How Do You Feel When You’re The Mother Of A Gay Man?

English / April 6, 2014

Ky postim ekziston gjithashtu në Vesionin Shqip

A few days ago a friend of mine sent me a letter, it was his mother’s speech at the first interregional conference on LGBT issues, organized by the U.S. Embassy about two years ago here in Tirana. I thought I’d read an ordinary letter, but I was much more impressed. I thought I’d just take the core of the letter, but if having done so it would have lost much of what follows from what Arber’s mother is messaging to everyone. Over the years I have known many people from the LGBTI community, sincere people who are not afraid to say what they want and what they feel, I have known many parents facing dilemas, unable to understand what is happening with their son or daughter and they have told me that they have often thought of giving an end to their life by just closing the eyes trying to forget what they see, but do not want to be true. Of course I really feel sorry for the parents, but I have a bigger regret for what happens to their children. In most of the cases such youngsters become “jugglers” of their lives by appearing to their family members as other persons. Thus, just to please their parents, they distort little by little and in many cases they risk that this lifestyle becomes their everyday reality.

Here’s what Mrs. X writes (I am not making her name public, so that this information does not serve as gossip to some people who can’t wait for such a case, but to understand something more out of a world that we don’t really know). ’’I’ve often wondered when I did realize that my son was actually ” different ” from others. I have tried to give the right answer many times, until I realized that I had always known, and I felt that Arber was special. I am not a professional nor a prominent speaker, I never had a speech before and I have not spoken to anyone about my son’s inclinations. Although emotion has put me down at the moment, the strength to support my son still keeps me here in front of you. It is not easy to convince ourselves about reality, it is not easy to tell yourself that yes, you have a gay son. It is difficult, I often find it so difficult to say to myself that I have a gay son even today. As a child Arber was so lovely and sweet; always connected to me and incredibly delicate. Today I say to myself that if I had the information I have now, then I would have realized my son since he was a child because his delicate and almost perfect being was so obvious in everything, I would have probably saved myself and especially to Arbri intense suffering during his adolescence”.
Below she explains how she was unprepared for what was happening to his son. He began to retreat inside his shell and not communicate at all about what was going through. Her son once very strongly connected to her, was slowly becoming foreign and distant. The long nights when Arber was out of house and the questions of my husband about my son, together with my child’s strong signs of nervousness had begun. In the letter the mother says that whatever was happening to the son she blamed the society, which had shoved him astray in, and taught him to get used to the alcohol. At that time Arbri was camouflaging by bringing home also female friends. In such a chaotic situation she decides to transcend any ethical code and dig through Arber’s Items, until one day she found the answer in his trouser pocket. It was drugs.

But why such a guy needed to get drugged? She says that now began one of the darkest and the most painful periods to her family. Thus the night services began, the guard of the son, following him every step wherever he was going, every detail that will help her understand how to manage that situation. In her speech she continues by saying; “Little by little I began to understand what was happening, I began to realize that drugs were only one of the reasons and not the main factor of my son’s suffering. Then I started to not say anything to my husband fearing that he could know what was happening and I started following him in the streets of Tirana. You can not imagine the suffering and humiliation I felt when I walked all alone in the dark streets of Tirana, streets without illumination, followed by the ironizing jokes of the taxi drivers. It was really painful when I failed to find my son, when I had not been able to follow him on time and he just got lost of my sight, then I used to go back home in tears, with the heart that could explode from resenting every moment. I was waiting for him until morning in his room filled with large posters of half naked women, and teddy bears. It seemed like I entered the room of someone who was living between two worlds. We used to often fight in the morning because I had entered his room, then I was expelled from his room. It was useless to sit close to the door and wait for him to talk to me. When he wanted to go out I tried being authoritarian by asking him where he was going but I would always lose the argument and he would leave by leaving behind some broken furniture. One of those nights he used to go out, it happened that we met near the neighborhood and I got into his car and I began asking such questions as: ‘’Why do you use drugs? Why do you destroy yourself? What’s so big and bad that makes you do such a thing to yourself and kill yourself. It was the first time that my son after all that time saw me in the eyes. – You know! – he said. You know! Normally I knew, I had already understood what was destroying my son. I told him that I knew, but I wanted to hear it from him. I wanted him to say it to me. I remember that we went somewhere near Tirana Lake, in the midst of darkness and there he confessed to me his real feelings. Using drugs was the only way to approach the Albanian male models, strong, and agile. It was the night when I cried a lot with my son.”

That today woman has been surrendered to the actual reality: the reality of her son being gay and the use of drugs to kill this reality; she chose her son. It was during the long period of her son’s recovery, her presence in almost every hour of the day with the purpose that he would not fall into the arms of some other reality. She says the following words about what her son is: “I’m happy that I had the opportunity to know my son, I am happy that my son had the courage to find his own way and I am proud of what my son is doing. Arber and all the other boys and girls whom I have had the opportunity to know have nothing to be shameful about, they do not have any bad characteristic. They are our children, the ones we brought to life that God or something else had decided for them to be special because they love in their own way. I am proud of my son because he has not disappointed me, I’m proud because everything he has achieved and will achieve is because of his hard work and good will. I am also proud for the work he does, his dedication and sincerity every single day of his life. And today I can say that if I had had some more information, or had I admitted what I knew a little earlier, my son would not have suffered as much as he did.

But it was meant to be like this, I had to know my son through suffering, and it is important that everything went well. I do not know what advise to give to other parents about their children, but if they show some care, some more attention to their children’s silence, as if giving verdicts in advance, just think, they are our sons and daughters. Listen to them, because they are trying to talk to you every moment of their silence. What ‘’destroys’’ your children is neither the sexual orientation, nor being gay, but the great pressure and great fear of prejudice from family, friends, society in general. And either way, it is not the sexual orientation that makes them good or bad. The freedom to live the sexual orientation, the way you have it, allows you to grow and succeed in other areas of life. They are our children and they need us, and they are wonderful!”

This is how she closes her speech. I do not know how happy can a mother be if their child is gay, but all the cases I know, the parents are angry, frustrated and hostile to their children. I am sure about one thing: each person who is basically different would not like to be such in order to avoid the daily problems that come from it. I know many non-gay people, who prefer better not to talk about such realities, but it is good to talk. Without entangling God or his wishes in these kind of realities!

Ky postim ekziston gjithashtu në Vesionin Shqip

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Irena Shabani
Is an Albanian freelance journalist and human rights activist specialising in investigative journalism. She co-founded Panorama, the leading newspaper in Albania, where she served as managing editor from 2002 to 2003. Prior to Panorama she was a journalist at Shekulli and Gazeta Shqiptare and has been part of the Albanian Human Rights Group from its beginning. She has collaborated on programmes for the International Research and Exchanges Board, investigating topics involving crime and political corruption and continues to collaborates with foreign organisations and local media focused on social problems and minority rights.

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