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Dear Hypothetically Gay Son


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30 replies to this topic

#1

Y_B

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Posted 18 August 2012 - 12:15 AM

From the Huffington Post

Dear hypothetically gay son,

You're gay. Obviously you already know that, because you told us at the dinner table last night. I apologize for the awkward silence afterwards, but I was chewing. It was like when we're at a restaurant and the waiter comes up mid-bite and asks how the meal is, only in this metaphor you are the waiter, and instead of asking me about my meal, you said you were gay. I don't know why I needed to explain that. I think I needed to find a funny way to repeat the fact that you're gay... because that is what it sounds like in my head right now: "My son is gay. My son is gay. My son is gay."

Let me be perfectly clear: I love you. I will always love you. Since being gay is part of who you are, I love that you're gay. I'm just trying to wrap my head around the idea. If you sensed any sadness in my silence last night, it was because I was surprised that I was surprised. Ideally, I would have already known. Since you were an embryo, my intent has always been to really know you for who you are and not who I expect you to be. And yet, I was taken by surprise at last night's dinner. Have I said "surprise" enough in this paragraph? One more time: Surprise!

OK. Let's get a few things straight about how things are going to be.
  • Our home is a place of safety and love. The world has dealt you a difficult card. While LGBT people are becoming more accepted, it is still a difficult path to walk. You're going to experience hate and anger and misunderstandings about who you are out in the world. That will not happen here. You need to know with every fiber of who you are that when you walk in the front door of your home, you are safe, and you are loved. Your mother is in complete agreement with me on this.
  • I am still, as always, your biggest defender. Just because you're gay doesn't mean you're any less capable of taking care of and defending yourself. That said, if you need me to stand next to you or in front of you, write letters, sign petitions, advocate, or anything else, I am here. I would go to war for you.
  • If you're going to have boys over, you now need to leave your bedroom door open. Sorry, kiddo. Them's the breaks. I couldn't have girls in my room with the door shut, so you don't get to have boys.
  • You and I are going to revisit that talk we had about safe sex. I know it's going to be awkward for both of us, but it is important. I need to do some research first, so let's give it a few weeks. If you have questions or concerns before then, let me know.
That's enough for now. Feel free to view this letter as a contract. If I ever fail to meet any of the commitments made herein, pull it out and hold me to account. I'll end with this: You are not broken. You are whole, and beautiful. You are capable and compassionate. You and your sister are the best things I have ever done with my life, and I couldn't be prouder of the people you've become.

Love,
Dad

Edited by Y_B, 18 August 2012 - 11:58 AM.


#2

Conner

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Posted 18 August 2012 - 12:34 AM

You have to love a personal letter that has bullets. Posted Image Wait until dad finds out he has to join PFLAG.

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#3

colinian

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Posted 18 August 2012 - 01:57 AM

Hey! There's nothing wrong with PFLAG. Except the abbreviation, which of course should be PFFLAG for Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians And Gays. I guess you can decide with of the F words you want to include. Posted Image

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#4

Ashi

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Posted 18 August 2012 - 10:55 AM

Why hypothetical gay son? (need the context)
Why is the metaphor drawn between gay and waiter.... (are all waiters gay? ;))
I would think mom know the embryo better than dad....
Is his sister gay also? j/k
Did you tell your parents you're straight yet? ;)

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#5

Bill W

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Posted 18 August 2012 - 11:26 AM

It was touching and to the point, so maybe it is offered as a template for parents whose sons come out.

As far as using the waiter analogy, possibly that was because the son was 'serving up' a surprise?

As far as whether it should be PFLAG or PFFLAG, just be thankful it isn't PFAGS (Parents, Families And Gay Sons).

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#6

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Posted 18 August 2012 - 01:57 PM

I think the challenge for every parent that truly wants to be there for their kids is to accept them for who they are, not who we want them to be. Every good parents has expectations and goals and dreams for their kids. That's just how it is. We hope for the best for them, but that's OUR mindset. Sometimes... kids don't do things the way a parent would wish them to be done, or become who we wish they would be. That's reality. In this, the dad was saying that his goal has always been to want to know who the kid IS not who the parent wishes him to be. It's a lot more difficult than it sounds.

Ashi: I don't think the waiter was the point, the point was the moment... the inopportune moment to be asked a question. Haven't you ever had the waiter/tress come up to you the moment you take a bite and ask you a question and you struggle to swallow what is in your mouth so you can answer and there is that awkward pause? Well, imagine if you were a child telling a parent something important about yourself and that parent doesn't speak right away? Imagine the anxiety of that moment. The dad was saying 'it wasn't because of what you told me, the silence was because of when you told me'. I thought it was a really good little aside, actually.

I also don't get the hypothetically gay part though. The son says he's gay... so he's gay. There's no hypothetical about it. That one word does put in a vibe of 'okay, you could be, but we don't know' that I don't like.

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#7

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Posted 18 August 2012 - 02:16 PM

You need to read the article in Huff to see why the "hypothetical" is there. This letter was written by the columnist to his as yet unborn son - so the child's sexual orientation naturally isn't known, hence the "hypothetically gay son". This letter was in response to a letter that was on Reddit from a father disowning his son for being gay (I think has already been posted in soapbox, so I won't repost it here).

In the UK, the acronym PFLAG works because the organisation's name is stated as Parents, Friends (& family) of Lesbians And Gays - so "family" doesn't warrant its own "F" in the acronym; though bizarrely they have no working relationship, of any description, at all, with PFLAG in the USA.

Posted Image


#8

Ashi

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Posted 18 August 2012 - 05:21 PM

Thanks Y_B for adding the link of the source of the letter. :) It is now more clear (though my suspicion was that the gay son isn't officially out yet, but the dad got some hint, so he decided to write the letter first).

I think the challenge for every parent that truly wants to be there for their kids is to accept them for who they are, not who we want them to be. Every good parents has expectations and goals and dreams for their kids. That's just how it is. We hope for the best for them, but that's OUR mindset. Sometimes... kids don't do things the way a parent would wish them to be done, or become who we wish they would be. That's reality. In this, the dad was saying that his goal has always been to want to know who the kid IS not who the parent wishes him to be. It's a lot more difficult than it sounds.

Ashi: I don't think the waiter was the point, the point was the moment... the inopportune moment to be asked a question. Haven't you ever had the waiter/tress come up to you the moment you take a bite and ask you a question and you struggle to swallow what is in your mouth so you can answer and there is that awkward pause? Well, imagine if you were a child telling a parent something important about yourself and that parent doesn't speak right away? Imagine the anxiety of that moment. The dad was saying 'it wasn't because of what you told me, the silence was because of when you told me'. I thought it was a really good little aside, actually.

I also don't get the hypothetically gay part though. The son says he's gay... so he's gay. There's no hypothetical about it. That one word does put in a vibe of 'okay, you could be, but we don't know' that I don't like.


You brought up a good point Cia. Parents have their expectation, but things don't always come out that way. Heck, my own life doesn't even follow my own expectation, however I would like to feel I am in control of my own life....

And it's a very complicated mind game between the pre-out child and his/her parents. I mean, would any (straight) parent wish their son/daughter is gay? But what if every indication shows the love child is gay? Should they be in denial or confront the issue? Would there be a new type of relationship? On top of that layer is the gay son/daughter's expectation of how their parents would receive the news.... Would the gay son/daughter like the new relationship with their parents after they're out to the parents? Just a few scenarios that may complicate the decision of when and how (or not at all) to come out to their parents.

As for the waiter thing. I am very good at making Plato (or was it Socrates) type of question. :D It's half humorous, half serious rhetorical question to make people think. I mean it's almost stereotypical (and cliche) that waiters, retail sales and other type of service oriented guys are gay. I was questioning that social expectation, even among gay people. I remember when I was looking at myself, as a gay man at a younger age, I felt I didn't want to be a fashion designer who would say things like, "Oh girl, you gotta have more fashion sense than that!" Now I am more okay with that concept (self-acceptance is in progress). :D Now, now..., who wants to be my girlfriend, and be insulted by my fake French accent? :P I know..., my sense of humor is queer.

Anywayz..., wonder if people have read the original letter (father disowned his gay child) that inspired this hypothetical letter. The poster of that original letter said, "This is how hate sounds." And that's a food for thought, because the letter is level-minded, and rational. Doesn't that scare you? Hate can disguise itself in reason. It's almost like a psychopath who doesn't even flinch after tortured his victim, and you called that person dad for many years.

(*patiently awaits Y_B's answer*) Come out at your own pace (gay or straight Posted Image ), but just want to know the answer.

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#9

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Posted 18 August 2012 - 09:08 PM

There is a difference between unconditionally loving someone and letting that person do/be whatever. Kids aren't born as complete people, so there's not much there to accept, except for the fact that your son/daughter has a cleaner slate than most. The bigger challenge for parents, in my impression, isn't just to try to accept their kids for who they are but to decide what and how much guidance is appropriate for things that are malleable. Obviously sexuality isn't malleable, at least not in ways of turning someone gay or straight if they aren't, so that's something best left unchallenged. As for the rest, I'm sure every parent differs in their idea of what it means to be a good mom/dad. In any case, no kid will ever grow up exactly as planned.

#10

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Posted 19 August 2012 - 05:29 PM

That more or less sounded like my parents when I came out. My dad was the Reddit letter disowning me, and my mother waged war on him and pretty much said all of the above. (Thank God she didn't join PFLAG though, cause she would have been a rainbow mom, and I don't think I could handle a daily pride parade)
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#11

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Posted 19 August 2012 - 06:45 PM

There's something rather nice about dads being supportive of gay sons, as opposed to moms who go out and join PFLAG or whatever which is a total cliche. I like the idea of dads being supportive calmly and moderately. I think to Burt Hummel from Glee. Rainbow moms who act like their son being gay is the best thing to ever happen to them annoy me.

#12

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Posted 19 August 2012 - 08:22 PM

That more or less sounded like my parents when I came out. My dad was the Reddit letter disowning me, and my mother waged war on him and pretty much said all of the above. (Thank God she didn't join PFLAG though, cause she would have been a rainbow mom, and I don't think I could handle a daily pride parade)


OMG. That's so much more interesting than my own coming out. :D It's so nice what your mom did for you though. :)

There's something rather nice about dads being supportive of gay sons, as opposed to moms who go out and join PFLAG or whatever which is a total cliche. I like the idea of dads being supportive calmly and moderately. I think to Burt Hummel from Glee. Rainbow moms who act like their son being gay is the best thing to ever happen to them annoy me.


Okay..., how about you? I can hardly believe you started this thread without a reason. There must be something that's bottling up inside. I am not going to speculate your feeling. I would rather hear your own personal feeling from you.

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#13

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Posted 19 August 2012 - 08:53 PM

Okay..., how about you? I can hardly believe you started this thread without a reason. There must be something that's bottling up inside. I am not going to speculate your feeling. I would rather hear your own personal feeling from you.



There wasn't any deep motive or reason that I shared this. I came across the post on the Huffington Post, thought "this is cool" and decided to share it. With that said, my personal feeling on the matter of coming out, acceptance, and whatnot is separate from this thread and I'm not sure how much there is to talk about because it's pretty simple actually - I don't think about it. I'm not aching to come out of the closet nor do I feel any sort of lingering distress over the matter of acceptance. I've always somehow managed to live my life as-is and fortunately had been spared much drama and grief. I enjoy being on the DL and it's almost thrilling in a way. My dad's for sure not going to write a letter like this if I come out, but it's cool. I love him anyways. When circumstances in my life calls for some drastic changes, I'll re-evaluate things then. Right now, there is no reason to clutter my mind with unnecessary stress and theories. I'm totally one of those cross-that-bridge-when-I-get-there guys.

Edited by Y_B, 19 August 2012 - 08:58 PM.


#14

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Posted 19 August 2012 - 09:48 PM

I have to agree, Yang. Life is complicated enough without our dramatizing everything.

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#15

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Posted 20 August 2012 - 07:02 AM

I suppose I could agree Y_B, cause my coming out was out of desperation. My father knew I was gay, and my coming out exposed him for what he truly was. (a pervert) Highly doubt he judged me cause of the homo sex, but because I showed his true nature to the world. Def. would have never came out if I wouldn't have been forced though, to be honest. Hell, I'm black listed with half my family (Of course on my dad's side.) Live life simple until it means something :D
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#16

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Posted 20 August 2012 - 02:26 PM

I feel like the gay community puts too much pressure and emphasis on the idea of coming out and how it will make your life a whole lot better. People can be happy with who they are and their lives without having to admit they are gay to everyone around them. It's definitely a case-by-case do-it-at-your-own-pace thing. The most common retort out there is that your friends and family will never know the real you unless you out yourself. My response is - they do know the real me. They know what my values are, they know my intelligence, my wit, what I've done in the past and who I aspire to be, all of which define me infinitely more than who I jump in bed with. Not that I'm saying it totally a non-issue, because it is the entire structure behind my love and sex life...but as Zac Brown Band song goes - "I ain't in no hurry, I'd be a fool now to worry, about all those thing I can't change" Cheesy ain't it?

Edited by Y_B, 20 August 2012 - 02:26 PM.


#17

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Posted 20 August 2012 - 03:29 PM

I suppose I could agree Y_B, cause my coming out was out of desperation. My father knew I was gay, and my coming out exposed him for what he truly was. (a pervert) Highly doubt he judged me cause of the homo sex, but because I showed his true nature to the world. Def. would have never came out if I wouldn't have been forced though, to be honest. Hell, I'm black listed with half my family (Of course on my dad's side.) Live life simple until it means something Posted Image


:hug: I can relate to that thing about a dad who bad-mouthing his own son.

I feel like the gay community puts too much pressure and emphasis on the idea of coming out and how it will make your life a whole lot better. People can be happy with who they are and their lives without having to admit they are gay to everyone around them. It's definitely a case-by-case do-it-at-your-own-pace thing. The most common retort out there is that your friends and family will never know the real you unless you out yourself. My response is - they do know the real me. They know what my values are, they know my intelligence, my wit, what I've done in the past and who I aspire to be, all of which define me infinitely more than who I jump in bed with. Not that I'm saying it totally a non-issue, because it is the entire structure behind my love and sex life...but as Zac Brown Band song goes - "I ain't in no hurry, I'd be a fool now to worry, about all those thing I can't change" Cheesy ain't it?


I agree with you, Y_B, on the coming out thing. You may have misunderstood my intention (I do have an ulterior motive, but it's not what you think). When I was younger, I didn't find a need to come out, and when people told me I must come out or I am not honest, I felt pissed. Everyone has their own pace and situation, and I only had things to lose, and nothing to gain. Anyways, long story short, it's your life. Most gay activists wanted people to be out because it'll make the gay issues more visible and hopefully speed up the gay rights, but I never believe in hastening the progress more than its natural course. It actually creates more problems than it solves. I was outed, and it only sent me into depression and no real progress whatsoever to me. Still no boyfriend, no love, and I lost all my online friends in one moment.

I don't care you're out or not, but I do care if you figured out your sexuality yet (maybe that's not apparent in my many responses to you.... Or my opinions on Anderson Cooper's coming out, all should say much on how I see the issue). It's a very heavy and suffocating issue for me, so I'll leave it at that.

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#18

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Posted 20 August 2012 - 03:45 PM

I don't care you're out or not, but I do care if you figured out your sexuality yet



I'm about a Kinsey 5.1259....atm.

#19

Ashi

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Posted 20 August 2012 - 03:55 PM

I'm about a Kinsey 5.1259....atm.


What the F does that mean? :P

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#20

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Posted 20 August 2012 - 07:51 PM

What the F does that mean? Posted Image


The Kinsey Scale:

Rating Description
0...... Exclusively heterosexual
1...... Predominantly heterosexual, only incidentally homosexual
2...... Predominantly heterosexual, but more than incidentally homosexual
3...... Equally heterosexual and homosexual
4...... Predominantly homosexual, but more than incidentally heterosexual
5...... Predominantly homosexual, only incidentally heterosexual
6...... Exclusively homosexual
X...... Non-sexual

Edited by MikeL, 20 August 2012 - 07:57 PM.

Posted Image



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#21

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Posted 20 August 2012 - 08:16 PM

I took the test and I am a real 6: :D


Your result for The Kinsey-n-Klein Orientation Test ...

Kinsey - 6

You scored 84 variable 1!
Exclusively homosexual with no heterosexual leanings. A single gender is all you want. Not a touch of breedery instincts in you. Perfectly delightful though. And sexy.

You scored 84% on variable 1, higher than 91% of your peers.

http://www.okcupid.c...rientation-test

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#22

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Posted 20 August 2012 - 09:36 PM

What the F does that mean? Posted Image


ABOUT

1. near in time, number, degree, etc.; approximately: It's aboutfive miles from here.
2. nearly; almost: Dinner is about ready.
3. nearby; not far off: He is somewhere about.
4. on every side; in every direction; around: Look about and seeif you can find it.
5. halfway around; in the opposite direction: to turn a car about.

Edited by Y_B, 20 August 2012 - 09:36 PM.


#23

Ashi

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Posted 21 August 2012 - 04:23 AM

Okay.... I am definitely over 6.... I don't think there is anything that can turn me straight. Anyways....

ABOUT

1. near in time, number, degree, etc.; approximately: It's aboutfive miles from here.
2. nearly; almost: Dinner is about ready.
3. nearby; not far off: He is somewhere about.
4. on every side; in every direction; around: Look about and seeif you can find it.
5. halfway around; in the opposite direction: to turn a car about.


Are you speaking Texan again?

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#24

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Posted 21 August 2012 - 06:01 AM

Okay.... I am definitely over 6.... I don't think there is anything that can turn me straight.

Are you speaking Texan again?


I think he's defining the word about for you. Doesn't seem to be particularly Texan to me. He is about (near, approximately, almost) 5.1259 on the Kinsey Scale...at the moment, the four decimal places implying a degree of precision not normally associated with the word about. Posted Image
-----------------------
Now a question for you. It you are over 6, does that mean you are approaching non-sexual?

Edited by MikeL, 21 August 2012 - 06:05 AM.

Posted Image



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#25

Ashi

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Posted 21 August 2012 - 12:29 PM

Now a question for you. It you are over 6, does that mean you are approaching non-sexual?


I am 6'1". :P (See, I can't even talk straight... j/k)

My GPA (Gay Point Average) is over highest possible number (6 points) because I took the advance placement. :P Just to ensure I won't turn straight somehow.

And let him speak for himself. I want to hear his Texan accent. LOL!

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