Dear Mom, I Like Girls (… Or Boys)

Coming out to one’s parents is sometimes way harder than coming out to your friends or total strangers. There is a primal sort of fear that accompanies the process. It makes you face the possibility of being rejected by some of the people you love the most, and even the thought of saying “I’m gay” to them can be enough to induce a panic attack. But I believe that this is a necessary process we must go through when we find ourselves ready for it because we shouldn’t have to hide from the people we call home.

Here is what I would like to say to my mom should I get enough courage to finally do it.

***

Dear Mom,

I’m not straight. I like boys, but I also like girls. I can even imagine spending the rest of my life with a woman.

Did you hear me?

I like girls.

This doesn’t make you a bad parent at all. It doesn’t mean that you raised me wrong, that you made terrible mistakes along the way as you were guiding me to be the person you wanted me to be. It doesn’t reflect anything about the kind of parent that you are; I was born like this and nothing could have changed it. You have not failed and I am not your mistake.

It doesn’t change the goodness in me. I am not depraved nor sinful because I like girls; it’s just a simple fact about who I am. If we were living in an ideal world, your answer to this would be “So what? Let’s eat, the potatoes are getting cold.” But so many people say that this is wrong and I wouldn’t be surprised if you think that too. However, I assure you that I am not a pedophile, a pervert, or some other twisted stereotype. It also does not give me a free ride to the fires of hell. When I fall in love, it makes me want to care about another person and make them happy and do good things because that’s what love does to you. There’s absolutely nothing wrong about that, right?

Please don’t assume that I will end up alone. My future family might not look exactly like yours does: it might have two moms and we might not be able to get married yet by then, but it will still be the same thing. Your reaction to this part of me will have an impact on the way I view myself and how I approach relationships. Your acceptance will help me be open to the possibility of letting another person into my life, as much as your rejection will contribute to the wall I will build around me to shut other people out. Being attracted to the same sex doesn’t decrease our capacity for love. Help me not be ashamed of this.

It’s okay if you’re confused right now and if you need more time to process this information; I had to take a lot of time to come to terms with this aspect of myself too. I am sorry if this hurt you, but I have faith that honesty will open up new avenues of communication between us. Remember when you told me you wanted me to be able to share things with you? Remember how you said you wanted to be an active part of my life? Here is an amazing chance for both of us. I really hope that you try your best to understand this, though, because losing one’s home is a kind of damage that is very hard to fix. Please don’t punch my heart.

I love you. I am and always will be your child, and I love you. I can’t help it. I know that you’re afraid that my life will be hard because there are a lot of people who choose to hate and hurt people like me, but you know what? To know that you accept me completely will make me brave. It’ll help me go through life knowing that wherever I go, I will always have you rooting for me and reminding me that who I am is perfectly fine. That kind of intangible protection will help me stand up when others try to bring me down.

I know that I have always been in such a hurry to grow up and I may not have listened to you all the time but how you think of me will always count deeply. I hope you continue believing in me.

And don’t worry, when I introduce my girlfriend to you, it’ll still be really awkward for all of us and make you wish I stayed a five-year old who finds kissing yucky and still thinks that cooties are real. Some things will never change, Mom. Now can I have some cookies? TC Mark

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