Today’s Video Story was collected on the 50-state Story Tour. Check out the blog where you can follow us on our adventure. If you haven’t submitted a story yet to IFD, or if you want to submit another one, I’d love to read and publish it. Write one up and send it in.
I’m Dave. And I’m from Oahu, Hawaii. When I came out to my parents my mother’s reaction was that – to deny it. That I wasn’t gay. And so I thought I might have to prove this to her. And that could be messy. Three years later, my dad came out – as a transgendered person. And that was a shock. I had no inclination. It had been something my mother and father had known about for 20 years, but something that had been a secret.
Probably my proudest moment in life was my response to him. And I was preparing myself for the worst and I thought someone was going to die. And so when there was that pause in the conversation where i was supposed to respond to him – clearly he had said all the things that he had planned to say – that he had rehearsed – and my only response was, “Wow, I’m really glad that – I thought this was going to be something serious. That you were going to tell me that you had some disease or something. This is nothing.”
Everything came in to focus all of sudden. What had been going through my parents heads were that they were blaming themselves for me being gay, and they couldn’t talk about it. And there was the conflict of blame and guilt and also a real desire to be able to reach out to me and inability to do so at the same time. And these were things that I only understood in hindsight.
In many ways its been wonderful to reclaim how my family is special – that in reality I kind of did grow up having two moms and that’s something that’s neat for me to recognize now. That there’s a reason I never learned to play catch with my dad that he never took me to go throw a ball – but I had amazing Halloween costumes because he’s incredible with a sewing machine. He made all his own dresses. And I also had two parents who were incredibly involved with my life. The way that sometimes in gender divides – a father figure will identify with providing for their family from outside the family and a mother will identify with taking care of the family from within – and I had two parents that did that and it was wonderful.
Its funny how coming out is not the end of the story, there are so many stories left to tell and sometimes you find them out and sometimes people take them to their graves. And the lucky ones are the ones that kind of do get a chance to hear more about it.