When I came out to my mother in my childhood bedroom after coming home from Minnesota in 1990, she exclaimed, “Don’t tell anyone!” When Giuseppe and I took her to Italy to meet his parents in 1994, she shouted, “That’s right!” when Giuseppe’s mother said in Italian, “They need girlfriends.” While my born-again Christian mom had over time come to accept my being gay, something changed last Mother’s Day. Four days after President Obama declared his support for same-sex marriage, so did my mother for the first time. Coming out of the closet is an intensely personal journey. It knows no timetable. Like every out-of-the-closet gay man and lesbian, I had to go through my own stages of self-discovery and self-acceptance before I was ready to state my truth to friends and family. The same process is true for our family members and friends. My mother’s progression from denial of who I am to concern about equal protection for same-sex couples took 22 years. It wasn’t easy for either of us. But she got there.
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