A Big Up survey ahead of mother’s day has revealed that Black mothers are more supportive when their sons come out than people think.
A Sigma Research Poll taken in 2002 revealed that 11% of gay black men had been discriminated against by their own families, where as half as many white men received the same sort of treatment. But things apprea to be changing.
It was with understandable trepidation, then, that Omari Hutchinson, a black gay man, came out to his mother. Her reaction was much more positive than he had expected. “Although my mother anguished over my soul, conversations which emerged over time showed that her love for me was and is unconditional.”
Though only 19% of gay black men are open about their sexuality to their families (as opposed to 35% of gay white men), the Big Up poll shows that those black men who do come out find a surprising level of acceptance.
Mr Hutchinson found that his mother “cooked good old fashion food” to nourish him while he went through the process of coming out to colleagues and friends, and Big Up’s survey suggests that her response is not unusual. Most men said that their mothers reacted “very well” or “ok”, and the majority of men who completed the survey said that whatever their mother’s initial reaction, she had since given them the love and support that they needed.
One deeply religious mother prayed for her son: “God, you know his lifestyle. I do not understand but I am pleased that you have provided him with a home where I can come and go, let his home be a place of peace and comfort.”
Another mother’s first response when her 19 year old son came out was “it’s your life. Be careful”.
Big Up can’t say why attitudes in the black community have become more tolerant, but as mother’s day brings family centre stage, a spokesperson said he was “delighted” that they are.