Friday, December 4, 2009


A couple of years ago I was in New York for Christmas, visiting with my fifteen-year-old nephew. I was admiring how he had transformed his bedroom, a room that twenty years before had been mine. The scene couldn't have been more comfortable and relaxed if Enya had been there, gently humming and rubbing my shoulders. For me, that is. What I didn't know was that he was inching his way out onto the skinny end of a limb. He was about to jump, crossing his fingers that I'd be there to catch him.

"Aunt Sue? Um. Did you ever, er, think I was . . . gay?"

"Honey," I said with gentle wisdom, "I've known you were gay since you were four."

You'd think having known he was gay since he was four I actually would have had time to prepare such warm and accepting words. But instead I think the brilliant response I dredged up was, "Uh, yeah." Even though I didn't have the right words on the tip of my tongue, they were always in my heart. Words like, you are perfect and I wouldn't change a thing about you. Well, maybe one thing. I've always secretly wished he was my son instead of my nephew.

The big news he was sharing wasn't really news at all. But what did surprise me was his courage. He was only fifteen when he came out. Fifteen! And his father—the strong, silent, scary type—couldn't have been an easy audience. I was as proud of him that day as I am disappointed by the New York State senate today. Their decision to reject the gay marriage bill makes me embarrassed to call myself a New Yorker. I guess Arkansas Senator Mark Pryor was right when he said, "You don't have to pass an IQ test to be in the senate."

But just when a person could get good and discouraged, there's Laurie Berkner to give us hope. Smack in the middle of her Family video, she casually welcomes a gay couple. Just like it's normal.

Now if we could just get senators to watch Noggin.

1 comment:

Jomama said...

Duh--no wonder I love your writing--a fellow New Yorker! I agree, that was very brave. High School is such a hard time for teens--I'm glad he had a supportive family member to talk to.