By: Jorge Diaz, MSW Clicical Social Worker

Before gay pride month in June, we celebrate Mother’s day in May. What does one have anything to do with the other?

For so many of us, a mother’s love is fundamentally important in the building of our self-esteem and journey of self-acceptance. So many of us are so lucky to have that mother’s love in our lives, however, so many do not. As a clinician, I’ve had the privilege of being part of the storytelling process with my clients. Stories of admiration for a woman that worked so hard to provide, stories of childhood memories and stories of grief and loss.

Many stories quickly turned into sadness and grief and loss. Many lose their mother to a medical condition or some type of illness and other’s lost their mothers to our broken immigration system. Even with all that, their mother’s love still lived in their hearts. There was no cancer or border that can erase that love. The most toughest stories to hear where those that were grieving the loss of their mother’s love to homophobia. For many, being gay had devastating outcomes. As a clinician, I was “trained and taught” not to judge, but to try to understand. However, I have learned through my clients that I may never understand that pain. It was difficult to understand how a mother can deny or reject their gay son.

But I have learned the power of religious views and culture influence expectations and the power of family image, but I have also learned the power of forgiveness. For those mothers who, for whatever reason are unable to love and accept their gay son-I hope you find the support you need to see the power of your love. For those who love and accept their gay son-BRAVO! And for those that just needed a little time to understand gay identity, we thank you!

I hope on this mother’s day, we all find peace and tranquility in honoring and celebrating our mothers. As we move into June and PRIDE month, I hope that the absence of your mother’s love doesn’t impact your own journey of self-acceptance and the ability to be proud of who you are.

PRIDE month can be good times, fun times… But for many, a combination of Mother’s day in May and PRIDE month in June can be a very triggering and overwhelming time. Please find the strength and support needed. My role as a clinician is never to convince or force my beliefs onto others, my role is to provide the space and tools necessary to help my clients accept their reality, and for many, that reality may never change.

I wish for all mothers to love and accept their gay son. But that is not the reality for all. I would want nothing more than for all of us to enjoy PRIDE season. But that is also not the reality for all… Be bold, be you, be gay and BE PROUD!