An old story about Kate Winslet’s 7-year-old son admitting that he could be gay was brought to my attention recently. It led to me to think about how I would feel if either of my sons were gay and how I would react to their admission.
I wasn’t raised under any particular belief but as a Black woman, it was simply understood that I was a Christian because that’s what Black people are. As I grew older I made a conscious choice to live my life according to Christian principles, and I did for a few years. During that time, just after I had my two sons, I was heavily indoctrinated into Christianity by what I would now call a cult. There were expressed rules, code words and a sense of family that outsiders didn’t understand. They called themselves my spiritual authority and taught us that we should not make any decision without their approval.
I bought it. I drank the Kool-Aid. I desperately wanted to be approved so much that I did bend to their whim. It took me a few years to wake up and realize that no one should make the rules for my life but me.
In my rebellion, headed in the other direction, I decided to ignore the existence of a higher power and became agnostic, not caring one way or the other if I was going to be judged or not. It’s strange how during this time I made the most peace with who I am, recognizing and accepting my attraction for some women, deciding to kick off the constraints of the expectations forced on me by others and even breaking a few rules that I had made for myself.
Freedom. It tasted so good in my mouth. The touch of it soothed my finger tips and I couldn’t get enough. I could really decide for myself what my beliefs would be without having to depend on an intermediary? The thought boggled my mind yet quenched my thirst in a life where I felt I had to find guidance or I would perish. Not anymore. I am now strong enough to guide myself. I can choose for myself. The choice is really mine.
What does any of this have to do with my sons being gay? Well, it has everything to do with it. If either one of my sons were to come to me and express that they were same-gender loving, they would probably do so with no trepidation because they know that mommy is a cheerleader for everyone who wants to do what makes them happy.
I have already had a conversation with my sons about homosexuality. I had to when I admitted to them that I was attracted to women. Since then I have pointed out several people that we know who are same-gender loving and happy because of it. I've told them that whoever they are with, there are certain qualities they should expect, and gender should not be a part of that.
I don’t encourage them to be homosexual because I know that homosexuality is not a choice. It is a natural attraction to the same gender that can not be turned off. Instead, I encourage them to understand that everyone has a right to love who they want, and love is never wrong when it is between two mature adults.
If my son were gay, I hope he will be the happiest gay man alive. He has my permission starting right now to never feel he has to live under someone else’s rules for how life should be lived. There is no such thing as a spiritual authority. There is no punishment. There is no hell. There is no one to judge you when you die. I share this with them because I want to witness their true character, not the fear-based character we develop as we anticipate an eternal punishment or reward in an afterlife.
Who are you without the fear of eternal damnation? Would you be willing to love who you wanted to love? I believe you would. For my two sons, who have yet to pick a side, as long as the person they love respects their opinions and supports their goals like I do, I wouldn’t give a damn if it were a man or a woman. Either way, I’ll be the one walking them down the aisle.
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