Monday, August 16, 2010

black girls don’t belong in closets: part 2. mom:


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i'd been living away from home for years, and rarely visited. for various painful reasons, too numerous to name. so I'd never even thought about coming out to my parents. we hardly talked anyway, so it's not like they ever asked me who I was dating, or how i was doing, for that matter. we probably talked once every 6 months. with the exception of my sister. she was the first person in my family that I came out to. I was dating someone that I actually cared about and thought that if we decided to go to Vermont and get married, I would want someone in my family to know. [un?]fortunately the joy of coming out to my sister lasted far longer than our relationship. my sister was loving, accepting and said "ah, thank god you finally said something. if daddy asks me about you being a lesbian one more time, I don't know what I'm going to do."

apparently everyone knew. I made her promise not to tell. I wanted to tell in my own time. one weekend, while still in washington, dc, during a national coming out day, I was so moved and overwhelmed by my sense of community, justice and love, that I decided to call my parents (who are divorced) seperately and come out. i hadn't prepared a script. so i was slightly less than eloquent- but i was confident.

i called my mom first. i knew it would be hard. i was prepared for that. but i don't think you could ever really prepare yourself for this kind of parental disapproval. mom, i need to talk to you. she was cold, uh huh…

me: well, mom, um, today is national coming out day. and i decided that today is the day i'd come out to you, even though i've been out, but i want you to know. (my mom has plenty of gay friends and even family members and watches tv, she knows exactly what that means) i know i'm so far away, and i wish i could say it to your face, but i really need you to know that part of me if we are ever going to build a loving relationship.

mom: uh, come out? what the hell does that mean?

me: mo-om, you know exactly what that means. im queer. well, um, gay, um, bi. ok. i'm queer. but that kindda means gay, but i am open to dating different genders. you know? like, men or women, but also remember that time we talked about trans folks? so, everyone on the gender spectrum. like a rainbow…you know? i know this is alot. so, i guess, im gay.

mom: so, basically you sleep with anything moving?

me: um, no. im just open to loving many types of people. not every single one. not, "anything." people. i have some standards…*nervous laughter*

mom: doesn't sound like it. *pause.* this is disgusting. i didn't raise you this way.

me: well, mom, you did. you told me i could be whoever i wanted to be. you told me not to believe in religion without critique, you told me i didn't need men, and taught me to be extremely self-reliant. so, in some ways, you did. and im really glad. because this is who i am.

you get the idea. it went from bad, to name calling [bitch, slut, whore], to attempting to analyzing my relationships with men, to worse. she told me she didn't want to talk about it ever again.

mom: i don't support you

me: support me or me being gay?

mom: either.

me: i start to cry. big, fat, hot tears. but i'm your daughter, im still your daughter! (part of me was pleading with her to believe it. the other part of me was pleading with myself to believe it) mom, i'm so happy! don't you want me to at least be happy? to love?

mom: this is disgusting. some people don't deserve to be loved. you don't deserve to be loved. maybe you just don't need to be with anyone. i don't want to talk about this with you. i can't even talk to you. i don't want to hear another word about this.

me: mom, you are not going to just ignore it. i said it. its the truth. and i know this may be surprising to you but i really want to keep talking to you about it. this is huge part of my life, and who i am. and i would like to share with you at some point.


the silence was a knife.

i cried. and cried. then i grieved. i grieved the loss of my mother.

we were never close to begin with.

the seperation had begun many years ago.

but this was a silence that no words could fill.

we still don't talk. i call her on mothers day.

she doesn't answer.


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