The Love From A Mother To Her Gay Son
Some say there’s no bond like the one a mother has with her son. Given the close relationship that I have with my mother, and the close relationship that my fiancée Nick has with his mother, I believe that statement to be true. Needless to say, we are both self-proclaimed “mama’s boys.”
I wear that title proudly and hope to take away any stigma that comes with such a label. You see, so much of my support for women, and the gratitude that I have for them, comes from the relationship I have with my mom. It is her love and support that have helped fuel so much of my own drive and success.
I am not just saying that because she is my mom. The truth is, many of her hurdles and life lessons were hard for a son to see. However, those moments were also key to my self-growth and helped shape me into a man with qualities that are true to my core: integrity, respect and kindness. I am my mother’s son in more ways than I can count, and I could not be prouder. A lot of the goodness I have within me is a reflection of both my parents, but my mom has a special place in my heart. If that makes me a mama’s boy, then so be it.
Growing up, I was soft spoken and didn’t have much of a voice. It was a struggle to get words out of me. Being one of four children, my mom and dad had their hands full. But, my mom has told me many times before that she knew I was different. I ended up finding the power within my soul and learned to speak up when I came out.
Speaking up is what I have continued to do. With Mother’s Day a few days ahead, I wanted to use this moment not only to highlight how my own mom has made me strong, but also to get all of the men reading this essay to think about how their mothers, wives, daughters, and gal friends have played such a significant role in their lives.
So many of these women have helped us through our most challenging days. This is most certainly true for any person who has had to deal with coming out. I can bet there were some incredible women (and moms) standing by your side who spoke up and helped fight for marriage equality and other LGBTQ rights. We owe it to them. They stood up not just because they believed in us. They stood up because it was the right thing to do. Doing the right thing is a lesson many of our mothers instilled in us.
With all headlines and division in our country these days, I believe that men need to listen to women right now, especially when it comes to sexual harassment, assault, and all things equality. It is our duty to hear them, learn from them, and work with them to put whatever change that needs to be made into action.
I encourage all the men out there to not just thank their mothers for being wonderful, but to actually take the time to talk to them. Ask them about their history, their years growing up, and about what obstacles they had to face. I bet you will learn something that’s probably going to be very helpful in your own life. I also encourage you to tell them about specific moments in your life when they helped you grow stronger. That validation is important. Trust me, they need to hear it – and also deserve to hear it.
My mom had this great way of always making sure everything was going to be OK. Like many children that were born gay, I needed my mom’s acceptance and support. I needed her to tell me that I was loved no matter what and that life was going to be OK.
Many gay kids know what I am talking about. There is something about your mother’s words that are not just supportive, but also healing.
I think that is one of the reasons why there is such a dynamic bond between gay sons and their mothers. I have the same gratitude for my mother-in-law and how wonderful she was with Nick, as well as for how she introduced me into their family. Many of you think that this should be a given, and you are definitely right. But it is not something Nick and I take for granted. The fight for gay acceptance and understanding is still alive, but we are also aware that it took courage for all the freedom fighters that came before us to make our road a little bit easier. This includes all the supportive moms back in the day standing with their adult children, breaking barriers, and teaching them to stand up and stand tall.
Our hearts also break for all the young gay kids and older adults kids that wake up each day and can’t turn to their mothers and tell them they are gay. That is like a dagger to my heart when I hear those stories. But, no matter what your sexual orientation is, I encourage you to do a better job this year of not taking your mother for granted. As we grow into our later years, we all must remember that our mothers will not be around forever. However, it is their love for each of us that is going to be their legacy. It is their journey that will be part of our own wisdom, their words that will provide us support, and their mannerisms that will be part of our personalities.
So, whether you are a mama’s boy or someone that just loves their mom to pieces, I hope you make this Mother’s Day more than just a social media posting and a brunch. Take time to self-reflect, learn, listen and perhaps do something that will make all the moms and women in the world live in a place where they are recognized for their true greatness.