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.
Maybe once, before he came out, we wondered why he had never had a girlfriend but that was his senior year in high school and he was acting in two plays, working on his Eagle Scout, and he was Valedictorian. Four years at Austin College, in Sherman and still no girlfriend. (He had a bazillion friend girls but no girlfriends.) He and his best friend, Katie, applied for internships at Theater Three in Dallas, Texas and moved in together…..not “together” but together.
After about 9 months in Dallas, he came home one weekend and he, Dwight and I were watching something on T.V. and he just muted the T.V. and said, “I have something to tell you. Please don’t interrupt and it won’t take long. I am gay. At a very early age I knew I was different but not until the 7th grade did I have a name for my difference, I am happy and this is something I needed to do to finish my coming out.”
Dwight and I just sat there in stunned silence. I couldn’t move or think or breathe or talk.
Dwight made the first move and got up – I followed suit – and we hugged him and then my wonderful husband said to Andrew, “I cannot imagine the courage it must have taken for you to come home to tell us this. You are the bravest man I know. What was your Plan B, if this had not gone well?”
Andrew said, “Daddy, I didn’t have a Plan B. I just know the people who reared me would love me, warts and all.”
Andrew says the first thing I said was, “You must practice safe sex!” 🙂
He left to go back to Dallas and I completely fell apart. We knew we wanted to be a part of his life, no matter what, so I found a PFLAG chapter in a town near us and found out when they met. Dwight got on the computer and bought several books because he said, “we need to be educated!!!!”
And life goes on …
We didn’t tell many folks, at first. My Dad was diagnosed with ALS a month later and that was a sad distraction. He passed to his peacefulness, at home, with just Mama and the three kids, three months later.
Andrew went back to Graduate School at The University of Texas, after Tyler Clementi committed suicide and because he said, “if I could have just talked with him, I know he would still be here. “
My husband, the only Democratic judge left in Cherokee County, Texas, retired from the bench, after 16 years, on December 31, 2016. He married 3 gay couples and granted 1 same sex adoption.
Carl “Andrew” Loys Phifer moved to Washington, D.C. and is now the Public Affairs Specialist for the Attorney General’s office in D.C. He is happy, has a great group of friends, and a Dart specialist/champion at Cobalt’s and Nellie’s night club where his team won the championship recently and raised $3000 for Planned Parenthood.
And these days the little girls who walk with their Mother in our neighborhood, call me Mrs. Rainbow because I live in the Rainbow House – the only house in town with a rainbow flag flying proudly!
Along the way I have learned:
this was not a choice!
it takes guts to come out! (for your child and you)
Andrew’s sexual orientation is only a piece of who he is!
people, who love you, will accept this!
if you don’t stand up for your child, who will?
as a rule, your church will let you down!
until/unless you have skin in the game, shut up!
do not judge ANYONE!
WE LOVE CARL “ANDREW” LOYS PHIFER!!!! HE IS OUR PRIDE & JOY!!!!
During the month of June the private Facebook group, Serendipitydodah for Moms, celebrates Pride Month by inviting members of the group to share pictures of their kids and tell us a little about their kids and the journey they have been on. We call it Pride & Joy! This essay was what Gerry Phifer wrote to go along with the picture she shared of her son, Andrew.
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 secret so that only members can find it or see what is posted in the group. It was started in June 2014 and presently has more than 1,900 members. For more info email firstname.lastname@example.org