National Coming Out Day

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As we celebrate National Coming Out day, and I get ready to go to Atlanta Pride this weekend, I can't help but think about my coming-out story.

First I told my mom I was bisexual, because I thought this would be easier for her to understand. I did this in 11th grade but when I went off to college I decided to tell her I was gay. She said I should tell my father so I went into his room and let him know.

He he was not pleased. 

He told me he had never known a gay person, which could not have been farther from the truth. The gentleman that design his office was obviously gay. He had many gay patients that I had seen or knew for a fact they were gay. 

Then he asked if this meant I wanted a sex change. I laughed and told him that was transgender and I was gay. 

And then he told me to stay away from my little brother, as if I was going to turn him gay also by association or contact. I laughed at this too as I walked away, hurt by the ignorance. He told me he would pray for me and that I should go to church more. I thought, why would I do that when there are people that are as ignorant and hateful, just like you.

I had to remind myself that he was saying this from a place of pain, and not every Christian is hateful to gays

It took a year or two for him to come around, and finally understand that it wasn't a phase but a part of my being. I had many boyfriends and I introduced them to him. He never treated them differently, but I'm sure he hoped that I would be straight. I believe he wanted me to have a safe, uncomplicated life, as he always told me: being black, gay, and a male in the South was dangerous and hard.

I remember asking him if he would come to a gay wedding, and him telling me he would have to pray about it, which I took as a no.

Earlier this year, he greeted my husband and his family and came to our wedding party. He made a drastic turn around and I couldn't be more proud of my father.

 Love was more important, and he saw I was happy. That was enough.

The moral of the story is that your parents want you to be happy and might be scared for how your life might be if you're gay, more than ashamed. No matter how they react live your truth and know that you can make your own family from close friends. I've had so many gay friends whose family members did not react in a positive way and never will. But we are their family and you should know that the gay community is big enough to accept anyone and has enough love to reach you wherever you are in  the world. 

Mad love, 

AJ