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Mother Can Relate to Gay Teen's Confusion

January 20, 1994

I was very moved by the article you ran ("Growing Up Gay," Jan. 6) regarding a homosexual high school student. This young man is making a courageous effort to struggle with his emotions by himself. I can understand what he is going through because my son had the same experience.

During his high school years we knew he was having problems, but no matter how hard we tried to get things resolved he would not communicate with us.

When he asked for psychological consultations we went along with the idea, hoping that this would straighten out his problem.

I would take him for his appointments, but my son insisted that I not consult with his psychologist or ask him any questions. It was very hard to go along with his request because as a parent I wanted to know what was going on. But at the same time I had to respect his wishes.

After a few visits, he decided he no longer wanted to see his psychologist. However, I could sense that his problems had not been resolved and I felt that when he was ready he would discuss things with me.

Looking back, perhaps I should have pursued him further to answer my questions. But at the same time we had another son one year younger and two very small children to keep me busy. In a way, I feel that I let my son down by not trying harder to help him with his particular problem, but at the same time feel that he was not ready to let me into his world.

He soon graduated high school and was accepted to our state university--two hours away from home. With him being away from home his problems went with him, and I hoped he had "outgrown" them.

He had been in dramatics in high school and decided to take dramatics in college. Therefore, we were not surprised to see all sorts of makeup in his apartment. We never questioned him regarding this. We soon started meeting my son's closest friends.

If occurred to me that my son might be having homosexual tendencies, but I would immediately dismiss the thoughts. I would not allow myself to think of this because of my religious background. I attended Catholic schools and was brought up as a very strict Catholic. I could not think that my son might be gay.

During my son's second year of college I received a call from my eldest daughter. She was married and had always been very close to my sons. She asked me if I had noticed the kind of friends my son had and if I had any opinion of them. I told her that they seemed like homosexuals to me and I couldn't help wondering why my son chose them.

She then asked me if I had wondered if my son might be homosexual. At this point I felt insulted and asked her if she was trying to tell me something. She said that yes, she and my son felt that it was time I knew that he was gay.

My initial reaction was no, no this cannot be true. We did everything right. We could not have failed as parents. During the next few days everything fell into perspective. I understood his struggles during high school and felt so bad that he had to go through that struggle trying to understand himself, society and how we would react.

I knew that many parents disown their children when they find out that they are homosexuals. But I cannot understand why. They are still your children. They are still human beings capable of loving, feeling emotions and functioning as adults!

How can anyone consider a homosexual less a person because of their sexual orientation. I knew that I did not love my son less because he was homosexual. Although I do not like it and wish things were different--especially for his sake--we have to accept him for who he is--our son.

I have met a lot of homosexuals because of my son and have found them--male and female--bright, articulate and sensitive people.

It's sad that society cannot accept that these people exist. Why do we have to be so judgmental and insist that "straight" is the only way to live?

We as humans have to learn to accept each other regardless of race, religion or sexual orientation.

AN IRVINE MOTHER

(Name withheld at her request)

*

Thank you for your sensitive article on "Growing Up Gay." Hopefully, the continued existence of the Student Alliance will encourage the kind of intelligent discussion necessary on the issue of homosexuality.

It is unfortunate that Robert, Steve and Mat in their response titled "Moral Outrage" feel so threatened by the Student Alliance they find it necessary to start a Future Good Boys of America club, a venture which will be unsuccessful because the Equal Access Act does not permit the establishment of clubs that foster prejudice and discrimination.

Perhaps education, a healthy respect for the dignity of others and a better understanding of the constitutional right to free association will help the Future Good Boys to grow up and become Good Men.

VIRGINIA URIBE

Founder, Project 10

Los Angeles

Unified School District

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