To celebrate Father’s Day, here are some stories that are “Dad-centric.” Happy Father’s Day to all you dads out there.
I’m From Jamestown, NY. I’m not gay, but my younger son is. You may have read his story; he’s from Clear Lake, TX. I was clueless of my son’s sexual orientation until he revealed it. Rafi came out to his mother and me his freshman year in college. It was an awkward moment. Not because it was unpleasant news, rather because I had not anticipated it and didn’t know what to say. I tend to be flippant, but for serious issues I want to have serious discussions. In this case, Rafi floored me. I didn’t have any comforting or supportive words to say. I honestly don’t even remember what I said at the time. Do you remember, Rafi?
I’m From Edmond, OK. “It’s Liza with a ‘Z’ not Lisa with an ‘S’ ‘cause Lisa with an ‘S’ goes…” I twirl around and point with both index fingers to the man next to me. He is in his mid-fifties, with thin graying hair that seems incongruous with his boyish grin. He weighs just over two hundred pounds, and hasn’t been drinking. I, however, am on my fifth drink, and at one hundred and fifteen pounds, drink number five has me feeling good. Drink number five has also made me chatty, which is how the whole song-and-dance routine began.
I’m From Valley Stream, NY. It happened when I was a boy – grade school or junior high – I don’t remember. I was in bed trying to sleep and my father popped in to say goodnight, as was his custom. Sleep usually came easier after we chatted a bit.
I’m From Luxora, AR. I was born gay, of course, and went through hell all the way through school. I was called faggot, queer, and homo all through life. I came out to my parents when I was 17. My mom cried and my dad looked down to the floor. I hugged them both then left home and moved in with a man. I stayed with him for 5 years, then met another man with 2 boys. At the time, they were 6 and 7. I stayed with him for about 13 years until the kids were grown.
I’m From Washington, D.C. I never had a big coming out moment, or story, or statement. I did not tell my parents until I was 31 because I just wanted to let everyone figure it out on their own. I grew up in big cities, or within a 15 minute drive of them, my entire life. I moved all over the world. In high school I had hot girlfriends, there were pregnancy scares, and I was all over the place. But I still went dancing at massive gay clubs, often with straight friends, because the music and the drugs were better.
I’m From Altamonte Springs, FL. I am the oldest of 5 children. All of us were born on even-numbered years (I lead the way starting in 1962; my first brother was born in 1964; my first sister was born in 1966; my youngest sister was born in 1968; and my youngest brother was born in 1970), and amongst the 5 of us, we were born in 4 different states (Ohio, Florida, California & 2 in Tennessee). Considering the foregoing, I’m sure the 60’s were just a haze of diapers, formula & screaming babies for my parents. Being at least part-time, quasi-Southern Baptists, I think it would be fair to say that my parents were (probably inadvertently) faithful to the biblical directive to “be fruitful & multiply”.
I’m From Sydney, Australia. I’ve always known that I was gay. Well before I had even heard the word, or knew its full implications. I never believed it to be wrong, how could love be so? But growing up in a small country town with a combination of conservative Catholic parents and religious schooling, I knew it was a difference I had to keep secret. Back then, there were no openly gay people or role models to be seen. I felt very alone. Sometimes I wanted to tell people close to me what was going on, but I remained absolutely terrified, fearful of being rejected and losing them.