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Thursday, May 23, 2024

Mother of gay son not yet ready for the pride parade

LawMother of gay son not yet ready for the pride parade

Dear Amy: My son “Jack” is 26 years old. Five years ago, he came out to me as gay. While this didn’t fully surprise me, it saddened me. I wanted Jack to have a traditional life. I wanted to have grandchildren.

Despite these feelings, I told him I accepted him. Recently he told me that he has been in a relationship with “Samuel” for six months. He also asked if I would be OK with him bringing Samuel home to a family function. Not knowing how to respond, I said it was fine. While Samuel seemed nice enough, I was not prepared for the feelings that seeing them dance together and be affectionate would bring up in me.

I thought about what others were thinking. I wondered what I may have done that contributed to him being this way. I felt anger at Jack’s father for never being a positive male role model or steady presence in his life. I thought about his safety with STDs that run rampant in the gay community as well as violence toward gay men that seem to happen regularly.

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I tried to play the role of the accepting mom at the party. I’m embarrassed to talk to anyone in the family about this. My daughter seems completely fine with it. I just will never be the totally accepting mom who goes to gay pride parades with her son. Will it ever get easier? – Prideless Mom

Dear Prideless: Yes, this will get easier. One way to make things easier would be for you to stop thinking of your son’s sexuality as “it,” and start thinking of his sexuality as “Jack.” My point is that you can’t separate a person’s identity from the person.

Many of your concerns are actually distortions. Jack can have what you refer to as a “traditional life,” with marriage and children. His choice to bring his boyfriend home to meet the family is the essence of “traditional.”

Any sexually active adult (including you) can get an STD. And if you are truly worried about violence against gay people, then be the change you want to see in the world and confront your own homophobia.

The way to make things easier would be for you to increase your exposure to the experience that frightens you. You should spend more time with Jack and Samuel.

PFLAG.org is a national organization offering support for parents and family members. You can learn more about sexuality, have your fears addressed and questions answered, and learn from other parents.

Dear Amy: All of the kids in our family were brought up with religion not being a part of our lives. We are all over 60 now and recently my wife and I were invited over for Easter dinner at my sister’s place. Suddenly, my brother-in-law starts saying grace. It’s not important to me, so I just sat there.

After dinner was over, my sister said to me, “You could at least have bowed your head.”

Religion was never a part of our family and I felt it wrong for her to expect me to have to bend to their new beliefs. Your thoughts? – No Grace for Me

Dear No Grace: Ironic, isn’t it – that you were guests at this house for Easter dinner, which – last time I checked – is a Christian holiday.

It’s good manners to respect other people’s faith practices, especially while in their homes. In my opinion, this respect can be demonstrated by sitting quietly while they say a blessing, and not judging them afterward.

You can email Amy Dickinson at askamy@amydickinson.com.

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