Views & Voices

A dad’s surprising response to his gay son’s heart wrenching ‘coming out’


JAMES ALEXANDER [e]Student, University of Houston[m]

My name is James Alexander. I’m 20 years old and reside in a conservative area of Texas where I was born and raised. Throughout my childhood I could tell that I was different. I was quiet, unsure of myself, socially anxious at most times.


James Alexander

Before I even connected the word “gay” with two men liking each other, the other kids already had made it part of their vocabulary and readily let me know that I was. However, it didn’t really hit me until middle school when the guys started liking girls and I was stuck with the realization that I wasn’t at all interested in girls – my interest was strictly men.

Growing up in a traditional conservative environment, I strived for normalcy. I didn’t want to be gay simply because it wasn’t “normal” according to the majority around me.

Finally, in my freshman year of high school, I had gained confidence in myself and realized that what others thought about me – whether I was normal or fit into their small box of acceptable behavior or not – was their problem, not mine.

After a long day at school dealing with classmates talking about me as if I wasn’t right next to them, I decided to use Facebook to my advantage. I’ve always been a quiet guy, but when something is important to me, I write about it. I came out to everyone I knew on Facebook, which consisted of friends, but no family members.

I had the unexpected support from many of my classmates who went on to say that if anyone had a problem with me, that they would have to take it up with them. Unfortunately, coming out to my family was a huge challenge for me. The very thought of it made me extremely anxious.

One day in December during my sophomore year of high school I decided to come out to my mom as “bisexual” since I knew she’d have something to say along the lines of “well, as long as you marry a girl.”

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I sat her down and just told her point-blank. After that, It seemed like coming out to her had been a mistake. She would cry and make it an issue as if I had a mental problem and that it needed to be corrected. We both went to a counseling session in which we were both separated to talk about my “problem.”

I was done with my session after 5 minutes because the counselor had no issue with my sexuality. I assume my mother’s session consisted of the counselor telling her it’s her “problem” to deal with and not mine.

Despite the counseling session, she was unwilling to accept that her son was not of a traditional sexual orientation. Over a span of two years, my mom stalked my texting and calling habits to the point where I had to get a separate number just to have any kind of privacy.

I was even called a liar …

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