What is it with gay men and their mothers? As a gay man, seemingly outside this circle, it has been bothering me for some time now. The recent suicide of the world famous fashion designer Alexander McQueen a few days after the death of his mother brought this matter to a head for me and made me realise that this obsession that a large number of gay men have with their mothers is often unhealthy and in extreme cases, deadly.
I first became aware of this worship of mothers by their gay sons by listening to the conversation of other gay men at dinner parties. The subject was frequently raised around the dinner table. Not just on the one occasion during the night but often two or three times. The mother is always held up as a beautiful goddess, the most wonderful person in the whole world. An argument often ensues between the men as to whose mother is the most wonderful. Never ever is the father discussed or even mentioned.
This feeling of unease about this issue followed me when I moved from the city to live in a small country town. Being single I started going on dates with the country guys. A disturbing pattern soon started to emerge – it seemed that these country men had taken worshipping their mothers one step further. It became so bad that I came up with two questions I asked a guy as we sat down to our first date: 1: Do you have your own transport? and 2: Do you live with your mother?
More often than not the answer was: “I have my own car”. When challenged on why, at 35, they still lived with their mothers the man would be genuinely shocked that I thought this was a problem. The excuses were many and varied – most had the recurring theme of rescuing their mothers from perilous and life threatening situations. Never was it thought of why their straight siblings did not think the mother’s situation perilous enough to rescue her and give her a roof over her head.
I realised that the mother’s situation was often contrived – a subconscious fabricated fantasy schemed up by both parties. Only to highlight this issue, on a few occasions I met guys who slept in the same bedroom as their mother and I even met a very disturbed young gay man who could not fall asleep in his own bed but had to sleep in the same bed as his mother.
“It’s time to cut the apron strings that hold us back and for us to move forward…”
I also challenged a friend as to why at the age of 40 he still lived with his mother. At first he was surprised that I had made this observation of what he thought was a perfectly normal living situation. He then analysed his other gay friends and even his gay relatives and he too discovered the common theme that many of them lived with their mothers. Thus began a very difficult journey for him. He discovered the destructive co-dependent nature of his relationship he had with his mother.
After much therapy and hard work he eventually managed to demand his mother leave his house. As always at the end of co-dependency relationships, it was a traumatic affair but he managed in the end. I can hear a chorus of gay men screaming “How could he do this to his poor dear defenceless wonderful mother!” Well I have news for you – your mothers are only poor and defenceless because you allow them to be.
Later on in life I have again encountered this issue. A good friend recently broke up with his partner of a year. This was not a surprise to me as his partner lived with his mother. Problems always arise in this situation because it requires being in a relationship with the mother as well as her son. He subsequently met another man who he fancied – and guess what – this new beau also lives with his mother.
To all those gay (and often single) men out there in their 30s, 40s, 50 who live with their mother – it’s time to get some balance in your life. If you live apart from your mother but continually obsess about her, speak to her every day for hours on the phone and constantly worry about her then perhaps you need to think about your situation more carefully.
The unhealthy, unbalanced relationships that some gay men have with their mothers should be squarely looked at by the gay community. I am not sure what is the causes of this syndrome, that it the job for psychologist to answer, but I have had enough of it. We have to start talking about it this global phenomenon.
Our obsession with women even continues into our careers. Hairdressers, makeup artists, dress and shoe designers, shop assistants, stylists, wedding planners, jewellery designers all devote themselves to worshiping the image of the ideal woman – their perfect mother.
Mothers – keep a healthy distance from your gay sons – we are not incestuous substitutes for your often-failed relationships with heterosexual men. Fathers of gay sons – ask yourself why your sons don’t proudly speak of their relationship with you at dinner parties.
As with the suicide of Alexander McQueen we can see that sometimes this worship by gay men of their mothers can have tragic consequences. Life for him was not worth living if his mother was not there. The distortions this unbalanced relationships have on the gay community is stifling our development.
It’s time to cut the apron strings that hold us back and for us to move forward as well balanced gay men. If you find yourself in this situation seek professional help – if you have the courage to change your life.