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"My mother holds the philosophy that I have to have experience in order to be gay (kiss a girl). I hate that I don’t feel safe or accepted by her, even though we have a terrible relationship. What do I do?"

- Question submitted by Anonymous and answered by Shane Billings as part of Everyone Is Gay: Second Opinions

Shane Says:

Oh man, parents can be the trickiest. It’s like, they hear ONE Katy Perry song and all of a sudden they’re like “If you haven’t recorded a hit single about the girls you’ve kissed, how can you even be GAY?!” You have my complete and genuine sympathy, and if you do feel unsafe, please talk to a responsible adult, or reach out to THESE FOLKS, who are always available to help and support you.

In the meantime, here are some (hopefully) helpful points to keep in mind, and perhaps share with your mom.

Sure, there are SOME things you need to experience before you know whether they’re for you. Like Thai food, or toenail polish. Some things, however, you don’t.  Like, I don’t need to get hit by a Subaru to know it hurts. There are absolutely people who have ~*~ExPeRiEnCeS~*~ that inspire the realization that they are, in fact, gay. But the experience is not a prerequisite, by any means.

And by the way, you are never ever required to verify or demonstrate your identity — not for your mother, or your friends, or for Michelle Obama… if she asks… which would be awesome… but still. Coming Out is extremely important for yourself, but there is no clause in the Gay Commandments that stipulates that price of admission for being gay is the performance of THREE QUEER ACTS.

A couple years ago I stumbled onto this quote:

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself.”

The PRIVILEGE of OWNING YOURSELF is the part that gets me. Remember that, my friend. Maybe even write it down somewhere, and look at it once in a while to remind yourself that you are your own rainbow.

If you can, keep talking to your mom, or write her a letter, letting her know that you don’t feel safe or supported. At the very least, you’ll have expressed how you feel, and it will help you start doing the work of moving forward. But always remember that there is a community of us out here, always supporting you and always working to create a safe place for you.


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