Say it loud: I’m black, gay and proud!

“You’re already black and a woman … what more do you want against you?”

That was the first thing my mother said over a decade ago when I told her I was a lesbian.

Like most parents who are on the receiving end of their child’s declarations — which at times run contrary to their own — she wept.

She wept for the life she thought I wouldn’t be able to have. A life filled with love, happiness and gainful employment.

In that moment, I tried desperately to reassure her that my life would be exactly as she had hoped with a minor tweak to the vision. I was 22, incredibly naïve and obnoxiously hopeful. I didn’t understand at the time that my parents had just cause for concern. Marriage equality hadn’t become a part of our lexicon, and people could be fired from their jobs in almost every state for being gay.

This article was originally published in The Grio.