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A Mom's Conversation with Her Son About Growing Up Gay: VIDEO

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It would be wonderful if gay children didn't feel the need to hide the fact that they are being bullied, or feelings about their own sexuality, and it would be fantastic if parents knew how to identify those things from the beginning, but it often doesn't happen, and I expect many folks will identify with this clip.

It is, however, quite beautiful that this mother and son are able to have this conversation years later.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

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  1. In February I got a haircut just before a business trip, and my parents came to see me at my brother's house a couple days later, and arrived just after I'd awakened. My mother whispered something to my father, and I asked what she'd said. She'd told him I looked like Justin Bieber. I'm 39.

    The conversation here is great, though he seems a little immature. She seems like a fantastic mother; he still seems to be blaming her. My own mother wasn't nearly so protective, and I don't blame her for anything.

    Posted by: Paul R | Jul 26, 2011 10:53:45 AM


  2. very nice......great video

    Posted by: Gay American | Jul 26, 2011 11:15:56 AM


  3. @Paul R, I don't blame her at all. Not one bit. This was simply the first time we ever really talked about what it was that I went through as a child. We don't censor or edit in my family. But there is no blaming, there is only the sharing of experiences, and with that sharing comes the honesty of past pains. We acknowledge them in my family. But you're reading too deep if you're seeing "blame" - this is simply a frank and honest talk, my family understands this.

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Jul 26, 2011 11:15:59 AM


  4. that was beautiful.

    Posted by: walt | Jul 26, 2011 11:25:35 AM


  5. I think this is brilliant, and can identify with so much of your experience. Well done and thank you so much for sharing!

    Posted by: Geoff M | Jul 26, 2011 11:28:09 AM


  6. @little kiwi-

    I did not see any blame. I did see you talk over your mum a couple times which had me wanting to clap a hand over your adorable mouth- but I saw no blame there. I'm actually confused where Paul R is getting that from.

    Your mother seems to be absolutely delightful. The kind of lady who you really just want to give a big hug to. And you seem like a sweet guy yourself. Thank you for sharing this.

    Posted by: AedanCRoberts | Jul 26, 2011 11:35:19 AM


  7. WOW I really enjoyed this video. Not being a parent myself I wonder if parents are uncomfortable thinking of their child's own sexuality much like a child doesn't want to think of their parents sexuality with one another and that's may be why parents don't think "my child is gay" and stick on subjects like my child is gifted, my child is artistic. KIWI you have a great mom. Tell her we love her here on towleroad.com

    Posted by: another guy named Jeff | Jul 26, 2011 12:21:12 PM


  8. The guy in the video does seem a bit immature for the conversation, but that being said it seems to me his mom is blaming him for being bullied because he never shared it with his parents. What his mom neglects to talk about is why in the home was there never a discussion about gay people being equal, and that one should not bully them. It seemed like when she was talking about the hypothetical first black kid in the school, that that would then be the ideal time for the parents to discuss how we should not treat people of a different race badly just because they are of another race. Really? I was taught that before I even entered school, and I was born in 1965. However, I did hear all the time in my home a mixed message about gay people, an occasional tolerant but still less then us mentality,(you shouldn't laugh at them because their lives are pretty hard already being that way) but mostly the message was that is the last thing on earth you would want to be. That's the open, noncensored dialogue I would have like to have seen discussed, what was the discussion in the home like when he was a kid in regards to being gay? How did he think his parents would have received the news that kids at scholl were picking on him for being gay? How did it relate to what he heard in the home about gay people, to his not being honest with his parents about the bullying?

    Posted by: The Iron Orchard | Jul 26, 2011 12:35:42 PM


  9. I feel for the mom. It's obviously something that she wishes she could have helped, but the ignorance he imposed on her left her helpless. She feels guilty, knows she shouldn't because there was no way she could have known, but still wishes she could have protected her son.

    Posted by: Iko | Jul 26, 2011 1:16:56 PM


  10. To Iron Orchard: At the time he was growing up, and really until recently, parents themselves didn't have sufficient information to talk about gay children, really. Perhaps if they lived in a really big city like San Francisco or New York, and hung out with a certain kind of crowd. But his mom looks like one of the many kind, decent people throughout the country who, if they had the information, would have had the talk with their kids. She didn't fail here, in my opinion. She did the best she could with incomplete information. That it pains her now tells me that.

    Quite unlike my mother, who constantly harangued me about being a sissy, day in and day out. I knew not to mention what I was going through in school. Because once I did, and her response was, "What did you do to deserve it?"

    Posted by: kdknyc | Jul 26, 2011 1:37:50 PM


  11. @the Iron Orchard, the mom isn't blaming him so much as saying if they only knew what he was going through they could have been there for him. Helped him deal with the bullying but understandably he didn't say anything because he was afraid of what their reaction might be. It took me till I was 37 years old to come out to my parents and they were very accepting. Granted it took a little time to get used to the idea but still, as a child, you don't know what to expect and the fear of losing your family is tremendous. This video gave me tears. Its a great video and i laugh because the mom's examples of why they didn't know he was gay "because he wasn't interested in hair, and clothing and was a slob" is funny but typical. Everyone looks for the stereotype. The kids didn't pick on him in elementary cause they knew his sexual preference, which they didn't. They made fun of him for being different and that's the real problem in schools. Sexual orientation aside, we're not teaching our kids to be accepting period. And this a learned behavior for when you look at toddlers playing together, there is no animosity, just fun, regardless of how anyone looks or behaves.

    Posted by: matt | Jul 26, 2011 1:50:36 PM


  12. It was really great to be able to see this conversation! Thanks for making the video.

    Posted by: Thomas | Jul 26, 2011 1:54:33 PM


  13. Pretty sure I want to marry him... :P So cute!

    Posted by: Cody | Jul 26, 2011 2:25:03 PM


  14. Thanks for this video. It was a good conversation. You can see how the talking through it changes each of them. Being able to talk about things helps us come to deal with things.

    Also, I love the end--"You're and idot," priceless. And, being extremely superficial now, he's so cute.

    Posted by: apsalted | Jul 26, 2011 2:31:09 PM


  15. There's no blaming or "guilt" - from my mother or I. This video was from a few summers ago - our first real talk about what it was like for me as a child. I was a natural actor, as my Mum knew; I hid a lot. I think some people forget what it was like to be a child - the anti-gay bullying and teasing was humiliating at school, and from that pressure there was my shame. I simply didn't want my parents to feel "embarrassed" to have "the neighborhood fag" as their son. I pretended I had friends, I pretended everything was fine and dandy, because I was embarrassed to be "the gay kid" at school.

    I think we all, as children, put more weight into the opinions of our classmates and peers than our own families. We shouldn't, of course, but we do because we're children. We don't know how else to be. Heck, we freak out and think "our parents are going to kill us" if we fail a test. Not because our parents have said we're going to kill us, but because that's how children's minds work.

    My mother and father did not "fail" me at all, and while it is my own "fault" for not telling them what was going on, remember that this is about me as a child in the early 1990s. Being 11 years old in 1993 didn't exactly put me in a position to "know" what gay was. Do you all remember 1993? Not a whole lot of national dialogues about homosexuality back then.

    I think it's asking a lot of an 11 year old to open-up and say "Hi, Mum and Dad, i get called a faggot every day"

    At that age, I was too scared to know what to do, and so i retreated into hiding.
    Methinks some of you don't know children all too well ;-)

    As my Mum has said, we've taken my experiences and been proactive about them - my Mum (yes, the lady in the video) is now the president of PFLAG Toronto.

    She and my father are doing incredible outreach work, and indeed have devoted their retirement years to LGBT and social advocacy and activism.

    If you're curious, here's a video of my Mum speaking at Toronto City Hall on the National Day Against Homophobia & Transphobia.
    http://youtu.be/aXJdgGHgxG0

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Jul 26, 2011 3:59:51 PM


  16. WURK, RAY! We love ya.

    Posted by: Eugene | Jul 26, 2011 5:53:42 PM


  17. Nice to put a face & voice with the name! Thanks! (Some of us do remember 1993 -- we went to Washington for the march with a rather large contingent of students from my college! But those were college kids, not 11 year olds.)

    Posted by: KevinVT | Jul 26, 2011 7:16:03 PM


  18. Kids are kids. Parents, like this mother, are stupid to believe that kids are going to be the adults in a situation like this. Wake up parents. I told my son many times , that I love him, no matter what. Thats what parents need to give their children. Total unconditional love. This mother is a dolt imo, although, lot a lot of mothers.

    Posted by: ViAgra | Jul 26, 2011 7:35:19 PM


  19. I'm not sure I would go so far as to call the mother a dolt, but I do agree with Iron Orchard and Viagra, in that the mother seems to be subtly blaming the kid for not coming forward sooner - like when he was 10 for crying out loud. However, she is open minded and loves her gay son, so slack should be cut

    Posted by: J H Robbins | Jul 27, 2011 2:13:39 AM


  20. People read into this too much, it appears to me to be a wonderful conversation between mother and son. Thanks so much for giving this guy's videos some recognition, I have been subscribed to him forever on YouTube.

    Posted by: WayneMPLS | Jul 27, 2011 9:05:37 AM


  21. I'm stunned at people taking issue with my mother from this video....wow. Curious: did your mothers and fathers have talks with you about LGBT people in 1993, when YOU were 10/11?

    We posted this video to highlight this disconnect - the "missing dialogues" that are very much needed in families. That's why we posted this, to show what's not being said and what NEEDS to be said, and addressed and worked toward.

    For what it's worth, in my teens there were indeed dialogues about LGBT people in my family - discussions about gay family friends, and lGBT people in our community and neighborhood. Those things are indeed what helped me Come Out, fully, while I was still a high school student. My parents sat with my boyfriend at my highschool graduation.

    The entire point of sharing this video was to highlight the dialogues that are not happening in many families, that need to be happening. I'm frankly stunned at how some of you have taken it so negatively. Oh well, I still wouldn't trade my family for anything. My parents are gems.

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Jul 27, 2011 9:58:59 AM


  22. I don't think she was blaming him. It sounded to me as if she was trying to say that he didn't do the things that, at the time, she (and society) expected from gay kids. So while maybe she "knew", there was enough doubt and uncertainty to not confront it fully.

    Posted by: Dylan | Jul 27, 2011 2:12:17 PM


  23. exactly, Dylan. the whole point is that there is indeed a disconnect from knowing "what to do" when it comes to parents and LGBT Children.

    as my mum and i said in the video, there is a need to actually have inclusivity dialogues within the family. talks about diversity. she didn't know what to do as a parent nearly 20 years ago, and I didn't know what to do as a gay kid nearly 20 years ago. That's why we're sharing this video - in hopes others will see that there are indeed things that can, and should, be done and talked about.

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Jul 27, 2011 2:55:47 PM


  24. Kids are kids. Parents, like this mother, are stupid to believe that kids are going to be the adults in a situation like this. Wake up parents. I told my son many times , that I love him, no matter what. Thats what parents need to give their children. Total unconditional love. This mother is a dolt imo, although, lot a lot of mothers.

    Posted by: kamagra | Nov 2, 2011 9:51:06 AM


  25. Nice to put a face & voice with the name! Thanks! (Some of us do remember 1993 -- we went to Washington for the march with a rather large contingent of students from my college!

    Posted by: viagra without prescription | Nov 2, 2011 9:55:23 AM


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