Coming Out: Is It All About You?


Wade Davis Jr., in a piece for the Huffington Post, expresses compassion for his mother's challenge to understand his sexuality.

Though I can remember almost everything about that day, from my mother's facial expression to her subtle physical responses, only recently have I tried to understand her reactions and consider her feelings throughout my coming-out process.

James Baldwin said it best: "Everybody's journey is individual," and that was definitely true when I decided to come out to my mother. Inviting others into one's personal life and no longer rendering one's sexuality invisible is important and can momentarily leave one incapable of understanding what anyone else is experiencing, and justifiably so.

My only focus at the time was the need to understand my attraction to men. I spent hours and days thinking about what that meant and how it would change everything around me. I was my only focus. And I neglected to fully consider what past experiences in my mother's life would shape her reaction to my news, and her subsequent acceptance. The typical narrative crossed my mind about how she was groomed in a Southern Baptist church, and though I believe those past experiences had an influence, I wondered if there were other factors affecting her reaction. I wondered about her contexts; growing up as a poor black woman in the patriarchal Jim Crow South, for example, might have shaped the way she views the world …

Love removes the empty space that allows our fears, insecurities, and inhibitions to keep us apart. Love is freedom. So we can finally see each other for who we really are, as individuals who must now and forever do the work to understand the other's perspective and respect (as opposed to inspect) every decision or choice that the other makes. We must practice the art of viewing everyone through the lens of love. Our world will look vastly different when we do..

Read Wade Davis Jr.'s entire piece at the Huffington Post.

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