24Nov/120

The Face of Gay 19 (Angel Martinez)

RECOVERED

I originally wasn’t going to have a Face of Gay post this weekend. It was even a topic of conversation on my Facebook page because I honestly wanted to know if people thought they’d be around to read it. I just didn’t think it was fair to have someone write something up only to miss half the regular audience. However, we’re fluid here and after reading Angel’s post, I realized that this weekend isn’t just about strikes at Wal-Mart, moronic corporate executives at Target, or money. It’s about family. At least in the US. It was about family in Canada last month. As for the UK…um…every day is Family Day.

Reading Angel’s post gives me hope. It gives me hope that love and understanding is still alive in families and that if the next generation follows the examples she and so many of you are setting, we’re going to be okay. What amazes me even more is that she (Angel) sent this to me because she felt compelled to write it without even knowing if it would be featured as one of these posts. It couldn’t be more perfect. So with that, I give you Angel Martinez’s Face of Gay.

The Face of Gay 19 (Angel Martinez)

Mother Bear

The animal kingdom has an abundance of moms who eat their young, discard them when times are tough, or allow their stronger siblings to use them as food. Not Mama Bear. While other bears have no compunction about eating her cubs, she won’t do it. Mama Bear is ferocious where her babies are concerned and won’t back down from a fight over them.

To me, this behavior should be the norm among human moms as well. Historically, we’re fiercely protective of our young, going to absurd lengths to keep them from harm ad save them in times of disaster. In hard times, we give up food so our kids can eat. We stop buying shoes and clothes for ourselves so our kids don’t go without. So you’ll understand my shock, my dismay, my utter bafflement at mothers who are able to discard their children after the utterance of three little words:

“Mom, I’m gay.”

Seriously? Someone explain it to me. How can such a simple sentence turn all that fierce maternal instinct into those of a mother shark? Honestly, I don’t care what your religious or political beliefs are. I don’t care if you just dropped off the moon. This is your child we’re talking about, someone you gave birth to and raised, and suddenly everything changes and your love becomes conditional because of the gender of your child’s partner?

Stop it. Grow up. If you react in such a childish, hateful way, I can only assume that you never really loved your child in the first place. That you only saw your child as an extension of self, to be lived through vicariously. Shame on you.

My son (college age) came to me a few months ago and stood in the doorway of my study. He never does that. He barges right in with whatever he needs to say to me. “You have a minute?”

This is never a prelude to such innocuous conversations as “What’s for dinner?” He was clearly tense and my mom senses went into overdrive. Of course I had a minute. Or several hours. Or whatever he needed. He proceeded to tell me that he and his longtime friend from high school, a young man we know well and like very much, were seeing each other.

“Oh.” I said. “And how long have you been going out?”

“Three weeks.”

We had a long chat about how his boyfriend’s parents might react and how to tell his father and what to be careful of. He’s a sensible kid. I really didn’t have to tell him most of this stuff but it felt right and necessary to let him know that not only was this fine with me but that the maternal instincts had not in any way changed. He’s always been comfortable coming to me, so it speaks to how very difficult this announcement is for any young person since he agonized over it for three weeks before speaking up. My son. Who knows his mother will love him for who he is. Always. It hammered home the anguish and stomach-knotting trepidation some young men and women must endure when they gather the incredible courage to come out to a less than accepting family.

I wish I could be Mama Bear for all the young people out there who are afraid and hurting. I wish I could make it easier, to let you all know that you’re good people and that you deserve love and happiness.

Just remember that if they reject you for speaking the truth, if they can’t accept you and love you for who you are, it’s not because of you. You are not the problem. They are. Find yourself a Mama Bear if you need to. We’re out here, and our hearts have plenty of room to spare.

If you enjoyed today’s post, please let Angel know by leaving her a comment below. If you have a story of your own you’d like to share, then please contact me and let’s set it up.

The Previous 5 entries in the Face of Gay Series:

The Face of Gay 14 (David)
The Face of Gay 15 (Kharisma Rhayne)
The Face of Gay 16 (Adriana D’Apolito)
The Face of Gay 17 (Rick Reed)
The Face of Gay 18 (Julie L. Hayes)

ORIGINAL RESPONSES
Monique says:
November 24, 2012 at 9:32 am
I agree with you. When we have children we promise to love them always. I never understood how parents can trow away a child due to the fact they do not fit in to society’s mold. I have three boys and if anyone of them tell me they are gay then ok and I will love them as I always have.

Trust me when I tell you I have seen the abuse parents have done to their children when they find out they are gay and it is not pretty. So Angel congrats on being that Mamma Bear who loves their children unconditionally.

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Angel Martinez says:
November 24, 2012 at 12:16 pm
*hugs Monique* Thank you – I hear you. The percentage of young people who are homeless because of rejection due to gender identification issues is staggering.

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Silver says:
November 24, 2012 at 9:35 am
Angel you sound so much like me. That has been my argument for many years. How can a parent love their child with such silly conditions. It also reminds me of a conversation I had with my 16yr no so long ago. She said something along the lines of ” Mom you said you would love me no matter what right’? Sorry but my first thought was she was pregnant, in some kind of trouble or hurt herself trying to be a cutter.. So I responded “Yes Child Nothing you tell me Will change How i Live you”.
The next words out of her mouth made me spit my coffee not because of what they were but how she thought I would react.

“Mom I’m Bi”

I looked at her like she had grown a third head…

I looked at her and said AND? I have known this for a while..

She went on to tell me how long she knew and yada its not important what I think was important was How i reacted and How while it scares the hell out of me that she will face a lot of hate I know I got through she knows that it doesn’t matter to me then her happiness.

Angel Thank you for being a wonderful mom who gets it and Raised wonderful child/ren.

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Angel Martinez says:
November 24, 2012 at 12:17 pm
🙂 Knowing how and when to listen – good stuff, Silver. Thank you!

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Dorien says:
November 24, 2012 at 9:52 am
A really wonderful post, Angel (and kudos to Kage for presenting it). It should be read by as many people as possible! If more people read and took its message to heart, the world would indeed be a better place.

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Angel Martinez says:
November 24, 2012 at 12:19 pm
Thank you, Dorien and thank you, Kage, for posting. 🙂

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Jordan L. Hawk says:
November 24, 2012 at 10:11 am
A beautiful post, Angel.

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Angel Martinez says:
November 24, 2012 at 12:19 pm
Thank you, Jordan and thank you for stopping by!

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Janet Sidelinger says:
November 24, 2012 at 10:39 am
Thank you, Kage, for posting. Thank you, Angel, for sharing your story. I don’t understand parents who toss their children aside because of their sexuality.

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Angel Martinez says:
November 24, 2012 at 12:20 pm
Now if he’d come to me and said “Mom, I’m a Republican” things might have gone differently…

Kidding, just kidding. We’d simply have to talk about something other than politics at dinner 😀

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Kimber Kahn says:
November 24, 2012 at 11:00 am
First, let me say Thank you, Angel, for sharing your story. Kage, you were right on to post it today.

My oldest child is 23, currently living with her girlfriend, and I have yet to hear the words “Mom, I’m gay.” She has never actually come to me and said she was, but she didn’t need to either. When I first began to think that she might be, I started conversations about how I felt about homosexuals, how everyone deserved love, how who we love is our business as much as what happens in the bedroom is between the two (or more) people in the bedroom. These things are not anyone else’s business, and definitely not the sum of who and what we are.
I’m bi. Why on earth would I ever condemn another person for being different than me. I don’t understand people that can and will throw away a loved one over something that has no real effect on them.
*steps off soapbox*
Again, thank you both for a wonderful post. And, I love being a Mama Bear!

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Silver says:
November 24, 2012 at 11:10 am
Kimber well said… GO all mama bears!!!

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Angel Martinez says:
November 24, 2012 at 12:15 pm
Absolutely, Kimber – and you’re right. Our children learn from us by watching and listening, by seeing how we react to situations and how we treat others.

You’re a wonderful mom for being there even when the words were never expressly said! 🙂

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Lloyd.songal says:
November 24, 2012 at 12:25 pm
Very heartfelt read.
We need to see more of this out so more people can become more sensitive to everyones needs.
Don’t they realize they are only hurting themselves as well?
Thanx for posting this great piece Kage.
Very appropriate for the Holliday’s

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Angel Martinez says:
November 24, 2012 at 2:38 pm
I can only imagine, Lloyd – at some point these parents must have to look back in anguish when they realize they’ve lost their children. Sometimes irretrievably.

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Patricia Logan says:
November 24, 2012 at 1:19 pm
Great post Angel. I remember how happy you were when he first came out to you. I think you said that your happiness stemmed from the fact that he trusted you so much. It is so right that we as parents have a greater responsibility to them than just stuffing the piehole full of food and replacing their clothing as they grow. We have to love them unconditionally and support and nurture them. Well done girl!

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Angel Martinez says:
November 24, 2012 at 2:40 pm
Thank you, Patti, dear! And that’s oh so true – love them, nurture them, recognize that they’re individuals with their own dreams and desires.

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Ade says:
November 24, 2012 at 1:27 pm
What a beautiful post and insight Angie (Mama Bear)… it warms my heart that there are mothers out there like you who love their sons and daughters exactly as they are….

Sadly my mother was not able to show me that….. took a long time for me to be able to make peace with that as i thought it was about me.. and therefore felt even more shame about ‘not being like everyone else’. I broke off contact with her couple of years ago, as her desire for me to be like everyone else stayed the same, even though i had come out to her 15 years prior. She passed away earlier this year…. at the funeral people from her church prayed out loud that they ‘hoped the son will now do that which his mother wanted’…. so sadly even with her passing, the story did not change…..

Angie, your words give me comfort to know that even though i never experienced unconditional motherly love from my birth mother it does exist (thank goodness that i also have a foster mother and she is just like you and lets me know that i am okay exactly as i am).

Axx

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Ade says:
November 24, 2012 at 1:28 pm
…… and obviously i meant Angel…. 🙂 xx

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Tom says:
November 24, 2012 at 4:58 pm
This Thanksgiving, I am thankful for Angel.

For moms who love their kids, for kids who KNOW it’s okay to come out to those they love.

I’m thankful we’re so very close to this being a non-issue.

But I’m really, really thankful for wonderful friends, like Angel, who give me hope and love.

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Eden Winters says:
November 25, 2012 at 12:02 am
On my eighteenth birthday I was diagnosed with cancer. Thankfully, the mass wasn’t malignant after all, but the sad post-surgery verdict was that I’d never have children. How I grieved, wanting a child of my own some day.

My doctor’s dire words proved false, and I was blessed with two beautiful children that I vowed to raise the best I could. The fear that I’d never have them made them all the more precious. Each was a gift. I love them with my whole heart, and can’t imagine ever putting conditions on that love. They are their own people, and I learn as much from them as they learned from me.

If every man or woman experienced that longing for a child they could never have, then suddenly had their prayers answered, I wonder if any would reject their son or daughter. How can anyone not consider the precious child they created to be the most wonderful thing in the world?

I live for the day that coming out is no longer an issue. I’m a PFLAG Mama Bear, and it breaks my heart to hear young people at our meetings speak of unsupportive family. Don’t want your son or daughter ’cause they’re gay? Trust me, there’s plenty of mothers who think they’re perfect, and would love them like they deserve.

And you’re so very right, Angel. There’s nothing wrong with the child, but a whole lot wrong with the parent. I wonder if they even fully understand what love is.

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Katherine T. says:
November 25, 2012 at 9:03 am
Very true, indees, Angel. I have 2 girls and I hope they are lucky enough to find eeal love, no matter the person’s gender. I will fight for their right to that always. They are my babies and my biggest wish for them is to be happy and to love and be loved by whom ever they choose.
I hope, when the time comes, they will be comfortable enough to know they can share that decision with me and my love for them will not change. Too many children di not get that and it is very sad.
Thanks for sharing your story.

________________________
Kristoffer Gair (who formerly wrote under the pseudonym Kage Alan) is the Detroit-based author of Honor Unbound, A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To My Sexual Orientation, Andy Stevenson Vs. The Lord Of The Loins, Gaylias: Operation Thunderspell, several short stories featured in anthologies (to be combined in a forthcoming book), the novella Falling Awake (also to be re-published under his real name), and the upcoming Falling Awake II: Revenant.

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