January Shoaf

January Shoaf

January Shoaf

I was born in 1979 in Pennsylvania, just over an hour north of Pittsburgh. I was given the name January, a character in the book Once Is Not Enough by Jaqueline Susann. My mother saw the movie (when it came out) while dating my father and said that the character January was the most beautiful woman she had ever seen. She vowed to name her first girl January. In junior high my ordinary childhood flatlined as I began to suspect something wasn’t right about my dad. I started snooping and discovered that he was gay. After my discovery our relationship was tempestuous, at best. After nearly twenty years of marriage my parents divorced and my dad died just two years later, I was 19. My dad never formally came out to me and we had just one conversation where he talked about his a “gay friend” who felt his sexuality wasn’t a choice. I fired back with, “But the bible says it’s a sin.”

I’m still a Christian, but I’ve changed a lot since then. I’ve come to see that loving like Jesus starts with accepting the LGBTQ community. A few years ago I came across an article on my Facebook newsfeed about The Gay Dad Project. I thought my eyes were deceiving me because at that point I had only discussed my own gay dad with a few very close friends. I read the stories and could not believe that I was not alone. I am so glad that I can be a part of something that is so comforting and freeing for all of us “kids” out there. The shame and pain of keeping this secret is something I still struggle with today. My participation in this project is me coming out as the child of a gay dad!

Read more from January on The Gay Dad Project’s blog.