Parent Stories

I Realized My Son Was Happy – Bob, a father’s story

I was raised as a conservative Southern Baptist and even went to a Southern Baptist college.  My whole family was involved with the church.  We attended morning and evening services. My mother taught Sunday school and my father was a deacon.  After college I served in the U.S. Navy, married and started raising a family.  I chose a new church at that time because I didn’t want my children to hear the hellfire that I had heard every week.  I especially didn’t want them to hear the kind of racism that my all-white home church promoted.

One day I learned that my son was gay.  (My wife had asked him and she then told me.)  Not only was my son gay but I also learned that he’d met a boyfriend in college and they had already spent three years together.  I had met my son’s friend, but hadn’t then known the role he played in my son’s life.

I wasn’t excited to learn that I had a gay son.  I had dreams for him that I worried wouldn’t come true.  Could he get a job?  Would he be successful?  Would he spend all of his time in bars?  Would he ever be happy?  Would he always be alone?

I pretty quickly realized that my son was happy.  I learned that he could still find a job and he could be successful in whatever he chose to do.  Soon there was even an openly gay lawyer in the firm where I worked. It was a different day from when I grew up.

I also realized that I was glad I left the church that I was raised in.  My son never had to listen to the racism that I did and he was not a racist.  He also felt good about himself, which I think would have been a lot more difficult for him to figure out if he went to the church I did when I was growing up.

I wouldn’t have chosen for my son to be gay.  But I would have chosen him.  I’m glad that he’s figured out how to be happy and that maybe my own choices have helped him.