The Mama Bear Story Project is a collection of portraits and autobiographical essays from members of Serendipitydodah for Moms – a private Facebook group for open minded Christian moms of LGBTQ kids.
I was raised in the heart of the Bible belt, the buckle, if you will, in Middle TN. I am the oldest of 8 kids and have been in a mother role all my life. I had parents that were more interested in getting high than raising a family. The church was a constant in my life until it turned on me when I left an abusive marriage in my early 30s, with two young children. I was raised thinking that the church, Gods family, would be there for you no matter what. The hole that left in my heart, life and spiritual walk is still there, though not as gaping as it once was.
Co-parenting with an abusive ex has its own challenges but as my youngest grew, she shared with me that she liked girls in a way girls are supposed to like boys. I told her that sometimes we like some people more than others. She seemed content with that answer and dropped to my knees that night before bed pleading with God to remove these feelings from my child. That life, those people were treated so horribly, why would He allow that to be added onto the difficult experience of being human?
The first time I ever heard of anyone being gay, was at the height of the AIDS epidemic. The “Christians” were claiming it was Gods punishment for being homosexual. I remember thinking no one would choose that life on purpose. People, humans, only want love and acceptance. I continued to pray through the years over my youngest, for my youngest, pleading for this to change in her heart. She never really brought it up again, but the thoughts that plagued her little mind were “why can’t I stand to pee like boys” “why do I have to dress like a girl” “why did I have to be a girl, I hate being a girl” “why don’t I have a beard to think with” that one still makes me laugh…. All these thoughts bring me right back to my childhood of neglect and trauma and the promise I made to my future children, that I would always listen to them, no matter what!
My wonderful, amazing daughter came to me her freshman year of high school, the day before her 15th birthday and told me she was gay. She followed with she couldn’t get anyone pregnant, if I was looking for an upside. I wasn’t at all surprised by this news. I hugged her tight and said I love you, thank you for trusting me enough to tell me.
As she navigated her first relationship that also happened to be a lesbian one, I also began to figure out that she was transgender. The pieces just all fell into place in my mind, as we planned for her first military ball and I agreed to let her wear her first tux. I really didn’t want to relive the nightmare of my first son’s wedding and how sad she was in that dress. Her walk resembled Whoopie Goldberg in Ghost when she walking down the street. My heart breaks a bit as I remember all the damage I had caused by making her wear dresses, etc on special occasions. I was hoping one day the “girlyness” would stick.
As I helped my daughter dress in traditionally male attire to escort her girlfriend to the military ball, I noticed her eyes starting to shine, finally. I couldn’t believe I hadn’t figured it out before now. As they posed for pictures, I had never seen my child happier as the day we had a “Footloose” kinda day.
I’m so glad I started to listen, just like I had promised so long ago
Serendipitydodah for Moms is a private Facebook group for moms of LGBTQ kids. Our official motto is “We Are Better Together” and our nickname is “Mama Bears” The group is private so only members can see who is in the group and what is posted in the group. It was started in June 2014 and presently has more than 1,600 members. For more info email firstname.lastname@example.org