Growing up I had to succumb to the pressures of being your perfect son. I excelled in school, played sports all year long and never got into any sort of trouble. I loved spending time with my family and having that feeling of knowing you were always there to support me through good times and the challenging ones.
At 19 something changed. I was barely an adult and barely finding out the person I really was. I came to you seeking guidance, understanding and support to become the person I for so long hid below the surface.
We sat down at dinner, like the close nit family we were, and you knew something heavy was on my mind. This was the time. I decided that who better than the two biggest supporters in my life to reveal something that had been yearning to come out for so long.
They were the two hardest words I ever had to say life up until that point – I’m gay.
In seconds it was like a weight had been lifted off of my shoulders. I remember a little laugh and grin surfaced after I said it because for the first time in a long time I felt happiness instead of anxiety and fear.
This was it. This was the beginning of my life as an adult. I conquered my fear, I told my parents the man I really was and I no longer had this secret buried deep inside of me.
I knew you were going to be proud of me for having the courage to stand up and be myself. I knew that like the many journeys and challenges I had growing up, you were going to be there right by my side to help guide me and make sure that in this new life I was about to start I would be the best man I could be.
The only thing was, that wasn’t your response. I didn’t understand really what was going on. You said nothing. You looked at each other speechlessly and mom you started tearing up. But these were tears of happiness. These weren’t tears of a parent that was proud of her son.
Within minutes you happened to manifest all of the fears I had over the last few years about how people would react to my telling them I was gay.
You told me I wasn’t gay. That is was a “phase”. You said I didn’t act like a gay man. You guys went on this tirade of trying to get me to change my mind for more than an hour, until I finally left.
This last year since that day, the family dynamic we worked so hard to build has been shattered. My accomplishments in school, sports, life mean nothing to you anymore. If I didn’t call or stop by once in a while you wouldn’t make any type of effort to connect with me.
I used to always read stories on the internet about parents disowning their gay kids, and before I came out to you, I would have NEVER thought that could’ve happened to me. That I could be one of those stories.
I just wanted to let you know that because of the man you raised me to be, I found my way. Maybe this wasn’t the path you envisioned for me, but this is the path that was meant for me.
Any while I will never forget the way you treated me, I stopped being angry. My life is fulfilled and I’m surrounded with friends and family that do support me and are there for me, even when things are rough.
I feel sorry for you. You lost out, not me.
I’m a proud gay man. Not proud because I am gay, but proud because I live my life true to the person I really am and I don’t need anyone’s approval.
Your Son, Always