Coming out isn’t always a tale of acceptance and unconditional love. For some it can be the reason a family gets torn apart.
I was one of the lucky ones. I told my mother I was gay at 18 years old and the conversation was, to be honest, a little underwhelming. I expected tears, hugs and possibly a piñata – I didn’t get any of them. I had always been open with my friends about my sexuality, and I knew my family was always aware that I was different, after all I owned a Pocahontas outfit.
One evening my friends and I were discussing why I hadn’t told my mother and I couldn’t come up with an excuse to satisfy my friends. After a couple of drinks, I vowed I would tell my mother that very night. As a reward, my friends said they would take me out that night, and I wouldn’t have to spend a penny (is there any better incentive?)
So when I got home, I told my mother I needed to talk to her and she said “Do I need to turn the TV off?” I sat awkwardly on the sofa with my knees in my mouth just looking at her. I couldn’t start the conversation, not out of worry or concern, but because I knew once I said it, I couldn’t take it back.
“Do you like boys?”
I had a feeling my mother would be fine with what I had to say, but there is always a tiny bit of doubt. “Shall I start this conversation?” she said to me after what felt like a life time of silence. I didn’t even say yes, I just nodded. “Do you like boys?” she said. I couldn’t help but giggle and nod. And that was the end of the conversation. I have a rather large family; three older sisters and two younger brothers. Every single one of my sisters replied to my group text saying, “Did you think we didn’t know?”
While the coming out aspect went well, one of the first things my mother said was, “Will you ever have kids?” And it got me thinking. After growing up in a large family, I was certain I was going to have children, but I had never thought about how. In my head, even though I knew I was gay, I was going to have a child with the woman I loved carrying our baby. I would be there everyday to see the bump grow and develop.
It wasn’t until mother asked if I wanted children that I actually realised, men can’t carry babies. I’m not really a crier, but there are two things that can make me cry instantly – mothers crying and anything to do with babies. If I see a cute baby in the street, I bawl. If I see a pregnant woman, I flood the street.
“It wasn’t until mother asked if I wanted children that I actually realised, men can’t carry babies.”
Being 18 and thinking about how I’m going to have children is a scary prospect. I couldn’t help but think I was going to miss out on one of the most beautiful parts of life. To watch the person you love carrying your baby. It made me feel sad. I’m 21 now and completely okay with the idea of adoption. I’ve never been against adoption or surrogacy. I just always wanted to experience being around a growing belly.
When I was about 20 years old, I realised, there are so many children waiting to be adopted and to know what unconditional love feels like and I’m happy to give any child that feeling. Of course, I’m still very young and am in no position to have a child just yet, I can barely feed my dog! But I look forward to being able to care for a child and to teach him or her acceptance and love.
The most difficult part of coming out for me, was losing the ‘magical’ experience of sharing pregnancy with someone I love, which a lot of people in my position don’t even think about. Coming out is difficult for a lot of people for different reasons, but in the end you adapt and you grow, and that doesn’t mean your life is any less special than anyone else’s. Be you, you’re pretty cool.
Words by Mason Dean