03/13/2012 11:25 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

True LGBTQ Stories: How a Midwestern Mom Learned to Accept Her Transgender Son (VIDEO)

I'm From Driftwood is a 501(c)(3) non-profit forum for true lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer stories. Earlier this year, founder and Executive Director Nathan Manske and two companions successfully completed a four-month, 50-state Story Tour collecting LGBTQ stories from towns and cities across the country. They're pulling some of the most relevant, important and sometimes just enjoyable stories from their archives and sharing them with HuffPost Gay Voices.

RoxAnne Moore has two children, one of whom is female-to-male transgender. She admits:

When people meet us now, they always tell us that we seem so awesome and that we seem so accepting. I would be the first to tell you that it has not been easy. Both of us were raised Catholic and have lived in the Midwest, small-town Midwest, where assumed heterosexuality is the norm.

When Shelly (later Cory) initially came out as a lesbian, RoxAnne faced some difficulty accepting it, which surprised even her:

I always thought I was this really open-minded accepting person, and I watched Oprah shows and Phil Donahue shows on gay people, and I thought, "That's fine." What I didn't realize is it was fine with me, but just not my kid, at first, and that brought me up real short.

Despite these hardships, RoxAnne never stopped loving her child. She and her partner got involved with PFLAG, and she educated herself on queer issues.

During Cory's first relationship, the Moore family was going to go on vacation, and he wanted to bring his girlfriend with them:

[He] wanted to bring Donna, and I said fine, but I don't want to see any open displays of affection, and then Cory came back with, "Well, that's not who I am, that's not who I was raised to be." I said, "OK." I said, "I'm just not ready for that!" I said, "Tell you what: Daddy and I won't be affectionate, either. How 'bout that?"

The compromise went through, and the vacation was on. Three hours in, RoxAnne quickly revoked her request because she found it too difficult to refrain from being affectionate, and learned a valuable lesson in the process:

It was too hard, and it really taught me the lesson of why should we expect gay people not to be able to express their affection in public when we so easily can do that? So that was a good lesson learned.


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