Throughout my time living online I've met some truly inspirational people. One of those people is Erin Best Margolin. Erin has a business partner named Amie Shea. Erin and Amie have something in common -- both of their fathers are gay. Together they founded The Gay Dad Project, an organization that supports teenagers and adults who have fathers that have come out of the closet.
When I read about this project, I was taken aback at how brave these women were. It takes tremendous strength to share your story about something this sensitive with the world. These women (in my mind) are heroes.
Erin took the time to answer some of my questions about The Gay Dad Project. Here's what she had to say:
What is The Gay Dad Project?
The Gay Dad Project is a blog website (www.gaydadproject.org) and a safe space for teens and adult children who have had a parent come out of the closet. We welcome others' stories and we also have a private Facebook group for the "kids" to share experiences or ask for help if they need it.
How did you and Amie meet?
Amie and I met through a mutual friend who also has a gay dad. So we have similar backgrounds in that regard and have a lot in common. We met on-line at first, and then we met in real life in Oakland, California (where Amie lives) in 2012.
When you found out your dad was gay, how did you react?
It was an emotional roller coaster. His announcement was a complete surprise to all of us (especially my mom -- she and my dad had just celebrated their 20th wedding anniversary). I was a sophomore in high school and it was 1991. Not the best time for that, as you can imagine. I know we still have a long way to go as far as LGBTQ issues, but the early 90s were not a time when I could just go to school and chit chat with my friends about my dad and his new boyfriend. I began seeing a therapist and that really helped.
What do you hope to achieve as your ultimate goal?
We hope to launch another crowd funding campaign and get some grants. More funds will allow us to interview more "kids" and families for our documentary, which is in progress. We also need assistance from a small film crew with editing the footage. So in a nutshell, we want the finished product to be a bit more polished and consequently we need professional help. Neither Amie nor I have any background with filmmaking or documentaries.
What advice would you give to a teenager who just found out that his/her father was gay?
I'd tell anyone to hang on. Hold on. No matter what, your dad or your parent is still your parent. Some things may change, i.e. the family dynamic, but it doesn't mean the world will end. I'd also suggest some wonderful books, memoirs by Alysia Abbott and Victoria Loustalot, to name a few. Keeping a journal is helpful, and if you can find (and afford) a therapist, do it.
Where can we learn more about The Gay Dad Project?
Check out our website (www.gaydadproject.org), follow us on Twitter (@gaydadproject), and "like" our Facebook page. We're also on Instagram (@gaydadproject): http://instagram.com/gaydadproject. You can email me anytime at erin (at) gaydadproject (dot) org.
Here's more from Erin and Amie and their dads: