My parents divorced when I was six, my mom came out to us when I was eight, I did not tell anyone until I was 12. Since then its been a continual process of coming out over and over. It took until the middle of high school to say “My mom is gay” in front of an audience larger than 1. By my first year of college I could call friends out on saying “That’s so gay.” It took me that long to admit to myself how much it hurt to hear.
(I was inspired by this EXCELLENT short video about using “gay” pejoratively http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gxs78C3XGok )
My name is Amalya. I grew up in a Modern Orthodox community in NJ and attended yeshiva from kindergarten through 12th grade. I am about to start my second year of college and am studying Fine Art and Neuroscience. I’ve done a lot of work squaring away my mothers sexuality with my faith in a just God and my belief in the goodness of the Jewish community. I still have no clue how it all fits together. For now I am satisfied with the belief that there is an answer somewhere. That we are yet to discover how these seemingly incompatible pieces can coexist.
I experienced secrecy, shame, defiance, and discovered acceptance and integrity in my own “coming out”. Kids with LGBT parents have their own, often overlooked, process of coming to terms with that reality. Now I can usually come out about my mom in a casual conversation. I hesitate sometimes, to weigh my audience. The length of my silence is only getting shorter.
I learned that the more I let my secret go, the less it defines me. Learning to be open took me ten years, and its still going. I’ll learn it forever. I could not have done it before I was ready. But if I’d had someone to talk to, I may have been ready sooner. I am not alone, and it is unnecessary for any kid with a gay parent to feel he or she must navigate that challenge without support.
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