I knew that I liked men since I was very young, probably around 11 or 12 years old. But admitting that I was gay from such a young age in a country that still holds a lot of homophobia — even though things are beginning to change with gay marriage recognized in our country’s capital — would have presented a lot of problems. Not just the stigmatization I would have received as a kid, but the fact that my family would have been involved. So, that was my main reason to not come out: I didn’t want my family finding out about me because of or through other people. And so I waited… and waited… and waited…
Until I couldn’t take it anymore. I was in college in another city and decided that I would write my mother a letter. It was a rather large letter, and I wrote everything that I could get out of my chest at the time, and it ended up being a really emotional letter, with my apologizing for lying to them for so long and asking them to be comprehensive. When I went to visit my parents back home, I took my mom for coffee and told her the news, as well as handing her the letter. At first she seemed to be okay and told me she would still love me, but the next morning she just started crying, apologizing for allowing me to feel so lonely for so long, and then she said that she couldn’t keep the secret from my father, and so I had two options: either she tells him, or I do so. Crap.
Two days later, I sat my father down at the living room and broke the news to him. That was the first, and so far only time, that I ever saw my dad cry. I think I could see his heart shattering right in his eyes. After that, he said that I was sick, that they would find me help from a doctor, that I was confused, and then he finally said that I would grow up to be a lonely man, with no one there left to support me. My mom then joined him, supporting him in what he said.
And now I understand why: she was just trying to support both her son and her husband, but didn’t really know how, and she thought this would be the best way, by agreeing with her partner. And now I know that my father said all those things because that’s what he was taught about homosexuality, that’s what he grew up with, and deep down all he wanted was to avoid his son getting hurt by other people. Now I understand that, but back then, it was one of the most emotionally painful and tiring nights of my life. My dad didn’t speak to me or look at me in the eyes for the next three days, until my holiday was over and I had to return to college.
After seeing two doctors, with both of them agreeing that there was no way to change my homosexuality and that there was nothing wring with me — the second doctor even congratulated me for coming out — my parents were still not comfortable about me being gay, but at least they were not saying negative things anymore.
So far, the process has been slow, but positive. Three years later, I call my parents and let them know that I have a boyfriend, who is the greatest man I’ve ever met. My mom is okay with that now, asking every now and then about him, calling him by his name, and she even knitted a scarf for him and sent it to him as a Christmas present, saying “thank you” for loving her son.
My dad didn’t react so well. He called me the next day and said “Come on, son, don’t do that, why can’t you just marry a woman?” to which I answer: “Dad, poor woman, I would cheat on her all the time, and I mean ALL!”. And I will never forget his response: “Okay, okay, you have a point, so I just had an idea: why don’t you marry a lesbian?”. I have no idea how I managed not to burst out laughing right there on the phone, but I managed to keep myself together. I know my dad still has issues with my being gay and that is going to take him a lot more time to come to terms with it than I imagined, but I’m willing to wait. I want him to accept it on his own terms, just like my mother did. After all, they are my parents and I love them.