Friday, January 13, 2012

What Else Could a Mother Do?

As I prepared some material to post here this morning, I was listening to NPR’s Morning Edition. When this story came on, I found myself unable to continue work, and ended up in tears:

Threats and Lies, and “Who I’m Supposed to Be”

Go listen, or read the transcript. (The transcript has important info that is not in the recorded segment; I recommend reading and listening, so you can get all the info and hear him tell the story in his own voice.)

If you are not in tears at the end, then you have a heart of stone. If you do not ache for this man’s struggle to reconcile his acceptance of himself with his mother’s rejection, then you lack something important, something human, inside you.

I cannot understand the utter rejection of a child just for being himself.

What sort of bigotry overrides maternal love? What sort of fear and loathing of one’s child enables a mother to make her son’s life a living hell, and drives him to sever ties with the family he tried so desperately to please?

I am grateful that he kept his sense of self and did not succumb to the doubts and self-loathing that has driven too many teens and young people to suicide.

As I wrote here, when my daughter, my only child, approached adolescence, I wondered to myself, just once, “What if she turned out to be gay? What would I do?” The answer came to my heart in the same instant: “Love her, of course. Love her. What else can I, her mother, do, except love her?”
Think of how different this man’s life would have been if his mother had fulfilled her motherhood with love instead of loathing.

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