A (Midwestern) Black Lesbian’s Reflections on 20 Years of Being ‘Family’

June 28, 2018

It started with a phone call to my mother one hazy June afternoon in Indiana. I called my mother every day, multiple times a day, yet this day was different—this time I was going to tell my mother that I was a lesbian. But before I could even get the words out, I started bawling; I was so fearful of what our relationship would be like on the other side of my declaration. My tears were warranted because after I told her, she told me, “You know I don’t believe in that lifestyle and the Bible says you’re going to burn in hell.”

Having gone to worship with my mother for most of my life, hearing this from her was consistent with what our church believed. But I thought her unconditional love for me would be an expression of God’s grace. As our conversation continued and I tried to explain that I wasn’t “choosing” to be gay, that I was just trying to live my life, she grew more unbothered. I explained that I wasn’t trying to upset her or anger God. Yet through my hysterical crying, she told me that she didn’t want to talk to me “until I was straight again and remembered how I was raised.”

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