org, go to the menu selection for "Act Out" and then click on the sub-menu "Come Out", you will find a series of 10 articles that I have written, on this topic, of my personal coming out experience over a period of nearly 70 years.

  • 10. Ray in MA  |  September 1, 2010 at 11:07 am

    Your link http://www.actoutsavannah.org/swiz/come_out_18.ht

    does not work…. very disappointed.

  • 11. draNgNon  |  September 1, 2010 at 2:03 am

    my partner's mom called her unnatural too. but it was much after coming out, and more when her parents found out we owned a house together. somehow that made it worse.

    for bisexuals, all this is a both more and less awkward. becuase it is a choice… or so the parents reason. my mom always was so happier when I was with a guy.

  • 12. draNgNon  |  September 1, 2010 at 2:04 am

    er, "somehow that made it worse, in their heads"

  • 13. nightshayde  |  September 1, 2010 at 4:15 am

    They were probably able to delude themselves into thinking "it's only a phase – she'll get over it" before you bought the house. Buying a house together showed them that it's NOT just a phase.

  • 14. Kate  |  September 1, 2010 at 4:21 am

    and it made you look normal……..

  • 15. Kate  |  September 1, 2010 at 5:23 am

    nothin' says "normal" like a mortgage…….

  • 16. Linda  |  September 1, 2010 at 11:33 am

    @draNgNon

    I do believe that bisexuals often have a harder time 'explaining' themselves. Lesbians don't trust you; straights think you're just curious or a bit kinky. Family and friends figure if you're attracted to both then just find an opposite sex one to marry.

    No matter who (or what gender) you end up in a relationship with there will be someone who questions the veracity and sincerity of that relationship.

    People seem to think you are more likely to stray.

    You end up having to defend yourself to *everyone*….not just straights.

    Definitely more awkward to say the least!

  • 17. Kathleen  |  September 1, 2010 at 12:05 pm

    I can vouch for this!

    I never dealt with the self doubt wrt my sexuality I know so many here have. A combination of factors made that part easy for me. I didn't grow up in a religious household. A cousin who was seven years older than I am and who spent a lot of time at our house is gay (we were one of the few places he and his african-american boyfriend were welcome). My mom worked as a machinest – not a typical job for a woman in the 50s and 60s – and several women who she worked with and who subsequently became friends were lesbian. I just grew up knowing that human sexuality, gender identify and gender roles came in a lot of different varieties — all of them normal. This left me free to accept whatever feelings I encountered as my own sense of sexuality emerged, without feeling guilty about them.

    However, I'm amazed at how many gay people misunderstand and are suspicious of bisexuality. It's easier for me to deal with straight people's misunderstandings – they live in a hetero-centric world that doesn't necessarily require them to think outside the box (which, btw, makes me all the more appreciative of straight people who "get" it without having to have lived it themselves). But gay folks? Really?

    Anyway, we've talked about this before, so I won't belabor the point.

  • 18. anonygrl  |  September 1, 2010 at 12:15 pm

    I DO know what you mean there. I talk about marriage equality and people ask me "Are you gay?" and I sometimes get tongue tied and say "Yes. No. Well…" before I can get to "I am bisexual."

    And occasionally the response is "why do you want same sex marriage then? You can marry a man."

    Sigh.

    But I muddle through, explain equal rights for everyone, and most people I talk to (thank goodness) get it and are ok with it. Not all. I have a niece who has become fundamentalist recently, and sadly doesn't understand, but the attitude of my siblings is (and has been since forever) "Yeah. And? Are we going to lunch now?", which I am glad about.

  • 19. Elizabeth Oakes  |  September 1, 2010 at 2:30 pm

    So, asking for clarification here: "bi" means you have two sets of wings instead of the single fixed set, right? 🙂

  • 20. Tom  |  September 2, 2010 at 4:22 am

    "Family and friends figure if you’re attracted to both then just find an opposite sex one to marry."

    I hear you, and…aaaaaarrgh! One wants to say, "Tell you what, why don't YOU just go find someone other than your current spouse to love and marry? What's stopping you? What, it's not that simple? You don't WANT to? You think your CHOICE of spouse is just FINE, thanks? Your LOVE for your spouse is what is most important to you? Well, thanks for telling me my love for my spouse is not as real as yours is for your spouse."

    I'm a straight married guy, but gah, the stupid, it burns….

  • 21. Kathleen  |  September 2, 2010 at 5:47 am

    Thanks for the understanding, Tom. Our straight allies — especially the ones who have no personal stake in this other than wanting the world to be a more just place in which to live — are truly awesome.

  • 22. phillykarl  |  September 1, 2010 at 2:06 am

    Linda,

    I know a beautiful lesbian in a wonderful LTR. She is the most loving person I have ever met. She was excommunicated from her church ( like I was) for being a non-repentant gay. But her excommunication was spearheaded by her own FATHER, one of her church elders. She has found a way to forgive him. I hope that your story ends as brightly as hers.

  • 23. Carpool Kathleen  |  September 1, 2010 at 12:52 pm

    “her excommunication was spearheaded by her own FATHER, one of her church elders. “

    Whoa!!!!!

  • 24. Franck  |  September 1, 2010 at 2:08 am

    Sorry it went that way for you, Linda. I also had to come out to my parents when my mother started asking more and more persistent questions (the starting point was my cringing at an insult she threw at the movie Brokeback Mountain)… It all happened in less than an hour, though the outcome was less hurting than yours. I can't say it was easy, but at least my parents, over the course of these 4 years, have learnt to accept me as I am. Shame not all parents choose to do that.

    – Franck P. Rabeson
    Days spent apart from my fiancé because of DOMA: 1167 days, as of today.

  • 25. saul balderrama  |  September 1, 2010 at 2:14 am

    A big hug for linda,I 'm in tears, I love you linda.

  • 26. Chris  |  September 1, 2010 at 2:27 am

    I feel for you so much. I came out to my parents 16 years ago, Im 30 now and it did not go very good. I wish I waited I wasnt prepared for what happened. My parents reactions was hard to digest, my folks grounded me my dad said he wished he would have rather had a black son than a gay son. If you only knew his view (at the time), you would know why it hurt. I came home one time with a black eye and was limping from a fight I got into at school, my mom told me you made your bed, now lie in it. My parents and I didn't get along for years finally 13 yrs later i was ready to right them off for life and they were ready to include me agian. we are better today, and my dad voted for a black man for president. Peoples hearts change I am sadden you may not get 13 years to change their hearts but maybe they will see the big picture sooner then that. Good luck to you.

  • 27. Straight grandmother  |  September 1, 2010 at 3:05 am

    Big HUG Chris

  • 28. Lesbians Love Boies  |  September 1, 2010 at 2:33 am

    Wow Linda. I feel pain not only for you and your partner, but for your mother.

    You would think that YOU would be the most important factor in her life. Hopefully your mother will take the time to reflect upon her life and yours.

    Big hug!

  • 29. qwerty  |  September 1, 2010 at 2:40 am

    Linda, thanks for sharing your story and shining another beam of light on the actual damage to real families encouraged by Brian and Maggie's "pro-family" nonsense.

    I hope that you'll find solace and support in other types of "family" – your girlfriend, other relatives, friends, the community and whoever else makes up your extended support network.

    Your decision to come out is brave and beautiful. It often costs much in the short-term to be honest, but long-term rewards for you (and eventually for your parents if they choose) are enourmous. Whichever path your parents choose (acceptance, rejection or a muddled middle ground of the two) will be on their conscience, not yours. All you can do is continue to be the amazing woman you are and lead by example. Thanks for inspiring me today with your post. Sending you hugs and positive energy for the road ahead.

    PS. My mom was a very conservative Catholic and it probably took the better part of 4 years for her to get to a more open place with me and my partner of 12 years. Frankly we're still on the journey as she strongly opposes gay marrige. But during those years, while her words and actions hurt me many times, she also surprised me at times. She even came to my wedding despite her opposition and discomfort (probably at my father's urging). We are in a much better place now, but it was a long journey.

  • 30. Straight grandmother  |  September 1, 2010 at 5:36 am

    thanks for sharing QWERTY

  • 31. Ozymandias71  |  September 1, 2010 at 2:46 am

    Big hugs to Linda!

    Linda, your testimony is heart-breaking, and uplifting at the same time.

    Love,

    Ozy

  • 32. Straight Grandmother  |  September 1, 2010 at 2:49 am

    All you Lurkers or people who seldom post, come out to US, on Prop 8 Trial Tracker, don't stay a lurker!
    Linda's Topic is compelling, and if you are reading it I would like to ask you to follow her example, come out to us. Don't just "consume" prop 8 Trial tracker, also "contribute." All former Lurkers also get a cookie.

  • 33. Dani  |  September 2, 2010 at 4:22 am

    I would love to find the courage that Linda has. I'm just not sure that I'd still have a family if I came out to them.

  • 34. Kathleen  |  September 2, 2010 at 5:44 am

    That makes me really sad, Dani.

  • 35. Richard A. Walter (s  |  September 2, 2010 at 5:53 am

    That is horrible. But we are here for you. Welcome to the P8TT family. Grab some cookies and MILK while you're here. Give me a few minutes to get the coffee going. We have sugar and the following selections for creamers–original, French Vanilla, Vanilla Caramel, Hazelnut, and Amaretto.

  • 36. Linda  |  September 2, 2010 at 12:57 pm

    Dani–
    The timing must be right for you. We all have our own circumstances, our own needs, our own feelings. You'll know when the time is right. Don't feel pressured to do anything if it just doesn't feel right. You are not being weak or cowardly. Don't take on that guilt.

    Remember, you own your coming out; no one else does.

  • 37. Linda  |  September 2, 2010 at 12:59 pm

    Dani–

    And btw–I had absolutely no intention of coming out to my mom; I was forced into it. I was either going to have to spin quite a web of lies that would have really made things bad for me, or I was going to have to tell the truth and come out.

  • 38. Rhie  |  September 3, 2010 at 6:59 pm

    I understand what you mean, Dani, and I am very sad. I hope things get better, or at if they don't, you can find good friends and others to build your own, more accepting family.

  • 39. Cassie  |  September 1, 2010 at 2:50 am

    Linda, that's quite the story. You are so right when you say that we are not at fault, that it is they who teach these horrible things and take advantage of people that are at fault. I have said it time and again about and to my mother. It's not my fault she's suffering. If she would just accept me and WHO I AM, she wouldn't hurt, she wouldn't "suffer."

    I've shared my story once or twice on the P8TT, but maybe I'll share a condensed version. I didn't get to come out. My dad, for whatever reason, was on my computer and was in my email. Again, for whatever reason, he felt the need to read some of my emails. He read one to a friend in which we talked about the fact that I am not straight. He grabbed my mother and they both read the email, and many more between me and my friend, getting to know intimate details about my life and about myself that I was not ready to share. They stole coming out from me. The incredible journey to acceptance and the whole personal process and decision were interrupted, and the final end, coming out, was stolen. And they don't understand that what they did hurt me so badly. All they can see is how hurt they are.

    So many horrendous things have been said to me. I don't even have a clue how many times I have cried at school, cried myself to sleep, and cried when I could have been happy because of my parents. I have been told I'm being tempted by satan, that I'm crucifying my mother, that I'm disgusting and wrong, that I shouldn't be living this perverted lifestyle, that if I would only go to church more and be more fervent in my [parents] beliefs I could be saved. That is only the tip of the iceberg concerning what has been said to me. I have not once been able to stand up for myself to them. At the moment, things are better, but no where NEAR where they should be. My parents say they will always love me, but they made a clear distinction between loving ME and accepting my LIFESTYLE CHOICE. It hurts more than many of you know, but most of you can imagine.

    I feel for everyone that has had a difficult time in coming out to their parents. But in a way, I can't totally understand, because I didn't get to come out.

    There is so much more to this story, but it's already long, so I won't go into it. Thanks for being so supportive, guys. I get more support from strangers on an anti-prop 8 website than I do from my own parents…

  • 40. Kathleen  |  September 1, 2010 at 4:07 am

    Thank you for sharing with us again, Cassie. You're absolutely right that you are not the one causing your parents' suffering. You are an amazing young woman and I am proud to know you. xoxoxo

  • 41. Ann S.  |  September 1, 2010 at 4:58 am

    Cassie, I'm so very sorry. Thank you for sharing. We're always here for you.

    And we have cookies and hugs.

  • 42. Sheryl, Mormon Mothe  |  September 1, 2010 at 6:00 am

    Cassie, I may have the wrong person in mind, but isn't your family LDS?

    If yes, I strongly recommend that you get them Carol Lynn Pearson's "No More Good-Byes." Unlike most pro-homosexual books out there, Carol Lynn is LDS and they just might read it.

    I am so sorry that your parents did not respect your right to privacy, especially if you had your own computer,and all of the grief this has caused you.

    Sheryl, Mormon Mother

  • 43. Carpool Kathleen  |  September 1, 2010 at 6:01 am

    Cassie – – That sounds absolutely horrific!! How awful that they took it upon themselves to vandalize your email account, too!! So sorry they did all that. I'm glad things have got a bit better.

    If it's any consolation (you sound somewhat younger than me), it's the minority of people who have GREAT relationships with their parents. It's the main topic everyone (gay and straight) wrestles through in therapy and future relationships.

    But jeez…….so sorry your parents behaved so badly, and hurt you in the process.

  • 44. Cassie  |  September 1, 2010 at 8:01 am

    Thanks for all the replies, guys. It means so much to me. Truly.

    Sheryl, you have the right person in mind. My family is LDS. As I just found out from your other post, you don't live far from my hometown! 🙂 I've been looking for some pro-gay books by Mormons, but I have yet to find any. My ma found plenty of anti-gay Mormon books though. 🙁

    Carpool Kathleen, that does make me feel better. Tho it does make me sad too because I used to be in that minority. But I do understand that it's the main topic in therapy and future relationships. I liked your comment about therapy. 😛

    Ann S. I would definitely like one of those cookies! But make sure it has no chocolate, I hate chocolate! xP Hahaha.

  • 45. Ann S.  |  September 1, 2010 at 8:15 am

    Cassie, here's a no-chocolate cookie. I licked all the chocolate off, just for you.

    Hugs to you — I'm so sorry about your difficulties with your parents. If we get it together to meet up in November in SF, I will try to be there, too.

  • 46. Linda  |  September 1, 2010 at 11:35 am

    @Cassie—

    Whoa! A lesbian who hates chocolate??? Is that even possible???

  • 47. Sheryl, Mormon Mothe  |  September 1, 2010 at 11:54 am

    wish each entry had a reply, Oh well.

    Where do your parents live Cassie. I have an extra copy of No More Good-byes that I'd be willing to send to your parents. you can e-mail me at sheryl dot beckett at gmail dot com Look forward to hearing from you.

    Sheryl

  • 48. Cassie  |  September 1, 2010 at 1:55 pm

    I know, a lesbian who hates chocolate…*gasp* Well, a woman who hates chocolate gets a lot of gasps. And "are you even a girl!?" 😛 Hahaha.

    But, thanks Ann! So sweet of you to lick all the chocolate off for me. 🙂 And thanks for the comment. I love how I can post something here and a lot of people comment, lending their support for even just a few seconds. I appreciate every second, I really do.

  • 49. Ann S.  |  September 1, 2010 at 1:56 pm

    Cassie, any time you need me to dispose of chocolate so that it doesn't annoy you, I'm your gal. Count on me.

  • 50. Robin  |  September 4, 2010 at 12:19 pm

    Oh god, I am so sorry. That sounds awful. Your story is one of my worst fears — I can hardly imagine how hard it must have been for you.

    Hang in there, and if this isn't too creepy coming from a stranger on the internet: *hugs*

  • 51. AndrewPDX  |  September 1, 2010 at 2:53 am

    I regret that I took so long to come out of the closet. My mom passed away before I could tell her, but I'm pretty certain she knew and would have been accepting.
    Not being able to share the truth with one of the most important people in my life is a difficult guilt I have to carry around.

    @Linda, I hope that you'll have the chance to reconnect with your mother on happy terms — miracles do happen, so don't give up hope.

    And congratz for getting front-page mention 🙂

    Now, where are those cookies?

    Liberty, Equality, Fraternity
    Andrew

  • 52. Mark M  |  September 1, 2010 at 2:54 am

    Thank you for allowing your story to be posted front and center Linda. When I read your original post I was moved…but to reread it I am even more so.
    Big Furry Bear Hugs!
    Mark (and Robert)

  • 53. Linda  |  September 1, 2010 at 1:30 pm

    @Mark–
    Frankly, I love bear hugs from gay men! They're so sincere! There's no ulterior motive, know what I mean? 🙂

    So thanks!

  • 54. Cassie  |  September 1, 2010 at 2:57 am

    Random…but I would LOVE to meet some of the names that I know thru the comments. What do you guys think of having a get together or something? A big gay P8TT party!!! I think it would be amazing to put faces to names and stories. I live in northern CA and won't be able to travel much. Anyone in norcal (or anyone that feels like traveling to norcal) up for it?

    Email me if you are, or if you just feel like getting to know me, because I would love to get to know any of you. 🙂 … [email protected]

  • 55. Kate  |  September 1, 2010 at 3:25 am

    Hey Cassie — how far north are you in Calif.?

  • 56. Jen-Bunny  |  September 1, 2010 at 5:33 am

    I am definitely down!!! I am from Placerville, which is about 40 miles east of Sacramento. email me at [email protected]

    I'd love to meet all of you, I feel like we are already family =)

  • 57. Lora  |  September 1, 2010 at 4:49 pm

    I'm in Sacto!

  • 58. Sheryl, Mormon Mothe  |  September 1, 2010 at 4:58 pm

    Lora, I hope you will be able to join us for a Friday night Improv show. e-mail me at sheryl dot beckett at gmail dot com.

    Thanks,

    Mormon Mother

  • 59. fiona64  |  September 1, 2010 at 5:49 am

    I'm in Silicon Valley.

    (As an aside: I used to go up to Placerville at least once a year for the big Hangtown Classic dog show. Our Dalmatians are retired now, though.)

    Love,
    Fiona

  • 60. Carpool Kathleen  |  September 1, 2010 at 6:03 am

    CASSIE: WILL YOUR AWFUL PARENTS BE THERE????

    : )

  • 61. Sheryl, Mormon Mothe  |  September 1, 2010 at 6:05 am

    Okay, everyone, Concord, CA here, and I'm working on a get together at an Improv show in SF in Nov. Have to find out when my son will be performing (my chance to show him off). I, too, would love to meet people who have become a part of my extended family.

    where in No. CA are you, cassie

    Sheryl, Mormon Mother

  • 62. Cassie  |  September 1, 2010 at 6:40 am

    Hey guys.

    I'm so glad that people want to get together!!!

    Atm, I'm in Stockton, going to school at University of the Pacific, but my family lives in Danville, which is an hour away from Stockton, and depending on where Sheryl lives in Concord, about 25 minutes from Sheryl. 🙂

    Don't worry, my parents will NOT be there. 😛 I have my own car, so I don't have to rely on them or public transportation to get me places during school. 🙂

    I think that getting together in SF at the Improv show would be really fun. Maybe we could get together or have dinner before or after. 🙂 My only issue is will I be able to make it to SF in time, as my last class on Friday gets out at 430, and it takes about 2 hours to get to SF from Stockton.

    I agree with Jen-Bunny. I feel like we're a family. 🙂

  • 63. Jen-Bunny  |  September 1, 2010 at 8:52 am

    I think an improv show would be FABULOUS!! I'm only 2 hours away from SF and I go pretty often. It's my favorite city! Let's email each other and plan our Gay Day! =)

  • 64. Richard A. Walter (s  |  September 1, 2010 at 10:50 am

    And I hope somebody takes a laptop with Skype to this Improv show! That will let some of us who are not in the area get to join you through the ether!

  • 65. Sheryl, Mormon Mothe  |  September 1, 2010 at 1:59 pm

    Wish you were closer and you and BZ could come, Richard. I'll take pictures with my digital camera and post them. Just want everyone to know that I am really looking forward to meeting all who can come.

    Cassie, shows start at 8 PM so you should have plenty of time. I think we should plan on going out after the show. I'll find out from my son what our options are for after a show. Still amazes me that the places in SF close so early on weekends.

    Again, my email is sheryl dot beckett at gmail dot com. Look forward to hearing from everyone who is interested. And, Fiona, I certainly hope you and Jeff will come.

    Sheryl, Mormon Mother

  • 66. Ann S.  |  September 1, 2010 at 2:02 pm

    I'm interested!

  • 67. Dave P.  |  September 1, 2010 at 10:43 am

    I'm in Oakland, just across the bridge from San Francisco.

    And I work in Silicon Valley, about an hour south of SF (Hi Fiona!!).

    I'm definitely up for meeting more P8TTers (I've met a couple of 'em already). Coincidentally, I've been trading emails in the past couple of days with Sheryl about the improv show and I think it's a great idea.

  • 68. James  |  September 1, 2010 at 3:01 am

    Wow Linda! Such a powerful episode in your life. I do understand though, what it was like to come out to a very conservative and religious mother. I thought it would had been easier since I have a gay younger brother who has been out to the family for about 20 years. However, my mother's reaction towards my being gay was quite shockingly negative. It was "okay" for my brother to be gay, but not me. I remember her asking if even though she never wanted to know about my life and never wanted to meet my "friends", would I still go visit her. Well, 3 years has gone by and my mother has met my partner, we have been over to her home several times, and she loves him like one of her own. I really hope your story ends up as mine did. Maybe in time…..

  • 69. Ed  |  September 2, 2010 at 1:15 am

    James your situation is interesting as it is like mine… kind of. My younger brother came out to my parents 20 years ago also (he is 13 years younger than I, grew up in an entirely different world). I came out (although they already knew) just recently and my Mother and I have the best relationship we have ever had now. My father claims to be fine with it but he failed a test of equality recently. Every Christmas my parents (financially fortunate) give their 5 children and spouses cash gifts. I have known for years that I get just as much money as my sister and her husband combined… (my parents are fair that way)… Last Christmas I asked my father to split my cash gift with my partner just as he does with my married siblings spouses and he refused. He said he loves me and supports me but he could not ever do that simple thing. Which of course to me tells me that he still does not consider my relationship an equal relationship. And honestly I don't understand it. I still take the money though 🙂

  • 70. fiona64  |  September 1, 2010 at 3:02 am

    Dear Linda (and everyone else who shared their coming-out stories):

    Thank you for your testimony. I am always amazed at the courage of my LGBT friends.

    Love,
    Fiona

  • 71. Cat  |  September 1, 2010 at 3:07 am

    Linda, thank you for telling us your story. I hope your mom will take time to reflect, and soften her position. Hugs!

  • 72. Linda  |  September 1, 2010 at 3:08 am

    Hey everyone,
    Thanks for all your positive comments.

    On balance, let me assure that all the other people–friends, relatives, CHILDREN–that I have come out to have been very supportive.

    Also, even though my mother is aghast at 'what I'm doing' we are still in communication. It's just that now there's this…*thing*…..hovering between us. It's a weird experience, to be sure.

    I'm hoping that she will have to eventually concede that I am not the person they are describing me to be.

    It's a shame she won't meet my girlfriend though; she is such a lovely woman–inside and out–and full of that delightful southern charm. In any other circumstance my mother would absolutely adore her!

    Thanks again! (and you're right, Kate–that's what I've been up to 🙂 )

  • 73. Sagesse  |  September 1, 2010 at 3:09 am

    Linda,

    When I read that your parents are 79 and 82, my heart just sank (my own mother is 89). At that age, when it comes to deeply held beliefs, never mind religion, there is (often) no reasoning with them. They don't realize it, but they are stuck in a time decades ago when they first formed their notions of who's 'worthy' and who's not.

    My mom grew up in Montana, where there were no people of colour, any colour, except Native Americans. But all the people who 'were somebody' in her world were definitely white. She's rudely judgmental about people who are different, and would be rude to me if I attempted to challenge her stereotypes (so I don't…. life is too short).

    It's ridiculous for me to say 'don't take it personally'… they're your parents. But if you can put some emotional distance between you and the worst of it, it may ease your mind. It's not all you… it's the way they were brought up, and it's ingrained way beyond reason. And (I hope not) there may be limits on how much progress you can ever make with them…. but that certainly is not about you, and your worth and value either, and you shouldn't ever feel that it is.

  • 74. Brandy  |  September 1, 2010 at 3:15 am

    Linda, I really feel for you! I can totally sympathize with your situation, because mine is so similar. I will post my coming out story after work.

  • 75. Elizabeth Oakes  |  September 1, 2010 at 3:22 am

    You go, Linda! The right thing is almost never the easy thing, and you surely did the right thing. I'm just sorry you're being continually punished for it. The good news is, your actions will make the world better for the next generation, and others will benefit from your struggle.

    As you have seen from the responses of others around you–especially the kids–many years of brave people choosing to come out has had a positive effect–more awareness and acceptance, though obviously there are many more miles to go and hurdles to be overcome. Thanks for stepping forward into a better future instead of backwards into your mother's closet.

  • 76. Kathleen  |  September 1, 2010 at 3:26 am

    Linda, thank you so much for sharing your story. And hug hugs.

  • 77. Kate  |  September 1, 2010 at 3:28 am

    I've already told my story so will just post the Reader's Digest Condensed Version here. Came out to my family about 35 years ago; they told me they'd rather I were dead and promptly disowned me. Never heard a peep again from any of them.

  • 78. nightshayde  |  September 1, 2010 at 4:17 am

    This short statement has brought tears to my eyes each time I've scrolled across it. It just breaks my heart.

    How can parents be so cruel to their children? I just don't get it at all…

  • 79. Sheryl, Mormon Mothe  |  September 1, 2010 at 6:21 am

    I'm with you nightshayde. I just do not understand disowning your own child. My son is the most precious thing to me. I couldn't care less what his sexual orientation is.

    Sheryl, Mormon Mother

  • 80. Bolt  |  September 1, 2010 at 4:25 am

    Big hug.

  • 81. Kathleen  |  September 1, 2010 at 4:31 am

    This is one of the greatest harms done by some religions. When a religious belief is responsible for you turning your back on your own children, there is something very, very wrong with the belief system.

    My heart aches knowing all the pain my glbt brothers and sisters have suffered at the hands of the very people who should been there to love, nurture and protect them.

    Fwiw, I had to cut a parent out of my life, for reasons other than my sexual orientation. Once I was able to realize he would never be the kind of parent I wanted (and deserved), it wasn't a difficult decision to make. I went through a period of grieving, but not for the loss of this particular person–who was a poison in my life–instead I grieved the fact I didn't, and never would, have a loving father in my life.

    I've not only found peace with myself over this loss, but went on to offer healing to the world by raising two sons who are amazing fathers to their own sons and daughters.

    I hope everyone here who has suffered this loss comes to a place of peace and healing, as well. I love you all.

  • 82. Kate  |  September 1, 2010 at 4:43 am

    I think that grief you describe over recognizing that we will never have that loving parent or parents in our lives is what makes many of us so commonly want to be adopted by the supportive parents whom we do see in the world.

  • 83. Kate  |  September 1, 2010 at 4:36 am

    Thanks for the kind words, nightshayde and bolt.

  • 84. Ann S.  |  September 1, 2010 at 5:02 am

    Kate, that is just heart-breaking. I'm so very sorry.

    I wish I could hug everyone in person you and everyone like you who has been so harmed by so-called "family" values.

  • 85. Kate  |  September 1, 2010 at 5:06 am

    Now you know, if you didn't already, how very, very important our straight allies are in our lives.

  • 86. Ann S.  |  September 1, 2010 at 5:11 am

    My brother and BIL often mention how grateful they are for all the support they get from their families, because they have heard so many stories like yours.

    I just don't understand it. I have problems with some family members, yes, but I still love them even though they have hurt me.

    How could I not love my gay brother, who has done nothing to hurt me?

    How could a parent ever not love their child, who has done nothing to hurt the parent except trying to find their own happiness?

    I'm pretty sure our daughter is straight, but even if she weren't I would love her and want her to find happiness. I could never cut her out of our lives over something like her orientation.

    Now, if she starts voting Republican . . .

    Just kidding!

  • 87. Kate  |  September 1, 2010 at 5:13 am

    I agree. That Republican thing is a Big Deal!

  • 88. Richard A. Walter (s  |  September 1, 2010 at 5:14 am

    I think I could even handle a Republican if they voted like Meghan McCain!

  • 89. nightshayde  |  September 1, 2010 at 5:18 am

    LOL — if mine turned NOMbie on us, I might have a problem … but I really don't see that happening.

  • 90. Sheryl, Mormon Mothe  |  September 1, 2010 at 2:06 pm

    I see nothing even remotely resembling family values from these groups. I see them using that term to validate their discrimination against people who "dare to be different."

    To me family values means you stand by your family. You teach your children to be honest, caring people. You allow them to live their own lives. Now, I will say that, as a parent, it is not easy to pull back from that parent roll when your child becomes an adult and is out on their own. I still tend to want to give my son advice (advice he already knows). We joke about it. I recognize this in me (very much like my mother was and work hard not to be as she always concentrated on what you were doing wrong not what you were doing right).

    Sheryl, Mormon Mother

  • 91. AndrewPDX  |  September 1, 2010 at 11:59 pm

    @Sheryl,
    <cite>To me family values means you stand by your family. You teach your children to be honest, caring people.</cite>

    AMEN!

    Liberty, Equality, Fraternity
    Andrew

  • 92. Mark M  |  September 1, 2010 at 5:12 am

    Big hugs Kate!
    I know how it feels to have parents and family disown you…for me sadly they kept coming back when they needed money.

  • 93. Kate  |  September 1, 2010 at 5:17 am

    Incredible. You're no good, but your gay money is???

  • 94. Carpool Kathleen  |  September 1, 2010 at 6:06 am

    WOW!

    You should put the money in a manilla envelope held by a naked bartender at a gay club. Make them run all over the club like in a scavenger hunt, going from clue to clue, until they gat last arrive at the envelope.

  • 95. Jen-Bunny  |  September 1, 2010 at 8:54 am

    I honestly can't understand how a parent could disown their own child, just like that. It is beyond me. Kate, I am so sorry. Please know that we here at P8TT are a family, and we will never disown you or abandon you like that. *hugs*

  • 96. Straight grandmother  |  September 1, 2010 at 10:05 am

    What happens to me is I remember the stories but then cna't remember who posted it. I totally remember this from the last time you posted it and now I'll remember Kate. It is so so so so so so sad. I think yours is one of the saddest stories.

  • 97. anonygrl  |  September 1, 2010 at 11:41 am

    I know it is not enough, but you got US babe!

  • 98. Richard A. Walter (s  |  September 1, 2010 at 11:54 am

    For you, anonygrl!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SUdiaTt1O6o

  • 99. anonygrl  |  September 1, 2010 at 4:00 pm

    🙂 Thanks Richard!

  • 100. Kate  |  September 2, 2010 at 2:00 am

    You know what, Anonygrl? It is enough. In fact, it's more than enough. Given the option, a lot of us wouldn't even know these negative forces in our lives if we weren't related to them. And I'm one of the lucky ones — I get to choose my family!

  • 101. Linda  |  September 1, 2010 at 2:47 pm

    Kate,
    I've read this several times and I still can't comprehend it.

    It's beyond me.

    I'm so sorry.

  • 102. Rhie  |  September 4, 2010 at 7:58 am

    I can't understand that kind of cruelty. Frankly. I don't want to.

  • 103. Sheryl Carver  |  September 1, 2010 at 3:28 am

    Dear Linda,

    I am so sorry for you, your girlfriend, & your family. It's so sad that this is the kind of reaction every LGBT person realizes might happen when they come out. You have tremendous courage, not only for standing up for who you are, but for sharing this with others, who may gain understanding & strength from your story.

    Please do keep reminding yourself that your mother's reaction truly is NOT your fault. I hope she will someday soon be willing to reconsider her beliefs, but it may be too hard for her. But it is HER choice. (Odd, isn't it, that the fundamental religious folks think we have a choice in who we love, but they don't see their religious practices as a choice THEY make everyday.)

  • 104. Heath  |  September 1, 2010 at 3:28 am

    Linda — best wishes to you, and I hope your mom comes around.

    When as a grad student, I came out to my parents, my ex-military dad was the one who flew off the handle. He didn't spout bible verses at me — though no doubt he could have. Instead, he determined that I was gay "on purpose" just to embarrass and spite him. He swore that if I ever brought "one of them" to his home, he'd change the locks. My mom sat by his side, glowering at me, but said nothing.

    My dad passed away a few years later, and the afternoon after the funeral, my mom sat me down at her kitchen table and broke the ice. "I wouldn't have wished this for you or any of my children," she said, "but I want you to be happy, whatever it takes."

    When I asked her why she didn't say anything that night when Dad was frothing and ranting, she quietly said: "At the time, he needed me more than you did."

    My mom and I have grown much closer since my dad passed. She still can't quite say "the g word", having developed euphemisms to talk around it without having to actually *say* it, but she's made so much progress.

    I hope you'll experience the pride of having a parent (or, dare I dream, both?) learn tolerance late in life.

  • 105. Len Silvey  |  September 1, 2010 at 3:46 am

    Linda – Your story has moved me on about 10 different levels. That's a lot of emotions to deal with at one time. Thank you.

  • 106. Sagesse  |  September 1, 2010 at 3:48 am

    The Advocate cites examples where the CA AG has opposed ballot initiatives in court

    "California state officials have gone against the will of the voters in the initiative process before. In 1964, Gov. Edmund G. “Pat” Brown, Jerry Brown's father, supported a constitutional challenge to Proposition 14, which overturned a fair housing law passed by the state legislature in an effort to end discrimination on the basis of race, religion, and other factors.

    In 1966 the California supreme court held that Prop. 14 violated the equal protection and due process clauses of the California constitution. Attorneys challenging Prop. 8 have also argued that denying gay couples the right to marry violates those same clauses of the U.S. Constitution. "

    Armwrestling With Arnold on Prop. 8
    http://www.advocate.com/News/Daily_News/2010/08/3

  • 107. Jen-Bunny  |  September 1, 2010 at 3:50 am

    Dearest Linda,
    Tears filled my eyes as I was reading this because it felt as though I was reading my own story. My mother reacted the same way when I came out last November. She refused to meet my girlfriend for 6 months, then when she did she treated her with complete coldness. She continues to tell me "It's not that I don't love you, I just don't agree with your lifestyle!" as if that makes it hurt any less. I have to distance myself from her, and you're right when you say there is grieving. I grieve every day for the loss of my relationship with my mother. I just make sure to surround myself with people who love me for who I am, and that reminds me that there are different kinds of love to depend on other than parental love. <3
    To the P8TT team, I would love to tell my coming out story for your readers, it's definitely interesting! Let me know if that is something you would be interested in.

  • 108. Straight grandmother  |  September 1, 2010 at 5:34 am

    I would like to hear your story.

  • 109. Jen-Bunny  |  September 1, 2010 at 1:04 pm

    This is for you Straight Grandmother =)

    I have created a Tumblr for coming out stories. It's called "Closets are for Shoes".
    http://closetsareforshoes.tumblr.com

    Please follow me and submit your stories!!

  • 110. BK  |  September 1, 2010 at 3:58 am

    Wow, Linda… that was very brave, and I wish you the best. I'm still pretty young, and the only person I'm related to who might possibly understand (if I came out) would be one of my grandmothers. It seems impossible for them to be accepting (FoTF people — you know how they are)…. I hope I'll have the strength to do what you have done. Good luck. 🙂

  • 111. bJason  |  September 1, 2010 at 6:38 am

    Should you ever need strength, take it from those here. There is plenty to go around. That is why this is such a wonderful place.

  • 112. Michael  |  September 1, 2010 at 4:02 am

    I'm sorry to hear about this, Linda. It stinks to have your own mother berate you for this. A couple of gut reactions:

    1. Ask her when she decided she was straight;
    2. You might want to consider cutting off contact with her until she apologizes for the hateful things she said to you and about you, but let her know that while you still love her, until she apologizes for being so hateful and hurtful, you will not communicate with her. Perhaps if she realizes that you mean it and she finds she really needs the interaction with you, she'll realize it's her fault.

  • 113. Kate  |  September 1, 2010 at 4:19 am

    Pride Parade idea: Since we're so often called "Satan Worshippers," maybe we could form a contingent of "Satin Worshippers" …….. (although my personal preference is for cotton).

  • 114. Jennifer Gail  |  September 1, 2010 at 1:44 pm

    I like that!

    And — satin is a weave, not a fiber, so it is perfectly possible to have cotton satin (though it is usually called sateen then.)

    *Wanders over to the cookies, contemplating writing up her own story*

  • 115. Tony Douglass in Ca  |  September 1, 2010 at 1:48 pm

    Please do!!!!

  • 116. Bolt  |  September 1, 2010 at 4:23 am

    Awesome post, Linda. I know exactly how you feel."You know those intense sensations that hit you as you step off that solid platform and into the empty air." It's called courage, and it's a bold sensation not in the absence of fear, but once you harness it, and release it, you'll never be the same again. You've grown up. Congratulations.

    According to your mother's reaction, she'll come around. "She quoted scripture, and told me I was wrong. She told me how wicked and sinful my deviant lifestyle was. And she told me it was unnatural." Her reaction sounds like a cookie cutter reaction. Older parents automatically think of themselves. While my family was not at all religious, when I told my father, he stood there with his arms crossed, and said, "I don't want to see it, and I don't want to hear about it." Again, very selfish, but he came around a couple of years later. In his death bed, he assured me he loved me very much, and he was equally as proud of who I am as my siblings.

    I really loved what you said about Maggie Gallagher, and the NOM klan and every other bigot religious corporation that exploits our parents anxieties. "My mother is one who has been duped by people like Brian Brown and Maggie Gallagher into thinking that all gays are perverts, deviants, and controlled by Satan. And let’s not forget James Dobson, and the thousands of church pastors[…]" From the bottom of my heart, I want to crush them, and their anti-gay, money laundering careers, with the full weight of the law. They deserve severe legal, and political retribution.

    Thanks for sharing your story. I'm really touched.

  • 117. Samantha  |  September 1, 2010 at 4:23 am

    Linda, I completely got emotional while reading your story, and relived memories of my own years back… the good news is that you're not alone, not by a long shot… the bad new, is that you're not alone, not by a long shot.

    Find peace in your "here and now" and recognize that the day of reckoning exists for all…

  • 118. Adrenalin Tim  |  September 1, 2010 at 5:30 am

    Linda, I'm proud of you. You did great. I'm sorry, truly sorry, for your mom's response. My folks are also immovably fundamentalist evangelical, so the way you recounted the conversation rings true to me.

    I'm straight, but had a very small taste of your experience when my now-wife and I "came out" to my parents that we were living together prior to being married.

    For some people, when observable reality conflicts a preconceived dogma, they choose to side with their dogma even at the expense of rejecting reality itself. It's tragic, really. I know the experience hurts, but I'm glad you have the perspective to pity your mother as much as you are angry and hurt.

    Here's hoping that the truth will set her—and all like her—free.

  • 119. Straight grandmother  |  September 1, 2010 at 5:43 am

    thank you very much for your comment, ir was a good one. i hope you add your thoughts often.

  • 120. Elizabeth Oakes  |  September 1, 2010 at 2:02 pm

    A note on Tim's point: I married a lot of same-sex couples who had parents hostile to them when they came out but when finally forced to choose between their dogma and their children, they decided they loved their children more. It wasn't easy, but at least they made the right choice, grudging though it may have been in some instances.

    Sadly this is not a universal experience, but I saw it frequently enough that it gives me hope that even the hardliners can turn their hearts around (some of them, anyway.)

  • 121. Adrenalin Tim  |  September 1, 2010 at 3:20 pm

    Elizabeth: that's a great point. It's important to keep in mind that people are individuals, and can't be reduced to their religious or other ideologies. Sometimes they can still surprise us.

    "With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion."
    – Steven Weinberg

  • 122. Elizabeth Oakes  |  September 1, 2010 at 3:29 pm

    Word, Tim! Have a cookie.

  • 123. Trish  |  September 1, 2010 at 6:11 am

    The thing about coming out stories is that we all who are not heterosexual gender-conforming folks have to constantly "come out." Every time we meet someone new, we have two choices: (1) Be perceived to be straight and "normal" or (2) Out ourselves.

    I have photographs of my wife in my office. When anyone else talks about family, I talk about my family. It's not something that is always easy, but I think it is necessary. One reason people vote for things like Proposition 8 is because they believe that gay people already have everything they need with civil unions, or they believe stereotypes that gay people don't even want marriage. We don't have to be in your face about it. We just have to be about it.

    And the young gay people in the Altoona, Pennsylvanias and the Richmond, Minnesotas who are coming out and hear Anita Bryant on television and her story. The only thing they have to look forward to is hope. And you have to give them hope. Hope for a better world, hope for a better tomorrow, hope for a better place to come to if the pressures at home are too great. Hope that all will be all right. Without hope, not only gays, but the blacks, the seniors, the handicapped, the us'es, the us'es will give up. And if you help elect to the central committee and other offices, more gay people, that gives a green light to all who feel disenfranchised, a green light to move forward. It means hope to a nation that has given up, because if a gay person makes it, the doors are open to everyone.

    So if there is a message I have to give, it is that I've found one overriding thing about my personal election, it's the fact that if a gay person can be elected, it's a green light. And you and you and you, you have to give people hope. Thank you very much. — Harvey Milk

  • 124. Mark M  |  September 1, 2010 at 6:25 am

    Beautifully stated Trish.
    Thank you for re-posting one of my favorite speeches of Harveys.
    It is good to see you here, I have missed your posts as of late.

  • 125. Trish  |  September 1, 2010 at 8:21 am

    Thanks, Mark. Work has been very busy, which is a good thing.

  • 126. Dave T  |  September 2, 2010 at 6:17 am

    What Trish is pointing out is something that the comments here at P8TT have taught me: that LGBT people don't come out once, but that they have to do it over and over and over. And not only that, but that in each new situation, they have to decide again if they are going to come out, if it's safe (socially, emotionally, and even physically) to come out.

    I'm a straight ally who has known many LGBT friends and acquaintances over the years, but I had never thought of it in that way before. And learning about this really brought home to me the enormity of the inequality here.

  • 127. Ann S.  |  September 2, 2010 at 6:23 am

    Something I thought about last night while talking to my husband (another ally) about your stories of your families is that they also have to come out, in a way, over and over. They can't just say in casual conversation "my daughter and son-in-law" or "my son and daughter-in-law", they get to say "my son and son-in-law" or "my daughter and daughter-in-law". And some of them aren't really brave enough.

    Me, I make a point of saying, any time it comes up, "my brother and his HUSBAND". But most anyone who knows me already knows my stance on this (still have the No on 8 sign in my window, FFS), and besides I live in a liberal bubble here so I can do that fairly easily.

  • 128. Carpool Kathleen  |  September 1, 2010 at 6:13 am

    Linda, thanks for sharing your story. I'm very sorry your mom was such a dipsh!t….seriously. I think it's great you were honest with her and didn't hide things as she kept prying deeper and deeper.

    I would say I have pretty good relationships with both my parents…though they both take a lot of work (and are completely different, so it's not like you can address them in the same sitting.)

    The thing I've learned over the years is that while I "love" them both….if we were not related, we wouldn't have ended up being really close friends in life. There are just too many things about them I don't like. So as long as they wish me well and are pleasant, I've moved past trying to get some dependable, "perfect" love with them. I am very very glad I went through the coming out process with them, though. At least we do have honest relationships, and do truly know each other.

  • 129. bJason  |  September 1, 2010 at 6:51 am

    What you've said about not being friends with family members if you weren't related is something I think about often. I know I would not be friends with either of my parents. They are both truly good people but we would not run in the same circles. We probably wouldn't even take the time to get to know each other.

    I try to keep this in mind when faced with most "haters". They probably are good people. They are just wrong! 🙂

  • 130. nightshayde  |  September 1, 2010 at 8:20 am

    I'm not entirely convinced that you can be "good people" and still support discrimination.

    I'll go with "mostly good," but not an unqualified "good."

  • 131. sweetleopardess  |  September 1, 2010 at 6:16 am

    I'm a PFLAG mom in suburban Seattle. When we march in the Pride parade we give out stickers that say "I am loved by PFLAG." I've hugged people who say they wish their parents loved them. It always breaks my heart, because I can't imagine NOT loving my gay son and all other LGBTQ people.

  • 132. Ann S.  |  September 1, 2010 at 6:19 am

    Thank you for that story. I really like this idea.

  • 133. Qwerty  |  September 1, 2010 at 6:28 am

    That is an amazing way to literally embrace those who need it. Thank you for all you do.

  • 134. Kate  |  September 1, 2010 at 6:31 am

    PFLAG parents! Now, there are some true rocks stars, in my book.

  • 135. bJason  |  September 1, 2010 at 6:52 am

    AMEN, Kate!!

  • 136. Bob  |  September 1, 2010 at 7:02 am

    Adrenalin Tim this is the first post I've read of yours, and it really rings true, "for some people, when observable reality conflicts a reconceived dogma, they choose to side with their dogma even at the expense of rejecting realitiy itself>"

    So very true, and my own experience, from my coming out story, religion has brainwashed many people (millions) to cling to belief, and defend it to the death.

    This is important to know and take into account on our journey, the importance of Linda's story(thank you so much Linda) is that we are continualiy one by one breaking down barriers, or rather insisting our parents raise them to defedn their belief systems, I think this is a necessary part of the process.

    My mother asked the other day in a e-mail , what we could do about this hudge wall between us, and we wondered together if love could build a bridge.

    If we avoid the reality, and the knee jerk reactions, like building walls, we also can't experience the grief, pain, and other realities that go along with it, at some point, the wall becomes rediculous. and hopefully we see it and feel it and acknowledge it';s presence.

    My mother is also in her eighties, to take the heat off of her, I took up a dialog with a professor of seminary studies for her church, I made it clear to him that as a helpless baby, I was baptized , they poured the water over my head in his church, and made a vow of a lifetime of discipleship, I am demanding that he follow through on that vow, so I've had some great dialogs with him about my reality, and how it impacts that vow.

    Each time someoe like Linda tells their story, we take one step closer at being equal. Remmber being equal means acting equal, it means ignoring DISCRIMINTATION, in such a way that it becomes the elephant in the room.

    I said that for you Straight Grandmother, casue I've been thinking a lot about discrimination, we need to accept that no law can ever uphold discrimination, so why should we.

    Nor should we allow people to hide behind it as a shelter to defend their beliefs, even if it is our own flesh and blood.

    Let's lable that wall that we build for what it is DISCRIMINATION, and work together at tearing it down.

  • 137. Straight grandmother  |  September 1, 2010 at 9:54 am

    Thank you BOB! Good way to put it a wall of Discrimination.

  • 138. Phillip R  |  September 1, 2010 at 7:07 am

    I'm one of the lucky few. Although I didn't get the chance to come out to my parents on my own time, they were accepting for the most part. My only issue is that I wasn't honestly ready to come out and it was forced upon me.

    When I was 18, I was dating a guy named Sean. I hadn't told anyone…friends or otherwise. I avoided guys or any semblance of anything unusual at my own school. Sean was at a different school and our meeting was pretty random.

    He and I were hanging out at my parent's house. My younger sister (16 at the time) was off with her friends and wasn't supposed to be home until the end of the weekend. My parents were both working. We were watching TV…pretty innocent. I was laying on the couch with my head on his lap as we watched. We hadn't yet gotten really physical beyond some cuddling and kissing. I knew I was gay but I was still quite confused and self loathing over it. Well…sister changes her mind and comes home. Catches us watching TV and immediately leaves again. Knowing her, I knew I was busted. Sure enough, she called both of my parents when she left and told them what she saw. They came home after work and confronted me. In tears, I said it…for the first time out loud. I'm gay. I'll never forget the intense feelings at that very moment. With a single sentence….only 2 words…I found myself.

    They expressed some worries about HIV, etc but ultimately, they asked if I was happy. I said that I was…for the first time in a long time. They said that it was all that mattered.

    Of course, it wasn't spoken about at all for months afterwards. Drove a bit of a wedge between myself and my mom. We had always been close but after that moment, we struggled to have regular conversation. Seemed like there was always this big elephant in the room. After about 6 months, I got tired of hiding it. Felt like I was right back where I started. So, I told her one day that I was going on a date that night. She got quiet but the next day, she asked how it went. I said good…and that was that. Slowly, we started to rebuild our relationship as I was learning more about myself each day and she was dealing with having a gay son.

    We kinda laugh about it now and nothing gets her fuming more than hearing about someone getting disowned…or worse. She said that it was all new to her and it took time but never for a moment did she doubt her love for me as her son.

  • 139. bJason  |  September 1, 2010 at 7:08 am

    So I am working on my story now. I wanted to take a break to say that the love and support here brings me to tears almost daily. I have been here from Day One of the trial. I can count on my fingers the number of days I haven't checked in (ironically enough, 8). I almost hang on every word. I post sporadically but generally feel welcomed when I do.

    As others have said a big reason I don't jump in more often is that what I want to say has been done more eloquently than I could. Also, for me the time difference usually finds me here when others aren't (I'm in Georgia). I talk to myself enough as it is! 🙂 And it is kind of sad to post and not get responses (no fault – time difference).

    There has been a push lately to invite in the lurkers. That is great. As a lurker, I feel the need to say that while I probably don't feel like family to you guys – you sure do feel like family to me. I would bet that I am not alone in this feeling.

    I will take steps to overcome my wall-floweredness.

    You don't really know me yet but I LOVE ALL OF YOU!

  • 140. Kate  |  September 1, 2010 at 7:15 am

    Jason, you left out the italics

    🙂

  • 141. bJason  |  September 1, 2010 at 7:24 am

    Hell, I've been known for worse!

    As weird as it may sound: ThanK You!

    Now give me a cookie, dammit and DON"T make me strike through you bitches!! 🙂 🙂 🙂

    (Glad I went back to the previous post and checked the "closing" syntax for that bold or I would have done it again – but this time everything else would have been demonstrative instead of phrenetic.)

  • 142. Kate  |  September 1, 2010 at 7:27 am

    We're passing out jelly doughnuts now instead.

  • 143. bJason  |  September 1, 2010 at 7:27 am

    Hurray!! As my friend Vanessa and I say whenever we try something new and get it right: Look, I have on my big girl panties!

    (of course I couldn't have correctly used an apostrophe instead of the quotation marks – oh no! too many things at once)

  • 144. Trish  |  September 1, 2010 at 8:24 am

    Wow, cookies and donuts. I didn't realize how hungry I was!

  • 145. Kathleen  |  September 1, 2010 at 8:09 am

    You know I love you. xoxo

  • 146. bJason  |  September 1, 2010 at 8:47 am

    thank you!

  • 147. fiona64  |  September 1, 2010 at 9:43 am

    Jason, you're absolutely family to me.

    We show-folk have to stick together.

    Love,
    Fiona

  • 148. Richard A. Walter (s  |  September 1, 2010 at 7:11 am

    For all my P8TT family: This song is what we are trying to do here, and in our own blogs separate from this site. And the younger of the two ladies is one of our allies.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=znUc_Kyu9as

  • 149. Linda  |  September 1, 2010 at 7:12 am

    Hey there–

    You are all so kind! Thank you, again, for your heart-felt words of encouragement and support.

    I think what many of us face when confronting family members who are older and extremely religious is the expectation that we do whatever it takes to enable them to maintain their delusion that what they have believed their whole lives is really true. It is our responsibility (they feel) to maintain the appearance of 'following the rules'. We are expected to help them 'save face', even if it means giving up our own lives in the process.

    I won't do it. 🙂

  • 150. Richard A. Walter (s  |  September 1, 2010 at 7:20 am

    I guess that is where I am lucky as far as my mother-in-law. She is 85, and while she may get upset with us at times for being open, it is not so much out of a dogmatic belief as it is out of fear for our safety. She is always asking us to be careful, and is so afraid that some loony like Lynching Larry is going to murder us. She may be right about that, but neither one of us is ready to become a wallflower just yet. Well, I guess in my case I should say not ready to return to being a wallflower. I spent the first 18 years of my life as a wallflower due to my adoptive "father" and I refuse to go back to that prison ever again. That one is as bad as the prison that is misnamed the closet.

  • 151. bJason  |  September 1, 2010 at 7:36 am

    I know exactly what you mean. This notion plays a part in my story as well.

    BTW. Thank you for your story, honesty and courage.

    Every word each of us speaks to truth gives power to all of us!

  • 152. Straight grandmother  |  September 1, 2010 at 8:56 am

    I didn’t choose to be a lesbian. I am choosing to live as one; proudly and unapologetically
    and
    We are expected to help them ‘save face’, even if it means giving up our own lives in the process.

    I won’t do it. 🙂

    Stick to your guns. it is not you who must change it is your mother. I know you will continue to work on it with her without knowing if you will have success or not. Be an optimist, maybe she will change, maybe?

    Did you call all your relatives and tell tham that you are a lesbian and that you ahve a wonderful partner? That is what I did shortly after our children came out to us. This worked real well, jsut got it right out in the open, "Hi sister I have some shocking news for you Bobby and Sally are both gay" Guess what my sister says, "Oh I have known that for years, you are just realizing it now?"
    Called my parents, called my aunt and uncle called all our friends, I jsut went though the personal phone book and called every one of them. Then my hsuband got on the phone and called all his family members in France. It did take him a month to call his mother I think she was around 83 at the time. It sure made life a LOT easier. I think the closet is stifling and I wans't going to have our family in the closet.

    No matter what your mother says, it is your life and your family is still your family not just hers, so you might want to just pick up the phone and just start calling them, be open about it and let the chips fall where they may.

    And I hope next time you go to visit you take your partner with you.

  • 153. bJason  |  September 1, 2010 at 9:12 am

    Apres beaucoup d'ans, ma francais est tres mal. Mais, je voudrais dire – je vous merci! L'amour pour vos enfants est grande et magnifique!!! Je t'adore!!

  • 154. bJason  |  September 1, 2010 at 9:32 am

    I know it should be "Je vous adore" but I got personal! 🙂

  • 155. Linda  |  September 1, 2010 at 11:43 am

    SG–
    I have come out to some family members–not all. I have held back out of respect for my parents.

    My girlfriend (Leslie) lives in SC…..sigh…..

    She's coming out for a visit in October, but my mother is not interested in meeting her.

    Her loss!

  • 156. Paul in Minneapolis  |  September 1, 2010 at 9:07 am

    Linda, thanks so much for sharing your story; I found it very moving.

    I've not had a chance to read all of the comments yet, but I have noticed some about people of older generations. I have one to share about my mother-in-law.

    Hubby's mother was born Missouri Synod Lutheran and was raised in a most devout household. Her husband converted from Catholicism to marry her (in a time when interfaith marriages were scandalous, and when on those rare occasions they did happen, the woman would convert to the man's faith).

    Hubby and his siblings were raised in the Missouri Synod Lutheran church. For those of you who don't know, the Missouri Synod is extremely conservative. The particular church in which Hubby grew up was more conservative than most. He was taught gems like "black people are cursed by God" and "people who live in mobile homes are intrinsically evil."

    Even after Hubby came out — and even after Hubby's family welcomed me as one of their own — Hubby's mother continued to be a devout Missouri Synod Lutheran. The Missouri Synod Lutheran church was the cornerstone of her life.

    When the church found out that Hubby was gay, it excommunicated him. He decided not to tell his mother. But one day, probably twenty or more years after the excommunication, he slipped. His mother, much like your mother, Linda, immediately latched on to it. She forced him to tell the story of his excommunication from her precious church.

    The next day she visited her pastor and asked if it were true. He told her it was. She then asked if he really thought her son would go to hell. He told her he did. He also told her nearly every hateful and hurtful thing about gay people I've read on this site.

    Now, you don't mess with my mother-in-law. She served as a civilian inspector at the Grand Forks air force base. She inspected the bombers, the missle silos, the airmen, everything. Anyone who gave her any lip — and some did because she is a woman — found themselves written up as well as chewed out (and usually worse). Once she wrote up some high-ranking guy (four-star general or something).

    She told her pastor that if his church couldn't accept her son the way he is, he (and it) could stick it where the sun don't shine. She then left the Missouri Synod Lutheran church. Her life-long, all-important, center-of-her-universe, beloved Missouri Synod Lutheran church.

    She was in her late 50s at the time.

    We were shocked to our toenails. And immensely proud of her. Never in a million years did we think she'd ever do such a thing.

    But she did.

    Moral of the story: sometimes wonderful surprises come from the most unexpected places. Linda, I hope you have some of those coming your way soon!

    Love (and extra hugs for you, Linda!),

    Paul in Minneapolis

  • 157. Ann S.  |  September 1, 2010 at 9:11 am

    Paul, what a wonderful story. Thank you for telling it.

  • 158. Kate  |  September 1, 2010 at 9:22 am

    Incredible! Is she still living, Paul? Give her a huge hug from me. Too bad she didn't know at the time so she could have told that pastor what-for 20 years earlier……..

  • 159. Bob  |  September 1, 2010 at 9:28 am

    Love it Paul, you'll never know how much, That's the exact same church my mother defends, wow glad to hear it.

  • 160. Kathleen  |  September 1, 2010 at 4:12 pm

    Paul, that’s a great story.

  • 161. nightshayde  |  September 1, 2010 at 8:32 am

    To everyone out there whose parents' religion is a wedge in your family — I have a question.

    Assuming that the religion is Christianity in one of its many forms (while fully acknowledging that some members of other religions also have issues with homosexuality), would it/could it be helpful to discuss the fact that there are Christian denominations and branches/congregations of mainstream Christian churches that DO embrace the concept of marriage equality? Would it be possible to have a rational discussion about different interpretations of scripture? Or would it be a waste of time because your parents think any denomination that embraces equality is not "really Christian?"

    Homosexuality is not a choice — but belonging to a discriminatory denomination when there are alternatives certainly is.

  • 162. Adrenalin Tim  |  September 1, 2010 at 8:58 am

    nightshayde,

    In my experience as a former fundamentalist, and with my parents who still are, it's generally a waste of time to debate other Christians' interpretations of scripture and other denominations' "open and affirming" postures.

    They've already convinced themselves of the rightness of their own cause, and (at least here in the US) have for the most part conflated "conservative" theology (inerrantism, literalism, traditionalism) with "conservative" politics (particularly the culture war identity politics: anti-choice, anti-euthanasia, anti-marriage-equality).

    So it's all part of the package, a built-up identity with a non-negligible fear of conceding a single issue to the (theological or political) "liberals", else the whole belief system be revealed to be a delusion.

    They have to see for themselves. And before they'll be able to do that, they have to be willing to see.

  • 163. bJason  |  September 1, 2010 at 9:25 am

    Agree with AT.

    From what I have seen, any OTHER denomination/faction/religion is dismissed out–of-hand as wrong by those most set in their ways.

    I know I'm going into semantics and grossly simplifying here but from my experience:
    "Religious" individuals are not interested in other points of view. Those are wrong.

    "Spiritual" people enjoy to discuss different paths to the same goal.

    "Religion" = dogma "Spiritualism" = journey

    Both claim love but it is easy to see the difference.

    Again, I know I am simplifying.

  • 164. Steve  |  September 1, 2010 at 10:10 am

    If they are extremely conservative, yes, they probably don't consider those other denominations as real Christians. Christianity started with that very early on and different sects killed each other over different interpretations of faith well before all the religion-fueled wars in Europe. It's all about exclusion.

    If they can think about life and even religion in a rational way, then a discussion can be possible. But in that case, they likely wouldn't be blinded by their faith in the first place.

  • 165. bJason  |  September 1, 2010 at 10:31 am

    dead on!

    Rational thought on one side belief/faith on the other.

    There cannot be a meeting of the minds between these two camps as there is no common ground.

  • 166. Linda  |  September 1, 2010 at 10:36 am

    @Nightshayde–

    For me, personally, to even give religion a place in the discussion is just not something I'm willing to do. If the person I'm talking with (my mother, for example) has strong religious beliefs that cause her to struggle with me, then I leave it to her to work through it. She knows there are some denominations who embrace us. I'm sure she would discount them as 'not really Christian'. But it's not my battle. I don't embrace any religion, and I refuse to put myself in the position of having to solve her dilemma by finding a religious way that she can accept me.

  • 167. Ann S.  |  September 1, 2010 at 8:44 am

    Subscribing, and offering cookies to lurkers.

  • 168. Ann S.  |  September 1, 2010 at 1:44 am

    The cookies distracted me from things like clicking the button

  • 169. rf  |  September 1, 2010 at 1:57 am

    I am a sometimes commenter but mostly lurker these days cuz I can't keep up with all the damn comments. I will take a cookie tho…

  • 170. ĶĭŗîļĺęΧҲΪ  |  September 1, 2010 at 8:47 am

    No cookies in the world would distract me from clicking the box.

  • 171. Ann S.  |  September 1, 2010 at 1:48 am

    Linda, here's another big hug. I'm so sorry it was this way for you, and I'm so sorry for your mother and how she has been duped.

  • 172. Richard A. Walter (soon to be Walter-Jernigan)  |  September 1, 2010 at 8:44 am

    See, Linda! We told you that was your Dean’s List notification! I will respond more fully in a little bit. Right now, I have to go dry my eyes. You did GREAT!

  • 173. Linda  |  September 1, 2010 at 11:26 am

    Ha! Richard, I know you've already been adopted as a brother to at least one person on this site, but can I ask for the same privilege? You always have our backs!

  • 174. Richard A. Walter (s  |  September 1, 2010 at 11:42 am

    Cool beans! Of course you realize this comes with a built-in brother-in-law!

  • 175. Linda  |  September 1, 2010 at 11:50 am

    Fantastic!!!

  • 176. Sagesse  |  September 1, 2010 at 8:48 am

    Subscribing now, reading soon. (Kathleen sent us a 55 page petition to read too. Who knew this course had so much reading :). )

  • 177. Ann S.  |  September 1, 2010 at 8:49 am

    A client has something he wants me to read, too! I really want to read that petition, but must complete reading for client first. I must.

  • 178. Kate  |  September 1, 2010 at 1:50 am

    No, Ann. Tell the client he needs to wait. We need your input.

  • 179. Kate  |  September 1, 2010 at 8:49 am

    Beautiful, Linda; thank you for writing more. Now I know where you’ve been the last couple of days!

  • 180. bJason  |  September 1, 2010 at 9:35 am

    So here is my video contribution.

    We have strength and justice bends toward us. Keep fighting.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FmaTNf4YhEs

  • 181. Ann S.  |  September 1, 2010 at 9:50 am

    I love it!

  • 182. bJason  |  September 1, 2010 at 10:05 am

    Thanks! I can't stop watching and crying.

  • 183. Sagesse  |  September 1, 2010 at 12:01 pm

    A true 20th century opera. I love this music.

  • 184. Bob  |  September 1, 2010 at 9:38 am

    Thanks bjason love it

  • 185. bJason  |  September 1, 2010 at 10:06 am

    So glad.

    It is past time for me to rediscover my theatre roots (a.k.a. my soul).

  • 186. Keegan  |  September 1, 2010 at 9:38 am

    Linda thank you so much! Your last few sentences are my new facebook status, (replacing "a lesbian" with [gay].

    My story isn't like most people's in some ways, but it rings all too true in others.

    I have known that "something was wrong" with me since 8th grade. I knew I was attracted to guys, crushes and the like, but it didn't make any sense to me. I think the part that bothered me the most, was that I was teased and harassed, called gay even before I knew was being gay meant. All I knew was that it was bad, very bad, and I was NOT going to be it.

    Eventually I left my high school because I just didn't fit in and transferred to a residential high school where my world changed. It was the same in that many people teased me and called me gay. But it was different in HOW they said it. I was not being laughed at because I was gay. I was being laughed at because I was trying to hide it. This small school of kids that are "adults" before legal voting age was filled with people who not only loved me for my brain, my humor, and what I brought to the table, but actually loved me BECAUSE I was gay. It was something refreshing. All they wanted was for me to love myself and be comfortable with it.

    Unfortunately I didn't listen. I was raised Catholic and fought tooth and nail to say that I wasn't gay. I got involved in a very sexual and mutually destructive relationship with a girl in school (who is now one of my very good friends.) That lasted until graduation when we went our separate ways.

    Then comes college! Tons of opportunities, and tons of women! GULP…My roommate from high school and I decided to room together and apart from him always calling me gay and trying to get me to come out to him, he was my biggest wing man. We played college from the get-go like Pros. It was almost perfect…Except I wasn't happy. I was missing something.

    That something came in the form of my friend Richard (not his real name). Richard and I hit it off instantly. Best friends is an understatement. We did everything together. It was then that I realized: I loved Richard. This was no schoolboy crush. I was in love with Richard. And he didn't even know it. I was lost, literally spiraling out of control. It was a terrible position to be in. I had fought for YEARS to not be exactly what I wanted to be right then. I wanted to be gay. I wanted to be happy with a man. I wanted to kiss Richard.

    It was then that I cracked. I told Richard, I told my roommate, my closest friends, even my brother. All were very supportive and tended to respond with "dude, we already knew". Unfortunately for me, Richard was not gay. He apologized for giving me the wrong impressions with no intention to mislead but that he really did want to stay close friends.

    I went from spiraling to free-fall. Everything I had built myself up to be, everything I'd learned and come to understand was shattered. I was lost. And you want to know what I wanted most? My mom. I wanted her to tell me that it was ok. I wanted her to hug me and caress my head and tell me that I would be alright and that nothing was going to change….but that didnt happen.

    My mother cried. Told me that she would have rather me tell her that I had gotten a girl pregnant. "Something she could actually deal with." But this…this was too much. To this day my parents are the only ones in my family that disapprove. All my aunts and uncles and grandparents accept and support me. But my parents just can't.

    I must close by saying this. Even though they choose to not openly accept me. They don't allow my boyfriend to stay the night, they don't allow me to tell my younger siblings who my boyfriend is, nor do they let me tell their friends that I am gay. But they do love me. Very much. They let me stay with them, they pay my cell phone bill. They allow my boyfriend to visit whenever he likes as long as we "behave" and keep to ourselves. They have an INCREDIBLY long way. And I do believe that with time, maybe they won't approve, but they will accept me. And love me in all my gayness 🙂

    -I know my story started with a lot more gusto than it finished but I hope some of you find it at best interesting.

    Love you all!

    -Keegan

  • 187. Kathleen  |  September 1, 2010 at 9:51 am

    Thank you for sharing your story, Keegan. I hope someday your parents will embrace for who you are.

    I just never have the words to respond to these stories of loss, courage and hope. xoxo

  • 188. Ray in MA  |  September 1, 2010 at 10:55 am

    I know I'm late in commenting here… TZ differences…

    But I hear so many echoes of my own coming out – 30 years ago.

    To keep it short, my parents were devastated as many of yours. Luckily religion had not entered thepicture.

    I have given them 30 years to see that it is OK and I'm happy. And it still seems not enough to resolve all the dreams they had for their oldets son. I've been with my partner all of those years… they are very nice to him (but still "there’s this…*thing*…..hovering between us" as Linda said)

    After all this time, I still find that I had two mothers… one before I came out and one after.

    All of us have done our best to cope with this…tho the emotional distance between us is someting I can still feel and can never be re-captured.

    In retrospect, they did the best they could, as did I given the differences in our generations.

    And OMG. This thread has made me realize, that I am now the same age my mother was when I came out. I was 22, she was 52.

    I have no regrets.

    For some of us, it may not make a difference if you come out to your folks when they are young or when they are elderly… they may go to their graves with that first shock of hearing "I am gay". What really matters is how you can cope with that in between time.

    My view is that they chose their reponse, and I chose mine.

  • 189. Ray in MA  |  September 1, 2010 at 10:59 am

    BTW, I love seeing all the new community members here… the more the merrier… Welcome All! This is a great place to be.

  • 190. Chrys  |  September 1, 2010 at 11:10 am

    Coming out to a parent is one of the most difficult things in the world, as long as you have a good relationship with your parent to begin with. Telling my father was easy – I haven't really had a close relationship with him ever, and if he disapproved, it didn't matter. Turns out he's fine with it.

    Telling my mother, on the other hand… I expected it to be easy. She had gay and lesbian friends, had always taught me to be respectful and tolerant of pretty much everyone. It was surprisingly hard to say the words, and her reaction – well, that was hardest of all.

    I told her on the phone, because I had to, based on how far apart we lived. She refused to believe it at first. Then it was just "a phase" and I would get over it. Then she blamed everything on my partner, who happens to be a bit older than me, blaming her for seducing me. When I told her that I, in fact, had started the relationship, there was dead silence.

    She didn't tell her friends. She didn't come to our handfasting (or acknowledge that it had happened), and when she met my partner, she was polite. You know, that icy, I-really-don't-like-you polite.

    It took years for that to improve at all. I like to think that it would have continued to improve, but sadly, cancer stole the ability to ever know that for sure.

    My mother's reaction to my being a lesbian hurt me, surprised and confused me. This was the woman who taught me how to think, and how to be open-minded, and for her to shut down over this was something I had never expected.

    She didn't tell me I was evil, she didn't tell me I was going to Hell just for being who I was, not in so many words, and I cannot even begin to think of how I would feel had she done so. But she made it very, very clear that what I was doing and who I was loving was not acceptable to her, at least not in the way that I had been raised to think it would be. I still feel very betrayed by that – like the floor under my feet had been turned to sand in the moment I told her who I was.

    It did get better, and my partner was ultimately welcome in her house, (as long as we were discreet, of course).

    I hope that happens for you as well.

  • 191. Ray in MA  |  September 1, 2010 at 11:29 am

    Hi Chrys,

    I see a possible common thread…we all find that we have two sets of parents… our parents before we told them and the parents after we told them.

    Ray

  • 192. Chrys  |  September 1, 2010 at 11:35 am

    Hi, Ray!

    I would agree with you. I have very different feelings about my mother and my relationship with her before and after coming out. Still a great deal of love, in both cases, but – yeah, not the same woman to me. My father – well, I still have a difficult relationship with him, but for lots of other reasons.

    Like you, I think we all have that divide. And it's a shame that it's there at all.

  • 193. Sheryl, Mormon Mothe  |  September 1, 2010 at 12:35 pm

    All I can say is that I hope my son considers me the same mother. We did have some issues over his boyfriend, not that I didn't like him, but that my son tried to push (for want of a better word) the acceptance and I felt that we just had to be perfect when visiting them. After they broke up but continued to be good friends and share the same house (know that is something I could not do), we discussed this in detail. Both of his housemates became a part of our extended family and they've been missed since their jobs have taken them to Oregon. They work for the same company (one is gay, one is straight). I also discussed the issue with his former boyfriend/housemate so that he would know there was no disapproval.

    Sheryl, Mormon Mother

  • 194. Ray in MA  |  September 1, 2010 at 11:55 am

    We've come along way since I came out in 1981 to my parents.

    And we've got a long way to go.

    At the time, I recall, telling my folks that there are many of us… and some day there woudl be Gay Nusring Homes!

    We're there!
    http://gaylife.about.com/b/2006/06/12/mature-gays

  • 195. Chrys  |  September 1, 2010 at 12:03 pm

    And yet we still have things happen like what happened to Clay and Harold…

    Long way to go yet, for certain sure. But we're working on it!

  • 196. anonygrl  |  September 1, 2010 at 12:08 pm

    I read all the stories about parents who have hard times accepting people, and I can only think how incredibly LUCKY I was.

    I never actually came out to my parents as bisexual, but I know they knew, and they didn't care. I brought a friend who happened to be female home for Christmas one year, and I think they may have thought there was more to it than friendship (well, ok, maybe there was a LITTLE more… ), but they were totally fine with me being me, as long as I was happy.

    Every friend I ever brought home (and as it happened, only two of them were boyfriends, and none were really girlfriends) they welcomed with open arms. I had a best friend in college who was gay, and he wanted to do an outlandish costume for a Pride event, so Mom made him a wedding dress with frills and lace for DAYS, and had fun doing it, and loved him to death. And all my friends adored her.

    She was a bit of an odd case, in that the discussion of homosexuality made her uncomfortable (a remainder of prejudice she fought hard against from her childhood and a repressive father) but homosexuals themselves she was absolutely fine with. Dad was a minister, but very left leaning, and always on the side of gay rights, even when his denomination was not.

    And they adopted every weirdo and kook (and I mean those in the BEST way!) I ever introduced them to. I wish they were still around, because I would tell them about all of you, and they would adopt all of you and say "come on over for Christmas!" You all would have loved them too. It may not be much, but you may all have MY parents love to share. They would have been delighted to do so.

    As I say, I was insanely lucky.

  • 197. rosebud  |  September 1, 2010 at 12:28 pm

    Okay, I'm jumping in. I've been a bit of a lurker *shy smile*. I live in Ohio so P8TT has been the only way I can get up to date news on the trial. It's been a god-send in that way. Even though I'm so far away, this trial is so important to repealing all of the anti-equality laws like the one Ohio voters passed back in 2004.

    I don't have my own coming-out story, (as I'm one of your straight allies) but I have a little group of friends who I've know since we were just little kids, and two of them are LGBT. Funny thing is, I don't really remember either of them coming out to us. I know it must have happened, because it wasn't until after HS that both of them did, but hard as I try, I cannot remember it. I think it must be because a) in both cases, it wasn't really much of a shock, and b) it didn't affect our friendship in any way. I do remember one friend telling us when he came out to his parents. He is very lucky in that his parents are wonderful, loving people. I think at first they were a bit uncomfortable with it, but that never prevented them from loving and supporting him. My other friend's parents had a harder time accepting it. He is a FtM transsexual and I know his mom has a really difficult time accepting him as anything but her daughter. But I think over time they have come to be more supportive- at least, they seem to be on better terms than they were at first.

    It is hard for me to imagine anyone disowning and/or hating their own child or family for something like sexual orientation. It breaks my heart when I read testimonies like these knowing that it happens so often. I am so grateful that both of my friends had relatively positive experiences in that regard; and at least if they face resistance anywhere else, they know they can rely on us for support. I've known them for so long, I love them like my own family- which they really are to be honest. It's impossible for me to imagine it any different.

    Much love to everyone here and thank you for sharing your stories!

  • 198. anonygrl  |  September 1, 2010 at 12:33 pm

    Thanks for sharing, Rosebud, and we are glad you are here. Have a cookie!

    It is great to hear positive stories, too. I think, like anything else, the experience of coming out being a human one means that there will be both good and bad parts of it. We ache for those like Linda whose parents wish they had never been told, and for Kate whose parents simply closed the door on her with seemingly no hope of anything more.

    We cry for those who are abused, beaten, thrown out. We wish that those whose parents refuse to see that their children love and are loved by someone could be somehow magically unblinded. We laugh and smile when a story with a happy ending comes by. And I am glad to hear all of them. Even the hard ones that make me cry. Because it just keeps on reminding me how human we are, and I love that.

  • 199. AndrewPDX  |  September 1, 2010 at 1:25 pm

    Hello and thanks for being a supporter! grab a cookie and enjoy the party!

    Liberty, Equality, Fraternity
    Andrew

  • 200. Tony Douglass in Ca  |  September 1, 2010 at 12:59 pm

    Here's my "straight" story. I start at my birth, because, that's literally where what I am today started.

    I was relinquished by my birth mother at birth, I was given to my grandmother, but didn't stay long, I went into foster care rather quickly, where I stayed until I was 6 years old.

    I think they call it "detachment" now, but basically, I never bonded with anyone, and learned how to take care of myself. I learned early how to blend in, I wasn't always in the nicest foster homes. I was literally a child of the Sixties, and the definition of "easy going", so I always accepted people at face value, gay, straight, whatever. I was born in SF and lived there until my adoption, even then I loved the city so much, it was heartbreaking to leave it.

    Things weren't much better for me with my adoptive family, I always felt like an outcast, never fully accepted, so I retreated into books, Frodo was my best friend!! My relationship with my family ended 15 years ago when I found out I wasn't invited to my sister's wedding. I confronted my parents, and was told that I had supposedly been accused of attempted rape of one of my sister's friends while we were in high school, we were only a year apart in age. This so appalled me, I haven't spoken to them since.

    Another thing that I picked up along the way, was a strong sense of identity. I would remake myself many times, but, I always knew who "I" was, and that allowed me to relate to others with identity issues.

    About 10 years ago, I started looking for my birth parents, but instead of finding them, I found I had 2 sisters! I found my older sister, and had started a relationship with her, but she ended up taking her life a couple years later. My younger sister ended up finding me, and we had a relationship for about 5 years. It only took her about an hour of us filling in each other about our lives, that she was gay, but she knew I would accept her based on everything we had said to each other. But, unfortunately, she's gone now too, she had heart problems.

    Which brings us to today, Marriage is an extension of identity, everyone is entitled to identify the way that feels right to them, and no one has the right to tell others they are wrong for wanting it. That's why, as I said before, I was so shocked when California actually passed Prop H8, my beloved state had turned away from all of the values I had held dear. But, the cycle always returns, Californians will remember who they are, and strive to be the ideal we have been.

    I hope I haven't rambled too much!

  • 201. anonygrl  |  September 1, 2010 at 1:04 pm

    Not at all.

    I am sorry for your loss of your two sisters, sorrier still that you were so neglected as a child, but glad to know that you have come through it whole and able to be yourself. That is a powerful thing.

    Thank you for sharing your story!

  • 202. Kathleen  |  September 1, 2010 at 1:06 pm

    Thank you for sharing your story. I, too, am sorry for the loss of your sisters. And sorry you had such a rough time as a child – glad you're here with us. 🙂

  • 203. Tony Douglass in Ca  |  September 1, 2010 at 1:19 pm

    Thanks Kathleen and anonygrl, I appreciate it!!

    Having to type your name, anonygrl, I just realized it wasn't "annoygrl", which is always how I pronounced it in my head as I was reading! I loved it, always thought you were trying to annoy the H8rs!!

    I accept you either way, thanks!

  • 204. Richard A. Walter (s  |  September 1, 2010 at 1:23 pm

    No, Tony, you haven't rambled. But you are in the right place here. Feel free to vent anytime you need to or want to. And thanks for being part of the P8TT family.

  • 205. Sheryl Carver  |  September 1, 2010 at 1:54 pm

    I recall a story from the 60s, when racial discrimination was so blatant in so many places. Don't know if it was supposed to be true, but it certainly could be.

    A young gay man was asked if he had a choice, would he rather be black or gay.

    "Black," he answered.

    "With all the racism in this country today, why would you make that choice, when you can hide being gay?"

    "Because you don't have to tell your mother that you're black."

  • 206. Dpeck  |  September 1, 2010 at 2:11 pm

    I appreciate all of the posts in this thread. Some of these are very powerful and I'm sure some were not easy to write. My thanks to all of you.

    So I have a somewhat more light-hearted story about my coming out to my mom. Some background – My mom has done some pretty impressive stuff with her life, she's MENSA smart, has traveled the world and tends to be quite perceptive and rational.

    But like a lot of people she wasn't very comfortable talking about sex 'n stuff with her kids. By the time I was in my early 20s, it was just kinda understood by everyone in my family that I was gay, but it was just something that all of us (me included) thought would have been too personal to talk about unless there was some reason to bring it up.

    So one day, my mom and I were talking about dating and relationships in a general way and it became pretty obvious that she was getting a bit flustered by having to carefully choose her words to avoid saying things like "she" or "her" or "him" when talking about someone I might meet. She finally just gave up and said "Oh what the heck – so ARE you gay?".

    I was flabbergasted. I couldn't believe she had actually broached the subject. There had always been this vague unspoken understanding that everybody in the family knew I was gay, everybody was OK with it, but we all had somehow agreed not to talk about it because, I don't know, maybe it might be kinda embarassing for everyone involved.

    So after tripping over my tongue for a moment, I said "Well, yes. Of course. You KNEW that, didn't you?" Trying to sound as if it was just the most boring and normal thing in the world.

    And then my mom did something she almost never does – she said something that wasn't very bright. She paused and said "Oh. So…. are you sure it's not just some kind of phase?"

    Any number of things could have happened at that point. I could have cranked up the drama and caused a scene. I could have acted as if it were an intelligent question and replied with something equally dumb. I could have asked what was for dinner.

    I am happy to report that I said the following: " Mom, remember when I was fifteen and I dated a girl for about three weeks? Well, THAT was the phase".

    We both burst out laughing and soon carried on with the conversation. But I was immediately aware that something was different now. Something was better. Even though it was all just a fleeting, light-hearted moment in a normal conversation and not the big frightening hurdle that so many of us face, I felt like I had more integrity. And I felt closer to my family.

  • 207. Kathleen  |  September 1, 2010 at 2:26 pm

    What a beautiful story. Thank you. 🙂

  • 208. Sheryl Carver  |  September 1, 2010 at 2:31 pm

    Wow, Dpeck, that was so great! & I loved your reply, "… THAT was the phase!"

    Would that all families could deal with this topic so well.

  • 209. Ann S.  |  September 2, 2010 at 12:44 am

    Thank you, this is heartwarming. Kudos to you, your mom, and the rest of your family.

  • 210. Sheryl, Mormon Mothe  |  September 1, 2010 at 2:37 pm

    Linda, I don't think I've actually commented on your story. Thank you so much for sharing so much with us. I actually feel for your mother that she is losing her daughter. And, I feel for you that your mother is not able to accept you for who you are. I know you've mentioned before, but where do you live since your girlfriend is in SC?

    Tony, thank you for sharing your story. Here is an excellent example of where a loving same-sex couple family would have been better for raising a child. Why do people adopt if they are not going to make the child a total member of the family? It is so nice that you were able to know your 2 sisters. IIRC, you are in Modesto. I hope you will be able to join us for the SF get together.

    And, to all who have shared their coming out stories, thank you so much for feeling comfortable enough to share such personal details of your life.

    Sheryl, Mormon Mother

  • 211. Linda  |  September 1, 2010 at 2:56 pm

    Sheryl–

    I live in CA.

    We do plan to eventually live in the same town…:)

    Fortunately we do both live in the same country!

  • 212. Richard A. Walter (s  |  September 1, 2010 at 9:46 pm

    And hopefully, the next time you come out to SC, the two of you will have a chance to stop in the Fayetteville, NC, area.

  • 213. Linda  |  September 2, 2010 at 1:08 pm

    Richard–
    My daughter is a freshman at Warren Wilson College in Asheville, NC.

    My girlfriend just lives about an hour and a half south in Simpsonville (near Greenville) SC.

  • 214. Richard A. Walter (s  |  September 2, 2010 at 1:10 pm

    OMG! This is great! We just might get to meet sometime after all! This is just so cool!

  • 215. DK  |  September 1, 2010 at 3:34 pm

    I have followed P8TT from day 1 because although I'm straight myself, I have good friends who are gay and want nothing more than for them to have the same opportunities that I have. I can't count the number of times I've been brought to tears when reading posts on this site. I didn't choose to be straight or gay, I was just born the way I am…and it seems so incredibly unfair and WRONG that my gay friends have to face discrimination thatI don't have to deal with, even though who each of us is "just happened". I tell a lot of people about this site, because it's these individual stories like Linda's and the many posters who've shared their coming out stories that help make this issue a real issue with real people. Thank you for sharing, I am awed by your courage and wish I could hug you all.
    DK
    in CT

  • 216. Kathleen  |  September 1, 2010 at 3:44 pm

    Thanks, DK. Hugs to you, too.

  • 217. Apricot  |  September 1, 2010 at 7:11 pm

    I'm sorry, you can't judge someone's morality before telling them they'd rather they had CANCER. That is such a DARK thing to say to your own child, and nothing vaguely reminiscent of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. Then she said she would rather you stay alone for the rest of your life?

    I believe God put gay people on earth partly to challenge people of faith. These people failed miserably that test. You're much stronger than I am Ms Liles. I can't help but feel that if I were in that position, I would flip the script and scream bloody mary at such a demonstration of immortality that SHE had shown YOU. Of course things would become worse and confrontational. I have a lot of respect for folks who have the patience for folks like these. I would never speak to her again.

  • 218. Apricot  |  September 1, 2010 at 7:14 pm

    EDIT:"I have a lot of respect for the kind of folks who patiently see things through with their parents even as they say hurtful hateful things that I wouldn't say to my worst of enemies"

  • 219. michele  |  September 2, 2010 at 12:00 am

    Wow–I'm still amazed at how much I get out of reading all of these stories–what a blessing this site is. I've commented a time or two, but mostly just a lurker who refreshes this site..oh about a million times a day. 🙂

    My short story–
    Raised in good ole central PA–where there are about 10 times as many churches as stoplights. I was 25 when I came out to my parents…first to my mother who I was sure would be ok with it–our conversation consisted of me stumbling through why I wanted to continue to live with my "friend." Her response was absolute silence followed by a quick exit. That was that conversation. And then telling my father where I was convinced he would disown me–he quickly assured me it was ok and we'd all get through it. Both my parents say they were shocked and I don't believe it for a moment–there were enough underhanded comments made over the years and the assumption that it was there but we weren't going to talk about it.

    Fast forward a couple of years and I'm happy to say my fiancee has accepted my proposal and we are happily planning our wedding. My parents have always been civil and are very proud of themselves for how "tolerant" they are of my lifestyle choice. But, for me this is no longer enough. I understand this is much better than some people get from their parents, but tolerance for me is not the same as loving and supporting. I have held their hands and tried to bring them along in their views over the last years, but frankly I'm just feeling defeated that they continue to think this is about them and not about us. I'm tired of hearing how hard it is for them and that I don't understand how hard it is for them. I'm tired of trying to explain why we are worthy of their love and support.

    Sorry for the rambling and the defeatist attitude, just feeling a little beaten down today. I'm getting to the point of realizing that you can try to reason with someone, but in the end, you can't make someone care who doesn't want to care. I've especially loved the comment that we now have two sets of parents: the before and after..so very true.

  • 220. Kate  |  September 2, 2010 at 12:09 am

    I despise that word "tolerance." It always makes me picture people (in this image, your parents) trying to speak while holding back vomit. I must say, there does come a point when WE ought to be able to to quit putting our efforts toward making THEM feel better about OUR lives. Perhaps your wedding will be the time when you can draw the line and give an ultimatum or two. My heart is with you.

  • 221. AndrewPDX  |  September 2, 2010 at 12:10 am

    1) Welcome to the party! What kind of cookie can I get you?

    2) Congratz on your engagement! I can't wait until I get the opportunity to tell my family such happy news (my dad's still in denial, but my sister is cool).

    3) Actions speak louder than words; I would recommend you stop trying to explain to your parents and just send them the wedding invite. I pray that they will show up and see how happy you two are, and how supportive all the other guests are, and maybe forget all about how difficult it is for them.

    4) Never apologize for rambling, as that's the best types of posts we get around here 🙂

    Liberty, Equality, Fraternity
    Andrew

  • 222. Richard A. Walter (s  |  September 2, 2010 at 12:12 am

    Michele, welcome to the P8TT family! To borrow a line from an old Patsy Cline song: Come on in, sit right down, and make yourself at home!
    Come here anytime you want to share, and let your wife know that this welcome extends to her also. Bring your rainbow when you are happy, and your tears when you are not. But most of all, bring yourselves. We will be here for you.
    And don't forget to grab some cookies!

  • 223. AndrewPDX  |  September 2, 2010 at 12:31 am

    http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x9qffh_patsy-cli

    Liberty, Equality, Fraternity
    Andrew

  • 224. Richard A. Walter (s  |  September 2, 2010 at 1:03 am

    Thank you, Andrew! I didn't even know there were any clips of Patsy singing this one. I only knew about it because of a Longines Symphonette Society album Mom had when I was younger. And I had forgotten how handsome Faron Young was in his younger days!

  • 225. Chrys  |  September 2, 2010 at 6:05 am

    Michele, I was raised in northern NY, but live in PA now – I had to laugh at the "ten times more churches than stoplights". There are two stoplights in my town, and five churches. Not quite a ten to one ratio, but still…

    Sounds like you had a similar experience to the one I had. Like I posted earlier, my mother didn't come to our handfasting. But my father did, and he refers to my lady as his daughter-in-law.

    Hang in there – and congratulations on your engagement!

  • 226. Linda  |  September 2, 2010 at 12:18 am

    Isn't it amazing how it becomes our problem/responsibility to help certain family members 'cope' with our revelation. The whole 'coming out' discourse is about us right up to the point where we actually out ourselves. From then on it is only about them–how hard this is for them, how shameful it will be, what a huge surprise/blow/adjustment/disappointment this is. And it's our duty to calm them and help them find a way to make all this tormoil go away.

    Frankly, when we get to that part of the conversation I take a step back and let their words of guilt and shame fall to the floor. I refuse to accept that guilt. If I give their 'uncomfortableness' the validity of attention then I am buying into the whole concept that I am 'doing' something to them, and therefore I owe them.

    My message to them is this: "I am a lesbian; deal with it or don't. But how you react is not going to determine how I live. I'm done with the closet; if you want to crawl into one then go ahead; but that's your choice."

  • 227. Ann S.  |  September 2, 2010 at 1:38 am

    Linda, well put!

  • 228. Elizabeth Oakes  |  September 2, 2010 at 2:52 pm

    Yes, bravo! Hello: THEY'RE the parents. They're supposed to be grown-ups and deal with their own stuff, right? I'm shocked at how childish and manipulative so many of these parents sound. Anyway, good for you for not owning their guiltmongering.

  • 229. michele  |  September 2, 2010 at 12:29 am

    Thanks so much for all of the well wishes!

    Kate: What a great way of putting it–you are right that we end up spending so much time trying to make them feel better. I finally looked at my mother and said, "well, when do we get to feel welcome? When do we get to feel comfortable?" This was in response to her statement that we would "never make her uncomfortable." She didn't have an answer.

    Andrew and Robert–Thanks for the warm welcome and I love peanut butter cookies! mmmmmmm!

    Linda: I loved your response. You put into words what I was trying to say in a better way. I think parents and people forget about just devestating those words alone are–that this is a disappointment for them–that this is hard for them. They are essentially looking at us and saying, "it's hard for me to be happy that you are happy." I pretty much gave my parents the same ultimatum–that's a bad word choice to use–we are still on friendly enough terms–but I said to them, "you know what? I'm happy and we are happy and if you want to be a part of this then that would be great..and if you don't, that is your choice, but I am not going to feel guilty about being happy and I'm not going to keep putting my life on hold until you are ready."

  • 230. Kate  |  September 2, 2010 at 12:35 am

    It is always about someone else. That is yet another reason a Perry win is so important. Finally, it will be about us.

  • 231. Richard A. Walter (s  |  September 2, 2010 at 12:46 am

    Well, I guess it's time for my coming out story. Of course, I only had to come out to one parent, and that was Mom. "Dad" already knew I was gay, and actually took advantage of that fact for many years. And actually, I was so nervous about coming out, that I had to fortify myself at the bar in order to do so. In retrospect, it is probably a good thing I did that, because that was the only reason I was not tensed up like I normally was, and that made me limber enough to dodge the big family Bible that she picked up off the coffee table and threw at me. And yes, it had repercussions later on. When I started my first attempt to heal from the abuse I endured at "Dad's" hands, including the sexual abuse, one of my notebooks from therapy was found by an older sister, who called Mom after she got home, and told Mom what she had read. And would you believe that Mom actually blamed me for the incest, telling me that if I weren't gay, it would never have happened!
    Well, that ended my therapy for many years. It has also complicated many other relationships over the years since, and not just spousal relationships.
    I have actually had folks tell me that I must have "enjoyed" the abuse, since I am gay. I have been told that he used me to deal with his own guilt over being gay, that I was his way of coming out.
    And yet, I have also been able to use this experience to not only become stronger, and to recognize unhealthy relationships and get away from them faster than driftwood in a hurricane, I have also been able to share my story with several groups of men in treatment for sexual addictions, to let them see the long-term effects of their actions, particularly when children are the ones attacked. yes, I am still dealing with quite a few things, and yet, every time I share my experience, strength and hope, the demons from the past lose more of their power, and I regain more of myself.
    I have gone from being the scared little boy who never felt like he belonged to being the vocal activist who will fight you tooth and nail to protect ALL our children, and who will also let you know in a heartbeat that I am not the monster that you think I am, that I am just another human being who has the same need for companionship that other human beings have. I will also make full use of my right to disagree with you while not being disagreeable, even while I stand up for your right to express your opinion. However, just because I will defend your right to disagree with me, that does NOT mean I will just lie on the ground and let you steamroller your religious views into our laws. I continually study our Constitution, and I will let you know what the purpose of the separation of church and state is truly all about.
    No, my childhood was not the idyllic world of Ozzie and Harriet or <The Donna Reed Show, but it was my childhood, and I survived it. There were some happy moments, and I do have happy memories. These I have held on to, and these comfort me when I am down. Of course, I now have BZ, my mother-in-law, our children and grandchildren, my P8TT family, and our dogs to remind me on a daily basis that I am loved, wanted, and needed.
    I have to stop now, because just thinking about how much all of you mean to me, and how special all of you are to me, is overwhelming me, and I seem to have some leakage coming from my orbital cavities.
    ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

    Richard A. Walter (soon to be Walter-Jernigan)

  • 232. Kate  |  September 2, 2010 at 12:59 am

    Oh, Richard….. I wish I could hold and hug you right now and tell you how loved you are here. Are female child victims of incest who grow up to be straight accused of having "liked it" so that they went on to be with men as adults? Of course not. How is your situation any different? The young straight females grew up to be straight adults, just as your genes resulted in a gay man. No different. Childhood abuse had nothing to do with it.

  • 233. Kate  |  September 2, 2010 at 1:08 am

    In fact, those lesbians (myself included) who were abused by men as children are just as thoughtlessly accused of being lesbian as a reaction to said abuse. Once again, our haters want it both ways.

  • 234. Richard A. Walter (s  |  September 2, 2010 at 1:11 am

    I feel your hugs. And you are right. The childhood abuse had nothing to do with it. He used my age, my lack of self-confidence and my sexual orientation as his weapons to attack me and further erode what little self-esteem I had. Just like all other pedophiles, he exploited my weaknesses and vulnerabilities, and betrayed the trust I was supposed to have in a parent. But here, I knew I could share this and not worry about being attacked. Here I am safe. Here I can be me. Here I am loved. Here I can add to the strength I have found over the years, and I can use that strength, and my experiences to save other children from going through this. No, I cannot save all of them, though I really wish I could. But every child that I do save from this will only increase the importance of continuing in this fight. And with everyone here surrounding me, even if from a distance, I know I can do it.

  • 235. Dpeck  |  September 2, 2010 at 3:03 am

    Hi Richard,

    I am reminded of a line from a dusty old book I have lying around here: "we will see how our experience can benefit others". The way you live your life today is a shining example of that. Thanks for telling your story.

  • 236. Richard A. Walter (s  |  September 2, 2010 at 3:07 am

    @ Dpeck: Yes, we will see how our experience can benefit others. IIRC, that is from pages 83-84 of that book. And yes, I have been re-reading it again, along with the others I have in my set.

  • 237. Ann S.  |  September 2, 2010 at 1:42 am

    Richard, I wish I could offer you more than virtual hugs.

    I'm so happy you survived to be the strong, loving, baking, fierce fighter for equality that we know and love today.

    <3<3<3

  • 238. Kathleen  |  September 2, 2010 at 3:02 am

    Richard, thank you again for being so courageous and generous with all of us here. I love you.

  • 239. Richard A. Walter (s  |  September 2, 2010 at 3:04 am

    Love you, too. And thanks for the two years of law school!

  • 240. Chrys  |  September 2, 2010 at 6:17 am

    Richard – I have been mostly a lurker here, only now starting to post, but I want you to know that your humor, your good sense and your compassion has meant a great deal to me for the past months. I am sorry that you had the experiences that you did that were unhappy, and delighted that you have happy memories of your childhood. Yes, those are the things to hold on to, as I know from all too painful experience of my own.

    @Kate – yes, we're often told that it's because we were abused that we are lesbians, aren't we? Because that trauma must, of course, define all that we are and ever will be. Just as the boys that are abused and turn out gay must have invited it in some manner.

    The ways that reality can be twisted never cease to amaze me.

    Hugs to everyone here, if you'll take them from a (mostly) lurker.

  • 241. Richard A. Walter (s  |  September 2, 2010 at 6:40 am

    Yes, we will take the hugs, especially since they are given from the heart. Now, stay for some cookies and MILK!

  • 242. Chrys  |  September 2, 2010 at 6:48 am

    Thanks, Richard – cookies and milk are always good. And if Cassie's around, I'll gladly help protect her from the chocolate… 🙂

  • 243. Ann S.  |  September 2, 2010 at 6:51 am

    No, no! Iz mah job to protect her from teh ebul choklit!

    Oops, is this not the LOLspeak thread?

  • 244. Chrys  |  September 2, 2010 at 7:07 am

    *blinks innocently* I was just trying to make your job easier…

  • 245. AndrewPDX  |  September 2, 2010 at 7:19 am

    LOL Chrys… If you'd like, I'll make you some chocolate cookies with lots of chocolate chips and dipped in chocolate… sound good?

    Liberty, Equality, Fraternity
    Andrew

  • 246. Ann S.  |  September 2, 2010 at 7:23 am

    Chrys, you're too kind. Really.

    Too. Kind.

  • 247. Chrys  |  September 2, 2010 at 7:23 am

    Oooooh. Choklit!

    Those sound amazing. *kicks the diet food under the table*

    Yes, please.

  • 248. Chrys  |  September 2, 2010 at 7:24 am

    @Ann – I try. Really. 😉

  • 249. Richard A. Walter (s  |  September 2, 2010 at 7:27 am

    @ AndrewPDX: And I'll bring the Flourless Chocolate Cake Ben & Jerry's to eat with them!
    Hey, Anybody have the recipe for Bennigan's Death by Chocolate handy?

  • 250. Ann S.  |  September 2, 2010 at 7:28 am

    Andrew, didjoo say choklit???

  • 251. Linda  |  September 2, 2010 at 1:16 pm

    Richard–
    Wow!

    The most amazing part of this whole thing is you are such a loving, humble, righteous, steadfast man!

    How did that happen? What strength of character you have.
    Thanks for sharing!

  • 252. Richard A. Walter (s  |  September 2, 2010 at 1:24 pm

    Linda, at first, I kept going because I was too afraid to give up. Then as time went on and I was able to get some distance from the situation as far as time, I went through the stages of grief described by Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, and along the way, I actually had people who became true friends, who stood by me as I wandered and wondered my way through life, and now I have this family here at P8TT and my family here in the offline universe, and I actually have someone who will hear this song played at our reception, if I don't sing it to him at our wedding.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kkWGwY5nq7A

  • 253. Sheryl Carver  |  September 2, 2010 at 1:23 pm

    My heart goes out to you, Richard! And for all the children who have had similar treatment, only to be told it's their fault that they were abused. Just pile it on, folks. The original abuser didn't cause enough pain.

    I only know you from your posts here, Richard, but that's enough to know you are a kind, wonderful being who was strong enough to survive. And now to thrive!

    I wish I could give you a hug in person, but here comes one through the ether!

    Love,
    Sheryl

  • 254. Richard A. Walter (s  |  September 2, 2010 at 1:32 pm

    Thank you so much, everybody! GROUP HUGS!!!!!!!!

    ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

    Richard

  • 255. Elizabeth Oakes  |  September 2, 2010 at 3:01 pm

    <3. I don't know what else to say.

  • 256. Elizabeth Oakes  |  September 2, 2010 at 3:02 pm

    Ooop, except mine didn't make a little heart like it does on Facebook, LOL. Oh well–hearts, everyone!

  • 257. Franck  |  September 2, 2010 at 1:41 am

    I guess it would be unfair for me not to share my own story.

    I was born to a rather dysfunctional family, but I will leave the details out for now. My maternal grandmother's paternal grandfather (does that make sense?) was Gujarati and my maternal grandfather was French. Besides those two, all of my ancestry is Malagasy.

    Unlucky for me though, I ended up inheriting much more Gujarati and French traits than Malagasy ones… That includes a definitely clear skin (that, according to some, makes me appear Persian) that contrasts with most locals (who range between looking like Filipinos and looking like Africans).

    Because of that, I grew up as a loner: sheltered by my parents, ostracized by many kids and not a few adults for my physical difference (and tendency to speak French in preference to Malagasy). I also grew up to be, I admit it, a rather spoiled brat. I took my frustration at being different at people around me, especially if they happened to be smaller or weaker than I was.

    Just before I turned 15, my mother sent me to her brothers in France so I could study there. Long story short, my uncles did a spectacularly bad job at being caretakers, and after having ended under state care, I was eventually kicked out of France for being an illegal immigrant (someone "forgot" to take care of my papers).

    I came back to Madagascar and attended university here. That was when I realized that, ever since I reached puberty, I had never had any attraction towards girls, and all of my crushes had been on my male classmates. Having been raised in a very conservative society, I knew only of the negative stereotypes about homosexuality. I became afraid I was turning into more of a monster than I had already been as a kid, so I actively fought the feelings.

    Eventually, the constant worries wrecked my mental stability. I became paranoid, couldn't concentrate much on my studies, and I let my parents try to direct my life in the "right" way. They made me attend a choir, where they found me a nice girl to date. They made me go to church with them at every occasion. Still, I had to admit it didn't work. And, inside, I felt actually worse.

    Everyone around me had taken to using homophobic remarks humorously, under the assumption that being gay made one sub-human. I laughed at the jokes, yet they cut deep into me. On the other side, there were my girlfriend's attempts at getting intimate with me…

    That was when I inevitably failed class, and decided to start working instead of studying. I came in contact with internet at work, and through it, I met people all over the world. Through my growing involvement with the furry community (the target of yet more negative stereotypes), I finally grew to accept myself as I was. I was still being afraid of people knowing about my homosexuality, but I came to terms with being gay.

    Eventually, a cousin of mine who lives abroad learnt about me, and thankfully she was extremely supportive (since, after all, she told me she was a lesbian). She encouraged me to be more open, and thus I ended my relationship with my girlfriend, telling her exactly why, despite the closeness, I couldn't see myself getting intimate with her. She didn't take it well, though after a year or so she came to accept it. I also left the choir and eventually severed my ties with the Church, even if it was for different reasons.

    Then came the prospect of telling my parents. I planned not to do it until I had found the right guy… Luck wouldn't have it. As I mentioned before, one day my mother and I saw on TV that Brokeback Mountain had been nominated for several awards. She let out a cluster of scathing homophobic remarks that caught me unaware — I cringed, as if physically hit, and she saw my reaction.

    She started questioning me until I finally told her the truth. She then called my father and we had a long conversation. At the end of it, my father was convinced it was a "normal phase" that would soon pass. My mother thought I was just confused and needed some time to understand my real feelings.

    Fast forward about a year and a half, after a few failed attempts at relationships, I found my future fiancé online. We clicked fast and became friends and confidants in mere weeks. In months, I was confident enough to let him know of my deepest feelings. Soon we realized that each of us was romantically interested in the other, but had an unspoken agreement that distance would kill all of our chances. I decided to not have any of that, and soon we decided to begin our relationship and to start the process of getting physically together.

    To say that my parents took it well when they learnt about him would be a lie. They still thought I was "going the wrong way", but never actively did anything against it because they feared they might lose me, the same way they almost lost me in France.

    Over these three years, my mother's stance has softened a lot — she almost shows no discomfort mentioning him now. It does help that he's sent me package gifts that included items destined to her. Materialism works, with her. My father shows no more open disapprobation, but he'd rather never break the subject. I'm willing to be patient with him, though I keep reminding him that C. exists and won't leave my life soon.

    There we go. A bit long, I admit, though I feel I might have not said everything. Hope you had a good read.

    – Franck P. Rabeson
    Days spent apart from my fiancé because of DOMA: 1167 days, as of today.

  • 258. Ann S.  |  September 2, 2010 at 1:45 am

    Franck, thank you for your story.

    I am so thankful (although teary-eyed) at everyone's stories.

    Kudos to you all for surviving and becoming the strong people you are today.

  • 259. Kate  |  September 2, 2010 at 1:52 am

    Franck, the hatred you've felt on so many levels makes me want to scream. I feel so lucky to have met you here, in the ether. "Materialism works." What a phrase! Let's make signs.

  • 260. michele  |  September 2, 2010 at 1:42 am

    oh Richard..I'm so sorry. It always amazes me to hear how cruel people really can be..

  • 261. Richard A. Walter (s  |  September 2, 2010 at 1:48 am

    Thank you, Ann and michele, for your loving words. As I have been learning since BZ and I got together, nothing is wasted in HaShem's economy. Everything I have been through has made me who I am today. Everything I have endured because I was born gay has made me even more determined to work in every way I can to ensure that I help protect others from this, and hopefully bring an end to abuse.

  • 262. J Robert  |  September 2, 2010 at 2:20 am

    Bonnie and Sally:
    I think I have a lesbian aunt, but I don't know for sure. The few times they visited us I was told that she and her friend were roommates because it was so expensive living in CA. I figure if my mom is too ashamed of her sister's orientation to tell the truth, she'd be even more ashamed of her own son. She's blindly religious so I haven't bothered coming out to her or anyone, but they probably assume. I can't handle confrontation and I know it would be an ugly argument.
    I've thought about contacting my aunt, but don't want to ask my mom for her address and I'm not sure of her last name but I think it starts with an R and her maiden name starts with a W. My aunt Bonnie moved to CA from WI after a failed marriage and met Sally. Based upon descriptions of their place, they live in a hilly (rural?) area, I think in the SF region since my mom toured Alcatraz when she visited her once, but I could be way off. It would be a miracle if someone on here knows who I'm describing, but I'd probably be too cowardly to contact her anyway. Maybe they really are just friends who've lived together for at least 35 years.

  • 263. Dpeck  |  September 2, 2010 at 3:17 am

    Which do you think we regret more – the things we tried and failed, or the things we WISH we would have tried? Just my opinion, but I think it's definitely worth it to try to contact your aunt. If you don't want to ask your mom for her contact info directly, I say go ahead and tell a little lie and tell your mom you are working on a geneology project about the whole family and you want to know the names of all your relatives.

    And yes, I think we can all be pretty sure your aunt is a lesbian who has been in a relationship for 35 years. Straight people don't have roommates for 35 years.

    Good luck!

  • 264. Kate  |  September 2, 2010 at 3:39 am

    Yes! Genealogy is a terrific cover. Be prepared to sit through all the other family members' info to get what you want. 🙂

    Approach your mom with a heredity chart drawn out and filled in as best you can with the info from both sides of the family, and then she can "help" fill in the rest.

  • 265. Kate  |  September 2, 2010 at 3:40 am

    And once you get her name, there are scads of eager researchers on this site to help out, myself included!

  • 266. Kate  |  September 2, 2010 at 3:41 am

    Get birth dates, too.

  • 267. J Robert  |  September 2, 2010 at 12:03 pm

    That gave me a great idea! I could say that I'd like to send out Christmas cards this year. I've gotten them from some of my mom's other sisters in previous years and I kinda felt bad that I never send them one, nor anyone else. As it happens, I bought cards last year after Christmas on clearance thinking that I should send them out this year. I've thought about trying to get her address from my brothers who have gotten married, thinking that maybe they had sent Bonnie a wedding announcement, but I've never asked them since it would be too out of the blue.

    Thank you to the wonderful people here at P8TT! 🙂

  • 268. Kathleen  |  September 2, 2010 at 12:04 pm

    Great idea. Please let us know how it goes if you get in touch with her.

  • 269. michele  |  September 2, 2010 at 2:21 am

    Hey all,

    Not sure if I'm the last person to find these guys, but Momford and Sons have a great song with great lyrics that seem appropiate..the song is called "The Cave." If you get a chance you should check it out on youtube. Here is a great line from it…

    "Cause I need freedom now
    And I need to know how
    To live my life as it's meant to be"

  • 270. Tom  |  September 2, 2010 at 4:27 am

    Linda, it is extraordinarily evolved of you to have compassion for your mother because you realize that she is brainwashed by a cult.

    (No, I'm not being sarcastic. I define "cult" by the idiocy of the ideology, not by putting it to a popularity contest. If only they could see the harm that they cause.)

  • 271. Ray in MA  |  September 2, 2010 at 12:05 pm

    Some 30 years ago, when I 'came out', I came across these words:

    "To have courage is not to be without fear…
    courage is an act in response to one's own true being."

    I have remembered these words ever since.

  • 272. Bob  |  September 2, 2010 at 2:46 pm

    courage is a necessity for going through the fear in order to find the truth,

    courage takes us toward fear, helpls us confront it, when we look at fear this way we see it as a sign that we are about to discover something, about ourselves and the world around us.

    It is the opposite of what people with strong religious beliefs do.

  • 273. Jessica  |  September 2, 2010 at 2:13 pm

    I've never really commented on this site, I've always been a lurker. I think it's time to change that, don't you? I think so.

    I'm from Houston, Texas and still quite young. I turned twenty this past June and have finally moved out of my parents house this year. For most people my age, moving out on their own would be the big thing, the thing they talked about the most, that happened to them this year.

    But not me.

    It was almost a month ago that I came out to my mother. It's not how I planned to come out to her, but things never seem to go as planned for me. Originally, I was supposed to be moved out and far away from my mother and the rest of the family when I came out. Around that time I think I was also planning that I was going to attend the University of Texas to study Graphic Design. Funny thing about that is the University of Texas doesn't offer Graphic Design. And a funny thing about my coming out is that I was as close to my mother as I could possibly be.

    I was working with her. She works for a Law Firm and they needed some extra help since their Receptionist left for law school and another co-worker was out on medical leave. I worked there as the receptionist and did all of the receptionist-y stuff all the while fighting the urge to tell her about my sexuality. It had been a knawing urge for the past couple of months to come out. I knew that this was probably the worst possible time for me to tell her seeing that there was no real way to escape each other when we were working together in the same office!

    So, I planned on coming out to her when the temp. job came to an end.

    Remember how I said that things never really go as planned for me? It was almost 8:00 AM when we pulled into the parking garage of the law firm. I had been quiet that whole morning and I wouldn't stare at her. It was weird…I had no intentions of telling her that morning, but during the whole drive up to our job I felt like I couldn't breathe and I was psyching myself up for telling her. It was almost like I went on auto-pilot or something. She put the car in park and removed her seat belt. I did not. I just stared straight forward and gripped my purse like it was the only thing keeping my heart pumping. Noticing this, she turned and finally asked, "Jess, are you okay?"

    It was like a switch had been flipped and the flood gates opened! I shook my head slowly before letting out a choked sob. My mom immediately began asking what was wrong and if I was sick. I could only shake my head for awhile, because I couldn't get the words to come out of my mouth.

    "Jess. Move your hands away from your face and tell me what's wrong." I did as she asked and stared at my purse, my death grip still on it.

    "I'm bisexual."

    I always envisioned telling her at the dinner table, even though we never ate there. And I always thought that I was going to tell her in a brave, proud, voice. Not a shaky, cracking voice with my mascara running down my cheeks.

    She did a weird sigh and shook her head and made a comment on how she had her suspicions since I always stood up for gay rights (because straight people can't do that.). She asked me if my girlfriend (and best friend of almost 13 years) and I were a "thing" and I told her that yes, we were partners, lovers, she was my girlfriend. She jumped from so many different subject within a minute. From "Your relationship isn't a real relationship" to "You can't have babies!". I tried my best to explain to her that my relationship was indeed very much real and it had been real for that pas two years and that, yes, I still had a vagina and I could still give birth to children. Explaining all of this without insulting her was harder than I thought it was going to be. Somehow we managed to get a short talk out, and I believe it was short because the excuse "we're going to be late for work" doesn't seem right when your child is crying their eyes out infront of you and unsure if you still love them. It's obvious she didn't want to talk about it.

    And that's still how it is. It's difficult to get her to talk about it and when we do, she's defensive. She thinks it's a phase and wants me to find a nice boy to marry and have babies with naturally. I'm lucky, I think, because I know it could have gone a lot worst. It's going to take time, I know this. I think moving out was a good thing though, even if it was a rash decision brought on by my coming out. It gives us a chance to be apart and think. Space is something that's needed during this kind of thing, I believe.

    It's a process still, and I know that it will be for a very long time.

    I wish my coming out story was more brave like others, but I think I like the idea of showing people that it's okay if you didn't come out strong on the outside, because you're strong on the inside for coming out in the first place.

  • 274. Ann S.  |  September 2, 2010 at 2:17 pm

    Jessica, never doubt that you are strong!

    Have a hug. {{{{{{Jessica}}}}}}

    Have some cookies and MILK!

    Welcome to the P8TT discussion!

  • 275. Richard A. Walter (s  |  September 2, 2010 at 2:21 pm

    Jessica, one of my favorite Rascal Flatts songs speaks about finding strength in your moments of weakness. This one is for you.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k1bxlDAjGCo

    Just remember, it is when we think we are at our weakest, that our true strength comes out. Like you said, it will take time, and at present you and your mom need space. But it will get better. And we are here for you. Welcome to the P8TT family.

  • 276. Kathleen  |  September 2, 2010 at 2:27 pm

    Jessica, thank you so much for sharing your story. I can only reiterate what everyone else has said. You are indeed strong. You are here. And I'm glad.

    As an aside, I'm stunned by how many parents' reactions seems to be concern that they won't have grandchildren. First, it's absurd to assume that glbt people can't have children. And second, I really have a hard time getting my head around this notion that children are expected to give you grandchildren. I never, ever saw it as inevitable that my children would have children. The decision to become a parent is such a personal one; I don't see how I have any part in making that decision for someone else.

    HUGS TO JESSICA!!!

  • 277. Kate  |  September 2, 2010 at 2:42 pm

    And those of us, gay or straight, who choose not to have children or provide grandchildren to other people are treated by the culture at large as pariahs.

  • 278. Kathleen  |  September 2, 2010 at 2:46 pm

    Yep. Most of my women friends – the ones I've known since childhood – decided not to be parents. And it's amazing how how their families treat them as though they don't have a "real" life. It disgusts me. Sorry, this is a subject that gets me going.

  • 279. Elizabeth Oakes  |  September 2, 2010 at 3:11 pm

    Maybe parents like that subconsciously see it as a validation of their own lives if their kids have kids, or maybe it's that hedging mortality thing–parents feel like they've got a legacy if there are grandkids, the line won't end. I dunno. I'm childless by choice but I have other sibs who provided grandkids so I'm off the hook.

  • 280. Bob  |  September 2, 2010 at 2:38 pm

    Jessica, your story touches me on so many levels, especially the reality of it, and that it just came unexpectedly, but the thing that is so amazing is that you were very much in the moment and aware of what was happening, and just allowed the truth to come through you without blocking it, knowing it wasn't the way you wanted it to come, but you accepted it's timing and let go of pretense.

    That is indicates a profound inner strength, I hope you continue to live your life in this way, sometimes it's not pretty, but it is real.

    I also agree, that space is an important thing, and I would push even further to include silence (or periods of non communication) in that space, we each need some space to determine who we are. love your story thanks for sharing. comiing out continues, in ways we don't even know of yet. I like Straight Grandmothers saying, we don't know what we don't know. welcom to a lifetime of discoveries.

  • 281. AndrewPDX  |  September 2, 2010 at 3:10 pm

    @Jessica,
    As you said, <cite>you’re strong on the inside for coming out in the first place.</cite>

    You are strong. You are brave. You are worthy. You are loved. Never doubt it.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WDEHQGF-V18

    Now, what kind of cookie can I get you? 🙂

    Liberty, Equality, Fraternity
    Andrew

  • 282. Chrys  |  September 3, 2010 at 9:58 am

    Never think you aren't brave. That took amazing amounts of courage. *hugs*

  • 283. Linda  |  September 2, 2010 at 2:20 pm

    Jessica–
    And just what part of that whole experience do you think showed a lack of strength???

    Congratulations, Jessica; you did good!

    And thank you so much for sharing.
    Welcome to the fold!

  • 284. Jen-Bunny  |  September 2, 2010 at 3:23 pm

    I have created a Tumblr for coming out stories. It’s called “Closets are for Shoes”.
    http://closetsareforshoes.tumblr.com

    Please follow me and submit your stories!!

  • 285. Ray in MA  |  September 3, 2010 at 3:28 am

    Great idea/concept… I'll drop by soon.

  • 286. Ray in MA  |  September 3, 2010 at 3:52 am

    Jessica, Congratulations, but take it a day at a time… it's going to be long haul.

    A big part of parents reaction is that their reality bubble gets burst in one fatal swoop.

    Since the day you were born, they had expectaions, hopes, and anticipation of what your life will be. And they've worked everyday of their lives since you were born to see that you could realize those dreams.

    It must be extremely shocking to find out that their lifetime of dedication is about take a sudden exit off of the highway, not where they expected.

    I think it put's them in shock. Some can handle it, some never can. It takes lot of intestinal fortitude to get through something like this.

    And they are never the same after this. Some parents leverage this opportunity to become closer to their children, and some stubbornly keep wishing it had never happened.

    Both you and them make choices as to how to react to each other. Be careful, and don't give up on them… I haven't given up on my folks… been thirty years now. I'll always know I didn't give up and I the best I could, even though our relationship has never gone where I wanted it to go.

    I guess you have to consider where they are coming from to understand why they react the way they do.

    Good luck.

    …and we've all missed mentioning here, a very special famliy:
    http://familyacceptance.com/home.html

  • 287. Kathleen  |  September 3, 2010 at 4:46 am

    May all parent remember:

    Your children are not your children.
    They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
    They come through you but not from you,
    And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

    You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
    For they have their own thoughts.
    You may house their bodies but not their souls,
    For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
    which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
    You may strive to be like them,
    but seek not to make them like you.
    For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

    You are the bows from which your children
    as living arrows are sent forth.
    The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
    and He bends you with His might
    that His arrows may go swift and far.
    Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;
    For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
    so He loves also the bow that is stable.

    ~ Kahlil Gibran

  • 288. Ann S.  |  September 3, 2010 at 5:18 am

    I always liked this quotation. Thanks for reminding me of it.

  • 289. Ray in MA  |  September 3, 2010 at 5:14 am

    Kathleen,

    I just got one of those chills down my spine… when an amazing coincidence happens…

    I was tying to attribute my quote above (To Have Courage…) and I was thinking it was Kahlil Gibran, but then I thought, no.

    And now your Kahlil Gibran comment!!!… before now, I hadn't thought about him since high school lit!

  • 290. Kathleen  |  September 3, 2010 at 5:26 am

    🙂 @Ray. <3

  • 291. Stormy  |  September 4, 2010 at 11:02 am

    Thank you Linda and others for sharing your stories. Most brought me to tears, some made me smile, and some made me do both. You are all so very, very courageous and I'm thankful you are here. I'm mostly a lurker—I have few comments under my belt though I have been reading since day one of the trial. After reading the following novel, you'll probably be glad I've been such a lurky gal.

    My story is not one of coming out. It's a tale of resisting temptation – the temptation to tell the truth.

    I accidentally outed my best friend to my mother. I felt horrible, but in my defense, I really thought she knew. He had been out to family and friends for close to a decade and had bought a house with his partner of four years (at the time). We always talked about them as a couple – you know, doing that thing where the two names have pretty much become one unit. But somehow, my mother never picked up on that; the woman has remarkable head-burying abilities. During an argument about marriage rights, I said “so you don't think G & B should be allowed to get married, then?” She stops, then “why? Are they gay?” *facepalm*

    Tensions were building long before that moment, but that revelation really turned up the heat. Fast forward nearly a year to my son's sixth birthday party where things reached the boiling point. She and my stepdad were treating us to a Best of Fox News review, featuring “Judge Walker should have recused himself.” Naturally I didn't let that one stand. At one point my stepdad even ventured the opinion that “there wasn't really a trial.” When I said there absolutely was one, he asked why they hadn't seen it on TV. Ugh. But I digress.

    My mom chimes in with how she just believes being gay is wrong. That's just how she was raised. My brother asked if she thought G was wrong and she said “Honestly, my opinion of him has changed a lot since I found out.” My heart broke. Until that moment, I truly believed I could get through to my mom. But knowing for sure that the fact that he is still the same kind, funny, sweet guy that she has known for the last 13 years matters less than her programming…part of me just gave up. So when my brother asked if she would still love us kids the same if one of us were gay, two thoughts were warring on the tip of my tongue. And both remained trapped behind my teeth.

    One was whether or not she would still love her grandson if he is gay. I didn't ask because I didn't want to hear the answer.

    The other was that I'm bisexual. I didn't say this one because, frankly, I'm chicken. I'm scared to know what my life would be like without my mother in it. I'm scared to have my son grow up without knowing the grandmother who, despite her bigoted ideas, really loves him to pieces. And I'm scared to hurt my mom that much.

    I'm in heterosexual marriage, so I have the luxury of giving in to fear. I don't "need" to come out. After her venomous comments about the unnatural nature of children of gay parents, I shudder to think of what she'll say when I'm (hopefully) carrying my friends' child. But at least I won't have the chicken exit at that point. If ever I find the female companion that my heart craves, however, (my husband and I are polyamorous. And progressive. Though I think my family may suspect that last…) I hope I will have the courage that you all have shown. Just as I now cannot stomach forcing my friends to endure my mom's company, knowing what she thinks of them, I can't imagine asking my lover to pretend we're “just friends.”

    Until then…buck buck

    Yellowly,
    Stormy

  • 292. Sheryl, Mormon Mothe  |  September 5, 2010 at 1:44 am

    Thank you for sharing, Stormy.

    Sheryl, Mormon Mother

  • 293. The vicious cycle of guil&hellip  |  September 5, 2010 at 3:14 pm

    […] to discuss on this beautiful Sunday. If you haven’t read Linda’s first guest post about coming out to her mother, check it out after you read her analysis below. — Eden) By Linda […]

  • 294. It’s not about the sex &hellip  |  September 8, 2010 at 5:29 pm

    […] participant and community member, is on a roll. First, she wrote this heartfelt guest post about coming out to her mother. Then she followed it up with this compelling piece about the role of guilt in the social […]

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