I’m gay and I want to come out to my mother. She’s OK with gay people, and even has gay friends, as long as they’re not her child. Her exact words were: “It’s always OK when it’s somebody else’s child, but I don’t know what I would do if you were gay.” So I learned to hide my attraction to women from my mother. I’ve been with other girls, but when my mom asks about my dating experiences I tell her that I just haven’t met the right guy yet. I’ve dated two boys and I never kissed them. I barely even wanted to hold their hands, but my mom was so excited that I continued the relationships. Eventually, I’d break up with them before it got too serious and my mom would keep bring them up and asking why I didn’t want to date, or saying that I was being too picky.
Every once in a while, we’ll be watching TV together and a gay person will come on and then she’ll say “It’s OK as long as it’s somebody else’s child” again, and I’ll laugh and feel guilty. She even said that for a while she thought I was going to be gay and she’s glad that she was wrong because she wouldn’t know what to do. We’re really, really close and I don’t want to lose her. Do you think there’s a way I could tell her that I’m gay without having to falsify hospital documents to make it look like I was switched at birth?
—Someone Else’s Child