When I started going to my church I was nervous. I hadn’t been raised in a very religious home. It was more of a “figure it out on your own and we will support you” kind of mindset when it came to faith. For a while my parents were sure I was about to say I wanted to convert to Judaism. I went to temple more than the Catholic Church I was baptized in. When high school came around, I was semi-involved in a Bible study with kids my age and I was always interested in faith but had a few things holding me back. So when I finally found my church and got comfortable I was worried my secret was going to come out. Don’t ask, Don’t tell? It’s been repealed for awhile now…
It wasn’t until I was there for almost two years and not just sitting in my second row pew that I really became worried people were going to find out my secret. Here I was, a youth group leader and active in the women’s group and yet no one knew. How was I supposed to tell them? Would they still let me be a part of this church?
I can remember the day it came out so clearly. We were at our normal Wednesday morning women’s meeting. A mother was commenting on how she wasn’t sure she wanted her elementary aged son to play with a classmate anymore because at the last assembly she saw the other kid’s mother being too friendly with another woman and she didn’t want her son around people like that.
People like that? Did I really hear her right? I started shaking. Trying so hard to listen and not react. But as I sat there I realized it was doing me no good to stay silent. It was doing “people like that” no good for me not to speak up.
You see, my mother is one of “those people”. Gay. Lesbian. Homosexual.
For the first 17 years of my life my family looked like a Normal Rockwell painting. Loving father. Mother who cooked dinners. Sisters playing sweetly with the dog in the fenced in yard. Then my junior year of high school my parents sat us down and said that Dad would be moving out and they would be separating. That was followed by an evening of ice cream and jokes among all of us. We knew Dad loved us and would be very involved in our lives, he just wouldn’t be living there every day anymore.
The split had nothing to do with my mother’s sexuality. In fact she went on dates with men before she fell in love with a woman. It wasn’t something she felt for years married to my father. It just happened. She tells us that she believes in love, no matter if it’s with another woman or a man. Love is love.