Last night I took my father to Drag Queen Bingo at Blur, a local gay nightclub. “What was I thinking?” you’d say. Perhaps. Yet my dad has always given me his love unconditionally. Letting him know his son was homosexual didn’t change that one bit. He even defended me to one of his buddies once. Telling him that taking me to a professional women to “turn me” would be about as successful as his buddy sleeping with a man to “turn him”. What better way to spend an evening during Pride week than with my dad listening to Traila Parks shout out, “B-11, be at least eleven inches or I’m not touching it.” Dad is one of a kind.
I came out to my parents via letter on March 3rd 1982. I had been away at college for 6 months and had fallen in love with one of the guys in the theatre department. I was scared about being in love with a man, it was new territory for me. My parents were always there when I needed then and I needed them to help me through these new feelings. That first year was tumultuous at best. It wasn’t until I was home from college for the Summer that things began to look up. The three of us found and started attending Dignity Masses at the Franciscan Center, held in secret from the Catholic Church because Rome wasn’t very sympathetic to gays or lesbians back then. It was during these masses my parents met another couple they knew “outside” of Dignity. They had a lesbian daughter. Together they started a support group for Parents with gay children, the group would later because a local chapter of PFLAG.
Dad has seen me through a lot over the years, especially helping my mother come to terms with my life and the death of her dreams for it. Let me explain. In the twentieth century it was expected that a man would grow up, go to college, meet a girl, get married and have kids (grandkids for my mom). That was my mother’s dream for my life. My dreams were different. Now I can marry the man I love and it seems the world is opening up to that love more and more. Even the pope said the Church needs to apologize to the gay community for the way it has treated us over the centuries. I’m proud of my dad for accepting me all those years ago. He’s had to undergo a lot with his family. He still loves us, yet we love him more.