Friday, May 29, 2015

A Letter from the Mother of a Gay Son

You know, with all that’s going on in the news, like the GOP still holding on to an outdated notion — if they ever read a poll they’d know this — that if they campaign on Hate The gays they’ll get elected, and with people and politicians who Hate The Gays lining up to support a Good Christian Boy who likes to diddle little girls and his sisters,, it’s can be hard out here for a queer.

But then I saw this letter, written fifteen years ago by one Sharon Underwood from White River Junction, in which she expresses her anger at those so-called Christians and hypocrites who inflicted pain on her gay son, and so many other gay sons and daughters, bisexual sons and daughters, trans sons and daughters.

I kinda needed to hear this today:
Many letters have been sent to the Valley News concerning the homosexual menace in Vermont. I am the mother of a gay son and I’ve taken enough from you good people.
I’m tired of your foolish rhetoric about the “homosexual agenda” and your allegations that accepting homosexuality is the same thing as advocating sex with children. You are cruel and ignorant. You have been robbing me of the joys of motherhood ever since my children were tiny.
My firstborn son started suffering at the hands of the moral little thugs from your moral, upright families from the time he was in the first grade. He was physically and verbally abused from first grade straight through high school because he was perceived to be gay.He never professed to be gay or had any association with anything gay, but he had the misfortune not to walk or have gestures like the other boys. He was called “fag” incessantly, starting when he was 6.
In high school, while your children were doing what kids that age should be doing, mine labored over a suicide note, drafting and redrafting it to be sure his family knew how much he loved them. My sobbing 17-year-old tore the heart out of me as he choked out that he just couldn’t bear to continue living any longer, that he didn’t want to be gay and that he couldn’t face a life without dignity.
You have the audacity to talk about protecting families and children from the homosexual menace, while you yourselves tear apart families and drive children to despair. I don’t know why my son is gay, but I do know that God didn’t put him, and millions like him, on this Earth to give you someone to abuse. God gave you brains so that you could think, and it’s about time you started doing that.
At the core of all your misguided beliefs is the belief that this could never happen to you, that there is some kind of subculture out there that people have chosen to join. The fact is that if it can happen to my family, it can happen to yours, and you won’t get to choose. Whether it is genetic or whether something occurs during a critical time of fetal development, I don’t know. I can only tell you with an absolute certainty that it is inborn.
If you want to tout your own morality, you’d best come up with something more substantive than your heterosexuality. You did nothing to earn it; it was given to you. If you disagree, I would be interested in hearing your story, because my own heterosexuality was a blessing I received with no effort whatsoever on my part. It is so woven into the very soul of me that nothing could ever change it. For those of you who reduce sexual orientation to a simple choice, a character issue, a bad habit or something that can be changed by a 10-step program, I’m puzzled. Are you saying that your own sexual orientation is nothing more than something you have chosen, that you could change it at will? If that’s not the case, then why would you suggest that someone else can?
A popular theme in your letters is that Vermont has been infiltrated by outsiders. Both sides of my family have lived in Vermont for generations. I am heart and soul a Vermonter, so I’ll thank you to stop saying that you are speaking for “true Vermonters.”
You invoke the memory of the brave people who have fought on the battlefield for this great country, saying that they didn’t give their lives so that the “homosexual agenda” could tear down the principles they died defending. My 83-year-old father fought in some of the most horrific battles of World War II, was wounded and awarded the Purple Heart.
He shakes his head in sadness at the life his grandson has had to live. He says he fought alongside homosexuals in those battles, that they did their part and bothered no one. One of his best friends in the service was gay, and he never knew it until the end, and when he did find out, it mattered not at all. That wasn’t the measure of the man.
You religious folk just can’t bear the thought that as my son emerges from the hell that was his childhood he might like to find a lifelong companion and have a measure of happiness. It offends your sensibilities that he should request the right to visit that companion in the hospital, to make medical decisions for him or to benefit from tax laws governing inheritance.
How dare he? you say. These outrageous requests would threaten the very existence of your family, would undermine the sanctity of marriage.
You use religion to abdicate your responsibility to be thinking human beings. There are vast numbers of religious people who find your attitudes repugnant. God is not for the privileged majority, and God knows my son has committed no sin.
The deep-thinking author of a letter to the April 12 Valley News who lectures about homosexual sin and tells us about “those of us who have been blessed with the benefits of a religious upbringing” asks: “What ever happened to the idea of striving . . . to be better human beings than we are?”
Indeed, sir, whatever happened to that?
Yeah, that about sums it up. Have a great weekend, y’all.
Photo by Jamiecat (Flickr/cc)

6 comments:

the dogs' mother said...

What she said, amen.
xoxoxoxox

Susan said...

Beautiful, and this written sentiment has been around for 15 years?

Sadie J said...

So worth repeating! Every "good Christian" out there needs to read this!

Biki Honko said...

This is a very powerful letter. Sure wish it had was required reading in every church.

Helen Lashbrook said...

I surely hope that her son's last 15 years have been happier than his first 17. How lucky he has a mother who understands and loves him.

Raybeard said...

Jaw-dropping, eloquent, reasonable, with the utter sincerity of her plea shining through. If it can make a dent in just one of the 'targets' she is aiming it at it'll have been very much worth it - though it deserves to do far more than that. Well done, madam, and bless you!