Why This Mom Publicized Her Son's Coming Out

Joan Wilson honored her son Drake's coming out in the Houston Chronicle "Celebrations" section in response to the recent defeat of Houston’s Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO), a nondiscrimination ordinance that failed late last year. HERO would have banned discrimination against gender identity, sexual orientation, and proponents argued that it would have increased protections for transgender and gay people, among many others.

Wilson, a Washington state resident and the founder of pro-LGBT organization The Society of Lucky Mothers, lauded her teen son in a newspaper ad to send a powerful message to the people of Texas.

“I couldn’t think of a better place than Houston, out of the entire country, where they needed to hear my message of pride,” Wilson told the Texas Observer, noting that she believes her son was born gay and is a child of God. “My announcement was my way of humanizing the issue.”

Some opposed HERO because they felt it was too broad and would enable sexual predators to obtain access to women's restrooms, according to The Washington Post. Last summer, the hashtag #BeyBeAHero started trending as a result of HERO supporters calling on musician Beyonce to get behind the measure. A known advocate of LGBT rights and Houston native, HERO advocates thought an endorsement from her would have been extremely valuable.

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Wilson expressed relief that her son lives in a state with anti-discrimination laws but is concerned about what could happen if he were to move to another place.

“We are blessed to live in a state which has passed anti-discrimination laws,” Wilson said. “As a mother, I have much trepidation in thinking my son might one day live in a state such as Texas.”

Drake came out to his mother in February 2014, prompting her to start The Society of Lucky Mothers in support of him and LGBT youths everywhere. After watching "The Normal Heart," a TV movie about the 1980s AIDS crisis in New York, he decided to come out to everyone. Six months after coming out to his mom, he came out in a humorous YouTube video that has received more than 10,000 views.

“I would just like to say a big thank you to my whole family for being an example of how all families should be, and I’m thankful to all the men and women before me who have gotten this world to a place where I can come out at only 16 years old,” Wilson said in the video.

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Drake is far from the only person to come out on social media. Many famous figures such as Rowan Blanchard, Lily-Rose Depp, and Amandla Stenberg came out on social media, as ATTN: previously reported. A 2015 Facebook research report found that approximately 800,000 users came out "to express a same-gender attraction or custom gender," a significant jump in the number of people coming out on that particular platform.