Ten days ago, soldier Randy Phillips aka AreYouSuprised posted a video of him coming out to his father in the wake of the official repeal of "don’t ask, don't tell.”
His dad gave him unwavering support and the video went viral with 4.6 million views to date and hundreds of media mentions. Phillips was even interviewed by Good Morning America.
Coming out to mom didn't go as smoothly. Yesterday AreYouSuprised finally uploaded the video chronicling him coming out to his mother. He made the call just an hour after he called his father but didn't post the video for more than a week. It's not hard to see why.
The twenty-two minute long video titled “Telling Mom I’m gay-LIVE” is awkward and sometimes difficult to watch: more than half the time on the phone is spent in silences between mother and son. Phillips tells the viewer, before he calls his mom, that this next phone call is "going to be a little bit harder. She's a lot more conservative, much more traditional. Very much from Alabama."
“Hey Mom, I wanted to call and tell you something,” he begins the phone conversation. “Do you love me Mom?”
As with the video of Phillips coming out to his dad, the shot shows a lone young soldier, wearing a T-shirt, sitting in front of a world map, holding a cellphone in his hand. “I do,” she responds, a disembodied voice on the phone. He asks if she always loves him and she assures him. “I always have. I always will.”
He raises his eyebrows, turns to look at his phone. His mother’s voice, difficult to hear, asks “why” and he answers in a calm tone. “I’m gay, mom.” He cradles his cheek in his hand, raises an eyebrow expectantly. “Huh?” she replies.
“I’m gay,” he repeats, his head in his chin. “What?” she replies. “I’m gay, mom" he states.
A seven second silence follows while he looks at the phone.
“Ok?” she says, not sounding so OK.
“Do you still love me?” he asks. “Yes I still love you,” she says, sounding a bit irritated.
The call remains difficult throughout, filled with pregnant silences. He repeatedly asks her, “Are you okay? … Are you all right? … Are you upset … What’s the matter?”
He rambles for a bit, trying to explain himself or maybe he’s just filling the silence. He tells her several times “I’ve always known.” And he also tells her that he’s happy now.
“I am shocked. I am just dumbfounded, I don't know what to say,” Phillip’s mom eventually says, before mentioning the Bible. “I worry about your spiritual well-being, is what I worry about. I think you better be too.”
Ultimately though, Phillip’s mom states she will always love him, and him being gay doesn’t change that.
Phillip’s online support base was out in full swing, following the video’s upload. Jeff Commings, the first African American to win an Olympic gold medal in swimming and author of “True Stories of a Gay Black Swimmer,” was one of the first to upload a support video to Phillips.
Commings tells Randy he is “so proud of you for having the courage to do so...risking the love that you knew you had, all for the ability to be yourself.” Commings goes on to explain when he came out to his mother, he was “essentially disowned” and to this day “my mother and I aren’t on speaking terms.”
On Phillip’s YouTube video, wayne1955 brought up the Bible in his supportive comment:
“You deserve a medal for this. I have nothing but the deepest admiration for you. Don't let anyone get to you about the spiritual stuff, the few parts in the bible that talk about homosexuality are miss quotes from the original language. Why does it mention a man laying with a man but not a woman laying with a woman? It is no sin to be gay, there are many gay Christians in the world.”
YouTuber twopolak also commented on the bible on Phillip’s video:
“I just wanted to tell you that you are so wonderful and so inspirational. The two videos of you coming out to your parents made me cry. And I wanted you to know that you give me so much hope that i can live a very happy and fantastic life.
“The one thing that bothered me though was your mom referring to the bible but could not get the verses. The bible also says it is a mortal sin to eat shrimp. Another thing it says is that people should be flogged for adultery.
“God made us the way we are for a purpose. I mean Penguins, elephants, cheetahs, and many more animals show homosexual behavior. Its normal in the animal kingdom... wait... we humans are part of that animal kingdom.... :-)
“thank you for posting these videos and thank you for serving this country. you are a brave soul and i hope to one day shake your hand and thank you personally.”
Others offered Phillips support in dealing with his mom -- from self-professed mothers themselves, telling him to give her some time. thejimsmyth wrote “I'm sorry it didn't go the way you had hoped, especially after your Dad, and I think she'll get easier with it over time.”
On Twitter, Ralf Doebele tweeted “Don’t forget about all the support you already have.”