Coming out to my mom was like a lunar eclipse. It happened a few times annually and you have to shield your face when it happens. I know what you are thinking… I’m being dramatic. While that may be true, her reaction was pretty ridiculous. The first time I came out, she told me to go to confession (a classic Catholic tradition where you sit in a coffin-like cedar box and a man who has sinned a lot absolves you with a handful of Hail Mary’s after you tell him you blew your junior high boyfriend or whatever). The second time, she exclaimed, “But you are so pretty.” She hoped it was a phase, and when I brought home a girl a decade my senior with a pink mohawk, she prayed it was a phase. I don’t blame her… that girl wasn’t very nice. But I digress.
The third time, she took a much more compassionate approach by explaining to me that she wanted my life to be great and that being gay meant a life of discrimination and ridicule. What she didn’t realize, however, is that most of said discrimination and ridicule thus far had come directly from her.
Years later, my mom and I are close and she is pretty good friends with my girlfriend. In fact, they went shopping on Black Friday together and I stayed at home. Both strong personalities, they compliment each other instead of clashing and things are pretty okay. I mean, I don’t make out with my girlfriend in front of my mom, but gross. Why would I?
This is what makes the phone call I received yesterday from my mom a little hilarious and a lot bit adorable. After casually catching up, she asked me if I knew that a girl from my high school was gay. Almost thirty years old, she just came out to her conservative Catholic parents. I told my mom, no, I didn’t know she was gay… she clearly isn’t on the email newsletter that all dykes get every week with a list of the new queers so we can invite them to raves and send welcome gifts of cargo shorts and Ani DiFranco CDs. She went on to explain that the girl’s parents are really struggling with the news, and that her father has been inconsolable for days because he won’t be able to walk his little girl down the aisle. And you know what my mom told him? She said, “Yes, you can walk her down the aisle but it won’t be a groom at the other end! And if you don’t accept this, you will lose your daughter. And I know you don’t want that.” GO MOM! She is going to dinner with them to talk about it next week, and wanted to make sure that she was saying the right things. I reminded her not to talk about the Catholic Church, that claims both homosexuality and pedophilia as urges that must be suppressed, and she laughed saying, “Yes, I’ve never really bought that one.”
My mom is now counseling other Catholic conservative couples on how to deal with having a dyke for a daughter! I never thought I would see the day. Part of the reason I know she is doing this is for the same reason I help people, because it feels good, but also because I think she knows how tough it is on kids when they come out to parents, no matter what their age. So, go team mom, and your PFLAG packet is in the mail. Maybe you can donate 10% of what you give the Catholic Church every year. PFLAG will save lives with the cash, not buy the silence of victims of child abuse. Oh, you crazy Catholics.