Happy Mother's Day
May 5, 2008
SAN FRANCISCO — Although Mother’s Day is the most commercialized holiday on America’s calendar, underneath all that noise still sparkles the original impulse of a day to pause and show your mother that she is special.
As Asian immigrants and children of Asian immigrants, we have special reasons to adore our mothers. They guided us through childhood and teenage-hood while navigating a strange new culture. When they discover they have a child who is gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender, motherhood acquires a special dimension of love and dedication.
For the past four years, the organization Belinda leads, Asian & Pacific Islander Family Pride, celebrates its Family Presentation Banquet to honor parents and family who stand by their LGBT children in spite of often withering social censure. What started as an event to recognize publicly a very private courage has become an emotional outpouring of unrestrained love.
During the banquet, the honorees, nominated by their API LGBT children, say a few words about their children. This is where it gets amazing. There are astonishing testimonies by mothers who never lost sight of this basic truth: Love your children. A mother of a transgender child said: “Man or woman, I love my child!” And the mother of a gay son said: “I am so proud of my son! I am glad that he is my son and not someone else’s.”
Honorees often wonder what it was they did to deserve this public recognition; they don’t see their own specialness. What makes them so deserving is that when life presented them with something so unexpected, they remained steadfast in their love. From them, we learn, or relearn, that love is mutual.
“My [lesbian] daughter sought my understanding and acceptance because she loves me. I am important to her. The reason I accept her is because I love her,” one mother said. “As a mother, I want the best for her, and what is best for her is to be herself and for others who love her to accept her as she is.”
Our mothers came here to have a life that would fulfill a dream. It must be difficult to wonder what to teach your children and which truths from the old country are still useful in the new. And when a child comes out as LGBT, how doubly difficult that must be.
All the testimony we have heard tells of the shock on first hearing that a beloved child has an alternative sexual orientation and the fear for that child because of the difference. But they persevere. On Mother’s Day, we acknowledge our indebtedness to their love and loyalty.
Written by John and Belinda Dronkers-Laureta