A Father’s Day blessing
Growing up in the Christian fundamentalist society of Jamaica, I believed in my church’s teaching that I could be cured of my homosexuality by simply marrying a woman. I therefore married my best female friend who knew about my sexual orientation, but like me, she also believed in a “gay-cure.”
As expected, this failed miserably, and after four years I left the marriage when I realized that I could no longer be authentically intimate with my now ex-wife. However, we were blessed with a wonderful son, currently age 14, whom we both love dearly.
He lives with his mother in the Caribbean and I have not seen him in over three years. He and I have never spoken directly about my homosexuality or my same-gender marriage because I always thought that he was too young to process these issues.
I even removed him from my FB friends page as I thought it was too political. However, I clearly underestimated him because on Father’s Day, I received an email from him, which I simply want to shout from the ROOFTOPS. Pardon me if I appear too exuberant, but after reading it, I suspect that you may understand why.
“I just wanted to wish you happy Father’s Day. I also want to thank you for inspiring me. While I didn’t really understand the situation when I was younger I kind of do now. Thank you for being brave enough to show your true self, courageous enough to withstand the mass scrutiny and most of all strong enough to fight for what you believe in. I understand that it’s Gay Pride week so take pride in who you are, as both my dad and a member of the LGBT community.
“So have a great day, a great week and [say] hello to Dad #2 for me.
“I love you very much.”
This entire experience has taught me that parents must always strive to be authentic because our children are watching us, and will pattern our behaviour.
Further, groups like Children of Lesbians and Gays Everywhere (COLAGE) are incredibly important as I believe that kids can best help their peers understand how to love their LGBTI parents unconditionally, especially when society tells them not to.