A Mothers Story

This is the first time I have put “pen to paper,” and write about my experience as a mother of a gay daughter.

Some may assume it is because I do not have the words or that I may be ashamed to share about my daughter.

Neither are true. I have finally made the time and have the platform to put my words on paper.

Let me start by giving a bit of background. My family started attending church when I was a teenager. I went to a Christian high school (by choice). I married at 22. We had two daughters while my husband was a Bible college student. He went on to seminary for a few more years (seemed like 85 years).  Eventually he became an elder in a church. Then a head pastor of that same church. 

We were deep in the evangelical world. I was involved in a para church ministry.

Our girls were raised in the church until they were teenagers when we all stopped attending. That is a different story altogether. 

My oldest daughter, Bree, was always a ‘Tomboy.’ I remember when she was three years old she chewed off a bow on her shirt. That was it. After that we had to shop for her in the boys section. She refused to wear anything ‘girlie.’ She was athletic and tough. So, what? When I was young I was a strong, opinionated, athletic, “tomboy” girl too. This meant nothing to me.

I remember when Bree was little and my mom asked me a question: “Are you worried about her?” My response was, “Why?”

I didn’t understand what she meant.

In 2005, we moved to the United Kingdom. Our girls were 11 and 12 years old. It was a tough adjustment, to say the least. As time went on they adjusted to life here. It took a while but this became home. They were settled. 

Bree even began wearing pink!  Converse shoes and a pink Nike jacket,  but it was pink! I think she wore a dress once or twice. Make-up even became a “thing.”

Bree did not date much in high school. She had a few dates with boys, but said she “did not want to deal with the drama of a relationship.” Her dad and I were fine with this. We had our own dramatic relationships as teenagers so we assumed she was avoiding the heartache and pitfalls that so many of us go through.

In high school Bree had so many friends we could not keep up. You see, she WAS and IS the life of the party. She is one of the funniest people I know. When she walks into a room, she lights it up. She has everyone’s attention and makes everyone laugh. Our daughters brought their friends to our house, they ate our food, we knew where they were. It was great!

We paid no attention to the friends she brought home. All were welcome. The door was open. The kids were from all walks of life. We didn’t realize a few of them were her girlfriends.

My husband and I have a very close relationship with our daughters. We talk about most things. Except we did not talk about this. We had our suspicions but said nothing to her, or each other.

At 18 Bree graduated from high school. She moved with a friend to York, approximately 2 hours away from us. All I was thinking was, “This is devastating. My baby is moving out and I need to grieve.” I mean after all, she is doing what we raised her to do, but I was sad.

Several months later, I woke up (literally and figuratively) and said to myself, “Bree is gay and that is her girlfriend.” I just knew it. I was ok with this, although I was not sure she had picked the right person and I was right. But we all live and learn.  I was sad because she never told us. I understood why.

On her next visit, we were on a walk. How do you approach this subject? Does she want to tell me? If she did, why hasn’t she told me before? How do you ask someone if they are gay? What if she is not gay? Does anyone else know? So, I just blurted out, “So, are you and Michelle (not her real name) just friends or more than friends?” She laughed and said, “Well mom, have a seat. Let’s talk.”  That is when she confirmed to me she was gay.

We laughed. I cried. I am not sure why I cried except that there was a part of me that desperately wanted to see my child get married and have children. I feared she would be rejected. Not by me, not by her father or sister, but by others. I was afraid that she would be party to a hate crime, discrimination, pain, hurt, judgement, especially from those who view homosexuality as a “sin” and then comes the dumping of more hate. The mama bear was strong in me.

Then I looked into her big beautiful blue eyes and I knew this strong, independent, loving, hilarious, hard-working, generous soul will be just fine.

I must admit living in the United Kingdom helped me in this process. The fact that we were no longer a part of a church helped. Please understand that I know some Christians are inclusive. But I also know many are not and as a mom, I was grateful my daughter did not have to face the possibility of not being accepted.  If I hear “love the sinner and hate the sin” one more time, I may punch someone in the face….and breathe.

I am not going to lie, the culture here in the United Kingdom seems far more accepting, loving and less judgemental of the LGBTQ community than in my home country of the United States of America.

I also realized OF COURSE my daughter can get married and have babies if she so chooses. It won’t be the ‘conventional way’ but it will be amazing! When she is ready. She works with young children. They love her. She loves them. She will be an amazing mother. 

I have been asked if I have any advice for parents who suspect their child might be LBGTQ or any advice if their child comes out to them.

My advice is the same whether your child is straight or LGBTQ; LOVE THEM UNCONDITIONALLY! Who cares who they love? This is your flesh and blood. The worst thing a parent can do is deny, disown or try to change their child.  We did not raise our daughter to be “gay.” As a matter of fact, looking back on it, we raised her to be straight. “When you find the man of your dreams you will just know.” “When you and your boyfriend….” “When you and your husband have children….”

I understand some may have to go through a process of grief. Perhaps grieving what you thought their future might look like. Questioning, “Did I do something wrong as a parent?” The answer is NO you did not. Nevertheless,  I understand. I know you may question this. I think I had that same question and knew we had done nothing wrong. It took me maybe 5 seconds to realize that answer. Maybe less.

The way you respond to your child is really what will make or break them. I have seen this in others. Their parents disown them or they rant some religious fundamental nonsense at them. It can break their spirit, their heart and no wonder so many suffer with mental illness.

Ask yourself this, “Do I truly love my child?” “Do I support my child?” “Do I want my child to be free? To be the person they are meant to be?” “Am I going to love unconditionally?”

You can process what all this means to you. I suggest with a spouse, a close friend, a therapist, etc… But your response to your child is to just love and YES to accept them, all of them.

I must admit, I did not seek out a bunch of “self-help” books or resources so I could better understand my daughter. I just knew my daughter. Our close relationship started the minute she was born (actually when she was growing in my womb).  I have spent many hours of my life investing into my children. So, there was no need for “help.” Although one book I did find insightful and interesting is called, “How we sleep at night.” By Sara Cunningham. Sara is the founder of “Free Mom Hugs.” A wonderful organisation. 

I have met so many people in the LGBTQ community and listen to them. I hear their pain as they talk about being disowned by their families. All I say to them is, “I am so sorry that this happened to you. No parent should ever abandon their child.” Somehow coming from a mother, I believe this helps them heal a little bit.

I do understand not every mother or father feels this way. I do understand if you are involved in a church or religious community or are surrounded by those who oppose homosexuality this may be more difficult. I get that.

I have had discussions with people who state that those who “choose” to be gay is because of some abuse in their past or because they were raised to “hate men” or have “mommy or daddy issues.” What a load of shit! (oops, can I say shit?). I mean they may have issues with someone or family members but this has no baring on their sexuality. That being said, “So what if she chose to be with women? Or if others choose to be in a relationship with the same sex? What if that is a good choice for them? Who cares.”

I have counselled many women in the past who have been abused mentally, physically and sexually. Statistically in a group of 8 women approximately 5-6 of them were sexually abused and guess what? They were all straight! So that argument just does not stand up. I get that some people want to “try and figure it out.” They want answers as to why someone might be attracted to the same sex or why someone is transgender. Just stop trying to figure it out or make excuses, or blame someone. These human beings are not damaged goods that need fixing. These humans are who they are. I always wondered why some people care so much about who someone loves?

Why should your opinions and judgements be placed on another human being? And do NOT even get me started on pushing for laws of inequality for humans to love and be loved by whoever they want. Simply because of your ignorance and hate. 

A few months ago, my husband, myself and two close friends went to our very first Gay Pride Parade in Birmingham England. By ourselves, no children. We just went and supported these humans. It was a blast.  It was refreshing and so lovely to watch people be free to be who they are meant to be.

No barriers. No picketers. No hate only love. I was not sure what to expect as I had, in the past, bought into the rhetoric of these parades being over the top debauchery. There was none of this! There was laughter, smiles, singing, dancing, caring and joy. Wouldn’t it be refreshing if there was more of this in the world?

Back to sitting on that bench in Chester England with my oldest daughter Bree:

As we sat there she looked at me and said these profound words.

“I am gay but that does not define who I am. I am the same person I always have been.”

Of course she is right and I adore everything about her. I will support her and her sister until my very last breath and depart this earth.


2 thoughts on “A Mothers Story”

  1. Love her and you to pieces. Bree is so amazing. She is joyful and hilarious and loving because she has been allowed to be herself her entire life. She deserves every happiness. ??

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