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Dayna Steele Headshot

'Hey, Mom, I'm Gay'

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A few weeks ago, I received a Google alert that a bogus, bizarre website had "outed" me. I took that as an opportunity to have some fun on Facebook with my friends, gay and straight. What surprised me was the reaction of a minority. Would I sue? Was I upset? These friends obviously do not know me very well. Then the Duck Dynasty fiasco happened. So I thought this might be a good time to unearth something I wrote a little over a year ago, when my teenage son came out:

"I'm gay," my 16-year-old son blurted out late last night. Actually, he texted it following a teenage tantrum about something totally unrelated to sexual orientation.

In 1997, when said teenager was just 15 months old, Houston's OutSmart magazine profiled me as a former rock radio deejay turned talk radio personality in my hometown. I was fortunate to have been embraced by not only Houston's radio community but also the gay community in Houston throughout my media career. In the piece, OutSmart asked what I would do if one of my sons told me he was gay. My answer was, "Yeah. OK. Did you do your homework?"

Well, my little bundle of joy that now towers over me didn't exactly give me the Leave It to Beaver coming-out moment I had envisioned. The national musical theater company he works for as a summer intern had recently offered to extend his internship until he graduated from high school if he could be home-schooled. He arrived home last night demanding a decision immediately. As parents, this was a hard decision, and we were still in the research stage. Home-schooling was not an option with our careers; however, the school district work/study program was an option, along with several online opportunities. We were not going to be rushed into a decision like this on something as important as his future.

The discussion escalated into an argument that became repetitive and guaranteed a stalemate. We tried to disengage by telling him it was late and we needed to do more research to have this discussion. He stomped off to his room with the blustery, nasty attitude only a teenager can perfect. Moments later, his fingers blurted out the text "I'm gay." My husband and I read his message, sighed, and... went to sleep.

I am up early now, composing this piece for publication later just for him. That will be his decision. So what will we do when he wakes up?

First, we will make it as clear as we possibly can that no tantrum will ever get you what you want from us, your superiors, your co-workers, your friends, or your significant other -- in short, from anyone. Ever. Never. Period.

Second, always stand tall and be proud of who you are based on your fair treatment of others, your contributions to your community, your support of your family, and of who you are as a human being -- not based on your sexuality, your ethnicity, your religion or any other thing.

Third, and most importantly -- whether you are gay, straight, or from Mars -- the same rules apply and will never change:
  • Be a good person to yourself and to others
  • Find someone you care about who cares about you; respect and support each other
  • Wear a condom
  • Do your homework

Now, if I can find him amongst all the dirty clothes exploded about his room, we will get started on the next chapter of his life adventure.

The majority of my Facebook friends have continued to have fun with the post, asking when my fabulous coming-out party will be. And as for our son? He gave me his blessing to post this piece I wrote so many months ago. My husband and I did take him out of traditional high school, and he is finishing his high-school education online while working in his chosen profession as a stage manager in live musical theater. While he waits to hear a "yes" from his desired university, he continues to live his dream among the stage lights, cast members, and crews of Broadway shows. We could not be prouder of him, his work ethic, his creativity, and him as a man.