Popular

A Dad Gives Thanks After Finally Saying These Words: "I'm Gay"

Cameron Call, a dad of three, came out this past July — and is thankful to be living in his truth.

During this time of year when our hearts soften and we focus on our thank-yous and grateful-fors I feel it's time to share one of mine: I am grateful for courage. Particularly the courage to be vulnerable and finally allow myself to be seen. I've made some effort to be more real and honest the last little while when I post on here but social media still remains the world's most viewed highlight reel. It's so easy to keep up an appearance and maintain a certain reputation based on what we allow people to see. I admit that I have done this for far too long my entire life. I'm tired of hiding and I am sick of pretending.

Speaking of courage, I haven't had a lot of it throughout my life. I've always been an introvert, soft spoken, scared to share my ideas, rarely spoke up, etc. But things are different now. I'm different. For so long I've been afraid of admitting and embracing a certain truth about a part of myself. And that fear has motivated some life altering decisions throughout my 33 years of life.

Kristin and I finalized our divorce back in July after more than ten incredible years.


Early last year I told her something that I had never told anybody. It was something that I had tried since my childhood to change, forget, suppress, and deny. It was something I had pleaded with God for years to take away and to help me overcome. And it was a secret I had ultimately planned on taking to my grave.

The truth is I am gay. And that truth has been a thorn in my side for far too long. Because of my upbringing in church that truth has caused more confusion, internal struggle, and feelings of hopelessness and despair than I will share in this post. Regrettably, I did not tell the woman I married this truth before our wedding day. And I take responsibility for my choices and the pain that she has now gone through because of that. It is something that no one should ever have to endure. I have spent many hours, and hundreds of dollars, with therapists helping me to process and come to terms with what my choices have done to her. The guilt and shame cycle associated with all of this is something I will be healing from for a long time.

The details surrounding my decision to keep this part of me from her and everyone else in my life are confusing and hard to explain.

I was raised in a very religious family by two incredible parents. Among many other great things, I was taught by example the power of prayer and the importance of having faith. I was raised to believe in the blessings of obedience and following God's laws. The scriptures say "If ye love me, keep my commandments." And that was exactly what I wanted to do.

When I realized I was different, I became afraid. I felt like a mistake and like there was this disease inside me that I needed to get rid of. So at a young age I planted a seed of faith and developed the hope that if I tried hard enough and was righteous enough God would answer my prayers and take the gay part of me away. I just knew it. From the time I was in grade school I devoted all of my energy and worked HARD to be the perfect kid, the obedient kid, and I tried to do everything the way I was supposed to. I had so much confidence that my exact obedience to the rules and commandments would be the solution to my problem. In my head it all seemed so simple. If I did everything I was supposed to then God would finally change me. How could He ever deny such a blessing from someone who was so faithful? That was the miracle I was hoping for.

And when I was 21 years old—after serving a two-year mission for my church—I thought my prayers had finally been answered. The miracle had occurred! My mission was an incredible experience in many ways. But the thing I was most grateful for was realizing that I lived with male companions and was totally fine in regards to my attractions to the same sex. I had heard of other gay members of the church going on missions and coming home early due to the anxiety of being gay and living with a man, or they'd fall in love with a companion and be too distracted, etc. None of that was ever an issue for me while I served those two years.

I loved my mission! I was a great missionary. And I was exactly obedient during my two years of service. I had the missionary handbook memorized. Whoever my companion was I made sure that we followed every rule to the T. And I had countless experiences where I know we were blessed because of my obedience. Miracles occurred on my mission and I loved being witness to them. Lives were changed, including my own. My mission really was the best two years of my life up to that point.

When I got home and realized I survived those two years without a thought of being gay I was so sure I was healed. And I was ecstatic. I was so convinced that I was healed of my gayness I vowed to never let myself consider it as a possibility. Immediately I went to college, met this amazing girl who had every attribute a religious family man should want in his wife, and we fell in love. We were married within six months and began our life together. And it really was beautiful.

Since childhood I believed happiness was only possible by following one eternal formula: Go to church + serve an honorable mission + marry a girl in the temple + have kids = total and complete happiness in this life and the next. That was the way to have it all as I understood it. And with the way I was living—at the time—I felt I was on track for a home run.

But early into our marriage there were challenges. I noticed my gay feelings (or "same-sex attraction" as the church calls it) were still there. I was so confused. I was angry. And I panicked. I reminded myself I just needed to have more faith. I needed to pray harder and be better. And then God would heal me ….. but for good this time. I must have not been sincere enough the first time, my efforts and attempts to be perfect as a teenager and as a missionary weren't good enough. But they would be now.

With even more effort I kept working at becoming someone I thought I should and could be. A more perfect husband. A more perfect church member. And a more perfect father. I continued to plead with the Lord to change my mind and get rid of my thoughts and feelings that I viewed as evil and wrong. I attempted to lose myself in my school work and priorities in the home and make sure I had no time for idleness or complacency. I starved myself of hobbies, creative experiences, and authentic personal growth. I devoted my energy to being a super masculine heterosexual MAN. That was exactly who I was supposed to be.

This gap in my identity continued to widen as I got older and was at the root of almost every argument in my marriage. And as the years went on the gap between who I was trying to be and who I really am became too much to handle. Early last year I was on the verge of a breakdown and couldn't take carrying this burden alone any longer. I had avoided it long enough. I had to tell her.

"I am gay," I said overcome with emotion one night after work.

It was the first time I had ever said the words out loud. With tears in her eyes she scooped me in her arms and held me in our bedroom as I wept like a baby. We cried together and held each other closer than we ever had. I can't describe the weight that was lifted after finally saying those words out loud. And how good it felt for her to just hold me, love me, and feel a part of the weight I had carried in keeping this secret in and all to myself for so many years. I will never forget that night. And it was only the beginning of the relief I would experience as I learned to accept this part of myself.

Neither of us had any intention of ending our marriage over this. The next several months were full of learning experiences for the both of us. I began seeing multiple therapists who helped me learn to better communicate and be more honest and vulnerable with those closest to me, particularly those I had hidden this part of me for so many years. It was hard. It was ugly at times. And I was far from perfect. But it was helpful. However, the more honest I became with myself and others while I processed these feelings the more pain it seemed to cause. The feelings of hopelessness, anxiety, and depression I faced in navigating it all was the reason for many dark days. I became numb, disconnected, and felt more lost than I ever had. I did my best to hide it from work, family, and friends. I tried to keep it at bay for our kids but they were noticing the struggle, hearing the fights, and were beginning to act out at home.

As I sought for peace and comfort in my spiritual foundation at church I felt more lost, confused, and like there was no place for me in God's plan of happiness. I was angry and wanted to blame Him for doing this to me. I was doing the work. I was following all the rules. I was doing what I was told is right and good and true. I was doing everything I could to be who I was supposed to be. But yet I was miserable and so was the woman I loved…..largely because of me. And no amount of prayer, faith, righteous living, and obedience was changing any of it. I could not believe the reality I had created for us both.

It didn't get any easier. And nothing seemed to change. The man I felt I was supposed to be was not gonna make it. And I was terrified to admit that to myself and to her. As time went on I realized I was wasting it. And not just mine, but hers too. I wanted more out of my life. I wanted to grow more, learn more, feel more, be more, experience more, and love more. I can't officially speak for her but I am confident she did too. And in my marriage I was unable to do that. I realized I could only be a fraction of the husband she deserved and wanted. And I could only be a fraction of the father my kids deserved in my current situation. They deserve a dad who is confident in his own skin and unashamed of who he is, a dad who isn't afraid to love and accept all the parts of him. A dad who knows how to love and be loved fully and completely. And they deserve a dad who can teach them by example to love and accept who they are and to use their unique gifts to help others without fear.

Our ultimate decision to divorce was one of the hardest decisions ever made. However, I know it was the best decision too. The past few months have been full of ups and downs processing grief and loss and change. It hasn't been easy and every day presents a challenge in one way or another. Ending a more than ten year marriage with someone you love is excruciatingly painful. But through the process I have learned things I wish I had learned years ago. I have come to realize that I am not broken. I understand that I do not need to be fixed. I am not a mistake and God made and loves me just the way I am. I know His love for me is not conditional. I know I have a lot to be proud of and I have a lot to look forward to.

It is easy to look back and potentially regret some of the choices I have made. To wish I had the emotional maturity to know better and to realize all of this sooner. I am still working through feelings of anger, wanting to blame someone or something. But I have no regrets. This is my experience and I take full responsibility for my choices. I'm so thankful my journey has allowed me to become a father. I can't imagine my life without Nash, Granger, and Tenley. I am beyond proud of the family I helped create.

As I said at the beginning: I am grateful for courage. The courage to accept who I am and to no longer hide from the truth. If my kids only learn one thing from this experience at their young ages I hope they learn to recognize courage. I want them to have the courage to be who they are and to never be afraid to embrace ALL parts of themselves because I will love, support, and accept them no matter what.

In the movie, Avengers End Game Thor's mom says to him, "Everyone fails at who they're supposed to be. A measure of a person, of a hero, is how well they succeed at being who they are." I did the best I could at being who I was convinced I was supposed to be. Now it's time to embrace all of me and live my life as I am. And I have a good feeling that it's going to be even better than I imagined.

Show Comments ()
Diary of a Newly Out Gay Dad

A Gay Chiropractor Explains Why He Came Out to His Patients

After Cameron Call, a chiropractor, came out to his family this past year, he knew he had one more step to take — he had to come out to his patients

Fear is an interesting thing. It motivates when it shouldn't, shows at inconvenient times, and is the author of stories that do nothing but hold us back. I would argue though, too, that fear has some good qualities. I believe it helps us to feel. And I think it can be a great teacher as we learn to recognize and face it.

For years fear prevented me from embracing my truth and accepting a large part of who I am. I know I am not alone in that regard. But for so long my fear convinced me that I was. Fear is what kept me from ever telling my parents or anyone growing up that I am gay. Fear mingled with strong religious teachings, embraced at a young age, which led me to believe that I could cure myself of my attractions to the same gender. And fear is a part of what kept me in my marriage to a woman for over ten years.

Keep reading...
Diary of a Newly Out Gay Dad

Coming Out to My Kids Was the Most Raw and Tender Moment

Cameron Call, a newly out gay dad, wonders how to come out to young kids who can only understand so much.

Cameron Call, who came out in summer 2019, has generously agreed to chronicle his coming out journey for Gays With Kids over the next several months — the highs, lows and everything in between. Read his previous articles here.

I always wanted to be a father. I am so glad that as messy as my journey might have been it got me three beautiful kids. I can't imagine my life without them. No matter how dark some days are as I navigate coming out and getting divorced I can always remind myself that my journey got me my kids. And I am so grateful for that.

When their mom and I decided to get a divorce I still hadn't told our kids that I'm gay. But once it was decided the best decision for us was to end our marriage, I knew it was time to tell them the biggest reason why. And I was terrified. Even though my twin boys are only seven and their sister is five I was scared to death to be so honest with them.

Some could argue that my kids didn't need to know but I feel strongly that they deserved to. They deserve to know their dad fully. And they deserve to know one of the reasons their parents decided to get a divorce.

Without much preparation or planning, we sat down on our couch as a family one Sunday afternoon and their mom let me speak. I trembled as I attempted to formulate words into sentences. How do you come out to young kids who can only understand so much? I stumbled for several minutes as we discussed the previous year. I asked the kids about their thoughts and feelings as they had witnessed countless arguments between me and their mom, heard several doors slam, and seen a lot of tears. They each expressed how scared and sad seeing their mom and I fighting so frequently had made them.

I explained that after a lot of conversation and prayer we decided we weren't going to be married anymore. But that wasn't enough. I could tell they were still confused and I felt uneasy. And then it hit me. I knew what more I had to say.

I looked at my oldest son and said "You know how God made you with handsome bright blue eyes?" Then I looked at his twin brother and asked "And how He made you with a cute face full of freckles?" Then I looked at my daughter and said "And you know how God made you with the most contagious belly laugh that fills the room?"

They all nodded and in their own way replied, "Yeah."

"Well," I said. "God made me to like boys more than girls. And that is part of the reason why your mom and I aren't going to be married anymore."

And I left it at that. They asked a few questions and I attempted to explain to them that their mom deserved to be with a man who loved her in a way I couldn't. And I told them that I wanted to love a man in a way I couldn't love their mom. I said again, "We aren't going to be married anymore." And that's when reality started to sink in a little bit.

My two boys immediately started crying. They both just wanted to be held. I was squeezed so hard as I hugged my son while he cried in my shoulder for several minutes. I couldn't hold back tears either. It was one of the most raw and tender moments I've ever experienced as a dad. It was a new type of pain I had never felt before. But it was also very healing. My daughter was kind of clueless as to what was going on and she didn't understand. As a five-year-old there's only so much she can grasp. She didn't even cry or ask a single question that day. But I knew we were laying the foundation for the growth that was to come as we navigated this new journey. And we've come a long way.

After holding our sons for a few minutes the conversation continued and I knew I had done right when my son said "A happy mom and dad is better than a sad mom and dad." I was blown away at his wisdom and understanding at such a young age.

As hard as coming out to my kids was, I am so glad that wasn't the end of the conversation. We continue on almost a daily or weekly basis to circle back to their thoughts and questions surrounding having a gay dad. And there continues to be highs and lows. But I'm grateful we are talking about it. I'm grateful they aren't afraid to share their feelings, fears, and thoughts.

While I cannot control or protect my kids from everything, I can control what I say and teach them, especially in regards to the gay experience. And I hope that I am up for the challenge.

Personal Essays by Gay Dads

Dating a Single Gay Dad Is a 'Package Deal'

When you date a man with kids, you get the "whole package," says Kyle Ashworth

I am a package deal.

That is a phrase I have continued to tell myself since entering the dating scene. I say it because it's true. You see, I was previously married to a woman for ten years. From that relationship came four wonderful children who are the lights and loves of our lives. Seven years into our marriage I made some hard decisions. The most monumental of them all was coming out to my wife. Everything about being gay and living a life of authenticity felt like a fantasy to me. I didn't know what to expect, what to believe, or where to begin. I just knew I wasn't straight and living in that closeted space was destroying my life.

People often ask me what the hardest part of the journey out of the closet has been. That is a difficult question to answer. Coming out was hard because you'll never get a chance to go back in the closet—once you are out, you're out. Divorcing my wife was hard, because it meant that everything comfortable and "normal" in our lives would be disrupted. Losing friends and family members to bigotry and ignorance was difficult.

So why do we come out? What compels us to turn our whole world upside down?

Keep reading...
News

What's it Like to Be a Child of the 'Gayby Boom'?

Tosca Langbert, who grew up with two dads, writes a piece for the Harvard Business Review about what it's like being among the first children of the "Gayby Boom" to come of age.

We've previously written about the pressure on LGBTQ parents to appear perfect, given that so many in the United States still feel out families shouldn't exist in the first place. And we know this pressure trickles down to our kids. But In an article for the Harvard Business Review titled 'The Gayby Boom Is Here to Stay," author Tosca Langbert eloquently writes, from her perspective, about the experience of beingone of the first children to come of age during an era when LGBTQ parenthood is far more commonplace. She and her two siblings, she notes, "were raised in a family that was an impossibility only decades ago."

In the article, Langbert said she knew from a young age that her family was different from those of most of her peers, who had one a father and a mother. But otherwise, she writes, she didn't feel like her family differed much. "Like any other parents, Dad sat in the carpool lane after school and taught us how to ride our bikes," she writes, "while Papa took us to the movies on the weekends and separated the whites from the colors."

Despite this mundanity, her family remained something to marvel at for much of her youth. When the family moved into a new neighborhood in 2006, it made the local newspaper, with a headline titled, "Gay Father Tests Tolerance in the Park Cities."

She and her siblings have spent much of their lives, she explained further, having to respond to the question: what's it like having two gay dads? For Langbert, there is only one correct response, which is: Amazing! "Any other response, even if simply accounting for a family's nuanced experience, might as well be an outright admission of failure on behalf of the entire LGBTQ community," she wrote.

Children of the 'Gayby Generation,' are also put in the position of having to come out on behalf of their parents, and "often with mixed results," she wrote. She gave the following anecdote as an example:

"My father was asked to step down from his leadership position in my brother's Boy Scout troop on account of his sexuality. Even though my siblings and I were only fourth graders at the time, we understood that our family was under strict scrutiny, and that even the slightest misstep could beget severe consequences for how competent our fathers were perceived as being. In the face of this pressure, the first generation of 'gaybies' recognized the importance of presenting their families as perfect; doing otherwise would only present ammunition to those already dubious about the rights of LGBTQ parents to raise children."

The entire article, which includes the perspectives of multiple now-grown kids that are part of the "Gayby generation," is well worth a read, which you can access here.


Politics

Utah Bill Would Allow Gay Men to Enter Surrogacy Contracts

Rep. Patrice Arent of Utah is sponsoring a bill that will remove a provision that currently prohibits gay men from entering into commercial surrogacy contracts in the state.

Though Utah is not one of the three states that currently prohibit commercial surrogacy contracts, the state's current policy does specifically exclude gay men from doing so. That may soon changed, however, thanks to a bill in the state's legislature that was unanimously voted out of a House Committee that would remove that restriction.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Patrice Arent, D-Millcreek, a Democrat, was created in response to a ruling by the Utah Supreme Court this past August that found the ban on gay men unconstitutional.

Gay men have been excluded from legally entering surrogacy contracts due to a provision in the current law that requires medical evidence "that the intended mother is unable to bear a child or is unable to do so without unreasonable risk to her physical or mental health or to the unborn child," Rep. Arent told the Salt Lake Tribune — a requirement that clearly excludes gay male couples.

The state's original surrogacy law dates back to 2005, before same-sex marriage was legalized in the state, which accounts for the gendered language. Though the state's Supreme Court already ruled the provision unconstitutional, Rep Arent further told the Tribute that, "People do not look to Supreme Court opinions to figure out the law, they look to the code and the code should be constitutional."

Politics

Colorado Republicans Try and Fail to Outlaw LGBTQ Marriage and Adoption Rights

A bill introduced by four Republican state legislators in Colorado that would outlaw same-sex marriage and adoption rights was voted down.

The "Colorado Natural Marriage and Adoption Act," which would have outlawed gay marriage and adoption in the state of Colorado, was voted down in the state legislature this week. The bill was sponsored by Republican Rep. Stephen Humphrey and three of his conservative colleagues: Dave Williams, Shane Sandridge and Mark Baisley.

If enacted, the bill would have enforced "state law that marriage is between one man and one woman" and restrict "adoption of children by spouses in a marriage ... that consist of one man and one woman."

The bill, which had little chance of success, particularly in Colorado which has trended more progressive over the past several election cycles, was mostly symbolic, according to Sanridrge. "We all know this bill isn't gonna pass in this current left-wing environment," he told Colorado Public Radio. "It's to remind everyone, this is the ultimate way to conceive a child."

In a sign of how far we've come on the issue of LGBTQ marriage and parenting rights, most Republican legislators in the state did not endorse the bill.

Though the bill had little chance of passage, LGBTQ advocacy groups in the state are taking the threats seriously nonetheless. Daniel Ramos, director of the LGBTQ group One Colorado, told LGBTQ Nation that the bills were an attempt to return Colorado to its "hate status" of the 1990s, adding the aggressiveness of the measures were "a bit surprising."

Surrogacy for Gay Men

Dads Talk About Surrogacy Process in New Video for Northwest Surrogacy Center

The Northwest Surrogacy Center interviewed some of their gay dad clients for a video to celebrate their 25th anniversary of creating families through surrogacy!

Image: NWSC Clients

Last year, Northwest Surrogacy Center celebrated 25 years of helping parents realize their dreams. And they celebrated in style by inviting the families they've worked with over the past two and a half decades to join them!

At the party, they took the opportunity to film queer dads and dads-to-be, asking them a couple of questions: how did it feel holding your baby for the first time, and tell us about your relationship with your surrogate.

Watch the video below and get ready for the water works!

Keep reading...

Fatherhood, the gay way

Get the latest from Gays With Kids delivered to your inbox!

Follow Gays With Kids

Powered by RebelMouse