It began when my son came out as Gay during his senior year in high school. My husband quit talking to him, although living in the same house. That only increased my commitment to support him–I loved this creative, sensitive, gifted son.
I learned from books and movies about LGBT issues and culture. I helped where I could as my son found his new community and went off to college. I feared for his safety and future. I mourned the loss of grandchildren I would not have. And I felt loss and grief when I slowly shared with relatives and family friends and saw relationships change.
The losses and grief expanded to include my marriage. We divorced. I ended this already broken family: I did that, I, the one who planned to be married forever. I felt strongly led to end this marriage, not be a party to anger, and do what was right. I felt God leading me to a healthy new life where I would stand on my own. I was scared, continued to sit in silent worship daily, and followed those leadings and nudges toward divorce for nine months.
I continued learning about gay culture and saw a movie about two women falling in love. I suddenly knew that I, too, was gay. I was a lesbian. Who? Me? I’m not one of them … don’t act like them … don’t dress like them … NO! I only agreed to divorce. I’m just supporting my son. I did not leave my marriage to become a lesbian!!!! NO! I was angry! This felt like a cruel joke. And I wanted no part of the pain I’d witnessed with my son.
But a paradigm shift has no reverse. I could not deny this new insight about myself. Looking back, I saw I always was lesbian. But now, what would happen to me? What would people think? How would I talk with people? work? live? tell the relatives? friends? One morning, I awoke with the devastating awareness that I could get killed for being myself. A lesbian and also a gay man had been killed, nearby, recently. I felt alone, unsafe, disconnected and confused. I now had a secret. Who could I tell? That year was very long as I worked through many dilemmas. I lost friends, others became distant, and family relationships changed again. I worked to integrate my new self with my old self. I sought out others as I needed support, wisdom, guidance, and friendship on this new path. In the stillness of silent worship I suddenly noticed more space within, more openness. I could hear my inner voice more clearly. When I no longer blocked inner nudges, awarenesses, likes and dislikes, preferences, then the inner voice became stronger.
Gradually joy crept in. I came into new life, unexpectedly. My world and awareness expanded. Those changes were hard. And life today is hard when inclusion in community, friendship, and family are threatened or denied; these are basic stabilizing and meaningful elements in my life. But I am also grateful today to be living with new understanding, integrity and honesty. As I learn to know myself, I become the person God created. I am not like everyone else; I am to be me.