“5 years ago, I was disowned via letter when I came out to my father. This is how hate sounds,” reads the title of RecBarc’s posting on Reddit. Readers get just that – a pencil-written letter from RegBarc’s (James’) dad, where he disowns his son simply for being gay.
This has gone viral, and picked up by news outlets, and even other dad bloggers. It’s such a powerful topic, and everyone’s got an opinion on it, including me. It got me thinking – what would I be writing to my embarrassed son the night that he came out to my wife and I?
If I were to write a letter to my son the night that he told me he’s gay, I think it’d go something like this:
You’re awesome, and I’m proud of you. I remember when I was your age, I had a great relationship with my dad, but it was still tough to tell him some things. When I was 14, I had a pilonidal cyst. It was basically an infection where your body tries to grow a tail, but it can’t, so blood just tunnels out of you near your butt and terrifies you. I thought I was – get this – a hermaphrodite. That’s right: your dad thought he was growing a vagina. Well, it wasn’t the easiest thing to tell my dad, so it got infected after I went on a river rafting trip and I ended up having to have my mom later look up my butt.
Anyway, I know it was tough for you to tell us that you’re gay. But hey man, the toughest part’s over!
Me and your mom love you, and you know I’ll always be your strongest supporter. And don’t ever be afraid to be yourself. Look at me, kid. I’ve made people uncomfortable my whole life, just by wearing pink. And you know what? I kissed a couple of dudes in college, just to see if I was into it. I wasn’t really, but I figured I had to give it a shot. I mean, I never liked eating mushrooms either, but I had to actually eat them to make sure I wasn’t just being prejudiced. Know what I mean?
I was even in the LGBT-friendly dorm (the Gay/Jewish dorm!) in college, and had a couple really close gay friends. And remember mine and your mom’s wedding photos? One of my groomsmen was gay!
Dude, now that I think about it, you’ve been surrounded by totally cool-with-gay-people family your whole life! Why’d it take you this long to mention something?!
One of the roughest parts of dating in high school is the peer pressure of it all, but you’ve always been a unique dude that has taken haters in stride. You don’t even know it, but a lot of people look up to you, even if it seems like they all just look up to the football quarterback. But I was like you when I was younger – and I know you internalize a lot of your emotions because it’s “easier” to deal with it later. Well, before it’s too late, let’s just talk it all out and see what happens. You’ll be stronger knowing that dudes like you can make it through alright.
And we’ve spent a bunch of time talking about what you’re looking for in a girlfriend…thanks for humoring me before I knew. If you ever want to talk about boys, let me know. No pressure, but I know what’s best in a boyfriend too, since I’ve had to be one a couple times in my life too!
Anyway, kid…I love you. I don’t care who you marry, as long as I get to sit in the front row when it happens.
That’s what I intend to say, at least.