The recent news of so many gay teen suicides had deeply saddened me. One would have hoped that our society has grown enough to accept and embrace everyone equally, but it’s obvious we have a long way to go. While I’d always been aware of homophobia, it’s been hitting me hard lately because now I have a personal connect. Why? My son is gay.
I have been struggling to think of a way to speak out against the hatred…to somehow make a change. I finally decided that maybe some may “see the light” if the issue was personalized for them. Maybe if some of these hate mongers realized that there are real children, with real feelings, being affected by their venom, they may think twice before speaking out again. So, let me do that by telling you a little about my son.
From the day he was born, seventeen years ago, my life has never been the same. He’s always been a bright child. At the age of three he could walk through a crowded parking lot and name off the year, make and model of every single car. That wasn’t the only area he excelled in either, by the fourth grade he was reading at a college level and his advanced vocabulary were both a source of amusement and amazement.
He played hockey for over ten years. For many of them he was a goaltender. Recently he gave that up because he wanted to focus on skiing. He also is part of his school’s HOSA bowl team. His biggest dream is to get into the medical field. When he told me that, I wasn’t surprised at all, since he’s always gone out of his way to help others.
My nine-year old daughter has learning disabilities, so school is hard for her. My son has often sat for hours at a time, helping her out with homework. Plus, whenever she gets down and discouraged with herself, it’s always him that calms her down and boosts her self-confidence. One year her dance studio named him, “Best Big Brother” It was just a silly made up award that they drew on a paper plate, yet he treasures it. He still has it hanging on the wall of his bedroom.
When he came out to me, I didn’t feel disappointed or betrayed or hurt, instead I felt damn proud. I recognized how brave it was to take that first step and I was amazed at his courage. Most importantly, nothing changed. He’s still the same son that I sat up with all night when he had colic as a baby. He’s still the same kid who could tell the difference between a GM and Ford. He’s still the same punk who talked trash on the ice during hockey games. He’s still the same son that I love with all my heart and would never trade away for anything.
So to all those people out there who are ruled by hate and are only happy when they are bullying others, remember the ones you speak out have feelings. They have dreams, they hurt, they laugh, they cry and a lot of them have families who love them. Most of all they deserve to have the same rights and respect as everyone else.
Someone recently told me that once our children come out of the closet, we as parents have to come out, too. So that’s what I’m doing. I’m announcing to the world that I love my gay son and to hell with those who can’t accept him. When someone tries to trample on my son’s civil rights, by telling him he can’t marry who he loves, I will be there to protest. When somebody tries to press their own religious agendas on his lifestyle, I will be there to counterpoint their arguments. When someone throws hate at him, I will be there to show him my love.
Something needs to be done about all the hate that is so prevalent in our society. Until then this will not be a Nation where all people are equal. I vow that until my son has the same rights as the rest of the citizens, I will not stop fighting, nor will I stop loving him.