Q&A: Karen Rice: A Mother’s Love

Photo by Karen Rice
Karen Rice is a mother of three adult children, living in a small town in Michigan. She was asked a series of questions, and an edited version appeared in the 2016 Mansfield and Proud Festival guide at the Mansfield Gay Pride Festival. 
Member’s of the gay community were asked a series of questions by the straight community. The questions follow…


What did you think when your son/daughter first came out to you?

A: That it was about time, I knew for a long time that my son was gay. When I told him I already knew he said why didn’t you tell me.   I was glad for him that he finally felt that he could tell me. That it did not change how I felt about him, I will always love him.


Do you think parents of gay children have it easier today than they did when you were raising your child? If so why?

A: Yes.  Because people are more open about it, in turn it will be easier for them to live their lives as they want. Even though there is a long way to go yet for people to accept people for who they are not for who they want them to be.  I stood up for my child even when he was a toddler and things were said about him. I have been fighting for his rights for a long time. He is my son, my child, I accept him as he is.


Do you feel responsible that your child is Gay, that you somehow should have been able to change them?

A: No, there is no changing them and why would I? Just love them.  They are a gift of life, of your love, why would you want to change them.


Did you feel like things would never be the same after finding out that your child is Gay?

A: Same? As in how I feel about them, no.  As other may feel about him, yes, I knew a few people would change how they felt about him, but I didn’t know how exactly who or how they would change towards him.  Some people just haven’t been around gay people and they don’t know how to act, afraid they will say something wrong.  A few say they still love him but they want him to change, they want him to live as they want him to.  That has changed things in our families.  Because they don’t accept my son for who he is, they feel he doesn’t have the same rights as they do, that up sets me a lot. He is a person; he deserves to live his life as he wants.


Are you being a positive influence in your child’s life now that you know?

A: I think that I am.  I hope that I am.  I hope if I’m not that we can talk about it.


Forgetting your own feelings, how can you now help and reinforce your child’s self-worth and self-respect?

A: Help him find a mate, no, seriously I will stand beside him no matter what.  I am helping him with Pride now. What else can I do for him, that I do not know.


Where you devastated when you found out?

A: No! No! and No!


Are you afraid of what your son/daughter may have to go through?

A: Yes, as any of my children you don’t want to see them hurting.  The thought of what he may or has gone through brings tears.  People are just too judgmental.  I want him to have a family and to be able to walk down the street without worrying what someone might say.  When I listen to him tell me the things he is going through and he cries, it is so so hard. I want people just to leave him alone and let him live his life.  He is hurting no one, he is a wonderful person, loving, caring, and has a heart of gold.


Have you talked freely with your son/daughter about how you feel?

A: Yes, I have.


How has your relationship been since you have found out?

A: Yes, for the better.  We are more open with each other.


What do you think are the benefits of having a gay son/daughter?  

A: Through him I can ask questions and know what a gay person goes through each day. It helps to understand both sides of things and I can help others understand.  The best benefit is having him to love and be my son.