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Amy Shiner Headshot

Dear Mom, I Love You (P.S. I'm Poly, Kinky and Queer)

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I think the saying is true that you will come out more than once in your lifetime if you fall in any range of the GLBT spectrum. I have a triple whammy; I am poly, kinky and queer.

I've had a lot of different coming-outs, but the easiest has been to my mother. I was scared (it was pre-It-Gets-Better) and worried. It's still a scary process, but I am not alone.

I almost would call it a foreseen prophecy, to my mother, that I was a bit "special." For most of my childhood, it was more usual to see me with G.I. Joes dressed in Barbie doll clothes and my Barbies, for the most part, naked. I loved playing dress-up with my younger brother, who allowed this torture to happen till the age of 10, and at one point embraced it; he came up with his own feminine persona and voice and would, on occasion, volunteer to play. I grew a love for jump ropes, string and anything that would restrain me. In fact, most of my games with my friends ended up with me being tied up, whether or not the game normally included it, and I was the first to jump at the chance to be tied.

My homophobic, Catholic father was, at one point, shocked and outraged, while my mother wooted me on... leaving me with the question, "Why can't this be normal?"

What is normal? I'm not sure if I will ever get an answer to that question. If anyone finds out what it means, please tell me.

By age 16 the definition of normal and being happy with myself was on two far ends of the spectrum. I was going through a period of depression; I had just reached adulthood in the Roman Catholic Church, which is not known for embracing my lifestyle choice; and I had already decided that after I had made my confirmation, I would not be staying in the Church.

I decided a week before my confirmation that I really needed to tell my mother I was bisexual. At the time of perceiving that I needed to tell my mother, it seemed difficult and scary. Lying on the guest-room bed the following night, I felt small. I watched my mother work diligently on the computer, the glow from the screen, and out of my mouth I whispered that I was bisexual. I kept saying it a bit louder, until she heard me and turned around. I looked at her, the Irish Catholic mother that I put all my energy into making proud (even now), and it was a long five seconds. The response that came from her made me smile: "OK, if you meet any females my age, send them my way, 'cause I'm single, and that must be easier than a man."

I was on cloud nine. The next few years were somewhat of a blur. I stopped going to church, I became more confident, and after a stint at summer camp, I found other people like me. I found out that high school, which was a lonely time without many friends, was just four years. It was not my life, and after getting numerous scholarships and financial help, I went to an out-of-state college that was welcoming to the GLBT community -- all with the support from my mother, who always tells me, to this day, "Don't let the turkeys get you down."

I found that my mother stood by me even with my coming out as kinky and poly. It was a double whammy to her: this happened in less than a six-month period. The kink was an accident; the poly, not so much. The kink, which I would have preferred to stay private, was introduced on two occasions before I came out. Having a mother with the best intentions on updating computer software sign in to my Yahoo! account, which had very sexually explicit name, was not my best coming out move. The second occasion was with a well-humored partner who, willingly, flashed my mother her corset when dropping me off; this just topped it off. Due to balancing two dominants (he or she who controls the relationship), at that point it's fair to say that the trip a few months later to visit my sadistic dominant just finished opening Pandora's Box.

In a way, I am lucky to be able to come out to my family and friends. My mother has never denied me praise for my accomplishments. While other friends earn praise for long-lasting relationships, senior recitals and grad school, I earn praise for a $500 scholarship I earned for my work as a kink educator, being at a peaceful same-sex marriage rally that had a police escort, and for writing a sex-positive blog.

So this National Coming Out Day, I thanked my mother, who has always loved me for who I am and never let me let the turkeys get me down.