Lettie Coley & Brenda

Lettie Coley

L to R: Brenda, Lettie

I always grew up around gay people but I didn’t really know there was anything unique about that until I moved away and someone else pointed it out. My grandmother’s best friend was gay, which I now know is pretty amazing because you would think people would be more anti-gay back then; I’m 72 now.

Not everybody in my family is so accepting of gay people. I had a gay son. When he was maybe eight or nine, he looked at me and said, “You know, Mom, I’m different.” When I asked him how he was different he said “I love different people.” I told him that I loved different people, too. He said, “I like boys better than girls.”  I said, “I like boys better than girls, too.” It was just never an issue. I can never remember not being able to introduce him to anybody, or take him anyplace.

He used to come over on Friday nights when I’d be dog-tired after my nursing shift and take me out to dinner. He’d say, “Come on, Mama, get dressed up and we’re going out!” We’d go out to dinner and go dancing. When he moved away he would come home and take me and my mom out shopping every summer. Who couldn’t love somebody like that?

It’s too bad that people don’t accept people for people. If you are willing to go into the Service, willing to give your life for your country, why would I care about who you slept with? I’m going to wait for you to come home from war and then not talk to you? What does that make me? An idiot!

My daughter, Brenda, has been with her partner Sandra for like 25 years. I introduce Sandra as my daughter, too. I had my surgery and Sandra was over here every day while she was working on her doctorate degree, just checking in on me making sure I was okay. People wonder how many kids I have; I have lots of kids. If you love somebody you don’t care who they love.