I’m From Rockford, IL.

by michael krenzer

Despite the fact that I grew up in a conservative household — my mother was raised Irish Catholic, my father Lutheran — my parents always taught me to be accepting and tolerant of other human beings. I never heard any racism come from their lips.

Before coming out to them in 2008-January, I didn’t know what to expect. Would they kick me out? Send me to conversion therapy? Pretend the conversation never happened? They did none of those things: they accepted me just as I am. I was still their son — not even their autistic son or their gay son, I was still just their son.

Twenty three months later, I met a landmine. I told my mother that I was seeing someone whom she had already met — someone whose skin color wasn’t the same as my own. … I didn’t expect her to react as she did. She was unhappy, very unhappy — in essence, she said that I should not be dating someone outside of my own “culture;” as though skin color matters more than a person’s character.

Fuck that! Love is love, regardless of shape. Regardless of sex. Regardless of gender. Regardless of autisticness or neurotypicalness. Regardless of skin color.

I learned something about my mother that day: despite protests to the contrary, she does have a problem with her gay son.


  1. Being from Galena, IL, I am not really surprised. Disappointed, yes, but not surprised. It’s kind of the nature of the area. Hopefully, she’ll grow out of it.

  2. Sometimes you never know what prudice hinds in any of us. When something like this happens it is a reminder to me, to look inside and confront my judgemental ways.

  3. Give her time, let her adjust. It’s a lot to have to deal with at one time and she tried to raise you without the prejudices she had instilled in her. She knows that they’re wrong and she’s trying or she would have attempted to pass them on to you. Give her time, give her love. She’ll come around.

  4. “Fuck that! Love is love,” Thank you for sharing.

  5. Michael:

    I am originally from Rockford (Stillman Valley) and now living an out life in LA. Knowing Rockford as I do, I am not surprised and this attitude is actually NOT your mother’s fault, She is handicapped in her thinking in that she is crippled by all the back-wooshed thinking and attitudes around her. From my California now open-minded perspective, it would be a great surprise if she had attitudes other that what she does. Rockford is a VERY racist town….VERY (my partner is black and I am white).

    You should know that there are places to live where your personal and couple’s diversity is a welcome advantage. LA is that place. Comer her to live. Getting the fuck out of Rockford is one of the best things I ever did. I would recommend it strongly.

    Find me on facebook, we will help you get out of Rockford and into the life you deserve.


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