My mother is gay, but she does not know I know. About two years ago at Christmas I found a card from her “roommate”, stating she has a hard time when the kids are around because she cannot express her feelings towards my mother.
This letter did not come as a big shock to me, since they have been living together for seven years. I guess my question is, should I just leave well enough alone? Or would it be better to get this out in the open?
I feel my mother is afraid we will not love her anymore. This is not true. I am just glad to see her finally happy in life, but she avoids her family.
I know the best thing to do is to let her know we are OK with this, but I just can’t get up enough nerve to do this. I am so afraid of the initial confrontation.
Your question seems to be more about how to talk to your mother about this rather than if you should at all. You said yourself that your mom is avoiding her family — that’s what closeted people have to do to avoid getting “caught.” If you and your mom and her “roommate” continue to not acknowledge their relationship, she will become more of a stranger to you as years pass.
While it should be the parent’s role to come out to a child, sometimes the child is put in the difficult position of coaxing the parent to come out.
I hear from lots of parents who don’t officially come out to their children. The most frequent reasons they give are:
1) My kids would reject me if they knew.
2) It’s so obvious, it doesn’t need to be said. (This is most commonly said by semi-closeted parents who have a long-term “roommate.”)
3) If my kids wanted to know, they would ask.
Starting the conversation is the hardest part. It might be awkward and uncomfortable for a while, but once you get going, you’ll be glad you did. That’s not to say that everything will go smoothly; even though neither of you will have no more information than before, there will mostly likely still be an adjustment period.
It can be helpful to talk about a similar situation that does not directly affect your family — like a gay-themed movie, or a current gay-rights issue in the newspaper — so that you can express your supportive views first, rather than feeling like you are confronting her. Then you could try something like, “I understand that sometimes lesbian parents keep their life a secret from their children because they are afraid their kids will reject them. Does that resonate with you?”
Or maybe you could give her a link to this page with a subject line that says, “Mom, I love you. Let’s talk.”