June is Pride month. Today this photo came up on my memories today. I took this photo four years ago and it still feels like it was just yesterday. So much has changed since I took this photo but it remains one of my all time favorites. It is a constant reminder of so many things…..
LGBTQIA Pride Month is celebrated each year in June to honor the 1969 Stonewall riots, and works to achieve equal justice and equal opportunity for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex and asexual (LGBTQIA) Americans. The Stonewall Riots were led by Marsha B. Johnson, a black, trans woman and drag queen. If you are not familiar with that part of history, you can learn more about her and Stonewall here. Pride Month is a month that shines a spotlight on love.
Pride month often a time when people choose to share their stories of coming out in order to live their truth. Should people ever have to “come out” or “stay hidden”? No….but that is another conversation for another day.
My story is that of an ally. My son is gay. I have know that he was gay since he was a toddler. Call it “Mother’s Intuition” but I have always known. His story is his to tell and he tells it in his own way every day.
This is about being the mom of an LGBTQIA child and ally. I am frequently asked, “How do you do it?” and “What should I do? I think my child is gay.”
Well, you love your child. You support that child. You give up the false narrative of what life is “supposed” to be like and you love the child in front of you. You allow your child to lead you and you support your child. If your faith does not support your child, then you find another, more affirming, faith community. If your spouse does not support your child, then it is time to take a serious look at your priorities.
Since the day I found out I was pregnant, I have said that my has a special purpose.
I continue to believe that, as each day he reveals more of who he is becoming. Each day he teaches me something new about life and himself. Each day he teaches me to be a better Ally and Proud Mom. Trust me…..he lets me know when I mess up too and, well, this mom makes plenty of mistakes. He does not mince words and often cuts me to my core but I lean and grow and am a better human for it all.
As a single mom, I am careful who I bring in to my life. Why? Because my son, and all my children, come first before any relationship.
I read a lot. I am in support groups with other parents listening and learning and sometimes sharing what I know. I participate and support when and where I can. Being an educated, compassionate ally is difficult but so worthwhile.
There are so many resources for LQBTQIA+ youth now. So many groups and so much support. That is not to say that bullying and hate does not happen. It does. It happens to our young people as well as those that are older. It has gotten better but it is not gone….just sometimes harder to see.
This is why I partner and volunteer with Free Mom Hugs. This organization is a group of affirming parents and allies who love the LGBTQ+ community unconditionally. They are dedicated to educating families, church, and civic leaders encouraging them to not only affirm the LGBTQ+ community but to celebrate them. Each year at pride I walk in the parade just giving hugs and listening to the spoken and unspoken words of so many. I have heard stories….so many stories. Some bring tears of joy and some bring the tears of searing pain. But it is in those moments, there is so much LOVE. Love, acceptance and affirmation…..and did I mention LOVE?
This year we pause the parades but not the Pride. We pause the “together in person” but not the support. We pause the hugs but not the LOVE!
If you are someone in need of a virtual hug, a listening ear, or just to be seen. I am here for you. If you need support and do not know where to turn for help. I am here for you. If you are a parent who is learning to navigate a different path and want a friend to walk with you. I am here for you. I am here for you. My head and heart are judgment free zones. I may not have all the answers for you, but I can help find resources that will not only help you but others as well.
Back to the picture….my boy running forward, letting his Pride flag fly…..may we all run into the future with such joy and Pride!
Peace –