How does a parent begin to tell the world of the gift their child is to them, especially now in these controversial times when our world is so polarized by something that is so intrinsically tied to who you are? You are almost 21 now and yes, you are my only son and you are gay. Are you a gift to me anyway, in spite of the fact that you are gay? Or is the fact that you are gay, another gift on top of the first one? I am here to tell you and the rest of the world that it is the latter.
I wouldn't have known when you came back from the first day of preschool at the age of four, declaring yourself married to a little girl that this is where we would end up. I believe your exact words when I asked you about it were, "She took me her husband and I took her my wife". Even then your vocabulary and your intelligence were a portend of things to come. What I didn't see coming was that 13 years later we would be on the beach near Santa Cruz at sunset and you would be grasping my hands with all your might, tears running down your face as your beautiful brown soulful eyes searched mine while you spoke those fateful words, "I'm gay." I told you then and I will say it again now. Justin, God made you perfect and whole. Those words have been backed by not only your father but my mother and all our family and we mean it.
You'd have thought years of hairdressing and being with gay friends might have given me clues. You'd have thought that when you loved watching "As Time Goes By" on PBS or "Martha Stewart" with me as a child and the fact that you were always clean and had great taste that it might have tipped me off, but no it really didn't. I simply thought I was the luckiest mom in the world and that you were special.
It turns out that those things were true. It also turned out that you were gay.
I always told people that having children gave someone the opportunity to be a better person than they ever imagined themselves to be. Justin, this is where the gift comes in. This is where I get to step up. Here is the opportunity where I get to take a stand and not straddle that ambiguous moral line, not caring enough one way or another to make a difference, or kind of caring and just hoping "It gets better" for LGBT people out there. . .maybe even friends I know. This is where I get to care enough, care so much that I would die to defend you. This is where I get to look a client in the face who has told me that "all gay people have been molested" and with tears running down my face, let them know that my son is gay and no, he wasn't molested, he was born that way. I get to, no I HAVE to speak up. I am now a part of the next civil rights issue that our country must address in our continuing progress towards fulfilling the promise of our founding fathers. It is the right spiritual and political choice for me and if not for you, Justin, I might not have the courage or the inclination to care enough to have chosen a side. They say all it takes for evil to exist is for good people to do nothing. I won't do nothing Justin and I am there because of you.
People can wonder if I love you "in spite of the fact that you are gay." Ha! Are you kidding me? I love you and I feel like I have hit the Lotto! You are my only child, brilliant and handsome, compassionate and spiritual and set on a career of public service. Will I be sad that I will be the only woman in your life? I think I can live with that. I wouldn't give up the close relationship we have for anything. I look forward to the day that you and your future husband, whoever he is, ring me up to tell me that you are planning a family and I get to remind you that children are a gift because they give you the opportunity to be more, so much more than you ever could be by yourself. I look forward to seeing the light of love shine in your eyes for your own child like I know mine shine for you.
Because of you, I am more. Because of you, I chose a side with my whole heart and soul and the world and I am better for it. You were born that way and I love you for it. I wouldn't change a thing.
All my love,