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Wednesday 08 April 2009

Dear Mum & Dad...

Posted in: True Stories
By Aaron from Dunedin - 9th February 2009

Nervous about coming out to his parents, 18-year old Aaron from Dunedin decided to write them a letter which he hoped would explain everything.

Aaron told us his situation via our Forum last week:

"I think tonight's the night I'm finally going to break it to my parents. They've been continually asking me of I'm ok, if everything's all right, what's happening in my life etc etc. They know something's up but they don't know what. Apparently they've been fighting a wee bit because of it too. How do I break it to them? Do I just sit down and say "mum, dad... I'm gay? I've already told all my mates and my sister but the mum and dad... a wee bit different."

Then, a couple of days later:

"I did it. Finally thought the time was right. So I wrote this for them and left it on their bed before I went out to go clubbing. Couldn't handle doing it in person."


Dear Mum & Dad,

No doubt both of you are a little confused by the way that you're reading this letter. Each of you with a copy, sealed in envelopes within an envelope with the instruction to only read at home together. Well, you'll soon know.

I want to share something about my life that is important because I love you. I am gay.

To be completely honest, I cannot predict how you will be responding, what thoughts will be running through your minds. Why is our son gay? What did we do to make him gay? Will he ever be happy? What will everyone else think? -- these are just some of the questions I think you might be pondering. I am writing this letter because although it shouldn't be, this is very hard for me to tell you. In any case, I hope this will allow you to go over what I want to say at a pace you're comfortable with, and to take in these ideas and concepts as you're ready for them.

The first thing I want you to know is that I have always been gay, this is not a temporary phase, and it is not something I ever "chose" or "decided" to be. I've thought about it a lot, and as best as I can remember, I first knew I was gay at age 13 or 14, although it took a few more years for me to fully realize the full implications of what it meant to be gay. But even years earlier, I knew I was different. I am completely convinced that being gay is the way I was born, and nothing you or anyone else ever did "made" me gay. My natural orientation and preference is toward other men, and as for its being a "choice," my only choice, as I see it, has been whether to be open and honest about my feelings, or to continue to deny and hide them. Being gay is simply part of who I am -- and a part I've been longing to share with you for quite some time. In the years that have passed since then, keeping this a secret from you has become more and more of a burden. It has also placed an invisible wall between us in that I cannot share with you much of what goes on in my life, something that straight children take for granted. I could not share the excitement of meeting somebody new nor the pain when things didn't work out. I have spent many nights crying with a broken heart, alone, unable to call you for support.

I know that you may be feeling shocked, confused, angry, and sad; and perhaps you might feel that, somewhere along the way, you have failed as parents. From what I have read, these are common reactions. You have not failed as parents; you have both been wonderful. You have raised me to be kind, thoughtful, caring and honest. You have taught me social values, moral principles and respect. To treat others as I want to be treated, to love others as I want to be loved. No single thing can be more valuable than the generosity of these gifts you have given to me in my life. Nobody chooses to be gay and I accept myself and am happy with who I am. I have told Kahlia, and Anette and Sean know too. My friends have known for some time as well and the majority of them accept me. I hope that you will be happy for me.

Although I knew very early about being gay, I kept it inside me for a very long time. Most of the time, I wished it didn't have to be that way, that it didn't have to be a big secret, but I was petrified of anybody knowing or finding out but one incident convinced me I had no choice but to tell you. Dad, I don't know if you remember this particular conversation we had a few weeks ago, but I hope it at least sounds vaguely familiar to you. I had been spending a lot of time with Chantelle. One day we were driving somewhere in the car. At this point, Dad, you asked me if you could ask me something personal -- I said sure, expecting what was coming: you asked if Chanty and I were beginning to see each other as boyfriend and girlfriend, or at least if thoughts like that had come up. I told you that I hadn't really ever thought about her that way, and that she was just a good friend (which is completely the truth). At that point, I saw a quick flash of disappointment in your face, which you tried to hide, but which nevertheless evidenced through. And at that point, Dad, seeing that look on your face, and for weeks afterward, I wanted nothing more than to tell you "Dad, I'm very happy. I happen to be interested in guys, not girls, but all the same I've had my crushes, there have been guys I was interested in, in that respect, although I'm interested in other guys, I'm a happy, healthy, typical 18-year-old." -- but all that was something that couldn't be said, at least not until I came out to you. That is why I knew you had to be told.

Part of me thinks that you might have suspected for some time that I am gay since I hardly ever brought home girls while in school and I never talk about dating or women now. On the other hand, my being gay may have come as a complete surprise to you and you may need to take some time to get used to the idea. Hopefully, a few years from now, our relationship will be closer than it has been in the past. This is part of the reason I am coming out to you: to tear down the wall between us. When we speak and you ask me what is going on in my life and I say, "Nothing," I have been lying. I haven't been lying to deceive you, but because I could not tell you the truth. This lying has been eating at me for some time now and I'm tired of it. So this was the choice I had to make: either keep lying and allow us to grow even farther apart from each other, or tell the truth and hopefully have a better relationship in the long run.

I know you have always loved me very much. It was very hard to write this letter for fear of losing that love. I have cried several times while writing it. Although you may not understand about being gay, I hope that you still love me now. Know that I am the same person now as I was before you read this letter; you just know one more thing about me. I am still "Aaron."

Although I am away tonight, I will be home tomorrow to answer any of the questions you may have as I'm sure there will be plenty. In the meantime, I would like you to take a look at this website I think it may be helpful answering some of your questions.



So what happened when Aaron's parents saw the letter?


He explains:

"They text me later that night after they'd read it and said 'of course we still love you, idiot, we never stopped loving you and we never will, we just want you to be happy and talk to us!'

"There were a few tears and questions this morning but overall they were pretty good.

"Mum said: 'I've known since you were 3 years old!'"

Aaron from Dunedin - 9th February 2009