14-year-old Elliot (shown in this montage video that he notes “Dad let me upload :D”) has been out to his family since he was 12. For Halloween, Elliot’s mom made his Lady Gaga costume and helped with makeup, and then his dad (costumed as a bodyguard) accompanied him to West Hollywood so that Elliot could go dance and sing with all the other street revelers.
It’s so awesome to see how times are shifting for some gay teens …
Even just in the 15ish years since I graduated high school, there’s been a huge shift in the number of gay teens who are comfortable coming out to their families in high school (or even middle school!) and it’s so inspiring to see parents respond with such deep loving support.
I mean, it seems like such common sense: isn’t it much smarter for dad to accompany his teenaged son to WeHo instead of the 14-year-old likely sneaking out and going by himself? (Because let’s be honest here — if I was a 14-year-old gay boy [which I totally am inside my head] I would get myself in some SERIOUS trouble in WeHo.) Yay for supportive parents who really understand the value of harm reduction!
I grew up a theater dork in high school in a liberal suburb of Seattle, and I shared the stage with several teenaged boys who would eventually come out in college. But absolutely NONE of them were out in the late ’80s/early ’90s. This was definitely the era of “I love my dead gay son.”
A couple years ago, I went to see my cousin in a production at my old high school. Same theater. Same stage. Even the same old teacher directing the show! But after the play it was immediately obvious how things were different: several of the cast members were clearly completely out.
As my family was congratulating my cousin for his performance, an adorable blond boy sashayed over, threw his arm around my cousin, and squealed at us “Doesn’t Austin just look SO GREAT in eye make-up?”
Of course we all agreed (I think Andreas said something like, “Duh: guyliner makes everyone look glamorous!”) and I was left marveling at just how much had changed. My aunt explained that she’d known the blondie since he was in elementary school, and he’d come out to family and friends “years ago” and it was a non-issue.
Even portrayals in popular media have shifted, as anyone who watches Glee and saw Kurt’s coming out scene can attest. His meathead dad was like “Yeah, I’ve known you were gay since you were three. Whatever.” We’ve come a long way since “My dead gay son” was a punchline.
So here’s to Elliot/Lady Gaga and his folks, and all the parents of gay teens who are truly supportive and accepting of their children. As one commenter on the original blog post says:
Miss Poppy and her husband have done themselves a favor by being able to accept the truth and stand beside their son … by doing the hard work and coming to terms with the truth early, they’ve greatly enriched their son’s life and their own.
How many gay men are open with their parents about who they’re dating, what they want out of life, or even what they did last weekend? How many parents are too uncomfortable to even ask? Or too petrified to give advice or even criticism?
By being close with their son and truly knowing him, they are having a more positive influence on him than they will ever know. His odds of being a happy, decent adult have skyrocketed. And since that’s what good parents want, they are much more likely to be happy as well.