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Coming Out With Pride

San Francisco Pride weekend kicks off today, and I'd like to take this moment to take a short detour on our journey to dream realization. We can succeed (or fail) another day, but the rainbow festivities only come once a year. (Well it comes all year round, but the official celebration is end of June, as was initiated by the Stonewall Riots).

The parties have started as early as June 1st, maybe even earlier. Every city in the Bay Area had already announced, if not completed, their very own Pride Parade (San Jose held their parade weekend before last, while Silicon Valley would be holding theirs at the end of August). The major SF march wouldn't be until Sunday morning, but people are already waving their flags on and off BART. Even Target stores are selling flags.  That's how big Pride Parade is where I am. It's part of the economy.

And it's exciting to be in the middle of it, even when one doesn't have any plans on going. Well, I did plan on going, but my schedule couldn't fit it. "Action expresses priorities," and I have to prioritize that golden dream. When I achieve the aspiration, maybe then I could afford a Grandstand seat. Maybe even better, I could become a marshal or an honoree.  Before that, I have to work on it. 

So instead, to commemorate this spectacular event, let me tell you the story of how I came out to my mother.

When I was growing up, you could say that my life was devoid of any gay influence. I had one lesbian aunt, but aside from the occasional family gatherings, I didn't have any interaction with her. I don't even know if she ever preferred  to be addressed as a "he" or "she." It was one of those things the family never talked about or discussed explicitly. Aunt was a lesbian, she acted like an uncle, and that was not a problem, nor did it feel unnatural.

But other than her, there was nobody else.

That was until we found my biological father and met him after 16 years.

We don't have any concrete proof of it, but my mother and her cousins suspect my dad was gay (they don't believe or understand bisexuals, so even with me as evidence, the label didn't even touch their minds). All because he was too soft to be a straight man. Old school people sure have no gray areas, huh?

From then on my mother had not-so-secretly feared I would turn out gay. She was often vocal about it, mostly being against it. She never blamed my dad for it, but she attributed my then-imagined-lesbian-tendencies to him. It was something I couldn't understand at that time. All my crushes were boys. In fact, I was hopelessly in love with this boy in class, yet, she still thought I'd turn out gay.

Even in college, where I once again fell in love with a boy and had my first relationship with a different boy, her fears and doubts never wavered. She had kept reminding me not to turn gay. The straight path was the only righteous path. I didn't even mix with the lesbian crowd. I had lesbian classmates and friends, but I always hung out with gay men and straight geek boys. For most people in college, I was the gay man trapped in a girl's body.   

I guess that's what you would call mother's instinct.

It wasn't after college when I started hanging out with lezzies. The Philippine call center industry was the most diverse set of people I've ever encountered. In the team I was assigned to, the spectrum swung from a fully transitioned transgender to a religious novitiate. There were representatives for every gender and sexual orientation. And these people loved to party (well except the novitiate, we could never get her out drinking). I would have to admit, that was when the lifestyle piqued my curiosity.

Eventually, I found a couple of friends who were just as curious as I was. Just about the same time when my mother moved to Kentucky. Without the overbearing figure looming over me, I found peace to do whatever I want. I found the freedom to say whatever I can say. I found expanse to stretch my limitation without anyone holding me back.

And eventually, I found a girl I liked. 

I started seeing this girl. She was fun to hang out.  And although she was in the closet back then, she was the one who convinced me telling my mom would liberate me.

So when my mother called and asked me if I was dating anyone, I told her about the person I was seeing. I even started with, "You wouldn't like who I'm seeing."

"What? Why? Just tell me, I swear I won't be mad."

So I did. As soon as I said, "I'm seeing a girl," the phone call dropped. When I heard the beeping sound of a severed connection, I knew it was not the good news she was expecting.
A few minutes later, my mother called back apologizing for the bad connection with a shaky voice. She followed it with a couple of seconds of awkward silence. Then she said with an unconvincing voice, "Why would I be mad?" I didn't answer as the phone call dropped once more.

One time, while I was with the girl, my mother paid me a phone call without prior notice. She then asked, "Who are you with?"
As soon as I gave her the girl's name, we both heard the phone rattling on the floor followed by the sound of a busy signal. When she called back, her voice was shaky again, and this call didn't last very long.

The girl asked me, "Your mom doesn't like me, does she?" To which I answered, "No she doesn't like me being a lesbian."

Nowadays, I live with my mother in SF-Bay Area. My mother would let everybody know I like girls to demonstrate how cool she is about it. But then, she would admonish me in private when we have a discourse about LGBTQ rights. (To be fair though, she also rebukes my opinions about racism and PC ideologies). She also doesn't recognize my being bisexual. I may not even be able to let her understand I'm a panromantic demisexual. There's just too many labels that are neither black or white.

In spite of this, I am proud of my sexuality (or lack thereof). I am proud to be part of the LGBTQ community (even though I'm hiding under a rock). And hopefully one day, my mother would genuinely be happy too. It's a long shot, so I'm not counting on it. But who knows. I'll just keep on educating her whatever I know and understand.


Let all the rainbows and unicorns glitter brightly.

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