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Welcome to Gay Sons and Mothers…

This project chronicles the special and complex bond that exists between gay sons and their mothers. Through interviews, videos, and photos, Gay Sons and Mothers captures the defining qualities of this bond. It also highlights the disappointment that exists among gay men who have more difficult relationships with their mothers.

Esther Perel interviews Gay Sons and Mothers founder Rick Miller, LICSW.

Thanks Mom! by Rick Miller, LICSW.

About the Project

“Mom loves me best.” That’s what I’ve always said while describing the unique bond between my mother and me.

It turns out this bond is not uncommon. I first noticed this on Facebook and Instagram, where gay sons posted photos of they and their mothers. They captured their relationship in an exciting, glamorous, and idyllic light.

Surprisingly, no one has studied the psychological depth of these relationships. That’s where I come in. In my thirty years of experience as a licensed psychotherapist I have worked extensively with gay men and their families. Now I want to share these experiences with the public. I have collected photos, conducted interviews, and filmed gay sons and their mothers to uncover the significance of this relationship. What I’ve found is that many of these mothers accepted their sons for who they are. Herein lies the power of their bond. What seems extraordinary is actually ordinary in many of these relationships. One thing many subjects have in common have said, “She let me be me.” I hope to help all mothers do the same.

The result of these findings is Gay Sons and Mothers. Gay Sons and Mothers is a multi-media project that studies the relationship between mothers and their gay sons. It consists of an Instagram account(@gaysonsandmothers), a blog, and a docuseries.

Notable Interviews with Gay Sons and Mothers:

Dan Savage

“She let me be me… I always try my best to be like her because she taught me about honesty and edge.”

“She didn’t want me to be gay, but she allowed me to be the person I was. When I came out, she had to grieve that I wasn’t going to have the life she wanted me to have.”

Isaac Mizrahi

“She tucked me in, smoothed my hair, and it worked for us!”

“My mother was a pioneer. She integrated feminist beliefs into daily life despite being part of a conservative religion. I was a sissy, and still my mother and I were best friends. She provided me with a protective bond based on picking up that I was different from other boys.”

Isaac Mizrahi

“She tucked me in, smoothed my hair, and it worked for us!”

“My mother was a pioneer. She integrated feminist beliefs into daily life despite being part of a conservative religion. I was a sissy, and still my mother and I were best friends. She provided me with a protective bond based on picking up that I was different from other boys.”

Frankie Valenti (AKA Johnny Hazzard)

“We are usually in the kitchen together, cooking for her friends and my friends. It is like hanging out with a close companion and it is so nice.”

“As a kid, I combed my mom’s hair, did her nails, and we watched Golden Girls together! She taught me to treat people well. As soon as my first cover feature came out (for porn), she said, ‘You are my son and I love you.’ It was just not what she had imagined for me.”

Benoit Denizet-Lewis

“We have an entirely different relationship at this point, and she is loving toward me now.”

“I had two relationships with my mother, the one I had while I was growing up, and the one I have as an adult now. As a child, I was desperate for a mother who was effusive. During our struggles, she explained good parenting had never been modeled for her, and so she had a hard time showing me her love.”

Questions I Explore

 

How is this mother son bond unique? How does it differ from the relationships other siblings have with their parents?

 

What were/are the defining factors in this relationship that has provided meaning?

 

What impact does this relationship have on gay boys and self esteem? How does this last into adulthood?

 

How do gay men who have had painful experiences with their mother reconcile this when others have an idealized view of their relationship?

 

In families with more than one gay son, how was the bond with a mother experienced?

 

How does a gay child or a gay adult handle the death of his mother?

Contact Gay Sons and Mothers

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