A Mother's Story

Coming from a black family I always knew that homosexuality was frowned upon in our culture.  I never thought in a million years that one day my lovely son would tell me he is gay, much less that I would have a gay child, I just can’t believe it, that it’s true, my son!! After my son told me, I hugged him and said I suspected he was going to tell me he is gay.  I also told him that I love him very much and want him to be happy; we talked about it for a while.

My son whispered ‘I’m gay’ in my ear whilst hugging me, earlier that day he told me that he had something to tell me.  I was scared because I suspected and had a strong feeling of what he was about to tell me!!  I became weak and nervous I felt my heart stop for a minute, I couldn’t think straight and became panicky. Whilst in my bedroom I prayed and prayed that he was going to tell me something else.  I didn’t want to hear what I knew he was about to say and tried to avoid the evitable. 

I cried every day for three weeks and even today over a year now I am still struggling to accept the fact my son is gay and can become quite emotional.

What upset me the most is the thought of what he went through over the years prior to telling me – anxiety, depression, weight loss, moody, itchy body and at times not even speaking to me or his older brother, he even got baptized perhaps to wash it all away.  It must have been extremely hard for him keeping his feelings tucked inside and coming to terms with his sexuality knowing that it is frowned upon especially in the black culture and the thought of having to tell his family. 

There were two separate occasions that caused me to suspect my son was gay, the first one I dismissed it and forgot about it for a few years. The second occasion made me realise for certain that he might be gay, from that day forward until the day my son told me he was gay, I prayed, I prayed hard.  I didn’t want it to be true!!

I thought it was my fault my son is gay; I thought I’d done something wrong and wished my son was still a little boy. I just couldn’t understand it and kept asking myself ‘Why’?

Other than my family, I have not told a sole about my son and struggle to tell anyone for fear of my son being rejected, friends being shocked and his sexuality discussed among so called friends as ‘gossip’.  My family have been extremely supportive, caring and understanding; they have embraced my son, he is loved by us all. 

Being ‘gay’ in the black culture is not easy, it’s deemed to be repulsive and just not accepted. I don’t want my son ridiculed and I am forever fearful for his safety and pray every night that he will not be harmed in any way whether verbally or physically. 

I want to say to the black families that you don’t have to suffer on your own. Many months after my son told me, I searched the internet for a support group for parents of gay children and came across Families Together London (FTL) which is part of FFLAG.  FTL is a support group who meet once a month and has helped me immensely; you don’t have to feel isolated or alone.  You are among parents in the same situation who can identify with your pain, your thoughts and feelings.

Its early days for me but some day I hope I will get through it and you will too. 

A mother who loves her son dearly - name withheld

Ruby Lee