hooked-up blogTomorrow my girlfriend and I leave for a five-day visit to her hometown in the western U.S.

It’s finally time for me to meet la mia ragazza la famiglia.

Her family did not take her coming out to them 15 years ago very well at all. Being homosexual was the worst thing she could do in the realm of my girlfriend’s parent’s very narrow view of and parameters around intimate pairings.

My girlfriend’s father has been dead for over two decades, but her mother persisted in her homophobia until maybe a year-and-a-half ago when a brick in the wall cracked.

She’s Italian, the mother, and when I was in Bologna, I sent, via my girlfriend, a message I had found on Italian Google, “Buona Festa Della Mamma.” It was as simple as that: “Happy Mother’s Day” relayed in Italian. And then the wall began to crumble.

I’d been hanging around her daughter for about nine months, and my girlfriend talked about me to her mother but received only an “Oh” response on the other end of the phone. However, when her mother found out I was in Italy, and I was there just because I wanted to be, that was magic. She (the mother) began asking what I was doing, what I was eating, and where I was visiting. I sent along photos, mailed a card to her mother, and bought a small gift for her.

When I returned to Brooklyn, I Skyped with my girlfriend‘s mother, and she liked me. It seemed as though (and she acted like) she had never been a hardcore homophobe.

I know this has made my girlfriend very happy—to have her mother’s support of her primary intimate relationship 40-odd years later. I also think my gal must now have very intense and mixed feelings about visiting her mom and taking me with her. She must have deep, swirling feelings about the woman who birthed her, raised her and then denied a considerable part of her existence for so long, now embracing her girlfriend and what it means. (I might be stretching there because I’m not sure the mom fully understands or acknowledges what lesbianism means in political or sexual terms.)

I’m happy to meet the “Fockers” tomorrow. I don’t have the same homophobic experience with my own family of origin—they were accepting of my queerness from day one. So, I can sympathise with my girlfriend and be supportive, but I cannot imagine the depth of being rejected by family for my sexuality.

It will be interesting to meet my girlfriend’s mother and her aunts—her mother’s sisters—who have been asking about her “special friend” for the past two years. It’s all old school—and Italian—unfamiliar to me in terms of my own experience, but oh, so prevalent and sorry a story in the queer community.