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Here's a Letter from a Dad Disowning His Gay Son

Disown

Reddit user RegBarc posted the disturbing missive, and writes:

In August of 2007, I finally built up the courage to tell my father I was gay. The moment I said it, the phone got quiet and he got off the phone after a few "Okay"s. I decided to give him time to process the news. About a week later, and not long before my birthday, I received the following letter:

"James: This is a difficult but necessary letter to write. I hope your telephone call was not to receive my blessing for the degrading of your lifestyle. I have fond memories of our times together, but that is all in the past. Don’t expect any further conversations With me. No communications at all. I will not come to visit, nor do I want you in my house. You’ve made your choice though Wrong it may be. God did not intend for this unnatural lifestyle. If you choose not to attend my funeral, my friends and family will understand. Have a good birthday and good life. No present exchanges will be accepted. Goodbye, Dad."

It's important to know just what this zealotry from Bryan Fisher, Maggie Gallagher, Dan Cathy, et al., does to everyday people. I've never done drugs, was an excellent student, an obedient child (far less trouble than many of my classmates), didn't drink until I was 22 because it terrified me, and have had just 1 speeding ticket in my life. Yet I am still seemingly deserving of this terrible act of hate and cowardice that one person can place on another. 5 years on and I am still doing fine, though this letter saunters into my mind every once in a while. When it does, I say without hesitation: F**k you, Dad.

It's an all too familiar situation for many LGBT kids out there.

He's right. The Dan Cathys of the world are giving tacit permission to parents to act this way. Shame on them.

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Comments

  1. I am a straight 47 year old woman, with 2 kids and this letter breaks my heart. Our family would happily 'adopt' these young people who have been rejected by their families for such a stupid reason as being gay. My son is 25, in jail for the umpteenth time, this particular time for burglary and receiving stolen property. He has a history of drug use and the uncanny ability to make the wrong choice every single time he is confronted with one. We have been through it all with him and have tried to help him countless times. The last straw was in February when he used a family tragedy to get into our home and steal from us (again). I've cut off all communication with him and have, in effect, disowned him. It hurts me every day but I know that he has left us no other choice. He is my son and I will always love him but I can no longer allow him to emotionally blackmail me ("you're my mom, you can't throw me out. Or "you're my mom, you can't press charges against me").

    I know this is probably TMI but my point is this; This father disowning his son simply because he's gay? The man is a fool. My son is straight. Maybe he'd feel better if we traded?

    Posted by: Lolly | Aug 7, 2012 2:22:47 PM


  2. That's what 'hate' sounds like.

    Show us what kind of 'hate' signs 'dad' to a letter like that.

    Posted by: Visual Learner | Aug 7, 2012 2:25:34 PM


  3. "Some fine examples of hateful bigotry on the comments section here."

    What bigotry.

    "If you EXPECT compassion and understanding without being willing to do the same what does that make you?"

    How can we possibly have compassion for the bully that kicks us at every chance he gets?

    The wronged party doesn't have the moral obligation to take the first step. The party that commits the wrong does.

    Posted by: Nat | Aug 7, 2012 2:27:22 PM


  4. To paraphrase my favorite author "the reality of it is, he may be your father, but he was never really Family".
    Fair winds and following seas to you.

    Posted by: Jumper | Aug 7, 2012 2:29:13 PM


  5. bigot (plural bigots)

    One who is obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices.
    One who is strongly partial to one's own group, religion, race, or politics and is intolerant of those who differ.

    a person obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices; especially: one who regards or treats the members of a group (as a racial or ethnic group) with hatred and intolerance


    Posted by: Truth | Aug 7, 2012 2:32:23 PM


  6. Who knows what possesses a father to write that to his son!

    But I do find it interesting that the father expects the son to attend his funeral: "If you choose not to attend my funeral, my friends and family will understand."

    That tells me the father wants his son to honor him, but does not realize that respect runs both ways. He needs to honor his son too.

    Posted by: Guy | Aug 7, 2012 2:33:57 PM


  7. >How can we possibly have compassion for the bully that kicks us at every chance he gets?

    That's a great question; I'm sure if you really try hard you could probably come up with the answer yourself. Nelson Mandella might provide a clue for you.

    > The wronged party doesn't have the moral obligation to take the first step. The party that commits the wrong does.

    Are you dictating morality now? Who wrote that rule? Who enforces it? Why?

    Posted by: Truth | Aug 7, 2012 2:35:41 PM


  8. Celebrate equality today!, August 7! Go to Starbucks! Tell your friends!

    Posted by: TJ | Aug 7, 2012 2:36:46 PM


  9. RegBarc was one of the lucky ones -- clearly able to stand on his own by the time his Dad divorced him. "Til death do us part" may be the model we have for family, as for marriage, but life doesn't always work out that way.

    I hold no brief for Christianity, but nothing in the letter attributes Dad's inability to love his son to that particular form of religion. Indeed, antipathy to homosexuality is common to most religions and that suggests that religion may be a pretext for homophobia rather than a cause. In that case, "God disapproves" has the same function of "I'm sorry, I have a previous engagement" in declining an unwelcome invitation.

    It's all well and good for us to berate those who fail to love us unconditionally, but that obligation, if it exists at all, is bi-directional. Unlike a contractual obligation, default by one party does not excuse recission by the other.

    Posted by: Rich | Aug 7, 2012 2:38:42 PM


  10. "Dad? Dad is what my boyfriend calls me."

    That's....not weird at all...

    Posted by: Jack | Aug 7, 2012 2:47:58 PM


  11. @Truth: Look at yourself. You need self-analysis and definitely some professional help.

    Posted by: Alejo | Aug 7, 2012 2:52:54 PM


  12. "That's a great question; I'm sure if you really try hard you could probably come up with the answer yourself. Nelson Mandella might provide a clue for you."

    Nelson Mandela advocated and practiced armed resistance against the South African government. MK was conducting guerrilla warfare well into the 1980s. Mandela also supported other militant movements that he believes are struggling for their rights.

    So what clue from his life do you want me to draw, exactly?


    "Are you dictating morality now? Who wrote that rule? Who enforces it? Why?"

    I'm making an assertion of a moral framework that I feel best acknowledges the wrong done to the victim and the obligation of the attacker to demonstrate their remorse. The victim and victimizer are not on equal moral ground as between each other, therefore their responsibilities towards one another are not equivalent.

    Indeed, the victimizer is not on equal ground with the moral principles that a society esposues. That's a basic feature underlying crime and punishment. Otherwise, we would never punish anyone for anything.

    Posted by: Nat | Aug 7, 2012 3:03:25 PM


  13. There's Christian Love for you - a parent disowns his own child for being gay.

    I went through a Christopher Hitchens-inspired atheist phase during which I attacked religion, but what I've come to realize is that it's not all religion that's the problem - it's Abrahamic religion, especially Christianity and Islam (notwithstanding its minority of Orthodox nutcases, Judaism has at least shown itself to be willing to evolve with the times, and it doesn't proselytize anyway).

    A lot of people will say this man's father isn't a "real Christian" because "Jesus was all about love and never mentioned homosexuality." But Christianity, on an institutional level, has always been militantly homophobic, and it's not going to change any time soon because there will always be justification for homophobia in the Bible. Sure, there are gay and gay-friendly Christians in North America, but most of the world's Christians are just as anti-gay as they've always been, and many would do far worse than disown their gay children.

    I don't mean to knock individuals who happen to be Christian, but I have become convinced that the Christian religion is irredeemably evil, and ideally, gay people should do everything they can to disassociate themselves from it. If you still need religion, pick one that doesn't want you dead.

    Posted by: AJD | Aug 7, 2012 3:05:58 PM


  14. "Eye for an eye merely leads to blindness for all."

    I think Mandela would disagree with you.

    To quote him directly: "We first broke the law in a way which avoided any recourse to violence; when this form was legislated against, and then the Government resorted to a show of force to crush opposition to its policies, only then did we decide to answer violence with violence."

    Posted by: Nat | Aug 7, 2012 3:08:19 PM


  15. I'm a gay dad, so my kid isn't going to face this problem. :-/ My parents were quite homophobic and ignorant, but when I came out they got on with the program and realized that they still love me and who I go to bed with or raise a family doesn't matter as long as we both love each other.

    I won't hold my breath, but maybe your dad will see the light one day through the years of brainwashing.

    Posted by: Mickey Blumental | Aug 7, 2012 3:09:23 PM


  16. To James: I can be counted as one who's father & mother did almost the exact same thing...26 years ago.
    We talk by phone occasionally...it's never an easy conversation. He's a zealous catholic and has told me in his own words...I'm going to hell when I die. My husband of 28 years has never met them. We've raised two kids, have five grandkids and my parents don't even know about any of this. My sadness has been replaced by anger and resentment...and I'm happy to say I'm just fine with that after all these years.
    So, if we let it get better by accepting that the loss is mostly theirs...we can heal the wounds somewhat. The passing of time is the best therapy.

    Posted by: PAUL B. | Aug 7, 2012 3:10:00 PM


  17. @Bryce Ageno,

    How do you know I've never been to youth shelters or any other kind of homeless shelter? Don't assume.

    The letter is not necessarily surprising to me, I just find it incomprehensible a mom or dad would do it to especially a child who has been described as the perfect kid. I've known and know very religious, yes 'Christian' people, some of who don't agree with the 'gay lifestyle' because it goes against their beliefs, but they would never disown a child because of homosexuality. 95% treat their gay children the same as they did before they found out he/she was gay, love them no less. I simply wonder who these people who do disown their children are coming from, they must have some mental illness going on.

    As for questioning the validity of the letter, why is this scandalous or taboo? Do you believe and take for granted everything you hear about like this story or some other basically un-sourced, un-provable story? Sorry if some are offended, but I don't, even if that story tugs at my heart and emotions. Actually, especially if that story tugs at my heart and emotions.

    ===============

    As an aside, I'm truly sorry some of you here have had such a terrible childhood, upbringing, 'coming out', and especially those who were unfortunate enough to have grown up in a time and/or place where they were seriously abused for being gay. You have my complete sympathy. I can't empathize though because I never experienced those things.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Aug 7, 2012 3:25:48 PM


  18. I believe this letter is a fake. It just smacks of madey-upness. There's no way it's true, and the person who created this has performed a shameful act.

    Posted by: Padraig | Aug 7, 2012 3:27:11 PM


  19. I'm curious as to how you came up with your "95%" statistic, to be honest. Frankly, in my experience less than half of those I know where treated well by their parents after coming out.

    @Padraig, On what basis to you make your accusation? Do you have some sort of proof? Or are you just basically talking out your ass?

    Posted by: LiamB | Aug 7, 2012 3:33:44 PM


  20. @LiamB, On what basis to you make your accusation? Do you have some sort of proof? Or are you just basically talking out your ass?

    Is there any sort of proof that this is legitimate? I see no reason why you should question whether I'm talking out of my ass anymore than the person who posted the letter.

    Posted by: Padraig | Aug 7, 2012 3:43:13 PM


  21. "Is there any sort of proof that this is legitimate? I see no reason why you should question whether I'm talking out of my ass anymore than the person who posted the letter. "

    ... maybe because the evidentiary onus is on you?

    You're the one making the assertion about the letter's authenticity. The prima facie evidence is sufficient in this case. Barring some contradicting evidence, you have no basis to make a claim.

    Posted by: Nat | Aug 7, 2012 3:48:38 PM


  22. An inexcusable emotional atrocity inflicted on someone at the hand of their parent. The devotion of some to such hateful ideals astonishes me almost as much as the delusion necessary to justify this behavior to themselves. I recently had a conversation, which I indulged for too long, that illustrated this point horrific point. It is time to stop accepting inequality.

    Posted by: Andrew | Aug 7, 2012 3:58:23 PM


  23. @Nat

    I don't see any "prima facie" evidence, anyone could have written this. I need to see some sort of authenticity before I believe something like this, and you should too.

    Can you honestly find it that unlikely that someone looking for some dramatics out there wrote this? I've seen people make up and do all sorts of stuff online, all it takes is one person out there screwed up enough to write it.

    Posted by: Padraig | Aug 7, 2012 4:05:35 PM


  24. The Dan Cathys of this world have a lot to answer for. However, I think it is the Nazi pope, and head of the Southern Baptists and leading Jewish orthodox rabbis and muslim imams who bear most of the responsibility for tearing apart families. It is so-called "holy" books written by deluded fools that causes this. Superstition is the rot that destroys love. Which is not to say that the so-called "Dad" who wrote this letter isn't fully responsible for his shamefulbetrayal of his son. My dad got over it all eventually. I regret the years of misery for him and me when we suffered because of his damned religion.

    Posted by: candideinnc | Aug 7, 2012 4:09:35 PM


  25. "I don't see any "prima facie" evidence, anyone could have written this. I need to see some sort of authenticity before I believe something like this, and you should too. "

    I don't think you understand what prima facie means.

    To clarify: someone produces an electronic version of a hand-written letter. The same person states that this letter was written roughly five years ago, from his father to the person in question. The letter constitutes prima facie evidence of the claim being made.

    Your desire for 'authenticity' is a desire for something more than prima facie evidence. But in the absence of an apparent contradiction, the burden of proof rests on you to support your claim that it is fake. You didn't simply point out the lack of definitive evidence, you made a claim. You have to provide support for that claim.

    Posted by: Nat | Aug 7, 2012 4:15:40 PM


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