We loved the story this weekend about 7th grader Zach O’Connor coming out to his parents. It was slightly stereotyped, but adorable nonetheless, particularly this part:
That night, when his mother got home from work, she stuck her head in his room to say hi. “I said, ‘Ma, I need to talk to you about something, I’m gay.’ She said, ‘O.K., anything else?’ ‘No, but I just told you I’m gay.’ ‘O.K., that’s fine, we still love you.’ I said, ‘That’s it?’ I was preparing for this really dramatic moment.”And this bit, too:
Ms. O’Connor recalls, “He said, ‘Mom, aren’t you going to freak out?’ I said: ‘It’s up to you to decide who to love. I have your father, and you have to figure out what’s best for you.’ He said, ‘Don’t tell Dad.’ ”
“Of course I told him,” Ms. O’Connor says.
Zach says classmates tossed pencils at him and constantly mocked him. “One kid followed me class to class calling me ‘faggot,’ ” he says. “After a month I turned and punched him in the face. He got quiet and walked away. I said, ‘You got beat up by a faggot.’ ”We had the same feeling reading this article that we had while we read Augusten Burrough’s essay in this month’s Details (it was plain-written piece on how dumb it is for Ted Haggard to claim he is no longer gay). We were glad to see gay issues explained simply and positively, but we were wondering for how much longer “gay stuff” will be news simply because it is “gay stuff.” Most of these articles are about how gayness has become normal. If it’s normal, then, why is it news?
Anyway, we liked the story either way. Though we came out young, we didn’t come out as young as Zach, and though our parents were great, they weren’t as quick to understand as his parents. They clearly think this whole thing is hilarious, and they are right:
Now, as a 17-year-old 11th grader, Zach has passed through phases that many gay men of previous generations didn’t get to until their 20s, 30s, even 40s. “Eighth grade was kind of his militant time,” Mr. O’Connor says. “Everything was a rainbow.”We REALLY REALLY hope that when we go to the baby store, we get a fag too.