“Mommy Why Are You Gay?”
By: Selina Boquet
“Mommy, why are you gay?”
Over spaghetti tonight, my daughter asked this poignant question. Ezekiel, my son, looked up from his vegetables with big eyes and waited for my answer. Both of my children are slowly forming their understanding of what gay means and these conversations are becoming more and more frequent. They attend church with their father every Sunday where they are taught that being gay is wrong and evil. Many parents are scared of this topic, yet I welcome it and use these questions to teach my children about tolerance, respect, and most importantly, about me.
I repeated the same answer I give them every time they ask. I’m gay because I was born gay. This led into one of my usual lectures. I instructed my 6-year-old twins to never pretend to be someone they’re not. Lying only makes us sad inside. Savana continued by stating,
“And that’s why you and Daddy do not live together. Because you’re gay. I wish you and Daddy lived together.”
The bluntness of her statement surprised me. She’s growing up so fast. I explain to my inquiring little minds,
“I do not want to make you sad by not living with Daddy. I am being truthful about who I am. It is important to always live in the truth. Never try to be someone you are not, and never ever be ashamed of who you are.” It feels so good to be able to be honest with my children. My decision to come out of the closet was fueled by the realization that I was teaching my children how to live a lie.
I sometimes think about what my life would be like if I would have remained inside the closet, hiding behind my “Holy-Rollers” mask. What sermons would I be preaching? What group of women would I be leading? Where would they have shipped me off to by now? Planting a church in a Spanish speaking country was once the dream I had lived for. I came to Los Angeles to be trained to spread the gospel around the world. Little did I know, my “Praise Jesus” mask would soon become unbearable.
The fame and power of being a church leader was intoxicating. Standing in front of hundreds -sometimes thousands of admirers, you feel validated and accomplished. People were so awed by my courage and faith to be able to come out of homosexuality to help others who struggle with the strange disease. I wanted so much to be a good person in their eyes.
Yet more than anything, when I became a mom, I wanted to be a good mom. I wanted to be a happy mom. I could feel the talons of depression sink deeper into me as I became distant to the world because of my heavy secret. I knew that I had to take action soon. I could not hide my authentic self anymore. My kids were suffering from my emotional absence and they deserved a happy and healthy mother. Finally, I decided to trust my heart and to go against what I had been taught my whole life. I left the church and my husband, the father of my children, and started anew on my own. I had finally realized that there are some things that cannot be prayed away.
It’s been three long years since that night that I told my husband I was gay, I was leaving him, and I didn’t want “help” from the church. He, on the other hand, decided to attend their un-gaying classes.
“They told me I can’t do this anymore,” he reported after his first “lesson”. Demonstrating, he twisted his right hand to the side, pinky aloft in his very familiar, very gay, motion. That’s right. I wasn’t the only gay in the marriage. We were both in hiding, so we hid together. We shared a big closet.
It’s amazing to me now how wrong I was, how oblivious I was. I forgot about myself and the message that I would soon be teaching my children because I was so busy trying to make everyone else happy. People ask me if I regret the decisions I made. Although it’s difficult not to think about the eight years of my life as wasted away, if I never would have gone down that path, I never would have had my beautiful boy and my spunky little girl. They are the sun in my life, and without them I would not survive. The main thought that went through my head and that gave me the strength to come out of the closet was knowing that by doing so, I was teaching my children that it takes courage to be who you are.
Even though my kids are being told every Sunday that their mom is evil, I know that they know in their heart what the truth is. They can feel the love in our house so much that they don’t really look forward to their weekly visits to Dad’s house. When I tell them it’s time to go, it is almost always met with complaints and pleas to stay just a little bit longer.
Through my actions, I have taught them more about what being gay really means than any weekly Sunday school class ever could. Savana and Ezekiel already feel the unconditional love that is born from an open and non-judgmental heart. They know that they are accepted and loved for who they truly are on the inside, not who we expect them to be. Tolerance and respect are the core values of the gay community. It’s a community that I’m proud to be a part of and proud to teach my children about when they ask, “Mommy, why are you gay?”