I used to blog somewhat regularly and occasionally people read what I wrote.
It’s time to start again.
I’m hoping this blog will evolve over time. Right now I’m writing it for myself. So I can get my feelings out in writing. In the future, I hope this can be a resource for anyone else dealing with a similar situation.
So, let’s start. Shall we?
My fourteen year old son came out to us a few weeks ago. He is officially my gay son. I have an LGBT kid. Saying that statement comes with a lot of emotion for several reasons. First of all, this is me saying that my kid is different. He’s my first born. My perfect, smart, handsome, funny, son. But now he’s different. I’m not going to lie and say that this came as a total shock to me and that my son is “all of a sudden” gay because it’s not true. In the back of my head I always had a hunch. Isn’t that why made him see Billy Elliot when he was 12? I wanted to send a message to him that no matter what, I love him and that he should always be himself.
So that brings me to my second emotion. Acceptance. I know Elisabeth Kübler-Ross is rolling over in her grave (assuming she’s dead- I’m not wasting my time finding out) that acceptance came so quickly and didn’t follow denial or anger. I accept who he is. Let’s be honest, the kid won the lottery when they were giving out “parents of LGBT kids”. My husband and I are extremely LGBT friendly (that sounds so patronizing, I don’t mean it to). We’re modern Orthodox but we definitely lean socially liberal and we’ve had gay and lesbian friends and we have always considered ourselves “allies” of the LGBT community (one of my lesbian friends told me that we are part of her “gayborhood”).
But accepting your gay child doesn’t make things easy. I mean, he’s lucky and we’re lucky that this is not a hurdle we have to jump over. But it doesn’t mean that we don’t feel another strong emotion. Sadness. I’m not sad because he’s not going to marry a girl someday or “won’t give me grandchildren.” I’m sad because first of all, I hate it that my son has had to and continues to grow up in a community (I’m talking about this from a religious sense, not a neighborhood) that he knows doesn’t truly accept him. Sure, some people in the Orthodox community have truly come a long way when it comes to LGBT issues, but the greater community still views it solely through the eyes of Leviticus and then there are those who still equate “gay” with “pedophile”. We’ve got a long way to go. So that makes me sad.
Mostly right now I’m sad because he’s sad. He’s confused. He’s always been intellectually mature which is why I take my 14 year old’s coming out at face value. But that doesn’t mean he’s not confused. He’s confused because on one hand he feels like he knows who he is and who he wants to be. But he’s not ready for the backlash it might cause. He goes to a modern Orthodox Jewish High School (co-ed). He’s told a few friends and they have actually been super supportive. But he’s been called derogatory names by other kids- kids who don’t even know the truth- and that kills him and he feels threatened and unsafe- even though it’s just some kids taking the piss at him. For the record, my husband and I (and our son’s therapist and school counselor) do not think he should officially “come out” yet and we have told him that. He’s not ready. But that doesn’t stop his feelings. He has expressed a vague desire to hurt himself on a few occasions. He doesn’t have a plan and there is no real emphasis on his part. But that doesn’t mean we aren’t taking it seriously, so that is something that we are constantly monitoring and it is something that is weighing heavily on our minds.
But I can’t end with sadness. I also feel proud. I am so proud of my child. There are adults who never come out of the closet. Who never allow themselves to be who they truly are. He hasn’t only told his parents but he’s told his closest friends. He is clearly an incredibly strong person and I am so proud of him.
So this is my intro post. This blog will deal with this process. As a parent, as a mother, as an orthodox Jew, as a community member, and as an advocate. I look forward to sharing my thoughts.