Fast forward to my coming out days, I remember trying to talk to my dad on the porch about me being gay. I had been disowned and kicked out of the house, but I still tried to talk to him. I remember him saying to me, "Don't ever even think about bringing your faggot friends around me."
Now fast forward to today. Some 20 years later. I got a hand written letter in the mail from my dad that reads:
Recently, Malinda and I visited her daughter in S.C. We were invited to attend church, and Malinda had been there before and liked it.
The minister preached a good sermon, and then he went off on gay people and adultery. We were both insulted and upset with what he said. Even her daughter said he had never done that before.
I sat there and took it, but I was really agitated as was Malinda. I didn't even speak to him as we left the church. As Malinda said, "We'll never go there again." Her daughter and grand daughter were quite upset also.
Later, I decided to write him a letter and let him know how upset we were. It will probably be thrown in the trash can, but I couldn't let it pass.
At Malinda's suggestion, I am sending you a copy of the my letter.
I realize you live this every day but it was my first encounter with biased hatred.
Please realize this is not meant to upset you. I love you more than ever and totally support you.
And inside there was a formally typed up letter (which for someone like my dad would have taken a good amount of effort to produce) directed at the reverend where he blast him for his lack of compassion and understanding.
My dad has come a long way.
See, the dad that raised me was this Southern bigoted racist homophobic militant asshole. And I sometimes think that me being gay was like furthest thing for my dad to be able to accept. In many ways it broke my dad. It broke the world that he knew. He couldn't be that person and still continue to love me as a son. It forced him to change.
And now... I have to say, this is all pretty amazing to me. I'm actually pretty amazingly proud of him.