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Gay Dad Comes Out to Son in a Hidden Camera TV Show

The scene, which aired in a recent episode of What Would You Do?, took place in a New Jersey diner.

A recently aired episode of ABC's What Would You Do? featured a staged situation in which a gay man comes out to his son in a restaurant in New Jersey. The premise of the show, which features hidden cameras, is to subject unsuspecting people to a certain dilemma, and then gauge their reaction as the drama unfolds.

This latest episode was inspired by a popular op-ed in the Washington Post by a man named Jared Bilski titled "My dad lived a lie. I'm determined my kids won't have to do the same." In the piece, Bilski writes about the regret he feels for his father, who finally came out to him just a few days before he passed away.

Bilski writes in part, "It wasn't death he was afraid of, at least not at that moment. My dad was terrified of how I'd react to hearing he'd been lying all along."

What would passersby in a crowded diner think of a father coming out to his son in a similarly-staged situation? John Quiñones, who hosts the hidden camera show, sought to find out. In the scene, a man, seated next to his wife, tell their son they are getting a divorce because of his sexual orientation. The couple then leave the room, leaving the son alone, pondering this news.

Fortunately, most of the feedback the young man receives from other diners who overhear the conversation are positive.

"You didn't lose him," one diner tells the son. "He is the same person with the same values and the same emotions. Let me tell you, it doesn't matter what age you are, divorce is divorce. It hurts. But these two people don't change. These two people still love you very, very much."

"It's still your dad, man," says another "Accept him for what it is, you know? It's the only thing you can do."

"Being gay, it's not a big deal," says yet another. "It doesn't change the fact that he's your dad."

You can watch the full clip of the touching episode here.

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News

Ed Smart, Father of Kidnapping Victim Elizabeth Smart, Comes Out as Gay

In coming his coming out letter, Ed Smart, a Mormon, condemned the church for their "ridicule, shunning, rejection and outright humiliation" of LGBTQ individuals.

In a post on Facebook, Ed Smart, father of kidnapping survivor Elizabeth Smart, came out as gay. He also discussed his strained relationship with his Mormon faith, claiming he felt he didn't feel comfortable living as an openly gay man in a church with a difficult history with respect to its LGBTQ members. He and his wife, Lois, have filed for divorce.

"This is one of the hardest letters I have ever written," he began the letter. "Hard because I am finally acknowledging a part of me that I have struggled with most of my life and never wanted to accept, but I must be true and honest with myself." He went on to acknowledged a new set of challenges facing he and his family as they navigate a divorce and his coming out — in the public eye, no less — but concluded, ultimately, that it's a "huge relief" to be "honest and truthful about my orientation."

He went on to condemn The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for their "ridicule, shunning, rejection and outright humiliation" of LGBTQ individuals. "I didn't want to face the feelings I fought so hard to suppress, and didn't want to reach out and tell those being ostracized that I too am numbered among them. But I cannot do that any longer."

In an interview with the Salt Lake Tribune, Ed Smart further discussed his reasons for coming out now, as a 64-year-old man.

"I mean, I knew that it would probably come out at some point, just because people can't leave things alone. I did anticipate that it would happen at some time, but my intention in writing it was to try to let my friends and family know, you know my extended family ... know where things were. So, you know, I was really concerned about how the rumor mill starts," he told the paper. "I knew that at some point in time, that would come out," he elaborated. "I didn't know when it would come out, and so I would rather have it come out the way that it did versus having some rumors going around, and you know the crazy way things can get twisted."

In 2002, Ed Smart's daughter Elizabeth was abducted at knife point by a married couple from her bedroom in Salt Lake City, Utah. She suffered physical and sexual abuse at the couple's hands, for nine months, until she was finally rescued by police. During the ordeal, papers — including the Salt Lake Tribute — speculated about Ed Smart's sexual orientation based on some fabricated information sold to the paper by tabloids like the National Enquirer. (The Enquirer retracted the story, and the reporters at the Tribute were ultimately fired.)

"I think that in April I started feeling like I needed to prepare something," Smart told the Tribute. "Because during Elizabeth's ordeal, there were things said, and it wasn't what I wanted to say, and I was not going to allow that to happen again."

As to how his family has taken the news, Smart said they've been "very kind" to him. "I think it was very difficult to have this kind of come out of the blue. I don't think any of them knew I was struggling with this, so it was something they were, if you want to call it, blindsided by. I totally get that. They've really been very wonderful."

Congrats to Ed Smart on making the difficult decision to live his truth. Read his full letter here and his interview with the Tribute here.

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Based on a true story, the film follows Brittany, an overweight and over-boozed 20-something, trying to clean up her act by training for the New York City marathon — while doing so, she meets Seth (the gay dad), and the two begin to train together, along with Brittany's neighbor Catherine. Each has their own motivation for running: getting one's live together, recovering from a messy divorce, or an attempt to impress one's athletic son. (Which is the gay dad? Guess you'll have to watch to find out!)

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