SAN ANTONIO – A San Antonio family is sharing their story about their twin sons’ coming out journeys and how they grew to accept each other to help other families going through the same process.
Dora Ramos is the mother of twins who are 26 years old. She says she knew from the moment she held her son, Michael Ramos, that there was something unique about him.
“I already knew eventually it would come because I knew he was gay the minute I had him,” she recalled.
Michael was about 10 or 11 years old when he talked to his parents about how he felt.
“I just knew I was different. And I wanted everyone to know that I was different,” Michael said about that conversation. “I wanted to come out also so that my parents would be able to help me get through the teasing and stuff.”
School bullying was hard for Michael, he says, so it was a relief to have that family support.
Dora was surprised when she got the news about seven years later that her other son, Mark, also came out as gay.
“It was a text. And he said, Mom, I’m gay,” she said, remembering that day.
Mark Ramos says he didn’t have the courage to say it to her face-to-face or speak it out loud.
“I knew what her reaction was going to be already,” Mark said.
Standing in the frozen aisle section of the grocery store, the day before Mother’s Day, Dora says tears started to flow.
“I just told him how he could -- ‘Why would you do this to me? Like, why? Like, why? Why are you gay?” Dora said, remembering that day.
She says she regrets reacting that way to Mark’s news. After some time to reflect and years of mending, she sees things differently now.
“At that time, I was only thinking of myself and what I wanted, not so much of what he wanted. So I kind of wasn’t as welcoming. I hurt his feelings a lot,” Dora said.
It took their father a little longer to come around to the news, as well.
The different reactions to the news highlight the complex emotions of which families and LGBTQ+ youth are faced.
According to the Trevor Project, LGB youth who come from highly rejecting families are 8.4 times as likely to have attempted suicide as LGB peers who reported no or low levels of family rejection. LGB youth are almost five times as likely to have attempted suicide compared to heterosexual youth.
LGBTQ+ youth represent as much as 40% of the homeless youth population. Of that population, studies indicate that as many as 60% are likely to attempt suicide.
The twins say they understand their parents’ emotions and fear.
“I guess her fear -- knowing that she has two gay kids and we have to eventually go out in the world and deal with people that are homophobic, are, you know, mean to people who are not what they see as normal,” Mark said.
Dora says it’s OK for parents to take their time to understand, ask questions and children shouldn’t rush their parents through that process. She says after some deep thinking, she knew her mother’s love would win.
“I didn’t raise my kids wrong. I raised them to love. I raised them to care. I raised them as good kids. So having two gay sons doesn’t make me a bad mother, doesn’t make my husband a bad father,” Dora said.
The family is closer than ever, and they have attended some Pride events together as well.
On Thursday, Metro Health is hosting a panel discussion on helping LGBTQ+ families thrive. It will give parents the tools to create a loving and supportive environment for the youth in their lives. The event will take place on June 17, 2021, from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., and will be livestreamed on the SA Violence Prevention Facebook page.
The following week, there will be a virtual mixer on the WebEx platform from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on June 24, 2021. Registration is available at www.sanantonio.gov/LGBTQfamilies.