When my son was about 12 years old I decided that when I spoke about someone special in his future it would be a good idea to stop saying ‘girlfriend’ and instead use ‘partner’. At that time it was a just a cautionary measure. Fast forward about two and a half years, my beautiful boy came into my bedroom and very boldly asked me if I had anything against homosexuals. After I said “no” he announced that he was gay.
I asked if him if he was sure and how long he had known. He confidently told me that he was definitely gay, that he’d known for 2 years and that all his school friends knew. Although, he told me that someone at school was afraid of him because he was gay. But it was water off a ducks back, he found it quite funny. I thanked him for telling me and reminded him that I loved him very much. He has a wonderfully close relationship with his Nan and said that he wanted to tell her himself. She was on holiday in Uganda at the time. I asked him to wait until she got back to tell her. This was not the case, he called her immediately and announced to her that he’s out of the closet and is gay. I could hear my mum joyfully laughing on the phone, she said they would chat when she returned. When she returned from holiday, they spoke and she told him that she loved him and that was that.
I went into work the following day and spoke to my friend and colleague who is a black gay man. I asked him for advice on how to protect and shield my son from homophobic idiots. The first thing my friend did was hug me. He said that I must be a wonderful mother as my son had the confidence to tell me he was gay at the age of 15. I didn’t think of it like that, I would have been devastated if my son was scared to tell me anything.
My wonderful extended family didn’t bat an eyelid when they were told. I have 3 brothers, a sister, 9 nieces and nephews. My eldest son (10 years older) even got some of his gay friends to talk to my son so that they could answer any questions that he had.
I haven’t been introduced to a boyfriend yet, we’ve had conversations about that. My message has been the same: as long as they’re decent, have manners and treat my son right, then they are welcome. That was the same message I gave to my older son when he got his girlfriend. I asked my son if we could go to a gay club together, he said yes but when he’s 18! God, I love that boy. I do tease him and say things like don’t bring home an old man. He laughs because he can imagine the look I’d give him and the conversation we’d have.
Initially, I was worried about having a son who happened to be gay. Since the day he was born I have protected him, sheltered him and kept him warm and close. How was I going to protect him against negative situations? For a split second, I even thought “why me?” which I quickly replaced with “why not me?” My advice for any parent with an LGBT child is this: your child’s sexuality is none of your business. It’s not a reflection of anything they have or have not done. Be there to advise, parent, guide, support and love. Beyond that, it’s their path.