It came out of nowhere for me. My daughter had her little, neighborhood friend come over and they asked me to enter her room. She took me into the corner and she was shaking. After a moment she said, “Would you hate me if I liked girls?” And, just like that, my daughter had come out as gay.
Of course I was shocked. At 10, the only thing I liked was dogs and books. Of course, I also hadn’t started my period yet, so I didn’t have the hormones flowing through me that she does. I responded, “There is nothing on the planet that would ever make me hate you. And loving someone is never bad.” I then proceeded to name all the people that I’m friends with that are gay. And then I moved onto athletes and the famous. Then I moved on to people I just speculated might be. Just kidding, I didn’t do that last one.
I reassured her that no matter what she decided to do regarding her love life, her family will always support her. Beyond that, I really didn’t know what to do. For the millionth time in my career as a parent, I had no idea on the proper way to respond, so I did what I always do. I just continued to wing it as I went.
Tears fell down her cheeks with relief at my response. And she did it did it again and again with her brothers’ support and her sister’s support. One by one, she made the decision to call every family member and everyone was supportive.
So I called upon my best friends mother, who had been like a mother to me my whole life. She actually has been a best friend to me on several occasions and there’s no one I can honestly say I respect more. I remember introducing her to my own husband while we were dating, anxiously awaiting her feedback. She is a lesbian and I knew she would be glad to offer any insight that I could not. And I’ve never been one to feel ashamed if I need to outsource, especially when I’m at a loss. I was right. Even though she lives two hours away, she was in town the next day to handle any questions I couldn’t answer.
She spoke with my newly gay daughter and also encouraged her to never be ashamed of what she’s feeling and never to hold back from her family. She reaffirmed that we would all support her no matter what she decided. She also reaffirmed that puberty was a confusing time in someone’s life and that if she changed her mind, then that was fine too.
My daughter vigorously assured me that, although she was not interested in anyone romantically, she knew who she was already. So I told her that I would be leading the gay parade as grand marshal since I am her mother and biggest fan.
No matter what her sexual orientation, people always find a reason to be mean. But as long as I’m alive they’ll have to go through me first. I will continue to look for ways to support her. She will not, as long as I’m alive, think she is any less than anyone else. Love is a beautiful thing. Why it matters to others so much is beyond me.