Your Daddy is Gay
Coming out to my parents was rather easy for me. I was 17 and it was the mid 1990s, and although being openly gay was a relatively new concept, I was very comfortable with my sexuality. At first I came out as bisexual, because I truly was, at that time. Eventually, there were fewer girlfriends and more boyfriends, and then only boyfriends. By then my parents were supportive, and I was fortunate that everyone around me was accepting. Fast forward to now, when I had to come out of the closet and explain “gay” to my newest family member – my son.
My approach to anything in life that is sensitive or perceived as different is to be as open and loud about it as possible. I don’t mean getting “I LIKE PENIS” tattooed across my forehead, but rather not being quiet or secretive about it. Being gay is one of those things, at least in 2016. With my son, I wanted him to have a sense of what gay is since the moment I knew I could. I decided early that there would not be some dramatic coming out talk to him. I didn’t want to shield him from my homosexuality and then launch it all at him at a certain age. Instead, I just slowly made it a part of his life – in other words, gay people have always had a presence to him.
Every once in a while, we have talks about boys and girls. I tease him by asking him which of the girls he thinks are pretty in his class, and he responds with typical disgust. At his age, I literally had a clique of girls, and the 5 of us were fierce as f*ck. I thought all of them were pretty and could easily chat with them about which boys were the meanies. I don’t tell my son all of this, but I have it in the back of my mind when we have these kinds of discussions. I often explain, and reiterate, that Daddy likes other guys. I say that most boys like other girls, but some like other boys and some girls like girls, and that we were all just born this way (thanks, Gaga). He doesn’t usually dig any deeper, he just listens and soaks it all in.
Additionally, I’ve peppered his book collection with a few exceptional stories – “The Princes and the Treasure” by Jeffrey A. Miles, “A Tale of Two Daddies” by Vanita Oelschlager, “And Tango Makes Three” by Justin Richardson, and “The Family Book” by Todd Parr. I have several more, but those four are my favorites. They each have different premises, and explain “gay” in a very subtle way. (The exception is “The Princes and the Treasure” – it’s very overt and I love it for that reason.) I regularly cycle these into his nightly bedtime stories, and he just accepts them as reality because he has no reason to think otherwise.
Several days ago, I decided to bring it up with him again, for two reasons. One – he is 6½ now, and at some point the kids at school might start saying things to him. I want him to be knowledgeable and polite if he is confronted with some adversity. Two – I am single, and have been dating and will continue to. Though I won’t introduce him to someone until we are very secure, I still want him to know what’s up. So we were driving home from school, and I said to him, “Hey buddy, do you know what gay means?” He said, “No.” I said, “Ok, well first of all Daddy is gay – we’ve talked about this before – it just means that I like other guys.” He very complacently said, “Ok.” I continued on to explain the same things I always have – most boys like girls, but some boys like boys, etc. He almost rolled his eyes at me.
After that little discussion, I realized his almost-eye-roll was significant because it meant he’s unfazed. I have successfully “come out” to my son, but over the course of his life instead of a single conversation. I’m sure there will be a billion questions as new situations arise, but he has the core understanding that he needs. I know that this may be a scary subject for most gay parents, and I wanted to share how I did it because it worked for me. There are endless ways to essentially tell our kids “I’m gay!” and I think it’s best that we do whatever feels the most natural. This kind of open communication is rewarding and teaches your children what is most important in life – honesty. And I’m honestly glad to be a gay dad who can talk to my kid about anything.