It was seven years ago when I felt ready to come out to my parents. I was completely and absolutely confident that my mom would have no problem- besides her tears and questioning- I knew she was going to be fine. But, I was not so sure about my dad’s reaction. He had always been a very supportive and loving guy, but he is Latin, and there a level of machismo in him. I remember being ten or twelve and overhearing a conversation between him and his friends; he said he would be OK if one of his children turned out gay. That was still not enough for me to come out yet as I needed more time to explore my sexuality and I was way too young to make that decision. Finally, the scary, frightening, strange and intimidating moment arrived and left me shocked by my dad’s reaction. I did it over the phone; he asked me if he could call me back. The wait wasn’t painful at all, and I am not being sarcastic, because as soon as I managed to say: “Dad I’m gay,” my legs shook and everything in my mind went blurry. If I needed a few minutes for myself to digest what just happened, of course my mom and dad needed some time as well. It took him less than five minutes to call me back and say how much he loved me, how proud he was of me, and how this didn’t change things in between us at all.
Then I couldn’t stop asking, why the sadness? Why the tears? Why the awkward silence? And, finally I got the best answer to all of my questions: the sadness and tears were for me not coming out earlier- they felt there must have been something they did wrong for me to not trust them to talk to them about this, and for all the trouble I’d gone through on my own. They both expressed how cruel society could be sometimes, and how hard it must be to hear jokes or hurtful comments from other people without being able to say anything. They confessed there was some selfishness for their hopes of being grandparents.
If anything, I think this improved my relationship with my father. Now I am able to talk to him and look him in the eye knowing that I am not lying anymore, that there is nothing to hide and that the wall that I built in between us has gone. In the last seven years, a lot has happened, and I am extremely content to be able to share it with my father. Being able to ask openly for his opinion and advice had made such a difference in our lives. True, my dad and I will never get our hands dirty to fix a car or go to a football game together because of our different interests, but he comes to me for other relevant things like sharing his everyday problems with me.
My old man has not only being accepting of me, but also of my relationship with my partner. I have been in a relationship for over six years and my father sees him now as part of the family. He constantly shows more interest on what goes on in the gay community and voices his disagreement towards homophobia more than ever.
My father is currently going through a really hard time with his own father. Every time I hear him talking about the respect and love that he still has for his dad– regardless of the situation- makes me feel so proud of him. He makes me realize the true love from a son to his father, the loyalty and respect to that relationship.
I can’t stop being thankful for his time and dedication to my mom, sister and me; for his respect and acceptance towards me and the gay community; for his capacity to forgive the ones that he loved and hurt him; being proud of him for all of his achievements; for being a successful businessman; for being an exceptional role model; for his bravery to defend his goals and dreams; and especially, for his endless love towards me.
I wish that if at some point in my life I am given the gift to be a father, I could be just as good as he has been to me.
This is one is for you papa, I love you.
Submitted by: Israel G.
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