What is the journey like for a parent whose child comes out as LGBTQ? There is no one journey a parent takes. We all have our own journey.
For me, the journey continues, even 30 years after my son came out. When he first told me he was gay, I said and did all the right things (I think!) in front of him. Inside though, I was shocked and sad. It was not the life I wanted for my son. I don’t know what I thought “the life” he would have would be. Truth be told, his life is not very different from his straight brother. But at the time, all I thought about was his getting AIDS, getting gay bashed, never being able to get married and never having children.
I had to grieve the imagined life I had for him. I had to find the place inside of me that knew it wasn’t my fault that he was gay. I didn’t do anything to make him gay and I couldn’t have done anything to prevent it. It is just who he is.
In the beginning of my journey, I found PFLAG. That was a real lifeline for me. They told me how I felt was okay and that they had felt that way too. They told me I didn’t have to allow him to bring a man to stay overnight if I wasn’t comfortable with that. Wherever I was, it was okay.
They encouraged me to get involved and over the next several years, I marched in Pride Parades, publicly told my coming out story and had in printed in the local newspaper.
Life went on and I developed a deep love for the gay community. I wanted to do everything I could. I eventually volunteered on the No on 8 committee in California. I was on the steps of the State Supreme Court when it was overturned. I was devastated.
I marched in Washington D.C. for marriage equality. During those years, I started this blog and wrote almost exclusively about marriage equality. It was my passion!
Sometime, around six or seven years ago, I realized I had to learn about the transgender community and what it meant to be transgender. I started reading books and attending conferences. I was still on my journey. I learned so much. Sometimes you don’t know how much you don’t know until you start learning. That was what it was like for me.
Today, I’m still on my journey. I don’t know where it will lead. I do know that I will always be a fierce advocate for the LGBTQ+ community. My son doesn’t need me to fight for him. He’s a grown man and fights for himself without my help. There are still parents and children that do need me to fight for them and that’s what I do today.
Where are you on your journey? Where do you think it will lead you?