The Republic of T.

Black. Gay. Father. Vegetarian. Buddhist. Liberal.

Proud Fathers Speak Up

father-and-sonNo, I don’t mean gay dads. (More about us later.) I mean dads with gay son, who are proud of their gay sons.

I posted about the Details article on heterosexual dads who are worried their sons might be gay. (But, hey, they’re not homophobes. Some of their best friends are gay. So they can’t be homophobic, right?) Well, PFLAG is responding to the article with a weeklong series of posts by dads about why they’re proud of their sons.

OK, I’ll admit up front that PFLAG has a special place in my heart, for many reasons. I still get teary eyed when I see the PFLAG contingent marching in the Capitol Pride parade. Whenever I saw them, I’d usually run out into the middle of their group and get as many hugs from as many supportive parents as I could.

I’ve only recently begun to restrain myself from doing that, since I got kids of my own to parent. (One of whom is big enough to give great hugs.) But if they don’t mind, these PFLAG dads have made their way onto my list of “PFLAG Parents I’d Like To Hug.”

This one, who says having a gay son is great.

After all, I know only one befuddled dad, and the column presents only three other anonymous progressive men with heebie-jeebies about gay sons. But I also met a progressive dad who accompanied his son, a high school sophomore, to our PFLAG meeting last Sunday. He wants to be more out than his son. He wants to tell everyone. He’s proud to have a gay son.

OK. There’s one progressive dad who’s not breaking out in hives about gay sons. I know another one, me. A child of the sixties, I wanted my children to march to a different drummer, and so when I learned John is gay, I clapped along with the beat.

As a matter of fact, I also have a straight son. The three of us went fishing, threw snowballs at each other, wrestled, chased each other around Uncle Frank’s house, argued and fought, played soccer, played catch, watched movies, threw water balloons, went swimming, and participated in nearly all the activities dads and sons undertake. Truth be told, John didn’t come out until his first year in college. If he had come out earlier, I’m sure he’d agree we have done all of the same things together.

This father knows best: having a gay son is great. So is having a straight son.

Paul Wertsch, who shared why he’s proud of his son.

Am I proud of my gay son? You bet that I am.

Our son came out to us as gay while he was in high school. He had been attending a group called Teens Like Us, learning more about homosexuality and how to come out to parents . He had told us that he was attending meetings for the high school yearbook. He said that he didn’t want to lie to us anymore about where he was going on those evenings.

What’s not to be proud of a son who wants to tell the truth?

He said that he wanted to be honest about who he was. He said in the group he had learned that some parents would disown their children if they found out that they were gay or lesbian and he sure hoped we wouldn’t act like that but he thought it was better to take the risk and tell the truth than to continue to lie.

How can you not be proud of a son courageous enough to tell the truth?

While in high school my son was very active in educating people about gay and lesbian issues, was active in counseling teens about unsafe sex, and testified before a state legislature committee on why the state should be promoting marriage among gay and lesbian citizens rather than establishing laws to make it illegal. Who couldn’t be proud of a son like that?

Mac Stroup who, along with his wife, sought out PFLAG when their son came out and learned how to support their son.

Fortunately, within a few months of Carter’s coming out, we discovered the Greensboro PFLAG chapter that met monthly on Tuesday nights. Greensboro PFLAG was very supportive to Linda and I when we needed them. PFLAG provided a confidential space for open, honest and confidential discussions, as well as education that we needed.

As parents, we learned how to support our son especially during his high school years. Carter was very definite about his sexual orientation and he was unknowingly breaking down barriers and stereotypes about being gay. I found myself along with my wife constantly supporting my son – going into his high school, talking with teachers and Carter’s principal regarding activities where it was related to verbal abuse from other students or misunderstandings how to respond to his sexual orientation.

There is nothing more satisfying than standing up for my son. I am very proud of Carter and I would not want him to be any different.

And just so we don’t leave moms out, I’ll refer back to my earlier post about Dorothy Donohue’s letter to the Boston Globe.

God gave me a gift, a wonderful son who happens to be gay. God does not give inferiors gifts. God does not make mistakes. This little boy that God gave to me is now a fine young man. But my son is treated like a second-class citizen by my church. Maybe my state constitution will treat him likewise. I pray that it will not.

If you had a gay loved one in your family you would be a better person. You would be sensitive to the discrimination gays endure. You would realize that they, too, are entitled to mutual love.

God will continue to send gay babies. We must take them into our hearts and our lives. That would please God.

After writing about poisonous parenting for so long, it’s encouraging to read about parents who love, accept, and nurture their children unconditionally. If there were more like them, the world would most definitely be a better place.

And yes, I did get a little teary-eyed.

Check the PFLAG National Blog for the rest of the series. And maybe keep a box of tissue handy.