I want to say meeting another person with a gay dad is like looking into a mirror, but even in a mirror I cannot properly see myself. It’s more like finding out your father has this other family and now you’re meeting relatives you did not know you had. You are different people with different lives, but share something you cannot share with anyone else, something akin to DNA. A secret code, a secret life.
My dad came out when I was eleven. I did not meet anyone with a gay dad until I was thirty-five. I cannot tell you exactly what we talked about, but I can say the more I meet others like me, the more I meet myself.
When I was fourteen and finally fully aware that my daddy’s “roommate” was his boyfriend, I went to go live with them. I was cognizant of the fact my family was not like others, but I didn’t think it should affect me and who I would become. I thought my feelings of “otherness” were typical human insecurities. But the older I get and the more I meet and discuss with others who grew up like me, I realize my dad’s coming out and lifestyle affected everything about who I am. The way I have felt about men, the way I have felt about women, and the way I have felt about family and society and my place in it. It affected my identity and I didn’t even know I had an identity other than being a basic white woman. The more I meet others and hear their stories, the more I see there is a queerspawn identity that is often ignored by the world, even the LGBTQ world.
People ignore the “kids”. They’re just the kids, they are not them. They don’t have to be discriminated for being gay (unless they’re also gay). This is true. But it doesn’t mean we live in the same reality as any other kid, a kid with straight parents. It is two fold, there is a different culture we have come to know and that culture is built on being a part of a family that is marginalized and forced to live in a shadow of shame and fear.
I lacked a vocabulary and a space to even describe it until now. Through learning about The Gay Dad Project, and finally meeting my first, Amie, it opened a door for me. A door I had been looking for all my life. A door that opened to a place where I could truly see myself and be seen by others.
Elizabeth Collins was raised in the South by gay men. She now lives in Los Angeles and performs stand-up comedy. You can contact read all of her Gay Dad Project posts here. You can also contact on her website or follow her on Twitter & her blog.
Read more on our December topic of Finding Community.