By: Jorge Diaz, MSW – Clinical Social Worker, firstname.lastname@example.org
As a gay Latino man, the month of May can be a roller coaster of emotions. On one had, we celebrate Mother’s day and on the other, let gay pride festivities begin! We are raised to believe that a mother’s love is unique and unconditional-a love that cures all. But what happens when a mother’s love is revoked because cultural and religious beliefs create barriers in accepting their gay son’s identity? Can we really celebrate pride when we carry the burden and pain of a mother’s rejection? When do you realize that you should feel proud of who you are and love who you are-even though the person that gave you life is unable to stand by you? How can we get into the gay pride spirit when we are dealing with our grief and loss?
In the 5 stages of Grief and Loss, the final stage is “Acceptance.” Can someone ever come to a place of acceptance? There are no words of advice of what to do on Mother’s day if you are dealing with rejection; simply know that you are loved and you are not alone and certainly our love may never replace or substitute the love of a mother. Many of us had to learn that pride comes within and for many of us, in order to feel “pride” we had to process the shame and guilt of being gay.
Life has an interesting way of teaching us that self-acceptance and self-love is all about you. Family rejection, especially a mother’s rejection may make your journey of self-acceptance and self-love more challenging but don’t lose hope. Its difficult for me to understand how cultural and religious beliefs can intervene in the beautiful love and bond between a mother and her son. I hope that those mothers who are struggling with accepting their son get the help and guidance they need to look beyond their son’s sexual orientation.
I hope that all those gay men who are struggling with family rejection are able to embark on life without the need of drugs or substances or high risky sexual activities or unhealthy decisions to feel loved. Although many of us are impacted by cultural and religious beliefs that may impact our journey of self-acceptance, remember that no one can love and embrace you more than you! Learn how to process your grief and loss as well as the power of loving yourself. For all those mothers who love and embrace their gay son, BRAVO!!! Happy Gay Pride!