[Ed. Note — qnotes continues with this fifth installment of this special series by mother and son, Norena Gutierrez and Trevion Gutierrez. Be sure to catch a special publication of the series in our Aug. 14 print edition, as Trevion shares his experience at his very first Pride event last year. Catch up on all past installments online at goqnotes.com/youngpoz/.]
Trevion: Knowing I’m Gay
I think I knew I was gay when I was about seven. I felt deeply saddened when I saw boys and girls, but I felt like I wasn’t good enough at the same time even though they were my friend. I assumed that people will not like me if I told them how different I was and that they would shy away from me. I assumed that even my own mother would shy away from me. I had seen the documentary that I was not supposed to watch about a man who disowned his son for liking boys.
So one day I sat my mom down before she put me to bed and I asked her one simple question: “Will you still love me if I like boys?” The shock on her face was priceless, really, but I still didn’t understand why she looked at me that way until she told me that she would love me no matter what.
I really don’t have much else to say, except for that I wish other children and other families were more accepting of each other and that love should be everywhere. It saddens me that people have to die in order for us to see that.
Norena: When did I know (my son is gay)?
What was a normal Saturday shopping excursion at the mall turned out to be the moment I can reflect on now as when I knew that my son was… different — that my son “was” gay — that my son is gay. I had no idea what to do with that revelation then and have spent the last decade focused on accepting him for exactly who he is, even if I don’t understand exactly how “gay” works. I am heterosexual.
Ten years ago, Trevion was about seven years old and his brother Richard was five. We were exploring the sale of shoes with those racks where the size you need is not on the rack. I decided I needed another pair of black pumps to go with the other 22 pair of black pumps I already had and was trying to find that lucky size 10. I had lost track of my sons as they started to enjoy the shoes as well. Richard proudly announced he was “A Big Man with Muscles” as he steadied himself in size 14 men’s work boots. I laughed. He was so cute and I kissed him on the forehead and said, “Soon you will be a big, strong man.” I’m thinking that may have kicked off his WWF phase.
On the other side of the shoe rack, I heard Trevion yelling for me: “Mom, Mom! MOM!” As he turned the corner, he had my attention as I saw him with his pants rolled up to his knees in six-inch blue rhinestone bedazzled stilettos. Of course, I laughed thinking he was being a super clown to attract attention — any attention — and especially mine. He was clearly enraptured by the shoes as I said, ‘Wow those are amazing shoes! And you are so funny…’”
“Mom, look at me!” He was adamant. I responded, “Yes, Tre, I see you Mijo (my son in Spanish).”
Tre responded, “I want these shoes, they are the best shoes I have ever seen, they fit me perfectly and I want you to buy these for me right now!”
The other women who were previously looking for their 23rd pair of black pumps took notice. (Note to self: don’t remember this scenario in the Adoption Book Handbook for Single Mothers.) I went over to Trevion and scrunched down to his eye level and said, “Mijo, these are beautiful shoes but they are for girls to wear and we are just looking today, we are not going to buy anything. Are you ready to go?”
Exasperated, but respectful, he sighed an angry sigh, and declared, “Girls have all the good stuff, boys have nothing.”
Later that night, after a bedtime story and during our evening rocking session, Trevion sheepishly said, “Can I ask you something?”
“Of course, anything you want to know, I will tell you the truth,” I told him.
I could tell my very articulate seven year old was struggling to get his words out, which was completely unorthodox for him. We kept rocking.
“Mom, I like boys,” he said.
My very heterosexual mind, and societal norming presence, responded automatically, “Of course you do Trevion, just like you like girls… and you are always making friends, I love that about you.”
Nope that wasn’t what he was talking about.
“No… Mom, will you still love me if I like boys?”
I paused, this was a different emphasis on boys… like boys. I decided the “tell me more” parenting trick was in order and said, “Tell me more, mijo.” And then it came out in a big waterfall of pent-up thinking, agony and exasperation: “I like… like… LIKE boys, like I want to kiss them, like that momma!”
I was quiet. I didn’t know what to say and I couldn’t think of anything to say. Trevion saw my quietness.
“Mom, will you still love me if I like boys?” he asked again. There was a desperate look in his face like this is the bravest I can be and I am asking you because I really need to know: “Will you still love me if I am gay?” We rocked a bit more. And then I said with every single ounce of love in me: “All you ever need to know is that there will always be two plates at the dinner table when you come home for Thanksgiving or Christmas or anytime you want to come home. I will love who you love no matter what your choice is. Who you love is up to you and I promise you, I will always love you no matter what. No matter if you like boys.”
There was that beautiful smile of my Trevion. I saw relief. I saw a child who could go to sleep tonight without one more night of worrying about what he was feeling. He fell asleep in my arms.
And then I heard a question from across the room, from my Richard who had not fallen asleep yet. “Mom?” “Yes?” “Mom, when we go to college, do you come with us?” : :
— Norena Gutierrez is the adoptive mother of Trevion and his brother. Trevion is a student at Central Piedmont Community College. They can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.