I wanted to write a little bit about when I origionally came out. Many of my friends probably have never heard this story, since it happened long before I told them that I was gay.
You see unlike most people, I told my mom long before I told any of my long-time friends…. at least 6 years earlier. I don’t know, but I had the idea at the time that your mom would love you no matter what, but you can choose your friends (and they can choose you as well). I was afraid for a long time and tried to avoid telling them until I was in college. I found out later that this was a mistake and I underestimated my friends, but this is not a story about that.
This story is a nice one, about my mother’s suprising reaction when I first told her that I was gay. I was 14 at the time (yes, 14… I knew this when I was young) and we were on the way to school. At the time I was attending a small Catholic school up the penunsula near Palo Alto. This was a 50 minute drive and we would regurlarly grab breakfast in the morning on the way to school. On that day we were going to McDonalds to get pancakes. This is still a breakfast I will get quite often because (saddly) McDonalds is one of the better places to get pancakes in Taiwan.
After I grabbed both of our breakfasts and headed back to the car we pulled out of the parking lot and headed back towards the freeway via surface streets. I decided I should tell her then so I said “Mom, pull over the car, I have something to tell you and you shouldn’t be driving when I say this.”
I think she heard the seriousness in my voice and pulled over. When the car was safely parked I began to tell her. Yes, I was very scared but I felt that I could tell her anything. I said “Mom, I am gay.” It was as simple as that. No long explination, just a simple statement.
There was silence in the car for some time. This silence made me worry, but she was just thinking about how she can respond to that. Her responce still suprises me to this day. What my mom said was “Jim, thats OK, but you still have to do your homework.”
She was one of the most non-judgemental people I ever knew, and no matter what, she said she would love me. Later she did ask me if it was just a “phase” but when I told her no, she accepted that.
I know many gay men do not have a positive story like this when they told their family, but I was just lucky enough to have such a loving and supportive one.