I’m From Rockford, IL.

by Michael Krenzer

State Satellite overhead image from Google Earth 2022

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.

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