To commemorate National Coming Out Day, Andy Cohen's mother Evelyn has released an "It's Get Better" video — not for closeted gay people, but for the parents' they might be coming out to.
"The day I found out Andy was gay, I was shocked," Evelyn says. "At that time, things were really bad...There weren't any gay people that I knew. All I read about were the deaths in the New York Times of young men in their twenties dying from AIDS. I heard about the bathhouses. People were prejudiced and it was a terrible time. I thought, 'I don't know how we're going to get through this.'"
After some advice from a good friend, she realized that her son was still the same person, only now he could finally live honestly and openly.
She remembers, "I told this friend...'What am I gonna do? Andy is gay,' and she said, 'What do you mean what are you going to do? He was gay yesterday and he's the same person today. You just know a little more about him.'"
"If I was going to tell a mother today how to react to the knowledge that your son is gay," Evelyn advises. "I would say mourn your loss — your loss of expectations that you had for your child or the way that you looked at him — and if you have prejudices...you need to confront it 'cause the only way to get rid of prejudices is by learning more about them...The important thing is that you have to come to terms with it and you have to accept your child or your child will never feel good about himself or herself."
If every parent starts heeding this advice, I bet coming out will become a lot less traumatic for a lot more people.