My son has been gay for one year!
Ha. That would be funny if it were true. He did come out to us a year ago today. It is literally incredible to think about all that has transpired in the past year.
A year ago today, I didn’t doubt that my son was gay but I wasn’t ready to really think about it either. I didn’t think that I would ever benefit from the support of other Orthodox parents of gay kids (or gay Orthodox adults). That’s a laugh. I thought that anything negative that he was feeling in his modern orthodox high school was perceived only and not actually threatening or offensive. Especially coming from teachers. Sadly, that was proven wrong over the year. On the other hand, I also didn’t know that there were some members of the (Judaics) faculty in his school who would have been incredibly supportive of him had he and we reached out to them sooner than the end of the school year- once he was already leaving the school.
A year ago today I didn’t know that I would feel comfortable bringing up my gay son in conversation during a meal with another family over the past chag we just celebrated. I’m pretty sure that I didn’t think that last week on “National Coming Out Day” when my husband checked my son’s facebook status right before we went to bed and casually mentioned, “oh he officially came out on Facebook” I’d be able to say, “oh ok, cool” and turn over and be able to fall asleep with no problem.
A year ago today I didn’t realize that having a gay son could make me a better person. That I find myself trying not to live in a bubble of only what is important to me and my family. I don’t know if it is working but when I hear about things that other people are dealing with I try to think about our family situation over the past year and up my levels of empathy and understanding. Because I know that is what many people have done with us. Whether they would have been supportive of a gay teenager in the Orthodox community in the past or not, many people we know have gone out of their way to change their perspective when dealing with him and us. And it has made all the difference in the world.
So it’s been a year since our lives were turned around in many ways. But overall I think it has been positive. And I hope that it is a solid foundation for how we deal with this aspect of our son’s life. Also, we are so proud of him. We were proud of him before a year ago today, but we’ve seen a new side of him over this past year that makes us very happy to observe the person he has become and continues to be.