Just a few months ago, Heather’s daughter, Corryn, came out to her as pansexual.
“I always suspected she was either gay, pan or something else,” she explained. “For her birthday a few months ago, she made a wishlist and brought it to me, turned around and ran away.
“The fourth thing down the list was a pansexual flag, and I thought:
“That sounds about right.”
So she went to Corryn and asked if she wanted the flag to support them or if she identified with them, to which Corryn said she identified as pan.
“I just made sure she knew that her dad and I support her and however she identifies, that we love her and that she’s fabulous,” Heather explained. “I’m also pansexual but my daughter doesn’t know that. I never really came out and I’m married to a man.”
She started questioning when she was in her early 20s. The church she grew up in was strongly opinionated about same-sex marriage, which frustrated her.
“It just bothered me to the core, and I didn’t realize it wasn’t just my humanity that was bothered by that but that I was part of that community.”
Now, she goes to a fellowship in the Fox Cities that is “very accepting, loving and all-encompassing for people who are in the LGBTQ+ community.”
“I’ve always felt safe in that environment but otherwise I’ve never really talked about it,” Heather explained, noting that only a few of her friends know about her sexuality. “My kids truly don’t know but I will probably share it with them and my husband one day.”
But being in that fellowship, Heather said she feels more comfortable being open about herself.
“I don’t think I told anybody until I was 40,” the 46-year-old said.
And looking back, Heather is grateful that Corryn felt trust in her mother to say something about it.
“I’m very proud of her. I feel good about the fact my child feels comfortable to come out and feel safe; to know she is supported and has a community that supports her,” she said. “I feel really good about that.”
“[Parents] just need to love and accept their child(ren) for who they are and not judge them for it. I cannot imagine turning my back on my child for something like that — it just blows me away that anybody would do that,” she added.
And for kids:
“If they don’t have parents that are supportive, go out in the community and find the support because it is out there. You might have to look for a little bit but it’s there, whether it’s through some sort of religious organization or a local LGBTQ+ organization.”