Happy Birthday to Claudia – the Give ’em Hope campaign has connected us to wonderful people in different parts of the world and there we embrace our similarities and celebrate our differences, knowing that in diversity there is so much to be gained for humanity. Claudia joined us in the beginning and has been a loyal and supportive figure in the group. What I have learned from Claudia is that despite facing personal challenges, we all can make a little room in our hearts for others.
Claudia’s Story – (This story was actually written in 1994 – I just now put it online)
The passing of time has blurred some of the memories and emotions of the moment (almost 2 ½ years ago) when my son, Aaron, came out to me. He was 16 years old at the time.
I was aware Aaron had acquaintances that were gay. It should have been a sign to me when he first expressed an interest in working the Youth Hotline at the newly opening Indianapolis Youth Group …(IYG), which was a center supportive of gay/lesbian/bisexual youth. A requirement of working this hotline was that your sexual orientation falls into one of those categories. Aaron needed to select a volunteer project within the community, as a part of his involvement in the Learning Unlimited program at his high school. He indicated to me that he thought he could arrange this for himself at IYG.
Then came the night, a few weeks before Christmas, when he came home and blurted out to his sister and me (as we were sitting on the couch watching television) that he had gone to an IYG meeting instead of where he had said he would be. . . and that he thought he was bisexual or gay.
At first I was a little resentful that he dropped this bomb on us the way he did . . . in front of his sister. In retrospect, I realized that there may have been a reason for it happening this way. Aaron wanted both of us to know this about him, and it was probably easier to tell both of us at the same time.
The discussion between us that night seemed to evolve into a yelling match, even though I can’t remember now what we were yelling about. I do remember eventually asking Aaron to go into another room and leave me alone because I couldn’t talk about it anymore. Before I went to bed, I do remember writing him a note, which was hard to see through my tears, assuring him that he was my son and I loved him no matter what. I left this note where he could find it before he got on the school bus. I seem to remember that evening, as I tucked his 13 year old sister into bed, her saying to me that it “it didn’t matter that Aaron was gay, he was still her brother.”
I went through a short period where I wondered if we didn’t talk about it, that maybe . . . just maybe, Aaron would go to bed at night and upon waking in the morning, realize that he had changed his mind and decided he wasn’t gay after all. I floundered like this for a month, and then was spurred to call IYG and talk with Chris Gonzalez one day after a story appeared in the Indianapolis Star about him and IYG. This conversation was the beginning of my healing. I miss Chris and wish I could tell him what a difference he made in our lives. I came to understand that in reality, the only thing that had changed for us was my perception of my son and the life he might have. Aaron was still the same kind, loving, intelligent person that he’d always been and always would be. I wish I could’ve spared him the agony he must have gone through to gather his courage and divulge the secret of his homosexuality.
My uppermost fear was and is now, the prospect of bigotry and hatred that Aaron could encounter in his lifetime. I worry about gay-bashing. I feel that the world is my son’s oyster and he should have every opportunity to achieve his heart’s desire the same as everyone else. I don’t want him to be denied anything because of who he is.
Another worry was how would family and friends react? How do you go about telling the people who mean the most to you something like this? You desire their love and acceptance, while at the same time, defying them to speak out against the child you love so deeply. I’ve felt that my responsibility is to tell them what I can about Aaron and it is up to them to deal with it the best they can, and hopefully keep their negative opinions to themselves.
In my opinion, the best way to get to know your gay, lesbian, or bisexual child is to immerse yourself in their world. Get involved at IYG, take part in the Indiana AIDS Walk held in the fall, attend World AIDS Day activities in December, etc. . . The more gay, lesbian, or bisexual people you meet, you’ll discover that they are no different than you or I, except in how they sexually identify themselves.
I refuse to live a life of fear. My most fervent prayer to a loving God is that He will give me the courage and strength to handle whatever comes my way, for I know that I cannot afford to be a closet mother.HELLO LOVELY PEOPLE! How are you today? Keep sharing and supporting. Respect to you for being here. Still time to vote for us in the National Diversity Awards https://nominate.nationaldiversityawards.co.uk/nominate/endorse/12593
WHAT IS THE GIVE ‘EM HOPE CAMPAIGN?
Stage One – The Give ‘em Hope Campaign is an inclusive and inspirational celebration of diversity; an online video initiative to encourage and uplift those who feel marginalised, isolated or limited by labels. We exist to bring hope to those who need it most and do so by sharing our stories.
The campaign was founded by David E Watters in early 2011 and has grown, with the support of numerous international cheerleaders and proactive participants.
All of our videos can be found on our youtube channel.
THE NBI ASSOCIATES YOUTUBE CHANNEL CAN BE FOUND BY CLICKING ON THE LINK HERE:
Stage Two – has included written stories of HOPE from those who have freed themselves from limiting labels and who can now celebrate their individuality.
Write your story or make and send your video to: DavidWatters@nbiassociates.co.uk
SHARE YOUR STORY AND HAVE IT SHOWN ON:
THE NBI ASSOCIATES YOUTUBE PAGE: NBIassociateshttp://www.youtube.com/user/NBIassociates?feature=mhee
THE NBI ASSOCIATES/ GIVE ‘EM HOPE WEBSITE:
Stage Three – is the living family support network which flourishes on facebook. Both the group and sister page are staffed by an international team of compassionate administrators, of diverse backgrounds, who provide unrivalled support and guidance.
JOIN THE “Give ‘em Hope” GROUP ON FACEBOOK:
COME AND VISIT OUR SISTER PAGE:https://www.facebook.com/GIVEemHOPE