Last year, I rubbed shoulders with church groups, PFLAG (Parents for Lesbians and Gays), and ) and “dykes on bikes,” as I marched down Fifth Avenue to support Gay Pride as the mother of a gay son. The actual account is on my blog: http://straightparentgaykid.blogspot.com. While there are gay pride events yearly in other major cities, New York had even greater reason to celebrate last year as same-sex marriage passed shortly before the parade.
What I did THIS Year for Gay Pride
This year, I celebrated quietly, without a march or flag in hand. In April, I, as a member of PFLAG in Vero Beach, Florida, manned the cash for the PFLAG food station at the Pride event in nearby Port St. Lucie. I bought sunglasses in rainbow colors from Pride vendors on the great lawn of the Port St. Lucie Civic Center, and purchased matching T-shirts.
This year, in June, the month of gay pride events throughout the world, I was asked by a lab which studies diseases of Florida citrus, plants and animals to speak about diversity. The topic was left up to me. I brought the sixty plus interested audience up-to-date on laws in Florida such as domestic partnership, adoption by gay couples, and federal legislation. I did my homework and judging from the audience’s intelligent questions, I’d say they had done theirs.
I was preceded at the podium by a married lesbian who gave her harrowing story of what it’s like to be marginalized at a Catholic school, and feel so out-of-place that she actually thought about suicide. She is excelling now in college and is happier due to her relationship with her partner. As she stated, “I am no different than a heterosexual. I’m a wife, student, aunt, sister.” Although her vulnerable speech was certainly gutsier than mine, we complemented one another: the personal testament vs. the impartial educator, the yin and the yang.
Why I Support Gay Pride
The preceding month, I was on a Chicago radio show. As a last-minute substitute, I was asked about parental acceptance of gay children, particularly in religious families. Why do I bother preparing speeches, researching? Wouldn’t it be simpler to just show up at a parade? I’ll tell you why. I take the time to inform the public because with education comes enlightenment. So, gays, lesbians, bisexual, transgendered and questioning (GLBTQ)youth and adults will ultimately be accepted. But primarily, I support Gay Pride because I want my gay son to have the same rights as my heterosexual daughter. I’m “there” for him. I want him to know that I’m proud of him just as he is proud of me for supporting him, all year long.
When Your Child Is Gay: What You Need To Know
For more detailed advice, see book, co-authored with a mother of a gay son and a psychiatrist, Jonathan L. Tobkes, M.D.