A few months ago something happened that was not under my own control: I came out as bisexual to my dad.
My dad has always been supportive (to my knowledge) of the LGBT+ community. (Also sorry about not including the rest of the acronym, but I swear it just keeps getting longer every time I see it mentioned in a post) His philosophy was “if it doesn’t hurt anyone or involve me directly in any way, I don’t care about it”. Keep in mind that I live in the South, and things can get pretty homophobic down here. So when I heard his opinions on it, I wasn’t all that worried about telling him.
I worked up the nerve over the process of about a year of visits to speak my opinions about the LGBT community. From time to time I would bring it up, according to news reports and the like.By doing this I actually grew closer to my dad and Julia, his fiancee.
When victory at the Supreme Court came around, I had already come out to Julia. It was on that day exactly that she told my father that I’m “gay”. In her own retelling of the event, she and my dad were sitting in the living room watching the news report on it. My dad remarked “I don’t see what the big deal is. I mean, they’re just getting married. *Insert comment reflecting his own views about marriage thanks to his failed ones*” This is when my stepmom replies, “Well, it wouldn’t hurt for you to be more supportive.” My dad proceeds to go have a smoke break, then comes back in and asks her “Is Hannah gay?” And she replies, “Yes”.
I can’t express to you how much that bothers me because of how untrue it is. I’m bisexual. If I was gay, I would have come out to the 15+ people in my life as that. However, I am not.
She told me all of what happened around 2 weeks after it occurred because that was the next time I was to come over. She was so excited, and didn’t want me to freak out about it. But I was anything except ecstatic. I wasn’t ready to come out to my dad, and I gave her specific instructions not to tell him because I wanted to tell him myself. She even went outside with me to see how it all would play out. Looking back, I know I didn’t want to hurt her feelings, but I should have told her that I just wanted it to be him and me. She already had the stolen honor of telling him the first time, why should she be there again?
When I finally go outside and meet my dad, all the while choking on my tongue and having an anxiety attack inside, I give him the longest hug I probably ever have given to him, and I correct her crucial mistake. I tell him that I am, in fact, bisexual and like girls and boys. “That’s fine,” he says. He goes on to say how he always sort of knew. I don’t recall what else he said because I blacked out like I’ve done in the past in coming out to people close to me.
I think the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard my dad comment about my sexuality was uttered that day: “Besides, aren’t those Converse high tops lesbian shoes?”
Skipping forward to last Friday, mid-Bible class:
My Bible teacher gave us the simple assignment of thanking someone who has raised us. I sent messages to my mom, grandma, Julia, my other grandparents, and my dad. My message to my dad and Julia is as follows:
“Thank y’all so much for loving me and accepting all of me. It means the world to me that y’all support me, and it keeps me going when things are tough. Everything is fine, but I just wanted to let y’all know that. I love y’all so much. Have an awesome day 🙂 <3”
My dad’s response left me in a puddle of tears in my school’s bathroom:
“Thank you, baby. That made my day. I’m so proud of you and always will be, and nothing will ever change that. I LOVE YOU.”
With the lack of confidence I have in my mom accepting my coming out, It’s incredible to hear that my dad does. My advice to people coming out is this: create a support group of people who love you regardless, then work your way up to the challenging ones. I can’t tell you anything about facing the hard ones, though, because I still have my own lions to tame.
I still can’t say I’m completely convinced that my dad believes in my bisexuality as much as he does my false homosexuality. All I’m saying is, if I come home with a guy for him to meet, it’ll be his own fault if he’s shocked half to death.