National Library of New Zealand
Harvested by the National Library of New Zealand on: Apr 14 2010 at 9:27:14 GMT
Search boxes and external links may not function. Having trouble viewing this page? Click here
Close Minimize Help
Wayback Machine
GayNZ Logo & Link
Wednesday 14 April 2010

Listen Up

14th October 2009

Thou Shalt Be My Lesbian Daughter

Posted by: Kitten Power


I feared coming out to my dad for years.  I decided he would hate me, cast me out, damn me to hell if I ever told him who I really was.

Let me put into context here.  My father is a heavily religious man, a church leader, the kind of guy who says seven prayers and recites seventeen scriptures before he even leaves the house in the morning.  A man whose off-key pitch was always the most fervent, drowning out the congregation during church hymns … the man who, for my entire childhood, ensured I was decked out in a modest dress and sitting in a pew every Sunday morning.

He brought me up to be a good God-fearing daughter … but I turned out to be, what I considered, more of a bad dad-fearing daughter.

In my early adulthood, when I really, truly admitted to myself I was a lesbian, a “sinner”, a “freak” a “pervert” (all those awful untrue things many of us tell ourselves when we just realise who we are) I feared I would be cast out from my family.  I decided I would be the black sheep, the gay orphan, the empty chair at Christmas-time.

So I came out only to those I knew would accept me.  I lived a half-life, hiding girlfriends, letting my family think my my best gay boy friends were my boyfriends - cause it was only going to hurt them to know right?

Then over two days it all came crashing down.  My dad’s mother died.  He was a mess.  After burying his wife, my mother, losing his own mother broke his heart.  He was a different man.  He was no longer the tough religious conqueror he had always been.  I called him one day to see how he was coping and we had the first straight up conversation of our entire lives.  I told him I missed having a dad, that I had been hiding out from him, that I wanted to be his friend.

He came over the next day and we talked.  He was telling me stories about my mother and how much he loved her, as I made him a sandwich.  Something in me just gave way as I thought about my girlfriend and how much I loved her, in just the same way as he loved my mother.

My voice tripped and stumbled as I said “ah dad, there’s ah … something I really want to tell you … I have been in a relationship with a woman for a year and a half and I’m in love with her”.

My heart jumped a quarter of a beat as he tipped his balding head and raised an eyebrow at me, then replied “ok love … hmm … well … that’s becoming a bit more common nowadays isn’t it?”

I dropped a bottle of relish.  Right there on the kitchen floor.  It smashed red and raw across the tiles.  I don’t who was more shocked, the bottle or me.

I vaguely remember dropping paper towels as I cleaned the floor and shrugged and choked that, “well people are probably just freer to be open about it and live their lives now”.  I finished whatever sandwich I had whipped up, which was delivered minus the relish - then plonked it in front of him.

“Do you think you’re one of those people that like both?” he questioned, completely straight-faced.

I didn’t think my father knew what a lesbian was, never mind a bisexual.

“Ah, no I don’t think so.  I’m pretty sure I just like girls,” I replied.

In the end, coming out to my father was one of the hardest, and easiest things I have ever done.  I know that’s a complete oxymoron.  But it’s true.  As soon as I said it I realised it wasn’t the horrible, criminal lifestyle I’d decided he’d think it was.  I felt free …

… we talked, I told him all about my amazing girlfriend - he thanked me for being honest with him and we parted, as friends, for the first time.

The man I had considered to be a religious freak was actually wise, sweet and most of all - he loved me and just wanted me to be happy.

I was the judgemental one, not him.

Now, my dad may get a little nervous when I bring girls over, he may refer to the woman I’m seeing as “your mate” … but for him, that’s acceptance - and it means the world to me.

He isn’t far away from 60.  I have no idea how long he has left in this world, so I’m eternally grateful I took the plunge and grasped my relationship with him.

I have friends who have not spoken to their parents in years, because as soon as they came out they were cast out.  I have other friends whose parents still don’t know.  I even have a young friend whose parents split her and the teenage love of her life up through psychological torture. I feel like I’m one of the lucky ones.

If you’re considering whether to come out to your parents, pick the right moment, make sure you have the support you need - and go for it.  You might be surprised, you might be heartbroken - but there is nothing more powerful than biting the bullet and being true to yourself.

You will always have your gay family, who will love and accept you.  My gay family are still the people who I run to first when I have a break-up, a breakdown or a breakthrough.

They love me for who I am, rather than in spite of it.

Tags: General

10 responses so far ↓

  • 1 innergoddess // Oct 14, 2009 at 12:15 pm

    What a beautiful story Kitten Power I’m so happy it worked out so well for you, I think considering the man you were dealing with it was fair of you to think he may cast you out. It’s great when people surprise us like that, and I loved your realization that you were the judgmental one after all that!

  • 2 anamazing // Oct 14, 2009 at 5:11 pm

    So many of us would rather just leave that little bump in the road where it is, instead you had the cajones to tell your dad!! mucho aroha

  • 3 Kitten Power // Oct 15, 2009 at 8:44 am

    Thanks guys. It’s a story I really wanted to share and I’m very glad I did!

  • 4 l_isit // Oct 15, 2009 at 6:53 pm

    your story rocked kitten power, its is true that we have to trust and go for it, but so hard.. i bleed for the ones who’s parents are so constricted. I lived a lie for so long not wanting to hurt/destroy those i loved only, to find that they loved me so much that i don’t think there is any thing i could do that would change that. i am who i am today because of those around me, both queer and straight. I am one of the lucky ones.

  • 5 Hanna Louise // Oct 27, 2009 at 1:08 pm

    Your writing is beautiful, I really enjoyed reading this story.

    I am glad you and your dad worked things out. It is also super cool to be reminded that there is a place for glbt people in a religious world.

  • 6 Kitten Power // Nov 5, 2009 at 2:47 pm

    Thank you so much!

  • 7 Pirate Danielle (from Boston) // Nov 13, 2009 at 3:38 am

    fabulous story darlin! very well written…felt like i was standing beside you. shows the world that we can all come together and that the fear we experience is all in our head :)

  • 8 Georgie R // Jan 24, 2010 at 2:32 pm

    wow this is an awesome story hun! and so was your blog about your friend that got gay bashed…i’m moving to palmerston north within the month so it does make me a little apprehensive though. i didnt think that sort of thing happened in nz anymore

  • 9 Kitten Power // Feb 2, 2010 at 8:51 pm

    Thank you so much … and hey I don’t think it matters where you live, sadly it seems there will always be an element of hate and stupidity in the community.

  • 10 Samus Verbose // Feb 5, 2010 at 7:55 pm

    You made my day Kitten Power! … almost got tears while reading your story! You’re one lucky person and your dad is one of the most amazing dad in the world! i wish all parents of gays will be like him…
    Gay people need not to be tolerated, BUT be loved & accepted! More power to you! =)

Leave a Comment


(Required but not displayed)