My mother is a sterling individual full of laughter, energy and love. Not only was she a single mother, working two or three jobs at a time, but she still managed to find time for her three children. Two of us are biologically hers, and one of us is soon to be adopted. (Yes, there is such a thing as adult adoption.) I was a teenage groovy gothic boy with a knack for Robert Smith hair and Kate Pierson red hair color. Yet there was my mother with a handful of advice on eyeliner application. My awesome younger female-to-male (FTM) brother waltzed through the house with a Mohawk and tattoos, and my mom just said she hoped the tattoos were spelled correctly. My third brother was a school friend of mine who came out his junior year. When his family tossed him out, there was my mother. At 3 in the morning, she picked him up from a gas station and moved him in. My mother has danced on go-go boxes in England, happy as a lark with me, she’s ventured to Hollywood piercing parlors with my FTM brother and arranged a wedding for my other brother and his husband so many years ago. So yes, my family may seem a bit surreal, we might even seem deviant, but we are a family, and she is indeed a sensational mother.
Avery Leale Azusa, CA
“Not many people could love such a strange batch of kids unconditionally,” Avery laughs. “Many families could not accept an eccentric, bookish, queer son (me), an adult gay adoptive son (Mike) and an FTM, Nine Inch Nails-loving, married son (Julian). Most families would have put us into counseling, pretended we were straight or disowned us. My mother loved us and educated us about dating, safe sex and break-ups.”
“I am so blessed to have my children,” Julianne says. “I have been asked would I have preferred my children to have been born heterosexual. My answer to that is a big loud ‘NOOOOOOO!!!’ Why would I change the perfect family and friends?” Julianne works hard to maintain her wonderful relationships with all her children and says she is proudest of Avery for his determination, of Julian for his strength and of Michael for his courage.
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“The best advice my mother ever gave me was evident in all her actions. I learned to take everything in stride, to treat everyone in the most loving, compassionate way and always remain true to my higher consciousness,” Avery says. “She has always been a beautiful beacon of hope and faith.” “We are a strong, close and loving family. What in life is ‘normal,’ anyway?” Julianne adds. “To all parents of GLBT youth, I’d like to let them know that once you open your heart and your mind, you will experience so much love, loyalty, laughs, smiles, hugs, knowledge and new experiences that you will be amazed at the whole world in front of you.”
“At times, it was difficult to see my children struggle through their lives, not because of who they were, but because of society,” she says. “There is absolutely nothing wrong with my children or with anyone, for that matter, because of their sexual orientation. Their love and courage inspire me.”
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