My Gay Thanksgiving

My mother, the matriarch of the family, will preside over a dinner table with my sister and me, my partner, our children and the gay baby daddy. Love is love and our family is the richer for it. But many black LGBT folks aren’t as fortunate as I am.

Getty Images
Getty Images

A few months ago over dinner with my mother, I leaned across the table and asked, “Do you wish I was straight?”

During a pause that seemed at least nine months pregnant, I felt myself dancing with the demon I thought had left my party long ago.

Over the past 20 years, my mother has moved from standing over me and shouting, “You are NOT gay because no daughter of mine would ever be a lesbian,” to assuming her place at the head of the large and colorful network that we call our family.

This Thanksgiving, she will preside over our crowded table like the stately queen of a small country. Our family includes my sister and me; my partner, Jana, and our 10-year-old son and 13-year-old daughter; Lorry, the gay man who fathered the children; and an assortment of friends, exes, aunties and god-children. I am thankful that when my mother bows her head and blesses our family, she means it.

Still, as I looked at my mother’s face that evening, trying to read the emotion I saw flicker across her brow, I wondered, “Does my mother really accept me for who I am?”