I'm not going to bog my blog down with a huge introduction. I'll only say that one of my most favorite people and her son, are incredible for sharing their story to spread awareness for a cause that has touched my heart and made me laugh and cry...and want to smack ignorant people around. So without further yammering from me--Stephani Hecht sharing her wonderfully strong son Cody's story.
I was both honored and humbled when asked to blog on this day. Not only is The Trevor Project a wonderful and much needed organization, but I have a personal connection because I am the mother of a gay son.
Before I go on, let me preface this by saying I have his permission to share this story with the blog world. Coming out can be a difficult and very personal time in an individual’s life. But, if Cody is anything, he’s brave and he’s always willing to put himself out there and take risks in order to help others.
Looking back, I now realize I always knew Cody was gay. Not because of anything he did or said, but because a mother just always has a way of knowing these kinds of things. The truth became even clearer last summer when he was getting his senior pictures taken.
The photographer was an older man and while he was really sweet, he had no ability to read body language. Cody was having trouble loosening up for the pictures, so the gentleman kept urging Cody to “think of some cute girls” to make him smile. While I’m certain the man didn’t mean any harm, the look on Cody’s face whenever he said it, nearly broke my heart.
I wanted nothing more than to reach out and give Cody a great big hug. To tell him that’s it’s okay. That I understood him. That I would always love him no matter what. There was just one problem, Cody hadn’t come out to me yet. So I had to hold back and hope that he would soon fell comfortable enough to confide in me.
That happened a mere two weeks later. The rest of the family went to bed, while Cody and I sat up and talked. Our discussion went on until the early hours of the next morning. In the meantime, we looked at various websites, PFLAG and The Trevor Project were just a few. It was four in the morning when Cody finally turned to me.
“Do I need to say it?” he asked, his voice wavering just a bit.
“I already know, but if you want to practice on me, that’s okay,” I replied.
He took a deep breath and said, “Mom, I’m gay.”
I gave him a hug, told him I’m so damn proud of him and we’ve been so much closer ever since. Over the course of the next few months, Cody came out to all of our family. Everyone took it in stride and there was no hate thrown his way. Even better, I’ve never seen Cody more relaxed and comfortable in his skin.
I only wish coming out was that easy for all kids. All too often, however, the exact opposite happens. Teens are bullied, harassed and thrown out of their homes, all for being gay. One of the local GLBT youth centers, Affirmations, even has a shower and clothes donation room set aside to aid those kids who have no home. The Ruth Ellis Center is another Detroit organized dedicated to helping out GLBT homeless youth.
As for Cody, this has been a great year for him. Not only is he happy, but he founded the first ever Gay, Straight, Alliance at his high school. While he’s had some slurs thrown his way, on the whole, he’s really well liked at school. He also has a strong core of friends who’ve supported him all along this journey.
Many people have told me that Cody is so lucky to have such an accepting mother. I would like to argue that I’m the one who is lucky. My son is smart, sweet and most of all he’s brave as hell. I couldn’t ask for a better kid.
Now, a little bit about the It Gets Better Project. This year, in response to the rash of gay kids committing suicide, Dan Savage started a YouTube campaign. He uploaded a message on YouTube, directed at GLBT youth. In it he told the kids that, not only did he understand what they’re going through, but he urged the kids to hold on because things DO GET BETTER! The project took off like crazy and soon thousands of “It Gets Better” messages were uploaded to YouTube. I decided to share, both the Google Chrome commercial that highlighted the project, plus my favorite “It Gets Better” message. It was compiled by some employees from Pixar. Both videos are moving and always manage to bring a tear to my eyes.
It Gets Better-Google Chrome commercial
Pixar employees-It Gets Better
The Trevor Project- http://www.thetrevorproject.org/
PFLAG National- http://community.pflag.org/Page.aspx?pid=194&srcid=-2
PFLAD Detroit- http://www.pflagdetroit.org/
The Ruth Ellis Center- http://www.ruthelliscenter.org/
It Gets Better Project- http://www.ruthelliscenter.org/
Mathew Shepard Foundation- http://www.matthewshepard.org/
Human Rights Campaign- http://shop.hrc.org/
All Out- http://www.allout.org/
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Erotic M/M author Em Woods EBook.
Erotic M/M author Stephani Hecht EBook
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