I have always been gay. I knew actresses were gay before I knew I was and before I even knew what gay was. So coming to terms with it was quite easy for me, especially considering I was growing up in the 90s, a time when lesbian relationships weren’t constantly featured on TV. But I do think, even without lots of LGBT storylines it was a good thing I had the opportunity to watch a lot of TV to make me become the open-minded person I am today.
Don’t get me wrong, my parents are not overly religious, racist, or sexist (how could they be–my father raised me as he would have raised a boy so I know how to change a flat tire and stuff, but when it came to same-sex relationships they were a chip off the old block.
You can probably imagine the horror I thought coming out would be when I was 17 and finally was able put a label to my sexuality. Because of that, I just didn’t come out to my parents at all. But when I was 20 I fell deeply and madly in love with a girl from London on the Internet and when I came back from visiting her for the first time, my father came to pick me up from the airport. I figured it had to be now or never, I just had to come out to him, but I was more afraid than I had ever been in my entire life, especially since my father had ranted about “those people” just a couple of weeks earlier.
While we were waiting for our train and I didn’t know what else to talk about, I got really brave and said to him: “You know, the girl I was visiting – we’re more than friends. I love her.” I was expecting silence, anger, denial, a sermon… But for the first time, my father really surprised me. I mean, I could have known that he would just tell a story instead of really conversing with me, because that’s just the person he is, but I didn’t expect the story to go like this. He said: “You know my one colleague from the fire fighters? She came to me two weeks ago complaining about the others. They were bullying her because she was gay. Since I was the only one who went to university, she thought I would be open-minded. So before I could tell her that I think it’s wrong and sinful, she was crying on my shoulder. All I could do was take her in my arms and tell her that everything is going to be alright. And at that point I understood that “those people” (he literally still said that) just want to be happy like everyone else. Who am I to take that away from someone?”
And that was it. We never talked about it again. More than a decade later I am still together with that girl from London and whenever I talk to my father he asks me: “Are you happy?” I answer yes and he says: “That’s all I ever wanted for you, my child.”