Parent Stories

Believing in Integrity – Allen, A Father’s Story

For me, the point of amazement is that being gay or lesbian has become much more accepted. Before it was hidden. Like an illness. People had the idea that it could be changed. Growing up in Indiana, that’s what I heard, but then I went to New York City at age 18. I was in the arts community and there was a great deal of homosexuality. I just became more accepting. I also realized that it could not be changed. And that it shouldn’t be changed. I even thought there were some things that the gay brain does better. There’s a need for gay people. For all types of people. For diversity. That was years before I had a daughter. My acceptance of homosexuality came from the process of living and accepting that this is the way life is.

Later, in medical school in the 1960’s homosexuality was still considered an illness. That wasn’t changed until 1972. But in medical school I read Alfred Kinsey and came to think that he was right. He wrote about the diversity of sexuality and the spectrum between 100% heterosexuality and 100% homosexuality. I came to think of that as correct, too. At least that’s how I think of it. Some are closer to the middle of the spectrum, others at the ends.

Before my daughter Meg was on the scene, I’d come to accept homosexuality as a part of the sexual spectrum and there was nothing wrong with it. Human beings evolved that way for a reason. The gay brain was and is a part of the diversity that’s needed.

With Meg, when she was growing up, homosexuality was never stated, never recognized. I always felt that Meg should be allowed to be who she was. An outward manifestation was that she wanted to dress like a boy. I remember thinking, “alright, she should be allowed to dress as she wanted.”

She dated boys in high school, but by college I thought she probably was gay. I wasn’t certain. I tried to broach the subject with her, but, in retrospect I see that she wasn’t ready. The conversation didn’t go very far.

When she did come out to us, when she had a girlfriend, I thought, this takes integrity. This takes courage. I wanted to be supportive.

I still had feelings that being homosexual would be more difficult. As a generalization, it’s not as accepted. When Meg came out I wanted to be supportive. I realized that she’d had a more difficult journey. I was feeling sad about the journey, but not about that she was gay.

I agree with my wife, Margie, that when Meg came out we got our daughter back.

I have met with a few parents in the church when their kids have come out to them. Some were accepting, others found it difficult. I think part of what I did was listen. Also to bare witness to the fact that people are born with the sexuality that they have. It’s not something that can be changed. There’s integrity in being open about who you are. And that’s an important quality.