Commentary

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

I was even called a liar at several times after telling her who I was talking to or texting. As I got closer to graduating from high school, I devised a plan to move out.

James Alexander
James

I picked a liberal in-state university 5 hours away that felt safe as if it was my home. I applied, got accepted, went to orientation – the usual freshman itinerary. For the first time in my life I felt a sense of acknowledgement and belonging.

Over that one summer I developed my social skills and became a little more extroverted. The one thing I hadn’t planned on was not receiving enough financial aid to even consider living there, much less attend classes. Two days before I planned to move into my dorm, I cancelled my classes, housing and meal plan and enrolled in community college.

I had to tolerate my parents or move out and seeing as I didn’t have a job and needed to go to college, I decided to tough it out and stay for as long as I could.

My first week in community college I made several friends and kept contact with those I had made at the University as well. I went to class, talked with friends, and then I’d go home to study.

My second week of school I decided to join the LGBT alliance to meet new people who may have been in the same position as me. The club became a haven for me. I felt safe and validated there, but at home things started to get increasingly worse. My father, mother and brother-in-law made several homophobic remarks on a regular basis that ate away at my self-esteem which became apparent after several weeks.

I kept doing the same routine: school, study, sleep, repeat. Sleep became increasingly cumbersome as my mental health started to deteriorate. I started having dreams where I’d speak, but not be heard. Over many of this reoccurring dream I would speak to the crowds of people around me in an ever increasing volume and received no response.

Then, my dreams started to get violent. I remember waking up from a very graphic and brutal nightmare and then knew I had two choices: come out, or sit by while my mental health plummeted. I chose to come out.

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I feared that if I came out in person, things would get violent between me and my father. I then decided the best way for me to come out would require me to be as far away from family as possible. After talking it over with my friends at the University, they agreed to let me stay with them for the weekend while I came out through an email to my parents.

I made sure to state the issues I’d been having in the house, how I felt, and I also aimed to debunk a few common myths in the process.

The email went as follows:

“Over the past several years, you and dad have said and done many hurtful things. You two have cause much physical, mental, and emotional stress and turmoil within my life…

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