I am out. I am proud to be who I am. I am out to anyone who asks—except my mother. I want to come out to her. I am beyond ready to be out to her. However, I am terrified of what she’ll think of me. I am terrified that she will hate me, disown me, and want nothing to do with me. I am terrified of the way she will see me after I tell her. I am terrified that she will just tolerate me, and not love me.
My mom and I have always had an interesting relationship. Growing up, my dad used to say we were like water and oil, basically meaning we were too different to understand each other. I have always been considered the black sheep of my family: misunderstood, set in my ways, very independent, and unapologetic about my opinions. This caused my mother and I to butt heads A LOT! This fact, among other factors, really strained our relationship. One of the biggest reasons I left home and came to UAlbany, was to escape that, and it really did help. She let me become more independent, let go of my leash a little. Now, we are at a really good place. I love my mom and I love our relationship now. That’s what makes it SO much harder to tell her about my sexuality.
My mother is a devout, Roman Catholic. She is a very traditional person, being that she was born and raised in the Dominican Republic. She is pro-life, I am pro-choice. She is very religious, and I choose not to identify with any religion. Our ideologies don’t mix, like water and oil. She genuinely believes that homosexuality is wrong, not what God intended, and that whoever is a homosexual is condemned to hell for all of eternity. And whenever I try to talk to her about it, she says things like “gay people are fine, but that doesn’t mean I want one in my family. No one wants one of those in their family.” Or when watching TV and two girls or two boys kiss, she makes a face. If she acts that way towards it, how can I ever feel comfortable being myself around my own mother?
The only person in my family who knows is my brother. I came out to him very recently, actually. It had been at least a year and a half since I had last seen him. He’s studying immunology and doing extensive research at Stanford in California since July of 2015, but he came home for Thanksgiving last year. It started off as any other conversation, discussing how life was, as it led into more complexities about our parents. I said that there were certain things I unfortunately don’t feel comfortable sharing with our parents, and he told me I could tell him anything. So I did. It felt like such a weight lifted from my shoulders. His reaction made it ten times better. He promised me he would be there when I decided to tell our parents, and just offered his support. It feels good to have at least one family member in my corner.
I don’t feel like I owe it to anyone besides my parents and my brother to come out. I don’t care what my other family members will think, and I don’t care how they find out. I already know most of them won’t approve, or will disagree with it. The gag is, though, I don’t really mind. The way I see it, if they want to let it affect the way they see me, that’s their problem, their loss.
What bothers me the most about not being out to my mom, is that I can’t just call her when I come home from a date and tell her all about it. I can’t bring a girlfriend home to her right now. She can’t comfort me if I get my heart broken. That’s definitely the hardest part. I haven’t spoken to her in a few weeks, because I feel guilty. I feel bad because I know if she knew the way I am living my life, the way I have choosing to embrace my sexuality and act on it, she would be upset by it. I feel horrible for keeping such a big part of my life hidden from her. She deserves to know.
I just hope one day, soon, I can gather the courage necessary to tell her, and to deal with her reaction. She is the last hanger in my closet, and it’s about time I finished cleaning it out.