Why This Straight Jewish Mom Supports LGBT Youth – And You Should Too!

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How did I end up here? I’m a Jewish housewife, with two small sons, in conservative Texas. What kind of voice do I have in the LGBT community? Here is how I found myself supporting LGBT youth and families.

It started with a secret. I had recently given birth to my second son, sixteen months after the first and I was home alone with babies, looking out on the world through the Post Secret app, an ongoing community art project where people mail in their secrets anonymously on one side of a postcard.

I kept reading these heartbreaking secrets from people that had been shunned and felt unloved by their families for being LGBT.

One secret, “I wish my mom would love her gay son.”

My heart broke into a thousand pieces for this stranger. I looked at my baby boys and could not understand. My greatest failure in my entire life would be to withhold any love from my children. I wanted to reach out and hug this man and tell him somewhere, this mama was thinking of him and wishing him love.

This wasn’t the first secret I had read with the same theme. I kept seeing the same secrets  over and over. I read about gay teens getting kicked out onto the streets at 13, 14 years old. I read about adults who were still aching for their parents to love them. I read secrets from adults  wishing only for a mother to kiss them goodnight rather than having their mother hang up on  them when they called. 

Sahel's Son Didi at Marriage Equality Celebration.
Sahel’s Son Didi at Marriage Equality Celebration.

My children are the brightest stars in my sky. In some grand scheme, the universe granted me the joy of my children. I owe it to them to let them seek the love waiting for them, whomever it happens to be with

That’s where I found myself, my heart breaking for strangers I did not know. I did not know if I had a place in the LGBT diasporas. I didn’t realize there was a name for me, but learned I am an ally. My children would never choose to be unloved and neither would anyone else’s child.  I have come here from a place of love, for my children and every other child.  Even that 30 year old child who simply wishes for a mother to tuck him in at night. 

I am one voice, one mother, one friend. I know I am not the only one. My faith teaches me I must spend this life making the world a better place. My heart tells me to reach out to every child and let them know they are not alone. To borrow a line from a great organization, it does get better and you will find that you are not alone.

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Sahel Chen
Sahel is an allied mother of two young boys. She and her family currently reside in the suburbs of Houston Texas. Sahel serves as the secretary of the board for One Million Kids For Equality.

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