After I told her, Mom wanted to come visit. But our schedules were such that it made it difficult to find a weekend that would work. She was worried about me. She wasn't worried about my being gay; she was worried about what people might do to her little boy. She went into protective mode. It was cool to watch.
Mom and Revis were heroes to my gay friends, and the friends all wanted to meet them. Ben & Leland wanted to have Mom & Revis over to dinner the next time they were in town. So, when the visit was finally planned and on the calendar, I spoke to Ben and Leland.
I wanted them to have a party and invite a bunch of our friends. They throw great parties. This particular party would have a purpose, however. Mom was worried that I didn't have a support group. Plus, Mom had never really known that many gay men and women who were in longterm, monogamous relationships who were professionals and active church goers. I wanted her to see that side of gay. And the best place to do it was Ben & Leland's -- they live in Plano for goodness' sake! You can't get more boring suburbia than that.
So Ben sent out invitations to our friends explaining the importance of the party and its purpose. His event planning side kicked into high gear, and we had various conversations about the menu. He decided on a buffet of soups with appetizers and desserts brought by the guests.
I told Mom we were going to a party at Ben & Leland's. "Is this a gay party?" Yes, there will be mostly gay people there. I want you to meet my friends and see that I have a support group, that I'm okay. "Okay." Come to find out, she and Revis started bragging to their friends that they were going to their first "gay party." Someone told them the food would be good.
I must admit that I was a little nervous. It ended up that none of my straight friends that knew I was out and who knew Mom and Revis were able to come to the party. So, they were going to be the only straight people there. I was hoping they wouldn't get overwhelmed.
We got there and Ben was busy working in the kitchen, as he usually is. Leland welcomed them at the door and embraced them. Then he gave them a tour of the house, explaining what work they had done and were about to do, pointing out various objects of furniture and decor, etc. Your typical first-time-in-a-house-tour. He even showed them the master bedroom and bathroom. Mom and Revis were polite and interested. Then all the guests began arriving. Almost everyone showed up. We ate and talked. Revis told stories of Vietnam and surfing when he was a kid. We spent most of the conversation discussing college football (which some of us have continued to laugh about months later). I went around and hugged and thanked everyone for coming and helping me out.
We were driving back to my house in the car. I'll encapsulate the conversation. "Did you have a good time?" "Yes." "What did you think?" "They are wonderful people. It was a nice party, and a nice house. It looked just like a normal house. Even the bedroom." "Sure." "Thank you for doing that, Scott. I had never seen gay people like that. They are all in longterm relationships. Some of them have children. They have professional jobs. They are all really nice, wonderful people." I was grinning from ear to ear, my purpose having been achieved. "Well, that's why I wanted to do that, so you could see that I have a support system and that I'm okay." "And Ben and Leland are so nice. I thought it was funny that the kitchen is Ben's territory and Leland is supposed to stay out of it. It's just like a real couple." I smiled, "Because they are a real couple."
Of course Ben and Leland and I had to get together that week to debrief the event. They were so honored that it was a huge success.
So not all those days during those months were dark. Many were wonderful, like this one. Thankfully I did have a support group of incredible friends, a loving mother, and a step-dad who is a gift from God.