All a parent ever wants for their child is for them to be happy and healthy. But for parents of an LGBTQ child, they can often fear their child will experience discrimination, bullying, or challenges as they navigate through life. Having a support system can make all the difference, and one woman found that in the most unlikely of places — from a stranger at a bar.
Kara Coley, a bartender in Gulfport, Mississippi, posted a conversation on her Facebook page that she recently had with a woman who called Sipps, the bar where she was working. The post has since gone viral with over 2K likes.
In her post, Coley says that after she picked up the phone at Sipps, a woman randomly asked her for advice.
Lady: Are you Gay?
Me: YES MA’AM
Lady: What was the one thing you wanted from your parents when you a came out?
Lady: My son just came out to me and I don’t want to say anything that may mess him up in the head.
Me: Well I think that you should just make sure he knows that you love and accept, wait do you accept it?
Lady: Well umm yes if that’s what he wants.
Me: You should definitely let him know that you love and accept him! I think everything will be ok from there!
While Coley’s advice was simple, the post struck a major chord and received a ton of positive comments.
“The advice you gave to that mother is 100% on point!!” said one. “And the fact that you took call seriously and spoke so honestly and openly says a lot about you!!!”
Another commenter shared, “My mother told me she knew I was gay when I was in college. And she told me exactly what you advised this mother to say. My mother is no longer here and I’ll never get to ask my mother, but I’d like to think someone had a very similar convo with her as you did with this mother. Thank you for being that person.”
Coley tells Babble she decided to share the story publicly because it was such a different conversation than she’s used to having.
“I get asked all kinds of things, but that is normally from people I know, so this kind stayed with me throughout the night,” says Coley.
In an ideal world, there would be no “coming out” because our children’s sexuality would not be a topic of discussion. But unfortunately, there is still prejudice, shame, and a lack of acceptance in our society. Thankfully, this mom’s outreach is a sign of just how supportive she hopes to be for her son. And that is a beautiful thing.
Coley tells Babble that looking back, she does wish she would have mentioned PFLAG or one of the many other organizations available to help support teens as they come out to friends and family. PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) alone has over 400 chapters and 200,000 members to offer peer support, advocacy, and education for families.
“I guess I was in shock,” Coley says.
Coley says she’s been bartending for over 17 years and has never had a phone call like this before. And her advice was exactly what anyone would want to hear from their family — that they are loved and accepted. No matter what.