Arts & Culture

She didn’t know what to say when her son came out, so she called a gay bar in Gulfport

Drag personas Kara Mel D'Ville, left, and Estelle Suarez talk before performing at a drag bunch at Big Mike's Speakeasy in downtown Gulfport on Sunday, March 26, 2017. The event supported the inaugural Gulf Coast Equality Fest. Recently, a mother called Sipps Bar in downtown Gulfport to ask for advice for talking with her son, who recently came out to her.
Drag personas Kara Mel D'Ville, left, and Estelle Suarez talk before performing at a drag bunch at Big Mike's Speakeasy in downtown Gulfport on Sunday, March 26, 2017. The event supported the inaugural Gulf Coast Equality Fest. Recently, a mother called Sipps Bar in downtown Gulfport to ask for advice for talking with her son, who recently came out to her. amccoy@sunherald.com File

Kara Coley has been slinging drinks at gay bars on the Coast for 17 years, but she’s never been a part of a coming out story quite like this one.

She was working at Sipps Bar in downtown Gulfport on Thursday night when the phone rang.

“Is this a gay bar?” a woman at the other end of the line asked Coley.

Coley explained that Sipps is for anyone, but they are a strong ally for the LGBT community in South Mississippi.

The woman wanted to ask Coley a question.

“What was the one thing you wanted from your parents when you came out?” she asked Coley.

Coley was stumped, but before she could respond, the woman said something else.

“My son just came out to me, and I don’t want to say anything that may mess him up in the head.”

Coley’s response was simple: Let him know that he is loved and accepted.

Coley posted the conversation on her Facebook page, and it garnered hundreds of likes and comments.

2017 was a vocal year for the LGBT community in South Mississippi.

Transgender women spoke out after “bathroom bills” targeted them and President Donald Trump tried to ban transgender people from serving in the military.

Gay and straight people alike enjoyed brunch, bubbly and drag shows across the Coast to raise money for the Gulf Coast Equality Fest, which is raising money to build an LGBT resource center on the Coast.

And when the United States Supreme Court ruled that HB 1523, the “religious freedom” bill, would remain in effect in Mississippi, Coast cities decried it, standing with the LGBT community.

In Mississippi, the gay bar is often a place of refuge for minority communities, as resources for LGBT people are often scarce in Mississippi. Just Us Lounge owner Lynn Koval told the “Out Here in America” podcast that the Trump presidency has brought more people, even millennials, back to gay bars.

Justin Mitchell: 228-604-0705, @JustinMitchell_

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