Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Coming out, 21st century style

My teen-aged twin daughters came out to me today. Here's how it went:

(Mother and daughter sitting on the front porch on a quiet summer morning. Off stage the sound of an occasional car going by. Sun shines through a tall rhododendron, which screens them from the street.)
Me: "So, are you and N. dating?"
R: "Yeah. I was going to tell you...."
Me: "And you know that's totally fine with us, right?"
R: "Yeah. I know."
Me: "Good. What about Z? I haven't seen her for a while."
R: "She's on vacation. She and S. are.... I don't know."
Me: (Nodding) "When are you guys going out shopping today?"

Not exactly high drama, right? Which is as it should be, I guess. Honestly, I've been ready to join PFLAG since they were four and S. announced to me, "I don't want to ever get married, ever get pregnant, ever wear a dress again, or ever have breasts!" (To which I replied, "That's all fine with me, but you ARE going to have breasts. They'll be small though, since you're Asian.") And I have to admit that I suspected something was up before that, when they went through a phase of drawing pictures of themselves with penises. They would draw those cute circle bodies with eyes, nose, mouth, stick arms, and a little stick penis, then show me the picture saying, "This is me, with a penis!"
I remember saying, "But S., you don't have a penis. You could draw yourself with a vagina...."
"But I WANT to draw myself with a penis!"
No, Mr. Freud, it's not what you think.

The funny thing is that after (or because of?) all this emotional prepping and gearing up to be the MOST supportive parent ever!!!!!!!, I don't think they'll want me to join PFLAG. They're low-key girls who don't like making a big deal about much of anything. I'll ask them, but my guess is that they'll say, "Ummm... no...."

So welcome to the 21st century. We're here and we're queer, but we don't really want to make a big deal about it.


Willym said...

That's the way it should be and sadly so often isn't. Big hugs going your way.. and you know you are the most supportive parent ever without joining anything.



sageweb said...

Very cool of you...I wish more moms were like you. The coming generation is very open to things I hope it gets better for everyone. Wouldn't it be nice to not have to come out, that it is normal in the world to date anyone you wish?

Paul said...

How totally awesome! My Mom (who is 78), in a recent conversation after MUCH discussion about the BF who lives on the other side of the continent (and my Mom is totally ok with my moving there if that's where this all goes) said "I just don't understand parents who can just throw their children out over something as trivial as this! You're my son, and I love you no matter what!" I do not expect her to join PLFAG either, unless she really wants to. Also, her new neighbor across the hall in her apartments building, Stewart, is gay, and they're having a great time together (a very good thing for my Mom, I think!). SO, good for you, Elizabeth, and good for them for being so comfortable to tell you!!! *hugs*

Kathleen said...

Elizabeth, you absolutely rock! That is the coolest coming out story I think I've ever heard,

Elizabeth said...

Thanks all. Who knew that during those seemingly frivolous years going dancing with the boys on Castro Street I was actually learning to be a more open and loving mother! Really, it should be a required part of all parent-training programs.

Doralong said...

Reminds me of when my sister came out- it was like "Um, this really isn't news honey. Pass the potatoes please."

It's great the girls have such a loving and supportive family. If only that was the norm instead of the exception... But as the old saying goes, the times they are a changing. I think our generation by and large (with those obvious fundamentalists excepted) is going to be far more understanding and supportive of out kids in that regard.

yellowdog granny said...

i hope by the time they find a life partner they will be able to marry just like them ole hetrosexuals..
and I think you rock...

ayem8y said...

Amazing. Oh by the way I’m gay...next. If only it could be so simple for everyone not to have conflict with such realizations. It’s been standard here in the south to go through many stages like grief. Misery, Denial, Forced Conformity, Dread, Born Again Christian, Backslider, First Gay Bar, Full Blown Drag Queen, Settle Down, First partner, First Break-up, First Pride, Fully Actualized Queer.

My girlfriends gay nephew (We knew since he was three) Told his parents face to face then sent email announcements to the rest of the immediate family all in one tidy afternoon.

My parents are happy in denial and still don’t want to know that their 40 something unmarried son is gay.

The younger generations what with their tattoos, piercings and freedom...

Dr. Monkey Von Monkerstein said...

You are the coolest mom ever. And BTW, I'm a member of PFLAG.

a thousand shades of twilight said...

Oh frabjous day, calloo callay, he chortled in his joy...
Hoorah for you, for the twins and for your Big Gay House! This has made my day, no my week! Can I just echo the sentiments above and say you well and truly doth rock. Your kids have won the lottery in the gay-friendly parent stakes!
The words "no big deal" are music to my homosexual ears...


jason said...

oh wow!

How wonderful it would be to have you as a mom, that's all I can think .

Miss Janey said...

Wonderful for everyone, Miss Elizabeth.

Elizabeth said...

Dora - That's pretty progressive of them! When was this? Was she an adult?

Granny - All I want is for them, and for all my children, to have a life full of love.

Ayem8y - Someone I love very much tried to kill himself when he was young because he was gay. Heartbreaking. It's not just the South! Though my grandmother, a nice Southern Lady, had a doctor she just Looooved! "He's as nice as he can be and a confirmed bachelor" she'd tell people. Denial ain't just a river in Egypt, right?

Dr. Monkey - They're amazing kids, so it's easy to be a "cool mom."

1000 shades - Maybe I'll get a doormat that says "WELCOME! To our Big Gay House!" The twins are such great kids (straight A's, artistically and musically talented), that I don't normally think that they are lucky to have us as parents. But I actually have met the couple who would have been in line to adopt them had we not jumped the queue and requested twins. They're devout Christians and dress their girls in the frilliest girl clothes you can imagine. So in this case, I think fate worked things out pretty well for all of us.

jason - thanks

Miss Janey - Exactly!

more cowbell said...

hey E, forget PFLAG - as the Bohemian said to me, "Please, Anyu -- joining PFLAG would be like joining the PTA. So not you." We'll start our own group. For parents who don't give a flying fart either way. Kids happy? Cool. Whatever.

The Bohemian identifies as pansexual. She's currently dating her first 'serious' significant other. She plans to bring her out to meet us in August! The SO just finished dentistry school and was officially awarded her white coat - even got the Bohemian to submit to fillings. A winner in my book; I couldn't get the child to go to the dentist to save my life once she left home.

Last year there was this chick who liked the Bohemian, but she was closeted, mostly b/c her parents were religious uptights. The girl asked the Bohemian how she "broke the news" to me. The Bohemian thought about it, and said something like, "I'm really not sure ... I don't think there was a definitive moment ... it wasn't that big of a deal, I guess." The girl was shocked, and is, as far as we know, still in denial about being gay.

Sad, all the people who have to hide who they are from their parents. And for what?

KidKudos to the twins.