Gay Sons and Mothers emerged out of my fascination with the emotional bond between so many gay men and their moms. Well, first there was me and my own mother, but over time my interest grew because of my work as a psychotherapist with gay male clients, who so often spoke of the unusual bond they had.
Starting out on Instagram with GaySonsandMothers, I searched hashtags like #gaysons and guess who I found, Kinkster Brands NYC owner Corey Wesley with his mom! I was riveted by the photo of them together. Both wore huge smiles, and their happiness was contagious! The photo stayed with me, and aside from sharing it and posting it to my site, I knew I needed to interview Corey. To my delight, he agreed!
Corey and I spoke for at least an hour and he had no shortage of enthusiasm when it came to talking about his mom. “She gave me the foundation to be successful. She had experienced so much less as a child, and she was determined to give me more than she ever had.”
As an only child whose parents divorced when he was 2 years old, Corey jokingly — and seriously — makes the point: “I was her friend and her husband, she made me her world.” He acknowledges that the expectations put pressure on him, but he also realizes that he received a lot. Corey and his mother grew even closer over the years, eventually being able to be discern whose needs were whose, which gave even greater space for the relationship to grow.
They shared life-changing events, including his coming out to her at 22 years old and later being diagnosed with HIV, as well as her own diagnosis of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, which nearly killed her. Fortunately, with the discerning possibility of having to say goodbye, she rallied and their relationship continues to thrive. They enjoy each other’s company, and conversations about life, history, and success are endless.
Corey credits his mother for his being able to co-found Kinkster Brands NYC (with best friend John Myers) as she taught him to have a great work ethic and encouraged him “to break the black stereotype.”
It was all so interesting, but what I knew couldn’t capture in words was Corey’s enthusiasm and humor. His personality touched me more and more as the phone interview went on and I knew that a phone conversation simply wasn’t enough. I wanted to get this man on camera so others would be able to experience his charisma and optimism. He agreed to be filmed.
Corey welcomed me into his home, and we set up the cameras. As I suspected, he was warm and open, and he willingly discussed the intimate details of his life. He told his story with humor, and he again spoke of his mother with such admiration, respect, and love. Along the way, Corey offered insights about growing up black, being an only child, and close family dynamics. He opened my eyes about the uniqueness of the relationship between a gay black son and his mother. In his mother’s view — which was infused with some anxiety — Corey explained: “I was black, I was gay, and I was a male — the three X’s I had when I was walking out of the door.”
I left both our phone interview and the in-person meeting feeling like I had made a new friend — and had become part of his family! Corey, thanks for sharing the details of your life and relationship with your mother with us. Indeed, you are an inspiration.
Follow Rick Miller’s ‘Gay Sons and Mothers’ initiative on Instagram: CLICK HERE