I recently asked the parents in my secret Facebook group what their first thoughts were when their child first came out.
Nothing they said surprised me. It always amazes me how similar our stories are. So many of us were surprised, having no idea that our child was LGBTQ. Others, like me, knew from an early age. Many of us had first thoughts of fear for our child’s safety, for how the world would treat them, for how their friends would react, for how our families would react.
So many of us had thoughts relating to the dreams WE had for our child’s future, what we thought they would turn out to be. There was disappointment when we realized that wouldn’t be. And many of us had grief and sadness at the idea that we would never be grandparents.
What strikes me, 30 years after those initial reactions, is just how far I’ve come and how far many of those parents have come. I wouldn’t have my son any other way than he is and that is gay. Yes, I sometimes (on rare occasions) feel sad that he never had children but I also know that was choice he made and it wasn’t because he was gay. He could have still had children if he’d wanted to.
I no longer worry about his safety. He is very out in all areas of his life and he is loved and supported for who he is. I know he can take care of himself because he has all these years.
We tell our LGBTQ kids that “It Gets Better!” Well, it gets better for parents too. Our lives change in ways we couldn’t have imagined. We become allies and advocates, not just for our children, but for all LGBTQ children. We march in Gay Pride parades and give out free hugs. We wear rainbows almost as proudly as our kids.
We celebrate our children and their lives. And we love them, I think, more fiercely than we did before.