Nurse turned activist and author
By Denise Royal
Oprah Winfrey often says that being a mother is the hardest job in the world but as Deon Davis points out her job as a mother is also the most rewarding and challenging. She shared her story in a book titled, I’ll Find a Way: A Mother’s Journey of Love and Acceptance for her Gay Son.
Davis did not set out to be an author. She’s a nurse by trade and a single mother raising two boys and a girl. Like most moms, she’s worried about her children’s safety, their health and overall well-being. She hoped they would all grow up to be successful, productive adults. “I was determined not to let my children fall into the stereotypes of the black single parent family, especially with two young males but I was not prepared for the coming out of Rashad,” she said.
That coming out first happened to a therapist that Davis contacted because her son was depressed and suicidal. Bullying at school led him to harm himself by cutting his arms. But hearing him say the words “I’m gay” was not enough to convince Davis that her son was a homosexual. “My initial reaction was he’s too young to know what he wants and he is just going through a phase.”
But when it became clear that it was not a phase Davis was able to get through the confusing time by focusing on one thing: being a mother.
“This new circumstance took parenting to a new level. I knew that at that moment of discovery that I had a new role, not only as his mother; but now I need to become his protector, his voice, and also his friend. Growing up in an African American home I was taught that being gay was not accepted especially in our Christian community, but as a parent I knew that I loved my son and God loves him also. So I pulled out the boxing gloves and prepared myself for the fight that I had in front of me. I vowed to my son and the GLBTQ community that I will fight for equality forever,” Davis said.
Fighting that battle together has brought mother and son closer. Rashad was able to turn his life around thanks to his mom’s support. He eventually transferred to a more accepting high school and now attends college.
“Rashad is now exceeding in everything he does, with parental support the sky is the limit,” Davis said.
As for the responses she’s gotten from other parents, Davis says they’ve been mixed, but mostly those of praise and admiration. She offers this advice to other parents: “Do not allow his/her sexual orientation change the relationship between you and your child. The same love that you endured from birth, continue that love into every situation that life brings before you.”
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