Commentary

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

A response from my father…

James,

Your Mother and I have read your email and fully love and support you. We always have. We want the very best for you and that means YOUR happiness. We want you to excel in whatever makes you happy academically and become a successful adult. I’m extremely sorry that you don’t feel emotionally safe in your home or that you could come talk to me. I guess that I don’t exactly project an open-minded perspective on life. We will fix that. If you want to talk when you come home, that would be great. We have no desire whatsoever to change you or anything about you. We fully accept you as a brilliant and creative adult. We know you gave this a lot of thought and we stand beside you.
We both love you very much!’

See you Sunday.”
– Dad

I was astounded that my father would ever apologize to me as I was fully prepared to be one of the many homeless gay youth of America. I returned home Sunday morning and received an apology for all that I had to deal with. Things were rocky at first and sometimes they still are, but while I was willing to leave my family behind, I had overlooked their capability to learn.

Over the past couple years, my parents have made a conscious effort to learn about LGBT issues and to become more politically aware. Their newfound respect and knowledge for the LGBT community has not only allowed an open dialogue between me and them, it has led to education of their peers and co-workers and even the implementation of a gender neutral bathroom as well as more inclusive anti-discrimination policies in my mothers’ workplace.

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In addition to their LGBT efforts, my family wholeheartedly support me as a son and a brother. My parents make sure to let me know how proud they are of me and my achievements and have no problem bragging about me to others. However, I am not introduced as their “gay son”, I am their son which is all that really matters.

October 18th, 2014 marks the 2 year anniversary of my coming out – only a week after national coming out day (October 11th). This year I urge others to share their story or if you are an ally, share my story! Create an open dialogue and educate those around you. Most importantly, to those who have yet to come out, it does get better.

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