Friday, March 5, 2010

How I came out to my father

Jonathan said to me, during a recent fight, that he sometimes feels like he doesn't know very much about me. He says, to me, "I've been told by [friend] several times that you have one of the best coming out stories, but when I ask you about it you just say, 'I did it in Florida'." I realized, that I hadn't told my "coming out story" for at least a year and a half, maybe more, and I thought I'd scan my blog to see if I could find it. And it's not on here. I figured then, that that I might try to get down as much of it as I can remember while I can. God, I often wish I'd kept a journal like the church leaders always told me I should. :)

Travel with me back in time to December 2007. My relationship with Ishmael (who's name I will keep as Ishmael for the sake of his privacy) was still going on, and he had decided that we were no more to be namelesses, instead boyfriends. We were going to move in together. My parents had come down to Disney World to see me and have a vacation, my father still did not know I was gay. Because of the great big bundle of money I was saving them on the trip, they decided to make it even by spending a bunch of money on me at Ikea, to help me get set up in my new place. And thus, my brilliant plan came about.

"Ishmael," I asked him one evening while my parents were in town, "would you mind coming with to Ikea when my parents take me to get stuff for the apartment."
He was pretty reserved, knowing that I was not out to my father. "Are you sure that you're comfortable with that? I don't want there to be any drama with your dad."
"I'm sure. It'll be fine, I'll tell him I'm just borrowing your car and he won't think anything of it."

Well, the day of Ikea came about, and we took Ishmael's car to get stuff. My mother knew instantly who he was, my father remained clueless at first. There were a few things I had already picked out, but there were many others I hadn't.
"Ishmael, what do you think of this mattress?"
"Ishmael, do you like these towells?"
"Ishmael, how do you feel about this clock?"
By that point, Ishmael knew exactly what was going on and told me he did not like the clock at all, and that maybe I should wait and see how everything looked at my apartment before I got anything else.

I could take a hint, and I backed off. Several days later, after my parents had gone home, I called my father.
"Hey dad."
"Hey son."
"Dad, there's something we need to talk about. You remember the guy who went to Ikea with us?"
"Yeah. Brett, it was pretty obvious you had a thing for him. I want you to know that's totally normal, even I, at one point, had a friend I was really attracted to and I felt like he really understood me, and it's totally normal."
"No, dad, see, he's kind of my boyfriend."
"Oh. I see... Well, you could have done worse. I have to go now, I'll call you later."

And that was the end of that conversation. When I moved back to Portland a couple months later, my father made a real effort to be supportive, giving me advice and encouragement and whatnot, but he always seemed to think that I was going to want to go back to women at some point. It wasn't until he met Jonathan, I think, that he really became OK with the face that I'm gay and staying that way. That was almost two years later. And now, things are good, between my dad and me. It took us a while get here, but I'm glad I told him. I'm glad I'm totally out now, it's freeing very freeing, and I don't think I could have experienced that if I hadn't told my dad.


Reina said...

Wow. LOL. How seriously awkward that probably was, but it sounds like your dad reacted very, very well! I am just curious. How old were you at the time?

Brett said...

I was 18 years old when this story takes place. And I was terrified.