I realized I was gay when I was 12 years old and living with my parents in China. For more than seven years I retreated into a deep closet, feeling shame and guilt every minute of my life. I had no really good friend because I didn't dare to share my feelings with anyone. Life got so lonely and gradually became a non-stop search for reasons to carry on.
I came to Canada at age 17, and during the same year, my dad committed suicide. After three years of adjustment, I finally came out to my friends in Canada for the first time in my life. A year after that, my mom and I became permanent residents of Canada. The day after my mom landed here, I came out to her.
The process of coming out to my friends and to my mom were totally different stories. My friends expressed confusion at first, but they came around pretty much right away. From that moment on, they have afforded me all the love and support you can imagine.
On the other hand, coming out to my mom became horrifying. I am the only child, and my dad is already gone. When I told her I was gay, we cried and cried. Four years later, the situation is pretty much the same.
I started to see my world as divided into two sides. On one side I can be totally myself; life is good and hopeful, and people love and cherish me. On the other side I'm a heartless, selfish and irresponsible son; life is a gloomy, hopeless place. I remember asking myself a million times: "Is this what the rest of my life will be like? Happy me on one side, and desperate me on the other?"
I learned about Pflag from the movie Prayer for Bobby. I wasn't sure what I was expecting and why I decided to contact Toronto Pflag, but I'm glad that I did.
I first called the help line. I remember it was Ann who picked up the phone. I was pretty scared because I didn't know exactly what I was dealing with. I remember asking: "I am a gay boy, can I come to the meeting?" Then I heard the most sympathetic mom's voice for the first time in my life. Ann told me: "Of course, of course." I don't know how, but the way she spoke to me immediately made me realize that she understood my pain and suffering. Ann told me her story, and I decided to attend a support meeting. I soon became a regular at Toronto Pflag meetings.
My mom might not have changed much, but I did. At the Toronto Pflag meetings I saw other moms who were struggling to come to terms with the fact that they have an LGBTQ child. I started to understand my mom's pain and suffering more deeply.
I used to ask myself: "Why does my mom hate me so much?" After so many stories from so many moms, I realized it was not hatred. It was fear -- the same kind of fear that propels a mom to jump in front of a running car to protect her children.
Toronto Pflag has made an incredible difference in my life. It relieved my hostility and even some hatred that I held towards my mom. I stopped asking why my mom hates me so much. I started to ask"How can I ease your pain?" I stopped seeing myself as a victim, and started seeing myself as the person who relieves other's suffering. Today I still struggle with my mom, but the desperate side does not seem so desperate anymore.