Why My Children Won’t Be Coming Out of the Closet

Lynn Morrison
Written by Lynn Morrison

There is a video making the rounds on Facebook, showing an “endearing” scene of a son coming out to his mother. In the video, he waits for his father to leave the room, and then stumbles through an attempt to tell his mother that he is gay. Eventually his mother stops him and tells him that she already knows, that he shouldn’t be sorry, she just wants him to find happiness and that she will always love him.

Cue sobbing noises and heartfelt “awwws” here.

Every time I see the video, the person sharing it is oohing and aahing over just how amazing this mother is to be so supportive of her son. The video has over 61 MILLION views, making that mom into the latest viral hero. “Look how much she loves her son!” “She doesn’t care that he is gay.” “OMG, I’m sob sob sobbing!!”

Maybe I’m in the minority here, but I don’t find this woman to be inspiring at all. Why?

Because when did forcing your child to have an incredibly difficult and awkward conversation with you about THEIR SEXUALITY become a heartfelt moment?

Even though presumably the son set-up the camera and filmed the video, you can clearly see that he is really uncomfortable. His concern is palpable. He can’t even get the words, “Mom, I’m gay” out of his mouth. Worse yet, when his father enters the room, they both freeze up and stop until he leaves.

Let’s talk about the mom. The “saint du jour.” There she sits, hugging her son and reassuring him that she has known for a long time. AND STILL, she has to get a dig in there. “I pray every night, let Matthew have his own wife and children…or whatever family he wants.”

Come on, lady! You’ve known your child is gay for a long time and yet you’re still praying he’ll have a wife and kids? You’ve never talked to him about sex? You’ve never proactively said to him, “Hey, son, sometimes the birds and bees can be two birds or two bees, m’kay?”

I can tell you right now, with 100% certainty, that we will never ever have this moment in my house.

My children will NEVER EVER EVER have to “come out” to me and their father.

They won’t have to come out because we are working damn hard to make sure that we are not stuffing them into that proverbial closet in the first place. In our house, love is love is love. With our two daughters, we talk about future boyfriends and girlfriends. We tell them that they can love whomever they want. We share examples of women who love men, women who love women and men who love men.

In our house, it is fine and normal for people to have two moms. Or two dads. Or one mom or dad. Or one alien parent. We don’t fucking care what other parents have going on in their underwear or in their bedrooms. It isn’t any of our business.

What is our business is to make sure that our children know from the start that sexual feelings are normal. They can occur between people of the opposite sex and people of the same sex. Families come in a lot of different shapes and sizes – and all that matters is that when they are ready, they choose to partner up with someone who loves and respects them.

I’d like to see a new kind of coming out video make the rounds. One where the parents sit on the hot seat, proactively telling their child that there is plenty of room in the world for love in whatever form it comes. I want to hear them say that their parental love for their child has nothing to do with their sexual preference – never has and never will.

In that perfect parenting video world, the kid will learn that only one person’s love is important – their own love for themselves. There is nothing to fear, nothing to shame, nothing to hate. When it comes to love, there is only acceptance – of themselves and of others. Love is love is love can only truly exist in a world where there are no closets in the first place.

There are plenty of other videos of kittens and puppies out there to warm our hearts. I think we can afford to leave our children’s sexuality out of it.

About the author

Lynn Morrison

Lynn Morrison

Lynn Morrison is a smart-ass American raising two prim princesses with her obnoxiously skinny Italian husband in Oxford, England. If you've ever hidden pizza boxes at the bottom of the trash or worn maternity pants when not pregnant, chances are you'll like the Nomad Mom Diary. Catch up with her daily on Facebook and Twitter.

Leave a Comment

CommentLuv badge

13 Comments

  • I commend your open heart and open mind. It’s important to remember societal pressure and learned behavior can lock that closet door, too, no matter how many times we, as parents, take that damned door off its hinges.

  • I think your criticism is unfair. This by all appearances is a Bible Belt family and mom likely has had almost no exposure to LGBTQ. Still, she is very loving in her response. I don’t think she is a super awesome mom but she is a mom who supports her kid even if she had that awkward remark about a wife and kids. As a lesbian I will tell you that if I scratched every heterosexual person who made an awkward comment I’d have none left in my life.

    As for posting the talk, the kid made that choice. Lots and lots of LGBTQ kids make that choice. Because yes it’s awkward but you can choose between ripping the band aid off in one fell swoop or you can repeat that same awkward conversation 100 times over. If you’ve not been there you need to take a step back from your judgment. If mom hadn’t let him take the video he may well have felt like she was trying to keep him closeted.

    My overall take on this video is that it’s an awkward yet loving conversation between a mother and son who both want the boy to be able to live his life openly. In the greater social context it is ridiculous that this even needs to be a conversation but given that the two are acting this out within the constraint of an oppressed society, I think they did fine.

    If you want to criticize, save it for all the horrible parents who disown their kids, not for the ones who try.

    • Exactly. To me acceptance also means that you need to accept that the mom on the video is not coming from the same place that you are. She may not i’ve been raised the same way or have the same exposure to things beyond her community. It is helpful while you are not judging your children if you also let them see yhe example that you are also not judging others.

  • I haven’t seen that video, but I think you’re vastly underestimating both societal pressures and adolescent angst.

    In our family, we’ve never specified the gender of our daughters’ potential future love interests, we tell them we love them just as they are, however they are. I have a rainbow pin on my purse, I carried a sign at the women’s march that said, among other things, “Love is love,” we attend a (super-gay-friendly) UU church, the “sex ed” books available in our house are respectful of any loving relationship, and we have friends and relatives who are comfortably, happily gay. Still, when my 12-year-old told me that she is bisexual, her little eyes filled up with tears and she later told me she’d been working up the nerve to tell me for a month. In the middle of this conversation her sister walked in and we both froze. . . you know why? Because she wasn’t ready to share this with her sister and I was respecting her timeline.

    Since then I’ve talked with a mom who thought she was reassuring her just-came-out-as-bi daughter that if she decided she was a lesbian, that was cool, too, but it turns out that the daughter interpreted it as “I hope you change your mind and decide you’re hetero.” Another mom I know just assumed that of course her son knows that she knows that he’s gay and she’s cool with it. But he’s been struggling with mental health issues, and when I heard that he’s never “officially” come out to her, I suggested that she might want to try being really, really explicit about her approval, no matter what, just in case it could be contributing to his depression and anxiety. “But he knows it’s fine. He even had a ‘friend’ who came over to the house all the time.”

    I’m just saying: if you’d asked me a month ago, I would have thought that there weren’t any closets at my house, either. I’ve since learned better. It would be lovely if your kids “NEVER EVER EVER” felt like they “have” to come out, absolutely. But as parents we’re not in control of the other messages kids are getting from friends, school, the news, and the media, and kids’ temperaments are different, and that has an impact on this issue, too.

    The “coming out” talk, if you do experience it (in spite of your protests that it will “NEVER EVER EVER” happen), is actually quite lovely. It’s your child wanting to share, and feeling comfortable enough to share, a crucial part of their identity. It’s a profound privilege and honor, really.

    • You’re exactly right Katie. It’s not all about you as the parent. Yes it’s fantastic to set a goal to show your children that you will always love them, to provide a life with great examples of different kinds of loving families, and to make it explicit that love is love and who your children love does not affect how you love them, but there’s more to it than that. My parents set that example and coming out to them was still a huge step for me. It’s not just about telling them that you are gay, it’s about acknowledging to yourself that something you’ve known to be true for a long time is also a part of you that you are ready and willing to share with the world. Coming out is never about the person you are talking to. It’s about the person coming out.

  • Ease up a bit on this woman. She is clearly not as sophisticated as you are and that she didn’t kick him out of the house is huge. She corrected herself, too. Yes it was a sad and deminsidhinf mimrnt when she said she prayed he would have a wife and children. But the key here to the health and well-being if her son is this: “I’m sorry mom” was not met with a tirade of moral outrage or guilt mongering but rather a heartfelt “don’t be sorry for who you are.” Save your finger wagging judgment for a mother who kicks her kid out of the house and into the street.

  • Yes! My kids are also brought up like this. We also talk about it being okay to decide to become a parent on your own, and relationships that involve more than 2 people 🙂

  • Being the mother of two children who have ?come out? I found the mother’s response appalling! The “I’ll love you no matter what” is code for equating being gay with some other HORRIBLE behavior, like “even if you murdered someone”. We have a lot of work to do.

  • I was thinking the same thing as you, Lynn. Thank you for putting your impression our here for the world to read. When I saw the video, I additionally thought it was sad how the mom said she’s always known. I understand that the person coming out needs to do it on their own terms, but we as parents should be creating an environment and opportunities for our children to feel safe to do so. I appreciate the other readers’ responses/experiences. I hope my children don’t ever feel like they have to “come out”, but if they do they will be received with open arms and love.