Mother Of Young Gay Son Discusses Her Unexpected New Life In The Spotlight
Almost two years ago, a mother posted a blog on Tumblr about her then 6-year-old son telling her that he had a crush on Blaine, a gay character on the hit musical TV show “Glee.”
Soon after, the mother began blogging for HuffPost Gay Voices. In the interest of safety, she chose the pseudonym “Amelia” and kept her identity — and the identity of her family — hidden. But their identities were practically the only thing she has decided not to reveal.
Since then, in blog after blog, Amelia has shared the experiences of her young son, now 8 years old and fully out of the closet, as well as her family. Along the way she has become a mother to many others besides just her own three children and when you look count and combine the numbers, her blogs have been read, shared and commented on well over a million times.
We caught up with Amelia to find out more about her incredible story, what inspires her, how her son feels about her blogging and more.
The Huffington Post: Why did you originally decide to put your story on Tumblr?
Amelia: Because I thought it was cute and my husband really liked it. I had a Tumblr I used to follow things I liked, but had never posted anything myself. It was convenient. I hoped to connect to some like-minded parents. In my wildest dreams I thought maybe a couple hundred people would read it.
When did you know that something incredible was happening?
There wasn’t a singular moment for me.
The first time was few hours after I put up the post. I was home from work, and my husband and best friend kept refreshing Tumblr on their computers and shouting out the number of notes the post had received… 7,000… 12,000… And I was sitting on the couch answering the messages in my Tumblr mail. I would answer 10 messages and 10 more would pop up to replace them. It went on like that for hours. It was overwhelming.
I kept getting overwhelmed over and over again as the days went on and blogs I read and people and organizations I respected blogged, tweeted and facebooked about it.
Honestly, it still happens all the time. Whenever someone I don’t know has read something I have written, I am shocked. Noah Michelson [Editor of HuffPost Gay Voices, who is responsible for bringing Amelia on as a blogger for the site] is fond of telling me I have no perspective [of how influential my blogs are] and I think that is true. But I think it is a good thing. My headspace needs to be occupied with being a mother, wife and partner. I don’t think I could write if it wasn’t. It would be too big.
Do you have a background in writing? Did you always consider writing about your experiences with your son? What made you keep blogging?
Not really. I’ve played with writing and journaling before, but I have never been serious about it. I never even sent in anything for consideration to be published.
When I put up the first blog I thought it was a one shot deal. I didn’t even consider it becoming something I did on a regular basis. The children who wrote to me made me keep going. So many children were in pain and if their own parents wouldn’t stand up for them, then I sure as hell could and would. It felt cowardly to consider doing anything else.
Does your son know that you blog about him? What are his thoughts?
The evening of the first post when numbers were getting yelled out all night, my son turned to me and asked, “What are all those numbers?” I was stopped short as I tried to grasp for something to say. I finally settled on, “Baby, that’s how many people think you’re cool.” He liked that a lot.
We’ve discussed it more as time has gone on, but we try to keep any big hubbub away from him. The other day he described what I do as, “You write about how much you love me, and it makes people happy.” I think that’s pretty accurate.
You’ve remained anonymous to protect your family’s safety. Has anything happened that made you think you or they were ever at risk?
We have received direct threats toward me and my son. Talking about the threats publicly makes me really uncomfortable. Yes, it is part of what we took on as family when I agreed to keep blogging (and that was a family decision). It doesn’t change what I say and I feel takes away from the message of what we’re doing.
What has been the most incredible thing that has come out of this experience for you?
There are so many incredible things! All the incredible people we’ve met and get to correspond with every day… Really too many to mention.
But I would have to say the most incredible thing has been my relationship with Kelly Byrom, Lori Duron and Sarah Manley. They are all mothers who fight for children’s equality. These women have become some of my best friends. I count on them to hold me up on my bad days and I can’t wait to share with them my good news. The relationship is special to all of us because it is one of complete support. Even when we make very different decisions, we have each other’s backs. And there’s no jealousy or competition with each other. We are all excited when any of us gets an opportunity, because it all about the cause: Our kids. It’s truly extraordinary.
Do you have any regrets?
Sometimes I regret it when I don’t explain something well enough [in a blog]. But I don’t have any regrets about starting this journey. It’s been an amazing experience that constantly humbles me. Even when things get really tough, I don’t want to go back and undo it.
You recently revealed your face for the first time. Do you think you’ll ever fully be able to come out?
I think so. But that’s going to be my son’s decision, not mine. When he wants to come out to our readers, then I will, too.
Who in your life knows that you’re Amelia? Are they supportive? Have you received any discouraging comments from those who know?
Well, since the picture came out, a lot more. My family and friends know. The vast majority of people are incredibly supportive, but we have had a few naysayers. Some people think a child couldn’t possibly know he’s gay a such a young age. Since it’s been almost 2 years now, those voices are quieting. My husband’s family is more conservative than mine and there is the sense of “Why do you need to talk about it?” They think it is a family issue that should remain within the family. Our kid isn’t “an issue.” My husband and I both think that attitude fosters shame, which is not what we want for our kid.
We don’t have to deal with overt homophobia. We have stood for equality and equal rights since before we even had kids. People know where we stand, and if they don’t like it, they don’t talk to us any more. And that’s OK.
What’s the hardest part of being Amelia?
The knowledge that I can’t personally mother all the struggling kids out there that need a parent to support them… That I can’t personally hug and hold every adult that is still hurting from their upbringing and tell them they are lovable and it wasn’t their fault.
I know those things might sound silly but that’s what I want to do and just can’t. Reality gets in the way, as my husband reminds me on a regular basis.
What inspires you the most?
My kids, not just my oldest son but all three of my sons. They are these incredible little people. To get to see the world through their eyes is amazing.
At the end of the day, what — more than anything — do you hope people take away from your blogs?
Love wins. If we fight hard and refuse to let go and refuse to quit, love wins.
This interview was reposted from HuffingtonPost
Originally posted 2013-07-01 11:41:56.