The Letter I Wish I Wrote When I Came Out


The Letter I Wish I Wrote

When I Came Out

by Kristin Russo

Back in 2011, Kristin Russo wrote this letter at Everyone Is Gay for a young person whose mother was struggling with her child’s sexuality.

We hope these words can serve as an important reminder to many more parents out there. Your child loves you.

Dear Mom,

Your daughter loves you.

She loves you in the same all-consuming, chest-heaving, terrifying and beautiful way that you love her. That is, and always will be, the most important thing. Remember it, and repeat it to yourself when it is hard for you to get up off the couch in your confusion and despair.

I came out to my mom thirteen years ago. I was seventeen. My mom was raised in a very strict Catholic household, and has an unshakable faith. Part of that faith, up until thirteen years ago, was the belief that homosexuality was a sin. When I told my mom that I was gay, she wasn’t angry…she was so horribly terrified and heartbroken that her child was doing something that would result in her going to hell. She pleaded with me and she yelled and she cried and she was so angry and scared and confused.  I fought with her viciously, and at the time I thought it was only because I couldn’t stand her ignorance. Now reflecting back on those fights, I know that they were fueled by the fact that I could see how much she loved me even through her pain, and it killed me to see her suffer so much because of who I was…something I could not change.

My mom and I fought for many, many months, and then we began to talk, and she began to help me understand her pain. I grew up more and was able to see that pain and speak back to it from a place of love, and slowly she began to ask about my life, and wanted to meet the girl who I was falling in love with. Things were shaky in the beginning, as they always are, but we have worked and worked to find a place where she can still have her faith while loving me and sharing in my life.

Your daughter loves you.

I cannot sit here and tell you that you are wrong, and that your belief system is incorrect, but what I can tell you is that most of the things that we hold so tightly are uncertain…deep down I think we all know that on the day we die, we might actually walk up to pearly gates and see our grandparents waiting for us on the other side…or we might understand a feeling and presence that we couldn’t have imagined while we were living. We just don’t know. We can’t know. That is what is so beautiful and terrifying about this life.

You don’t have to throw away the things you hold to so tightly. You just have to loosen your grip a bit and open yourself to a dialogue with your daughter. You are going to have days where you see a lesbian couple on the street and you are overcome with anger and you burn dinner and you blame it on those stupid lesbians. You are also going to have days where you come across a picture of your daughter when she was seven and got into your makeup kit and covered her face with purple lipstick, and your love will burst through your lungs and stomach and eyes and you’ll cry because you know you just cannot ever let her go.

Be patient with yourself through this process, but also allow yourself to accept that this is a process. Life isn’t about always staying in one place, it is about having beliefs and finding those beliefs challenged, and thinking and wondering and questioning while, all the while, holding on to the few things that will always remain constant: the people who you love, and who love you back unconditionally.

Your daughter loves you.

Kristin is the CEO & Co-Founder of both Everyone Is Gay  & My Kid Is Gay. She also hosted & produced the first season of First Person, a video series on gender and sexuality from PBS Digital. She co-authored the book This is a Book for Parents of Gay Kids (Chronicle, 2014), is the co-director of A-Camp, and holds a Master’s in Gender Studies from the CUNY Graduate Center in Manhattan.