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I’m Carl Reddish and I’m from Jonesboro, Georgia.
I grew up extremely Southern Baptist. My family is from Mississippi, they were raised very traditionally. Once I was born, they already had a friend of theirs, they thought that was going to be the girl I was going to marry. And the day that I came out, they felt that all those dreams shattered.
In the beginning, we went to counseling and the first counselor we went to was a member of our church and he would not tell me that what I was doing was wrong, so my parents got upset with that. So we went to another counselor where the counselor said, “Well, you know, in the bible it says…this is what is says.” My mom, she thought it was just black and white. Since it’s written in the bible, that’s the end of the story for her.
It actually took a movie to kind of made them see a different side of things. And once they saw the movie, they understood where I was coming from a little bit more. The words I kept trying to express, but I quite couldn’t. The name of the movie was “Prayers for Bobby.” Really great movie. Some of the conversations that the mother and the son had in the movie are very similar to the conversations that me and my mother have had. And there was one point in the movie where he actually does find a partner–this is before he actually commits suicide–and is wanting to bring that partner home, wanting to share his life with his family, and his mother is not allowing it. And it made me remember a time that I was dating the longest person that I’ve ever been in a relationship with, and just dealing with that issue and wanting to bring that person home and having that same argument with my mother. The conflict of having a relationship and not able to express and share something that I feel is an exciting moment in my life with my family. And the understanding that they should want to know what’s going on, they should want to know who’s in my life. And not doing that isolates them from me, and that would eventually push me further and further away. So we had that conversation and they said, “We understand. We don’t want to isolate you. We don’t want to push you away. We don’t want you thinking you can’t eventually bring someone home.” And that’s when the conversation ended. My dad said, “Well, if you are in a serious relationship with someone, you can bring them home.”