A dad in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio is beaming with pride.
When Dakotah Whitcomb, who is bisexual, asked her parents for a pride flag for Christmas this year, she never thought her military father, Ron, would react the way he did.
Dakotah came out to her dad, a retired Marine who served for 20 years, “completely by accident” earlier this year.
The 20-year-old was eating at a restaurant in January with Ron and her brother, Darr, who serves in the Army National Guard, when their female server began hitting on her.
“My dad was like, ‘Yeah she likes you,’” she told HuffPost.
Darr, who already knew about his sister’s bisexuality then said, “Well, it’s not like Dakotah minds.”
Dakotah recalled that her dad looked at her and said, “‘Yeah, I like girls too.’ [Then] he smiled really big and said, ‘That’s so cool!’”
Based on this positive experience, when Dakotah’s mom Peggy, a Navy veteran, asked her what she wanted for Christmas this year, she felt comfortable asking her folks for a rainbow-colored pride flag.
Dakotah opened her gift on Dec. 25, and found the flag accompanied by a heartfelt letter from her dad.
“Merry Christmas Dakotah,
When I saw that a gay pride flag was on your list, at first I thought it was an odd request.
But after thinking about it, I think I know why.
I reckon that you feel that everyone else in the family, except grandma, has a flag that represents something we were/are a part of. I have the Marine Corps, Grandpa and Mom have the Navy, and Darr has the Army. So it makes sense that you would want a flag to represent something you are a part of.
I present you with this flag, to display how you would like. In the spring, when I hang the flags up, I would be proud to hang yours up.
Dakotah, who suffers from two chronic pain disorders and is unable to serve in the military, was deeply touched by the letter.
“I was really happy and shocked,” she said. “When I read the letter and saw the flag, I cried. It wasn’t just that he got me the flag, but that he was willing to hang it up in front of our house with the rest of our flags.”
Dakotah wasn’t alone in her emotional reaction, either. When she posted pictures of the letter and flag to Twitter on Christmas day, her post quickly went viral — receiving over 243,000 likes and 60,000 retweets.
“It means the world to me!” Dakotah said. “It just drives it home that he accepts me!”