In honor of LGBTQ Pride Month, the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion team gathered personal stories from several LGBTQ members of the community. Here is one powerful story of hope from Kody Christiansen, Harvard graduate student.
Thank you, Soraya Kanakis for your assistance in sharing this story.
“I came out to my mother at a Chili’s restaurant in Fort Worth, Texas. I guess, I thought maybe doing it in public would prohibit any possible outburst she might have. My mother was a single-mom, I was her only son… we were in Texas. There was a real possibility she might react in a way that was not what I was hoping for. I remember telling her, face to face, sitting in a two person booth near the bar area at the dimly lit restaurant. She was visibly shaken. But I think she already knew. Most moms do. She shed some tears – but she told me she loved me. I think I was in 9th or 10th grade when this happened. I wasn’t out to a lot of people in high school, I dated girls, but I also dated a boy in secret. My first official boyfriend was the captain of the swim team – he was in the closet, too. It was a different time back then. I hope it is easier for the younger generation now, but I know we still have so much work to do to so that young gay people don’t have to feel so much trepidation when considering coming out or not. My mom loved me. She protected me. When I was attacked my senior year of high school for being gay, nearly losing my life at the hands of three boys who assumed I was, my mother held my hand in the ICU and told me she loved me. She even kept my secret, at my request, when the news crews came to interview her about the attack. I wasn’t ready for the world to know I was gay just yet. My mother died of cancer a few months after I recovered from the attack. I wish she could be here to see the proud man I have become today. I wish she could be here to eventually walk me down the aisle to give me away to my future husband. Because she would have. She loved me unconditionally. She may not have been in my life very long, but I will always carry with me the lessons she taught in kindness, love, and acceptance. I wish that every gay kid could have a parent that loves them unconditionally, too. But if they don’t, I want them to know I am here for them. There are SO MANY people here for them. A whole community of unconditional love just waiting to embrace them. To them I say, Stay Strong, Be Proud, and always Dream Big.”