Quiet support from an exceptional mom (plus the real reason Obama was elected)
By Maggie López
Growing up, I didn’t think my mother was special, just different. Mom was older than my friends’ mothers; she had me at 40. She didn’t speak English, having arrived in the U.S. as an exile fresh from Castro’s Cuba in her forties, too busy with young children and a struggling husband to learn the language.
Having grown up in a privileged household, she dutifully earned a university degree to become suitable marriage material, yet never worked outside the home like my friends’ younger, working moms. Having had a driver and cooks in Cuba, she never mastered either skill, which explains my own penchant for cabs and restaurant food.
Due to culture, class and circumstance, she displayed a genteel passivity that masked her own rebellious streak, which would occasionally manifest itself in support of her often-challenging teenage daughter.
My mother always knew how to keep the peace at home, yet foster my creative, progressive bent. Like the time my conservative father gave me considerable grief for showing up at the dinner table wearing an Afrocentric dashiki top, for him a sure sign I had joined the Black Panther movement. To our astonishment, my mom greeted us at the dinner table the next evening sporting one herself, having taken two buses and crossing neighborhood color lines which then still existed in Miami, to purchase one in my support.
In a much later act of defiance, my mother would cross the family’s staunch political party lines and vote for — gasp — Bill Clinton, an act for which my father solely credited the election’s outcome and the fall of civilization itself.
A product of her generation, we never had candid discussions about my own lifestyle, yet she nursed me through a devastating breakup with a long-term partner. For the next decade, she worried that I would remain, as best as she could articulate it, “companionless.”
She stopped worrying the day she met my partner Patt. Immediately taken with each other, they engaged in an implausible discussion given neither spoke the other’s language, over the recent presidential elections and the importance of the vote.
When Patt asked whom she had voted for, Mom smiled mischievously, raised one finger to her lips and whispered, “It’s a secret ballot.” Right then, somewhere between heaven and purgatory, my father realized just how President Obama had won the election.
Last June, I had the dubious privilege of seeing my mother breathe her last breath. I realized she wasn’t really different after all — she was exceptional.
Mom’s ‘double duty’ on Mother’s Day
By Kevin Moss
My twin brother and I are both gay men, and fully supported by our mother. Our birthday is always around Mother’s Day, sometimes even on Mother’s Day (about every nine years or so).
On our 23rd birthday a couple years ago, it was on Mother’s Day. So to celebrate, our mother decided to go to a gay owned/operated restaurant (a popular one in Atlanta called Joe’s on Juniper) to celebrate both Mother’s Day and her gay twin sons’ birthday.
She’s ultra inclusive, a staunch letter-writer (to voice her opinion to public figures), and more gay-friendly than gay people themselves. She welcomes any boyfriend my twin or I bring home to her. She deserves recognition for doing double gay duty as a mother.
When my big sister tried to make a gay rights non-profit group (she’s a supporter of my twin and I), she needed money to finance copyright and trademark filings. My mother financed my sister’s endeavor. Not only does my mom openly support and join her gay sons, she also forked out a few hundred dollars she didn’t really have to help my LGBT-supportive sister start up “DHHIL” (Don’t Hate How I Love).
My mother truly is an LGBT Mother of the Year to so many of my friends.
My best friend since coming out via AOL
By William Duffee-Braun
This Mother’s Day will mean more to me than any other because of the countless hours my mother has recently contributed to my life. Let’s back up for a moment and let me tell you a little more about who she is and what she has done to make my life so extraordinary.
The most amazing example was the way she handled herself when I decided it was time to come out of the closet … at 14 years old … via AOL 2.0 … sent to her work email address. Oh, the coward I was! But it worked out well: She went to work, checked her email, learned that her very young son was gay (which she claims she knew all along) and came home and embraced my lifestyle. Go mom for being an open-minded angel in the midst of creepy closed-minded Mississippi!
Another great instance of her amazing support came when I was about to graduate from college. She surprised me with airfare and lodging in New York City so I could look for an internship. This may not seem like much, but she is a single mother, supporting three kids. Money was often pretty scarce.
But recently I ctould not thank her enough for her time and effort. I am currently in the midst of producing the new LGBT lifestyle magazine, Fenuxe, for the Atlanta community. She spent her entire spring break in Atlanta working to help us get this publication off the ground.
She put our racks together. She created, edited and deleted content for our first issue. She organized our office so that we could work faster and more efficiently. All from a place of wanting/encouraging her gay son to succeed. All from a place so that this fine city will have an inspirational glossy LGBT publication.
She is my best friend, my angel, my mother.
I wish everyone could have a mom like mine
By Laurie Pizzano
My mother so loves my wife, she believes it is only natural for us to be married. Trust me, if Lori and I broke up, the first thing out of my mother’s mouth would be, “What did you do? She was the best thing that has ever happened to you, you idiot! Now fix it!”
That’s my mom. I wish everyone could have this much love and support because the world would be a better place.
Acceptance for daughter — and ‘daughter in love’
By Chance Claar-Pressley
Well, my mom is Samantha Claar. She’s a pretty cool lady. She drew the line at funky hair dye and tattoos as a teenager, but was totally behind me running a LGB (no T at the time) youth group when I was a young, queer youth.
Now, she loves my partner of 16 years (who she calls her daughter-in-love) and her two grandbabies the same way. That’s pretty cool.
Editors’ note: Samantha Claar is a longtime lesbian activist and was a grand marshal of last year’s Atlanta Pride parade.
Ring-shopping with Mom
By Shawn-Marie Clements
My mom is incredible and special for many reasons! She loves and accepts me for who I am. In fact, she went with my future wife ring shopping — shh, I’m not supposed to know!
She has been through so much, but came out of it all to teach me to be strong and work hard through everything. Even through all of our arguing and bickering when I was growing up, she is still, and always has been, my shelter I go to in times of need or peace. She is always there and always forgiving.
She, to me, is the best mom I could have! She’s the greatest.
In honor of Mother’s Day, May 9, we asked readers to share stories of the love and acceptance they have received from their mothers. Some made us laugh, others made us cry, and Maggie Lopez’ essay on her “exceptional” mom managed to do both.
With Lopez out of the running since she admittedly exceeded our word limit (though her story is well worth it), Kevin Moss wins our $50 gift certificate to steakhouse Parker’s On Ponce.
Enjoy these stories, and look for more reader submission contests in the future.
And if you are in need of resources to help your mom be this supportive, visit www.pflag.org