Updated: Jul 28, 2021
By Katie Wilcox
Hi, my name is Katie. I am a mom of three biological kids and three stepkids that range in age from 17-11. My son Braedon is the only boy and is 15. I have always been proud of him and his relationship with his sisters. I have always called him “a girl’s bro.” He has loved his sisters unconditionally since the day he met them, and he has embraced his stepsisters, too. He has always had the biggest, kindest heart for everyone in his life. Teachers and others who know him always comment on how he takes such care of his sisters and would someday make an amazing boyfriend for some girl. Around 3rd grade, I started to “wonder” about him. He never wanted to play sports with boys, he had more girl friends than boys and he was (and still is) a lover, not a fighter. When he was in 5th grade, I started talking to him about his feelings for others and whether he liked girls or boys. I assured him that he could always come to me, and I would love and support him any way he chooses.
I was raised in a conservative Christian faith, being actively involved on and off through high school. When I would go to church on Sundays, I hated Sunday School. I struggled with the people that would teach us to discriminate, look down on, and judge those who were different than we were. This always felt so wrong to me. But I have been blessed with parents who taught me that we may not agree with others, but we ALWAYS show them respect and never speak bad about their choices. Everyone is entitled to their life choices, just as we are entitled to ours. In college, I dated and married Braedon’s dad. We got married and raised our family in the church until around 2015.
Their dad left the church first, for reasons that are his own. I was struggling with many aspects of the church, but there were two things that were the catalyst for me finally leaving. The first was watching my children becoming judgmental, and at times self-righteous, toward individuals outside the church. I worked hard to not raise my children this way, and hearing things they would say after church on Sundays broke my heart. The other was when the church came out with a new policy regarding children of homosexual parents. My reaction was, “What kind of God do these people believe in, because the God I know loves everyone and exemplifies the family unit.” This policy was going to tear families apart, and I could no longer be a part of this organization.
During this time, I would talk with my kids about my childhood friend Cody. We had the same group of friends and were both raised in the same church. I always figured he chased after girls who didn’t like him and that he really wasn’t interested in dating. But many years later, Cody came out as gay. I read his story and found out that during our years growing up that Cody contemplated suicide because of what we were being taught and his internal conflict with whom he was attracted to. I loved Cody like a brother, and talking to him about this made me wish I knew what was going on when we were kids so that I could have been there for him.
About a month ago, after I picked my kids up from their dad’s house, Braedon came to me, because he wanted to talk with me about something. We sat down, he had a huge smile on his face, and he said “You know how you’ve asked me if I like anyone? And said that it’s ok if it’s boys or girls? Well, I’m gay. I thought I was bi-sexual, but I know I’m gay. I have reached out to a friend, and we talk. I’m also in a chat group for teens who have questions, and they helped me figure this out.”
He told me that he had been feeling this way for many years. He thinks it was around 6th grade. He remembers getting really depressed, unhappy, and confused about things. But he always knew that he could talk with me, and I would accept and love him no matter what. He shared with me his journey of how he came to this realization. We talked about how he feels and the different labels for things like bisexual vs. gay. He shared that he is asexual and explained what that means to him. We talked about how this can be a very “fluid” type area in his life, explaining that right now he feels one way but that things can change in the future for him as he matures and grows. This is all fairly new, and he is just starting puberty (he was late due to medical issues and had to receive testosterone injections to kick-start his puberty.)
I have a lot of questions and even more concerns. Is he going through this because he is a “late bloomer?” Will the injections change things or affect things? I have so many more questions and not a lot of answers. I have a lot of hopes, and even more fears, as I get into this new world. But, in the end, the only thing that matters is that he knows he is loved and supported unconditionally as he figures things out, and that he knows he has a safe home with five sisters, a mom, and stepdad.