Katy Bourne


Gay Pride, Proud Mom

POSTED ON June 23, 2012 | POSTED IN: My Blog | 25 Comments

 

My son came out to me in the form of a text.

I was working on my computer late one night last September. Enzo was staying at his dad’s house that particular evening. I had my nose deep into something I was writing when his text came in. The text, which was sent to both his father and me, was succinct, yet in my mind, absolutely beautiful. It said, “I’m gay. But I’m also very tired, so I’m going to bed. We can talk later if anything is needed to be said. I’m sure you both know already.” He went on to tell us how much he loved and respected us and to explain that he’d sent the text to both of us “to be fair.”  I replied, “I love & adore you, darling. Sleep tight & we’ll talk tomorrow. I am proud of you for being who you are!”

I was surprised and exhilarated. I was only surprised because at the particular moment when the text came in, my mind was miles away, wrapped around some copy I was wrestling with. The last thing that I expected was for my 13-year-old son to come out to me and via text at that.  But my surprise instantly gave way to pure joy and busting pride. As I read the words on my phone, I knew that it was a monumental moment in Enzo’s life. I was blissfully happy for him. If it hadn’t been 11 o’clock at night, I’m sure I would have run out to the grocery store, bought a cake and taken it over to Enzo. It was and is a celebration.

Enzo came out with guns a blazin.’ Shortly after he texted his father and me, he posted the news on Facebook. The next day, he informed his friends at school. He had already told a few privately prior to his coming out. I was blown away by his bravery and assuredness. He was strong, proud and unflinching. He later told me that he was a little scared but he wasn’t sure of what. However, he said that he knew he “came from a supportive household” and that everything would be OK. Needless to say, when he shared that particular sentiment with me, it was most definitely a soft puppies and butterfly kisses moment. I melted, drunk on mom love. And Enzo was right. I did already have a sense that he was gay. But I knew that it was his story to tell and in his own time.

From my perch, Enzo’s coming out has had a profound and empowering impact on him.  He moves through the world with more confidence and is completely comfortable in his own skin.  Whereas in the past he struggled academically, he totally turned things around this school year. (He’s discovered the benefits of math lab and study hall.) He’s pursued new interests, put himself out there and stepped up to the plate in a million new and exciting ways. He and a friend started a Gay-Straight Alliance at their school. He also attended a conference for kids on leadership and diversity. Of course, he is every bit a teenager; his room is a mess, his friends are everything and I, sad to say, am sometimes an enormous embarrassment, especially when I offer to show him some of my best dance moves.

 It takes a lot of courage to stand up and tell the world who you are. It’s something that many adults can’t even do. And for a young teenager, this process is even more complicated by social dynamics, changing hormones and peer issues. At a time in life when there is enormous pressure to fit in, it takes some balls to rock that boat and claim who you uniquely are without apology.  Enzo inspires me. He is the epitome of bravery. When I feel sacred or start to go wimpy over one thing or another, I think about Enzo. He reminds me what I’m made of.

It is Gay Pride weekend around the world and there are all kinds of events, parties and parades going on here in Seattle. Last year during Gay Pride, I asked Enzo if he would like to go downtown with me for the big parade. I had an inkling that it would be meaningful to him. He enthusiastically said “yes,” and donned his best Lady Gaga outfit for the occasion. It was a beautiful day full of vibrancy, color, joy and inclusion. Everywhere we went, people stopped to talk to Enzo, take his picture and give him a hug. One of my fondest memories of that day was when one of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence briefly ducked out of the parade to come up to Enzo and tell him that he was fabulous. The day was a lovefest like none other and I was happy that my blooming son had the opportunity to see and experience what Gay Pride is all about. I don’t know if the seeds of courage were planted that day but I am deeply grateful to the Seattle gay community for opening its arms to a young man who was on the cusp of joining it.

 For the record, no teenagers were mortified in the creation of this post. Enzo has not only given me permission to write about him but has actually encouraged me to do so. I am the proud mother of a gay son.  This is our story.

***

“…if you’re going to try, go all the way, there is no feeling like it, you will be alone with the gods and your nights will flame with fire, you will ride life straight to perfect laughter.”

– Charles Bukowski

Comments

25 responses to “Gay Pride, Proud Mom”

  1. Martha Bourne Edmands says:

    LOVE LOVE LOVE!!!

  2. Kathie says:

    I told Enzo last night that he was my hero and I meant it. I did not have the courage to do what he did at that age and really didn’t embrace who I am as a gay woman until my mid-40’s. Enzo is fabulous and amazing!

    • admin says:

      Very sweet, Kathie. I’m sure he was blown away when super cool you gave him those props. Thanks for sharing some of your wing with Enzo!

  3. Cynthia says:

    Keep it fierce and fabulous…both of ya!

    • admin says:

      Many thanks! And yes, we will keep it fierce & fabulous. (Er, to whatever extent I can do so w/o embarrassing the young lad. Ha!)

  4. AlohaDave says:

    Wow…just wow! To have such a great mom…with such an uber cool factor as a compass…is the greatest gift. Enzo may be a hero, but you are his heroine for sure. I feel like I’ve been a small part of Enzo’s journey from afar…but it’s amazing to read a mom’s perspective…because I’m always coming from the other side…a gay perspective. And how insightful, to mention that the Pride parade gave him what he needed most at that point in time. And how wonderful that a mother invited her gay son to the parade, before he came out to the world. What a gift. It doesn’t get any better than that. You both were on this journey together side by side…separate but equal in love & understanding. I think his text was perfect…& I’m sure there was much trepidation before he hit “send” that evening. Enzo has inspired all of us. And mom was the instrument for his success in coming out…and soaring with his personhood. Now that’s magic…& I shed some happy years reading this beautiful piece. Yet another gift…

    • admin says:

      This comment almost made me cry. You’ve been a big support and guiding hand, Davey. We both love you. I hope we all meet in person someday soon.

  5. Charity says:

    Beautifully written Katy. I am a little choked up. Proud of your boy and who he is and that we get to know both of you!

    • admin says:

      Thank you so much for the kindness and love. We are grateful to have you in our lives and as our neighbor!

  6. Wesley Davidson says:

    Katy, a testament to your love. Well-written. Enzo is lucky to have such an embracing Mom. Most outings do not go as smoothly.

    • admin says:

      Love really leads everything. When I trust that, most things seem to go smoothly. Thank you for commenting!

  7. Cat says:

    What a great story…

  8. Mary Klinger says:

    So touching…choked me up. Thanks for sharing such an eventful, rich, and happy moment between mother and son.

  9. Brian Brock says:

    Katy, I can’t think of a better mom. And largely because Enzo had the strength and self-awareness to come out not only to you and Charlie, but himself, at such a young age. What a lovely story. I’m inspired by Enzo. Happy Pride!

    xoBrian

  10. Kim Leslie says:

    What a wonderful story! I don’t know you or your kids, but your stories are always very life-affirming for me in some way. Living in Oklahoma, I fear for our young teens who are brave enough to “come out”. You must be doing a great job – kudos.

    Kim

    • admin says:

      Thank you for such kind words, Kim. You’ve touched on something really important here in your comments. I am painfully aware that for many, many kids coming out is not an easy or even safe process. There are numerous factors–from parents and families with hateful religious beliefs to hostile, intolerant and dangerous communities– that can make what should be a beautiful rite of passage a very risky & painful proposition. I am grateful that Enzo lives in a liberal, urban environment and is relatively safe. But trust me– I stay up nights worrying about LGBT youth who are not as fortunate. This is why organizations such as the Trevor Project (http://www.thetrevorproject.org/) are SO important. They serve as a lifeline for the sweet souls who are not yet free to live openly. I believe we must continue to support Trevor and other organizations like it and to also keep CELEBRATING LGBT youth everywhere until the sheer force of our blinding light extinguishes the cruel darkness of hatred.

  11. Ms Brown says:

    You are an inspiration. My teenage son came out last night and your story brought tears to my eyes. I consider myself a loving and open mom but I approached his news with fear. Fear for how others would respond; fear for his safety. He’s the love of my life and that will never change but I didn’t consider it a celebration and I’m ashamed. I wish I had read your post prior to our evening; it would have been a totally different experience. Unlike Enzo, he doesn’t want others to know and I agree that it’s his story to share. Although – I am PROUD and want to shout it out that he’s a strong gay man and I’m his mom.

    Thanks for sharing your story!!

    • admin says:

      Hi Ms. Brown,

      Thank you so much for reading the post and taking the time to comment. And congrats to your son for coming out to you! Given the world we live in, I think fear is a natural reaction for a parent of a LGBT child who has just come out. We know that there are people who would harass or even physically harm our kids just because of who they are. Concerns for safety are legitimate.

      But fear aside, there is so much to be happy about and grateful for when your kid comes out. Think of how much self-awareness he has and how much courage to come to you and to declare out loud who he is. I feel and hear your regret that your initial reaction wasn’t what you wish it was. But I think what’s important now is how you are moving forward. It sounds like your son isn’t quite ready to come out to the world just yet, but he felt safe and comfortable sharing with YOU. That’s huge! And I suspect with your ongoing love, support, encouragement and enthusiasm, he will eventually feel more empowered to fully come out someday soon.

      Thanks again for your comments. Please stay in touch. I think a lot about how we might be able to make the world a safer and kinder place for ALL LGBT youth. I’m full of big ideas & I will definitely need some help. Please hug your son from me!

  12. […] of a liberal community. He knew he would be OK and he is.  I was extremely proud of him and his coming out was truly a celebration. However, I am painfully aware that this is not the case for many of you. This reality keeps me up […]

  13. Eloise. says:

    Katie, my dear husband who is 78 years old and sort of a Marlboro Man by birth and enviornment, reacted with untroubled approval when President Obama announced his support of same-sex marriage.

    I was not actually surprised…we HAVE been married these fifty-some years and he WAS extraordinary from the moment we met. But yet. In some cases new ideas touch people in places we would not guess.

    So Bob’s reaction came as a welcome surprise and I was (once again) so proud of him. Bob is the strong, silent type. He does not chatter…is not talkative. But, honestly, he has never disappointed me.

    Add the two of us to the list who approves of Enzo and his journey that just begins as he opens himnself to the beautiful person he is.

  14. […] came out as gay when he was in middle school. Conversations about their gender identity have only come up […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Join Katy's Email List

© 2017 Katy Bourne | site by Origin Web Design | photos by Steve Korn

Katy Bourne is a Jazz Singer and Writer.