Originally published on advocate.com
My father’s gay. As our nation stumbles steadily towards long-overdue legal equity for same-sex couples and their families, I’m grateful to know that doesn’t necessarily make me a rarity these days. My father’s gay. I’ve known since I was 16, when a confluence of events (his repeated “solo” trips to Key West, his membership at an all-male gym, the discovery of his Playgirl stash) forced my siblings and me to reevaluate our entire family dynamic. My father’s gay. In the 20 years since, I’ve shared those exact same words with my best friends, a few girlfriends, and a therapist who is, I’m quite certain, the closest thing I’ll ever have to an attentive paternal figure. It’s too bad I have to pay him.
I don’t normally lead with this information, but I’m not dishonest about it either. If you’re curious enough to wonder out loud how my parents have stayed married for 40 years, I’d tell you the truth: No, it’s not one of those marriage-takes-many-shapes “understandings” that’s keeping them together. That would at least be a step toward openness and acceptance. My father and mother are still married because he lies about his sexuality and she chooses to believe him. It wasn’t always this clear to me. Continue reading