A Mother’s Start On A Journey Of Acceptance
by Belinda Dronkers-Laureta on May 11th, 2016

Keeping Families Together

The Asian And Pacific Islander Family Pride Blog

June 15, 2012

A Mother’s Start On A Journey Of Acceptance


We will share with you a story sent to us by a Filipina mother from Los Angeles. We preserved her voice and the story that follows is as she wrote it with only a slight editorial touch.

I have two sons. My eldest, who just turned 29, came out last year in late July. Though I had that mother’s instinct that he was gay, I never asked directly, I waited for him to come out. Still, I went through a period of adjustment after we finished our telephone conversation and I was alone to reflect upon the news.

My son moved all the way to New York City more than two years ago, before he came out, and I do not have that “continuity” of personal parent-to-child conversations with him. After he told me he was gay, I wanted so badly to be able to talk to him more, but couldn’t. I felt left behind.

When he came out, I initially cried tears of joy for him, because I felt so privileged that he finally told me who he is, and for a mom to know that her son is now FREE to be completely himself, especially with me, was such a relief and a huge milestone. I wrote him a letter the day after he told me and quickly mailed it. It was a congratulatory letter and an “I am so very proud” of you and your courageous spirit. But, during the following few weeks, in the confines of my own soul-searching, I began to grieve about the past and also felt so guilty. I went through a process of blaming myself for not having the full capacity to protect him from all the social misery he experienced during his high school years; he went to an all-boys Catholic high school. Though he prefaced his coming out statement with “Mom, I don’t want you to feel guilty, nor blame yourself, or think you caused anything, about what I’m about to tell you . . .,” still, as a deeply committed mom, I felt intense worry about his personal safety. I felt that his world now had a double layer of discriminatory labels that the dominant culture could use against him; the fact that he is a minority (his Filipino-ness) and now the added layer of being gay. My worries were compounded by the fact that he is 3,000 miles away from me. He reassured me that New York City was probably the safest place for him as a gay person!

During the second week of June, I spent four and a half days solo time with my gay son in New York. It was a beautiful time with him. I told him about the PFLAG work, and for the first time (a milestone), he had me meet a couple of his friends (one straight young lady and one gay young man), both of whom he used to work with when he initially moved to Manhattan. We had a roaring great time at a club; it was wholesome, but wild!

In the past two weeks, I have been rapidly immersing myself in LGBT culture by seeking out activist groups down here in my area. I have gone to Barangay LA LGBTQ town hall Meeting (I invited myself and they were so gracious in allowing me to attend), and also to API-Equality LA volunteer orientation training. Attending the San Gabriel Valley API-PFLAG support group last month was a very empowering experience for my husband and me.

I am the eldest and only daughter; have three younger brothers. My father passed away. So far, I have come out to my mom and youngest brother. They both received my son’s identity very well. I have to come out to two more brothers and hope to complete this process soon.

I am so new at all of this, but it has been truly wonderful to be surrounded and supported by new friends! I hope to be a part of ongoing, continuing conversations with LGBT parents, LGBT youth, from both API and other ethnicities, and also to increase our straight allies in both parents and youth, as well as educators, faith-based leaders, and our extended families back home (Philippines).

Belinda and John Dronkers-Laureta are board members of Asian & Pacific Islander Family Pride www.apifamilypride.org

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