I came out to my parents and three siblings via letters while in my early thirties. When Mother received her letter, she confided that she and my sisters had already broached the subject of my sexual orientation, but only amongst themselves years before I came out to them. I often say when we come out of the closet, our families go in, but it didn’t take long for mine to come out. When I became chair of my GLSEN chapter and a Compass board member, my local LGBT community services center, Mother and my sisters became members of both, even though they lived elsewhere in the country. Last week, she was teasing me about moving to California to get married, but only after I’d found a partner. She’s come a long way and I’m very fortunate and even more proud of my mother, Delores Brooks.
Clarence Brooks Boca Raton, FL
Clarence’s birthday falls in August, so we asked his mother what crosses her mind each year around this time.
“I think about all he has accomplished as he has matured,” Delores says, “and how he continues to be successful in reaching his goals. I am proud of Clarence because he decided what he wanted to do with his life and went for it. I am also proud of the fact that he had the courage to come out as a gay young man.”
Clarence is a professional dancer (mostly ballet and modern), and twenty years ago, he severely injured his back. With a frightening prognosis—he would never dance again—he moved home and fell deeply into depression…until his mother intervened.
“Mother told me that she hoped that I would heal because I was not myself—I was angry at life and made everyone pay for it,” he says. “Her honesty made me change my outlook, and I honestly believe that is when the healing began. I went on to have quite a career and continue to dance today.”
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Clarence comes from a strong family and says their unconditional love led them to not only accept and inspire him, but to fully support his activism, his friends and every aspect of his life. This amazing dynamic was very evident four years ago, when his sister, Chanel, died of brain cancer, cared for by her family (with Delores leading the way).
“We miss Chanel tremendously, but my parents, my siblings and I have adapted as well as can be expected. We realize how precious every moment is that we have together, and never fail to mention how much we mean to each other,” he says. “They never fail to say how proud of me they are and now I get to publicly state how very proud I am of them.” As always, we’d like to give the last word to our Mom of the Month: one of our most worthy and wonderful women so far.
“I want to say how honored I am to be nominated by Clarence. I am so proud to be his mother,” Delores says. “He has worked very hard towards increasing tolerance for our youth, and I hope the work he and others do will make life easier for gay and lesbian students.”
If you would like to nominate your mom (or dad), send an e-mail to