My eldest son has been married now for over 11 years and is a pharmacist, and my youngest Daniel graduated from Azusa Pacific University (a private Christian University) with a degree in theatre and he is gay.
When Daniel was little, we noticed certain traits and behaviors. We were both so uninformed about LGBT issues that we wanted to make sure he played with only toys that were usually for boys or gender neutral (musical instruments, etc.). My husband and I discussed amongst ourselves the possibility of Daniel being gay.
He showed a passion for performing at an early age and we found out about a program called Christian Youth Theatre through his second grade teacher. He auditioned and made it into every show, which inspired us to start him with voice lessons. He was always so happy performing, plus he had a group of friends that did not judge him and he fit in! I will be eternally grateful to this wonderful caring insightful teacher, she may have saved him from the fate of other LGBT children that try to commit suicide and sometimes succeed.
When he was in junior high school, we had to take him out of public school, because he was being picked on by a couple of boys and I did not want to run the risk of him getting hurt, and we put him in eighth grade at the local Catholic school.
In high school he went back to public school and auditioned and made it into the local school choir program. Thanks to this group High school was not a problem for him, it was like a large extended family (48 kids from 8-12th. grade) that performed and traveled together.
In tenth grade, we asked him if he was gay (no girlfriends, naked men pictures on the computer…) but he denied it and ran out of the house with my husband running behind him to catch and calm him down. Prior to this incident, through Christian Youth Theatre we became familiar with “Born again Christians” and were all baptized in the local Christian Non-Denomination church that we do not attend anymore, since the pastor was not accepting of my son having a future relationship.
He came out officially to us at the age of 23, it felt like the world had landed on my chest! I couldn’t breathe; my world felt like it was ending. I couldn’t stop crying, even though I knew that he was not choosing this on purpose! I knew he had fought his feelings for so many years. We told him we loved him and knew all along that he was gay, he told us that coming out made him feel the happiest he had ever felt…a huge weight was lifted off of his shoulders.
I went to a therapist where all I did was cry. The therapist enlightened me when she told me that I had a right to feel bad because MY dreams for this child had died.
My dreams were those of any mother, where your child gets married and they will hopefully have children, etc. This changed everything and I no longer had this possibility we would be considered more of a ‘fringe minority’ society; who are singled out or marginalized for hate crimes and ridiculed.
I became involved in PFLAG (Parents Family and Friends of Lesbians, Gays, Transgenders etc.) first attending meetings (4th. Monday of every month 7-9PM) and just taking all of it in, crying my eyes out at every meeting (I never even had a gay friend that I knew) so this was all so new. After I cried myself out and practiced telling strangers I had a gay son (needed to get over the crying when I said the word GAY) I started seeing the example of other parents in the group, reading some books like “And The Children are Free” by Rev. Jeff Miner and Rev. John Tyler Connoley (Life Journey Press) and watching movies like “For The Bible Tells me so” and “Anyone and Everyone” etc., I became involved with the PFLAG Board and eventually became co President. I’m still on Speaker’s bureau and handle the Facebook, Twitter and blog for PFLAG.
This gave me a cause; a reason to fight for equal rights for my son and all the others who don’t have a parent to stand up for them. Not all families embrace their children which is why I now feel like this is my calling.