My mother is a 66-year-old, churchgoing, conservative, Jamaican woman. When I first told her I was gay, I was 29 years old and had just bought a house with the woman I had dated in secret for two years. My mama wasn’t a fool and had her suspicions. She knew I wasn’t one for roommates and so asked me straight up if we were more than just friends. I looked her in the eyes and told her we were more than just friends. She must have thought I was kidding or that it was a phase because she constantly brought up me getting married to a man and producing her grandchildren. I decided it made no sense to argue with someone who probably would never get it. I would live my life and remind her that as a self-supporting adult, I get to live my life the way I see fit.
I sat her down again after a particular touchy church service where the pastor encouraged the congregants to love the sinner (gays) but hate the sin (being gay). I told her that I was a lesbian and that my partner and I were serious. She refused to believe that I could be a lesbian because she knew for a fact that I wasn’t born that way.
It was difficult for her and me as we tried to figure out the best way to maintain our relationship. At one point I had a very frank conversation with her in which I told her that we could have polite conversations about the weather—much like the type of conversations you have with strangers on an elevator—or I could be honest about who I am and she could actually get to know her daughter.
She was too ashamed of my “lifestyle” to tell her friends and fellow church ladies and that was fine with me. I wasn’t interested in sharing my life with people who didn’t matter. But what was painful was not having my partner acknowledged or included in family events. I didn’t push it at first because my first partner always visited her out-of-state family for the holidays. But when we broke up, I decided to stage a silent protest by hosting and/or attending holiday events with my fellow queer LGBT friends.
She Won’t Let Go of the Heterosexual Dream