Finding the Path

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Do you wish your dad had come out to you sooner?

It’s a question I have been asked often and a question I have been pondering more lately as I piece together interviews from my family. The question feels a little like a dance with the devil. A dance that leads to a deep dark rabbit hole, but I would be lying if I said I’d never given it any thought.

Do I wish my dad had been able to come out sooner? YES! Of course I do. I wish my dad had lived in a world that accepted him for who he was. I wish he had been able to be himself from the beginning, instead of trying so hard to be straight. The reality, however, is that my dad was born in a world that criminalized being gay and classified homosexuality as a mental illness. He was also raised in a church and family that still struggles to support and accept LGBTQ people. So while I do wish that my dad had come out sooner, I also understand why he did not.

There are so many factors that influence how and when and why a parent can (and should) come out. It’s not an easy situation and each is unique to the individuals that are in it. The dark rabbit hole of wonder has led me to reflect on what I wish could have been possible for our family, although none of this can be changed now.

I wish my parents had been nicer to each other. I still wish this. I’ve known couples who are able to split amicably and treat each other with kindness throughout the divorce process. Divorce isn’t easy for anyone butI do think theprocessis easier on kids when the parents are kind to each other. Make sure your own actions are rooted in respect and don’t use retaliation or revenge. Gay, straight, or otherwise if you are able to be kind to one another your kids will benefit. (And maybe even thank you later.)

I wish I had known which adults in my life were supportive. It’s not that I didn’t have open-mined or supportive adults around me growing up, I just had no way of knowing back then. Looking back I don’t know how the adults around me at the time would have known either, but if there was some way for me to know that they were supportive – no matter what – I think a younger (child) me would have felt less judged and possibly less alone.

I wish my parents had been able to divorce earlier.Seeing my parents now and remembering how they were then I wish they were able to divorce sooner.Life is so much better without the constant tension and stress in our family.Divorcing sooner may also have led to my dad coming out sooner, which brings me right back to where I started.

In the end I appreciate my past. I think having a closeted gay dad as a child has taught me to look past the surface and treat people with more empathy. As a parent you want to protect your child, but you cannot protect them from everything. We all have our challenges in life to overcome and it’s up to each of us to learn fromour past.

If you are struggling to come out make sure you do it on your own terms. We each have our own path and only you will know when is the right time.

 


Amie is the co-founder of The Gay Dad Project. When she is not writing about her gay dad she likes to dance, make films, practice yoga, and travel. You can read all of Amie’s postshere. You can find talk to her on Twitter here.

 

Read more on our topic of parent’s coming out here.

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Comments

  1. Thanks amie .. for youre invaluable advice. Im sure theyres people reading your post right now .. in the process of getting a divorce. And at each others throats.. the kids are standing by in a hostile atmosphere.. its so unhealthy. Kindness is also hard .. when deception lies and dishonesty ripples through a marriage.. if anyone is reading this thinking about going into a marriage because of peer pressure or conform .. please do not .. the guilt and anxiety and shame you will experience.. when the rug is pulled from underneath you .. is far worse than any life lived alone .. or lived standing up to peer pressure

    • Thank you for your comment Jim. Divorce definitely isn’t easy, but hopefully people now don’t feel as much pressure to marry straight if they are not.

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