Socially loud! Can you hear us?


Inviting In: Chris Epps

At the age of 25, I elected to be transparent with my Mother about being Same Gender Loving. 

As many young Black men of the SGL community, I had to wade thru the complexities of my sexual identity earlier on from religion to feeling "different" and ALL that lies in between.

In the best interest of maintaining my "secret" I would primarily date guys who lived outside of the city and/or state which I lived. By dating outside of my immediate surroundings it fostered a false sense of security my "secret" would be kept safe. 

However, at the age of 25 I entered into a relationship with a gentleman in South Carolina. This whirlwind of our relationship made me reconcile my sexuality within myself and for the first time made ready for love…

Quickly after our courtship began I became smitten by love for the first time and everything was on fast forward thereon. To the point of countless "I love you's", eagerly waiting on 7pm to hit for those "anytime minutes", long conversation about nothing to the WHOPPER…moving in together under one roof…MINE!

However, I was good with most of it but had one reservation. I needed to first have a conversation with my Mother as she and I are very close and I didn't feel comfortable moving someone in with me… especially a man without muchless a conversation with my Mother surrounding my sexual orientation.

My intent of speaking with my Mom wasn't for her "approval" nor "acceptance" of my sexual  orientation but to be fully transparent with my Mom about my life. Plus I'd never want my Mom to hear anything about me from the "streets" first before she heard it from me first.

So I made a dinner date with my Mother to enlighten her on my sexual orientation & plans to cohabitate with my then boyfriend.

WELP! Believe it or not, telling with my Mother about my sexual orientation was far easier then telling my Mom I was moving in a complete "stranger" (too her) into my home from two states over! 

When I told my Mom I was "gay" she was extremely calm, nonchalant and immediately replied "I already knew! Out of my three sons you were always different but I wanted you to come to me when you felt comfortable and ready. Mother's ALWAYS know their children! And I want you to know I don't love you any less, support you and if someone fucks with you they're going to have to deal with me!"

Then she went on to say "But this living together shit…I don't know about that Son! Like do you really feel comfortable moving someone into your house that's going to be dependent on you? Why can't he move here ang get his own place and you all continue to date? Why the rush to live together?"

Needless say,  after many failed rebuttals I conceded to my Mother's wise counsel and chose not to move my boyfriend at the time into my home. Shortly thereafter my boyfriend at the time and I relationship amicably dissolved.

In conclusion, inviting my Mother into the fullness of being Same Gender Loving immediately established her as a confidant, strengthen our bond and liberated me to live in full transparency.

As a result of which I'm often consulted by friends who haven't invited their parentals, siblings and/or extended family members in to date, how will they know when the time is "right"?

My response is ALWAYS the same. Only invite your parentals, siblings, extended family members in when you are ready to be transparent without seeking acceptance.

God forbid any loved ones who will not "accept" your invite…but if they do not, and YOU have fully embraced YOU in your identity…it'll soften the blow and not make YOU love YOU any less!

The National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC) is a civil rights organization dedicated to the empowerment of Black lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and same gender loving (LGBTQ/SGL) people, including people living with HIV/AIDS.