Thank You For Your (Hateful) Message

I’ve experienced a bunch of negative comments in the last week in regards to my book “Out & About Dad,” about my journey as a gay father.  Sure, I’ve gotten negative messages before from articles I’ve written for Huffington Post Gay Voices, but none as direct and demeaning as this current batch I’ve experienced.

You probably know the drill as to their content: promiscuity, STDs, the downfall of our culture, and of course “those poor kids” referring to how unfit gay parents are.

Yes, they are all hurtful.

Jim with his children Alicia and J.P.

The comments honestly don’t bother me; I learned to let things roll off my shoulders years ago and to consider that the source doesn’t know me at all. Likely doesn’t know any of us. Easy for me to say, I know; here I am writing about it!

Actually, the negativity has been far surpassed by the outpouring of positive comments, reviews, and cheers in person and on social media. I am so grateful for the support and camaraderie from all walks of life.

But as I was reading a particular negative comment about children having mental problems as a result of their parents being gay, a feeling of purpose came over me.

Purpose and conviction, actually.

The truth is that although I had finished writing it, I almost didn’t publish “Out & About Dad." I was worried that my story wouldn’t be interesting enough and I was worried that with gay parenting so much more visible now, that perhaps there wasn’t a need to tell my story.

I didn’t know if my story would have purpose.

These hateful comments have reminded me of why I did in fact write and publish my book – to help people.

When we share our story, we help people.

J.P. with Jim's husband, Christopher

Particularly when our story isn’t the norm. When people can relate to others who have experienced similar situations, it gives them confidence that they are on the right path, and that their own path can indeed lead to happiness.

I wanted my book to show that fathers and, yes, even gay fathers can be quite successful at raising healthy children. I wanted my book to give young parents (gay, straight, and in any situation) a role model from which to learn. I had no one to turn to when I was in the middle of it all. I felt like a complete anomaly. I wanted to share my struggles from back then so that people could have someone to identify with now.

I continue to want to help. I want to balance any negativity with some inspiration.

We all have obstacles to overcome, and we could all use a little help. All of us. We all have our own journey, but in the end we are just trying to do what’s best for our families.

All of our families.

So I should probably say thank you to those who are posting hateful messages. While I certainly don’t like reading them and wish the negative sentiment didn’t exist, it’s a reminder that we should all be helping each other overcome our barriers. Because by sharing and reading each other’s victories, then we too can see a pathway towards our own happiness. Gay or straight, parent or not, no matter who we are.

So I should probably say thank you. You’ve brought me some renewed purpose and you’ve restored my conviction.

Alicia, Christopher, Jim and J.P.

Posted by Jim Joseph

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