For Me, There is No Question

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Elizabeth Collins and her father Carl

Recently a closeted man said to me, “It would have been better for you if your father had never came out to you.” I’ve had a lot of interesting or ignorant or hurtful things said to me in relation to the fact that my father was gay, but none of them made my whole body burn and want to scream like this particular statement.

I didn’t understand why I had such a visceral response to it. The man was saying what he thought would be best for me. He saw me as someone who was broken and hurt by having a gay father who came out after being in a heterosexual marriage. And while yes, there were challenges, my mother kidnapping us, having to feel the shame society placed on our family, the weight of whether or not to tell people the truth was always the heaviest.

But to imagine for a moment, my father staying married to my mother and never telling us who he really was, is devastating. My father is my greatest hero and best friend. That’s like saying, “It would have been better for you to never have known your father at all.” And that is the idea that hurts me, that I would never know the person I loved the most in the world. For me that is all that life is, knowing the people you love.

The idea it would have been better for my father to be some miserable robot would have been better? So what? So that I could have had what society deemed as normal? No thanks. To me that is the equivalent of death. Pretending to be someone you are not, while the real you is screaming and wanting to be let out.

I would never tell someone they should come out. It is their decision. And for some people in some cultures it could mean physical death or other consequences. But to suggest I would have been better off, if my father pretended to be someone else other than the courageous man he was, living his truth, would have made me someone else too. And I love who I am. I love the person my father made me.


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  1. Sometimes people speak without thinking. Or just dont have the empathy to imagine how their words affect people. Xo

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