The Best Part of Coming Out, Says This Gay Dad, Is Being an Out and Proud Role Model for His Daughter
"I couldn't face myself in the mirror and think that I could be a good dad and role model for my child when I was lying to myself every moment of every day," said Nate Wormington of his decision to come out.
Nate Wormington had lived much of his life not being true to himself. He had a beautiful baby girl, was married to his best friend and soul mate, but there was still no doubt in his mind that he was gay. Still, he chose to stay in a heterosexual relationship lifestyle, and it was making him incredibly depressed.
"For some that may be a sustainable life, but denying a core value of myself began to take its toll on me, and I had to own up to my own truth to salvage my life and my relationships with the people I love." Despite the difficulties in doing so, he eventually, he came out. Today, he's co-parenting with his ex-wife and they're still best friends. This November, he's getting married to the man of his dreams. But most importantly, he's proud to be a positive example to his 7-year-old daughter.
Nate grew up in a small town in Missouri and had zero exposure to anyone gay; he didn't even know or truly comprehend what being gay meant. His only understanding of homosexuality was through the local church's teaching, and therefore, not a shining example of the queer community. "I actually planned to make a conscious effort to try and live a hetero lifestyle," explained Nate.
Nate and Barbara on their wedding day
Nate met Barbara when they were in 5th grade and they clicked. They were best friends throughout middle school and high school, and in senior year their relationship progressed beyond friendship. They went to the same college and lived together while studying. "The next few years flew by and we ended up buying a house and both graduated with degrees in teaching," said Nate on his own blog. Not long after, Nate proposed to Barb and the two were married.
On February 17, 2011, they welcomed a daughter, baby Sydnee. They approached parenthood the same way they had approached everything in their life so far – as a team. "To this day, and every day from now until I die, making a child with Barb is the single most proud achievement of my life and has made all the ups and downs of our story worth every laugh and every tear we shed along the way."
Nate holding newborn Sydnee
But having a child was also the real turning point for Nate. No longer could he ignore the voice of doubt that was growing louder and louder. "Eventually I couldn't face myself in the mirror and think that I could be a good dad and role model for my child when I was lying to myself every moment of every day, and even worse; lying to my soul mate and mother of my child," shared Nate.
Nate was terrified to tell his wife Barbara that he was gay; she was his best friend and mother of his child! But it was actually Barbara who coaxed it out of him. Her reaction was one he'll never forget and he'll always be thankful for: She asked him if he was okay. "That single moment of unconditional love is probably the single reason I have been able to cope with the guilt that I have for putting her through all of this," said Nate.
The next year was difficult for both of Sydnee's parents but they worked through it and remained supportive of one another. Nate was in school to become a Physicians Assistant and didn't have any openly gay friends to talk to, and was finding himself in a dark place. It was around a year after Nate came out that he met Chris Keenan, and he began to see a light at the end of the tunnel.
Chris had come out when he was 16, the end of his sophomore year of high school. "Ultimately, my mom, dad, stepmom and siblings were all supportive and never treated me any differently," said Chris, sharing his very different experience to Nate. When the two started dating, Nate put his cards on the table at the very beginning and told Chris about his daughter as he had zero interest in dating someone who wasn't okay with him having a daughter. Thankfully, Chris didn't have a moment's hesitation. In fact, he was nothing but excited to meet her. "Nate immediately told me he had a child and how important she was to him - there wasn't even a response that was needed, I was then, and continue to be, supportive of him being a great father!" said Chris.
But before Chris could meet Sydnee, his biggest test was to first meet her mom, Barbara. Chris and Nate had been together close to 6 months when they were first introduced. Not surprisingly, the meeting went wonderfully and Barbara gave them both her approval, and meeting Sydnee went just as well. "She was almost three when he met her," said Nate, "and she has loved him ever since."
"I always say I am an old soul, so falling into the role of a parent from the moment I met her was so easy and natural," added Chris. "Sydnee has always been so mature for her age, we had an instant bond; I love her as if she were my biological child - there isn't anything I wouldn't do for her."
Today, Nate and Chris are co-parenting Sydnee with Barbara and her wonderful partner Zach, "who magically showed up and completed our family," said Nate. They raise their daughter together, and consider themselves a "pretty bad ass family."
In November this year, Nate and Chris will marry and they will have their happily ever after. "Maybe [it's] not how I envisioned it as a know-it-all high school kid, but its turned out better than I could have ever hoped for and I wouldn't change anything about my journey to this point, and I cannot wait to see what our future holds."