To celebrate Mother's Day our very own Tim Coffey spoke to some local moms involved with PFLAG.
A Special thanks goes out to the Mom's who shared their stories! Happy Mother's Day!
Contact Tim Coffey if you have an idea for the "Question of the Month" or if you need awesome photos!
“He came out when he was 18, but I had been waiting for him to come out for years. I had been a member of PFLAG since he was 15, maybe 16. I loved what the group stood for and suspected that Tyler was gay. Two weeks after he turned 18 we’re sitting at the dinner room table having dinner and Tyler said he was gay. And I said, ‘Oh thank, God.’ And he was like, ‘Really? I would like some emotion. I would like
some tears.’ And I was like, ‘Well if I give you tears, they’re tears of joy because I’m been waiting, trying to make it so easy.’ So his coming out was a bit of a disappointment for him because I wasn’t upset.”
“Gosh, I’m so incredibly proud. Once he came out, I was out about him where I thought it was appropriate. I seriously could not imagine or want him any other way. He is just such an amazing person, incredibly gifted and talented.”
“Best Mother’s Day would not be the traditional Mother’s Day. Best Mother’s Day was last June 26 th , the day the Supreme Court of the United States gave marriage equality to the land. Tyler and I were in Cleveland for the General Synod of the United Church of Christ. We were in our hotel room getting ready to go to the meeting and there was something about breaking news. So he stopped and didn’t turn the TV off. And we happened to be together when it was announced. And that was just the best moment. It wasn’t Mother’s Day, but it was my most proud day as a mother. For him to have the same rights as everybody else was incredibly important to me. To be with him to celebrate the Supreme Court’s decision was amazing.”
“For parents of gay children to reach out when it’s appropriate. For some people, I know, they feel like they’re in it alone. I’ve worked with a lot of parents whose kids have just come out. Your job right now is to love your kid. Love your kid, that’s the best advice.”
“Sarah’s nineteen and just finishing her second year of college. Of course, when she sat me down and told me, I said, ‘You’re my child. I may not always like some of your decisions but this is not a decision. I think you were born like that. I love you no matter what.’ A lot of tears and I just told her I accepted her with open arms. What was I going to do? She’s my kid. It took me a long time to get her. It took me seven years to get a child in the first place. So, yes, she’s my blessing. I love her for who she is no matter what. I love her more for at least trusting me and being able to tell me.”
“I think sometimes when she was growing up maybe she was feeling me out to see how I would react to certain things. But I’ve always been one to tell her to love whoever for who they are not what they do. We don’t discriminate in our family. I’m of the feeling that they’re born that way. That’s okay. You don’t pick who you fall in love with. It just happens.”
“Since she’s gone to college we’ve gotten really close. Of course I talk to her about a lot of things I don’t understand. And she tells me about feelings, relationships she has and things like that. It seems to have brought us a lot closer as mom and daughter.”
“To tell you the truth, I don’t really care what people think. I’m going to support my child. I was mistreated when I was in school. She went through a lot of adversity in school. I feel like you just fight through it. Be kind to others.”
“If you don’t understand, talk to them. If you don’t understand, don’t close your mind off to that feeling cause it’s unusual for you or you don’t know what they’re going through. I think teens today go through a lot these days. We’ve been working on scholarship applications recently. I’ve seen several of the essays that they’ve mentioned that they’re not out to their parents yet. It’s hard to read that and see that they’re concerned with how the family will react. So I encourage parents to be open, ask questions. Let them ask questions of you. Let them tell you things they want to. You can’t force it.”
“I enjoyed when she was in high school going to the GSA meetings. She was President of her club one year. I enjoyed going and being out there for kids and letting them feel like they had a safe place to talk to a parent if they wanted. They’d say, ‘How can I talk to my mom or my dad about this?’ I even invited a couple of them to my house because they were getting kicked out of their houses. I couldn’t stand that. I feel like we should accept others for who they are period.”
“Our middle child is gay. David’s twenty-four and lives in Brooklyn. He came out to us in middle school. It was difficult, but we’re on great terms now. It changed my world. I grew up Southern Baptist. I was very conservative. I became a little less conservative as I grew older and began to see people come out in schools and that kind of thing. Everyone’s different. Everyone doesn’t fit to the box. But at the same time I wasn’t out to my friends about my gay son. I think that’s what changed me. When we started PFLAG I was out to my friends and saying I’m proud that I’m a parent to a gay child. In fact, he’s my heart if that makes sense.”
“I get teary because he lives in New York. He’s the one very emotionally attached. We’ve had a very deep conversation about his life. We treat him the same as any other of our children.”
“I was a teacher and school counselor. I did counseling for like twenty-two years in Cabarrus County. Having a gay son, I saw a lot of kids coming through the school who were trying to come out in the middle school. But it was very difficult. I didn’t have resources. I kept thinking, ‘These kids have to have a resource.’ So when I retired I spoke with our pastor about starting a chapter at our church. From there we started our chapter.”
“Coming out to us in middle school was difficult. We were a little concerned, was this a phase or is this really something he’s going through. When we look back we ask what was wrong with us. We didn’t see this, but it was very clear that he was not like the oldest son. I think looking back there are many things I did wrong as parent. But we’re on great terms now. He’s very excited that we have a PFLAG chapter. He can’t believe it that we’re in the Pride Festival in Charlotte. We’ve attended Salisbury Pride. So he’s very happy.”
“I had no clue she was gay. It was a surprise. But I wasn’t shocked. She came out in her senior year. She was throwing the hints to me. Sydney is my stepdaughter, but she’s been my daughter from day one. We have a close bond. She kept throwing the signals out there, but I never dreamed it.”
“She came out to me that night I guess so I would be the next stepping stone to her daddy, which he’s cool with too. I said, ‘Well, if you know you are, then that’s fine. I’m good with it. I’ll be right there with you.’ All I want is her happiness. And the next step I dove in with PFLAG cause I want to support in everyway.”
“Sydney’s more at peace now that she knows we know support her and she can be who she is. We’re good with it. We’re happy for her. I told her, ‘Well, this is not what I envisioned with a daughter.’ You envision your daughter meeting a man, getting engaged and getting married. But this is what it is. She has a partner she loves. And I said, ‘You’re happy; I’m happy.’ That’s all that matters. My momma gave me unconditional love and acceptance. That’s all I know. You just love your kids unconditionally. Their happiness should be your first priority. I love her even more.”
“We marched together at Charlotte Pride this past year. I held a sign that said ‘A Proud PFLAG Mom.’ We walked together. I was proud of her being able to be who she wants to be. I was also guarded. I didn’t know what to expect. I knew there would be the ones against it. I guess the mother thing. I was really thankful to share that with her.”
“Prior to Sydney coming out I was talking to a friend of mine whose son had just come out a couple of months before. I was telling her, ‘He’s still your son.’ And she was worried about what other people would do to him. We both discussed this, what they would have to face, the ones who spew hate and how to manage with that. That’s an area I had to learn to deal with and I’m still learning. You want to lash back. That’s where PFLAG has helped me out. They’re such a great support too. I never had a problem with Sydney being gay. I just want to protect her.”
The Salisbury chapter of PFLAG meets the third Thursday of the month at Haven Lutheran Church at 207 W Harrison Street in Salisbury. Meetings start at 6:00 pm. For more information about the Salisbury chapter: email@example.com or 704-794-7905. To learn more about PFLAG, visit the national website: www. community.pflag.org
The Concord/Kannapolis PFLAG chapter meets the second Tuesday of each month from 7-9 pm at Trinity United Church of Christ; 38, Church Street N, Concord. For more information, contact Joan Gale firstname.lastname@example.org.