Saturday, May 27, 2006

Coming out and being out...being their mother

All three boys negotiate the realities of being gay in a heterosexist world in different ways.

Carl, the only one I have not talked about in this respect, lives in a "Radical Faery" sanctuary. He leaves the retreat center often, but he is almost always deep in a community of gay men. He knows that there is discrimination out there, but he lives in a world apart from it.

Each boy is "out" but that means different things to them. Being out, I have learned, is not a single decision or act. It is a series of decisions that are made over and over again.

I get a sampling of what that means when I think about how to talk or not talk about my kids. That experience helps me to understand that it is not just one decision that someone makes on one day.

I think, when I was first Carl's mom, that I thought there was a right way to do this. If I remember correctly, I thought I knew who Carl should tell and how he should tell them. Certainly I remember his social worker was very concerned that Carl was too bold, too open. She more than one expressed concern that his choices were not "safe."

Sometimes I still make the mistake of thinking I know what is right for them. I will think that Evan's life would be a little easier if he were just a bit more open. (I mean, how ridiculous is it that we sent him to a rehab center in LA so that he would be safe and he closeted himself?)

Even when I make that mistake though, I know it is a mistake. Negotiating through a heterosexist world is complicated, confusing, and sometimes dangerous. It is dangerous in the way a mine field can be dangerous; it is sometimes impossible to tell where the danger is. Each of they boys need to figure this out for themselves.

My job is just to provide them with a safe home while they try to figure it out.

Another post on coming out: What if I had known?

1 comment:

  1. I had a very long comment but decided it was too long so I'm going to work on a post over the next couple of days. That is why I read your blog. Inspiration!


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