Coming out is an intimate confession. I’ve come out to myself, my friends, and to complete strangers the first time meeting them, but not to my mother. I keep conversations with my mother about work and food. The last time my mother asked if I was dating was seven years ago. I was in college. I had a canned spiel ready. I’m waiting till I finish school I said. I don’t know if she believed me or not. Read Psalm 23 before you go to bed she said. I finished college, went on to grad school and got a job. In between finishing college and getting a job, I had one boyfriend, five pseudo-boyfriends, three Web romances and a number of unremarkable dates. My mother knows nothing about any of them. Our relationship is more like co-workers than mother and son. Four of my friends have come out to their mothers. They talk openly about their dating drama with their mothers. Imagining my mother and I talking about how difficult it is to find a guy I want to date, I cringe. That sounds too personal. I visited my mother recently. We live in the same city but I rarely go see her. She asked if I was gay without directly asking. She proceeded to read Bible scriptures to me and ended with “but I still love no matter what.” I looked her, looked at the ground, and across the room at the blank TV screen. I saw the picture of me as a baby on top of the TV. I played dumb. She changed the topic. Now when I get the courage to call my mother, my heartbeat will speed up when she pauses abruptly or starts a question with “Tell me. Tell me, ‘Are you gay?,’” I think she’s going to say. I can’t imagine telling my mother I’m gay. Even though I know she knows. Mother, I’m gay. It sounds so simple written. Mother I’m gay. I could write “I’m gay, Mom,” in a Hallmark card and mail it to her. Most likely, it’ll come out through an argument, on a holiday or a birthday—the way my true feelings come out with my mother.
Yates, Victor. “All About My Mother: A black man not on the dl tries to come out to his mother.” Windy City Times, June 25, 2008, Pride Literary Supplement.