Scroll To Top

A son—and
mother—come out

A son—and
mother—come out


In their new book Conversations and Cosmopolitans, Robert Rave and his mom, Jane, discuss how Robert's coming-out brought them closer together. A National Coming Out Day special.

The act of coming out is a deeply emotional experience. For Robert Rave, coming out to his mother, Jane, was an occasion for tears, laughter--and cosmopolitans. In their new book, Conversations and Cosmopolitans: How to Give Your Mother a Hangover (iUniverse), the duo document how Robert's coming-out brought them closer together, whether by hanging out in New York City's fabulous gay enclave of Chelsea or awkwardly discussing the pros and cons of waxing. They spoke to The Advocate in time for National Coming Out Day, October 11.What inspired you both to write this book?Robert: When we first started talking about the whole process, I was frustrated with all the negative press and headlines about gay people. I had never read anything that was positive and had that family spin to it. I felt there needed to be some kind of counterprogramming out there, and I felt a lot of the negativity would go away if it was told from a mother-son perspective.Jane: I'm proud of my son, all of my children, butI am especially proud of Robert because it took a lot of courage to do what he did [coming out]. And if he could lay it out there, then so could I.Robert: She made the joke to me earlier: "I feel like I'm coming out as the mother of a gay son." [Laughs]Well, you are, Jane. Is that intimidating at all?Jane: I'm very proud, but I know I'm going to be put to the test by a few people. I'm ready for questions, whether they ask me or not. A lot of people will probably not flat-out ask but will comment behind my back. What he laid out on the table [in the book]--my goodness, he told a lot about growing up. And I put out there my life, and I'm ready for it.Many gay kids and their parents don't have that great of a relationship. What's the secret to your success?Robert:A lot of it was through humor, in the sense that I would say something to break the ice. We once went to a restaurant in west Chelsea and there was a waiter there, a really cute waiter. And I was eating dinner with my parents and we had a different waiter. Halfway through the meal, our waiter switched and we got the cute waiter I had been looking at the entire night. My dad was like, "What?Did the waiter not like us? Did we do something wrong? Are we not New York enough?" And my mom just looked at him and was like, "The waiter likes Robert!" We were able to laugh about it, and even for my dad at that moment, he was like, "Oh, I get it, it's not such a foreign thing."Jane: You really get to know your children as they are growing up. We had a lot of fun together. We play off each other, and if I have a question concerning homosexuality, I just flat-out ask Robert, where maybe some wouldn't, but we have that bond. I could ask and he would tell me. It took awhile for me to get used to asking about a partner or date, but it's no different than when my daughter was dating or my oldest son was dating.I like to hear if they have a good time or if the guy was a jerk.What advice do you have for those coming out to their parents?Robert: I think once you do come out and do start talking, it's not nearly as bad as you think it is. I think you feel better, for your own mental being--you're living a more authentic life. I couldn't be this person who tries to lead a double life, in the sense that I have to pretend I'm straight for this group and I'm gay with this group. It gets exhausting. Once you deal with that, you are reallyable to focus on the rest of your life and the things that matter to you.For more details on the Raves and their book, go to
Advocate Channel - The Pride StoreOut / Advocate Magazine - Fellow Travelers & Jamie Lee Curtis

From our Sponsors

Most Popular

Latest Stories

Paul Florez