When my son told me he was gay, I had a lot of questions for him, but acceptance was instant. Not that it has been easy in a small country town – my first reaction was thank God he has moved to the city. Country towns can be very narrow-minded about what is right and what is wrong; you have to be a man’s man to make it. My son should have been allowed to be himself and not have to hide it until he moved.
For me, I was first concerned about how the people here would now view him, would they treat him the same, as he hadn’t changed, or would the nastiest come out? Would they shun him, in other words? The mother’s claws came out to protect my son from things that might never occur. Then of course it was what people would think of me, will they treat me differently, shun me just because my son is gay. It has taken time to get to the point that I don’t care if they do shun me – I love my son and if they are too narrow-minded that is their problem, not mine. I still don’t come straight out and say that he is gay in this community, but now if I am asked how he is going and does he have a girlfriend, I don’t avoid it and state he has a lovely boyfriend and they are very happy together.
In a small town you still avoid asking questions that might embarrass you, or get a response that you really don’t want to know, so not many people have been game to ask me. Which does surprise me, especially seeing he and I worked together for years plus people are always interested in others people’s business: I find this point very amusing!
Out of town when asked I state straight away that I have a gay son. The reactions you get are varied and usually not what you expect. This has allowed me to practice and prepare myself for the reactions of this town. I know that I am strong enough to handle anything people in this town can throw at me. I have adjusted and am very proud of my children in every way. I am also very thankful that it is now 2011 and the acceptance of gay people is more readily done. I feel for those from years ago that were in the generation when it was taboo to even think about being gay. To all the families that have gay children in small towns: be proud, they haven’t changed in any way, allow yourself adjustment time but love your child instantly, they need all the support you can supply.