Friday, November 30, 2007

More Reflecting- A Letter On Coming Out

I sure have been in a reflecting sort of mood lately. I was browsing through some old emails last night, and I came across one that I sent to my mom 4 years ago (exactly tomorrow), shortly after I came out to my dad. This email was in response to our follow up conversation after I told him I was gay. It took him a few weeks to be able to address the issue with me, and he still was not very happy with what was going on (he suggested ex-gay therapy as one of the solutions).

My dad has come a very long way from where he was in this letter, which has been amazing. Please keep in mind that this was 4 years ago, and some of my views of the world have changed since then. There are a couple of things I said then that I'd never say now, so please don't be offended. I remember writing this during one of the most depressed days I've ever had, so it's pretty much me spilling my emotions to my mom.

Anyway, here's the letter. It's long. I hope my mom doesn't mind me sharing this ;-)

I am not doing that well today. I feel today exactly the same as the day after I told him I was gay. Sure he isn't going to disown me and he loves me and all of that. But it almost feels like a conditional love now. I mean, he really said that if I was gay and it can't be changed (since his goal currently is definitely to change me), then he won't ever accept that, but he will still love me and be by me.

He told me all about all the friends I would lose and how I would lose my job and be ridiculed. Mom, I have been gay for a very long time and I have been out to everyone close to me for about a year now. I have basically been out to everyone I know (save casual acquaintances, some family, and people at work) and I have had zero problems. In fact, he is the first person that has had any real problems with it. Sure I don't expect my whole life to be easy bc I am gay, but so far so good. And, I am definitely not spiraling into a dangerous lifestyle like he seems completely convinced being gay is. Mom, the one gay person he knows is from AA. I mean, he thinks that every gay person is either like his friend in AA (I mean he was in AA for god's sake, can you really base a whole group of people on one person from AA?) or like every gay stereotype that has been out there.

Worst of all I think that all of the information that he is getting and will continue to get is going to be from such a biased source that he will never come around. But he thinks that anything that doesn't say that being gay is a sin is liberal propaganda (even though every major medical, psychological, sociological, etc. group in this country believes that at the very least its not changeable). I mean, that's the real thing here, I think if he would really wake up and be willing to look at both sides of the story he might at least not try to send me to "straight camp." But, he even told me that he isn't interested in hearing what scientists have to say. But I don't want him to here about the morality of being gay from scientists. I just want him to hear from them that being gay happens and there is basically nothing to do about it, it just happens.

I don't know, I kind of feel like I have come so far for myself over the last year or so. My relationship with Jack is seriously better than I thought it could be (especially dealing with it in college). I don't think we have had a single fight or even harsh words for at least a year. And now here I am taking huge steps backward because my dad keeps thinking I am the flaming gay guy from his AA class and at the very best says that he can accept me as a person but can't accept my sin.

He told me that you told him that I needed your support. And he said that he would definitely be there for me to try to "help me through this," but if I am looking for him to tell me it is ok to be gay or that it isn't a big deal, that isn't something he can do.

He also said that he and my step mom were talking and they said that they always thought that they had to worry about my youngest and oldest brothers, but never thought that I was the one that they would have to worry about. Would he rather I go back to a point in my life where I lie to everyone that asks about my love life. What is that, like 10 lies a day he'd rather have me telling? Maybe I will tell him this: I can say, ok, I'm gay, so if I stay celibate I won't be sinning anymore. But then I wouldn't want to lie either, so I'd have to just tell everyone I know that I am a celibate gay man. But then that wouldn't help him with the embarrassment that he seems to be feeling right now.

I know this is hard for him and he has so many hang ups that he has to deal with. But right now I only see him thinking of himself here. He says he's trying, but he is really not in my eyes. I mean, anyone that was really trying would KNOW that everyone in the world except for a few quacks agrees that you can't change gay people. Anyway, I guess I will stop this for now. I feel like I have been kicked in the chest today. It hasn't been a good day.

Oh, read this, its a good article. I am sure dad would agree with the fundies on this one, but anyone not completely biased against gays can plainly see how reparative groups don't work.

Oh, since I am ranting, can you not vote for Bush this year? Abstain from voting if you have to. He will win anyway I am sure, but he is more anti-gay than dad. Anyone that would rewrite the constitution to make sure that your son can't get married or even have a civil union doesn't deserve your vote. I probably won't vote since I still can't vote democrat for economy and tax hike reasons. Ok, I love you, sorry to rant forever.



At 1/12/07 7:05 AM, Anonymous pam said...

thanks for sharing this Brady...

have you ever seen those little books full of ideas for things for people to write in cards and stuff?

your letter was touching and I immediately thought, "wow...i imagine that letter could work for thousands of gay men"....

is there a little book like that for gays? i'm serious. you should think about writing one, if not.

At 1/12/07 7:06 AM, Blogger grace said...

oh weird....that pam up there is me..."grace"....there were different things to fill out when i commented and i must have done it wrong! i'm going to try again...

At 1/12/07 7:08 AM, Blogger grace said...

ahhh...i can use the "nickname" option if you don't want to have it linked to your handy! sorry for mucking up your comments with this...and i do think you an awesome writer...i've always found you not only easy to read but entertaining, informative, and thoughtful...i sound like a reviewer or something..ha!

At 3/12/07 8:03 AM, Anonymous said...


Its good to read your thoughts. I salute you for coming out and living as an openly gay man.

Keep writing. You are touching lives and making a difference.

Rick Brentlinger

At 3/12/07 11:05 AM, Blogger Brady said...

Pam (err...Grace ;-),

Thanks so much. That really means a lot to me, it truly does. I'm not sure if there is a little book like that for gays or not, but I agree, I think it's a cool idea. Maybe I should look into that. What a great idea! Oh, and, don't worry about mucking up the comments, we'll all live.

Rick- thanks for commenting too. You know, most of the time I write because I like to, but this particular letter I decided to post specifically because I thought it might help someone. I hope it does.


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