06/10/2014 11:46 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Dear Dad, Happy Father's Day: A Gift From Your Gay Son


Hi Dad,

I've really been struggling with what to give you for Father's Day. I know, I know, it's my own stuff. You know me, always trying to be perfect. Ironically, my search for the perfect gift sent me into tailspin, a nosedive that brought me into a space where I realized it's time to admit some things to you that I haven't felt I could. Of course, to do that I'd have to let go of the baggage I'm carrying about how you feel about me as your gay son. I'm willing to give it a try.

I know we don't agree on my "lifestyle" as gay man. I'm not saying that so we can once again step into our stubborn corners, vowing to not budge until the other one agrees with our point of view. We both know that rarely happens, and in turn leaves us angry and hurt, with our relationship virtually non-existent.

Personally, I'm tired of my sexuality driving a wedge in our relationship. That doesn't mean I'm about to tell you, "Guess what, Dad? You're right, this gay thing was a passing phase." Sorry, nothing's changed there. I'm still gay and always will be, just like I'm still your son and always will be. In fact, that bit about me being your son and always will be, is what gave me the idea for your Father's Day gift this year. Dad, here's your gift:

We're more alike than we are different,
and for that I'm actually grateful!
Happy Father's Day!

For starters, we're both men, living, breathing, masculine, balding, hairy, men with a little bit of extra weight we could stand to lose.

Of course, we're also both fathers, a pretty cool gig that not every man on the earth has the pleasure and pain to experience. Thanks for stirring up that desire in me so I wouldn't miss out on the gift of fatherhood.

I also realize, like it or not, that we're both stubborn. To that I say "being stubborn isn't all-bad." What I've learned, as we've mutually stood in our own corners of disagreements, is we're both actually standing on our beliefs -- beliefs that reflect our individual core values -- and neither one have the right to rip those beliefs away from one another.

While thinking about our similarities, I also discovered we both have big hearts and easily get frustrated when others don't see the love that pours out of our hearts. I really appreciate you and Mom giving me a big heart filled with love to give love to others. And, like you, I struggle with giving love back to myself. Maybe we could both work on that and see how we've fared towards that goal this time next year.

As I kept exploring, digging and trying to discover things we had in common, I became exhausted because I was working to hard at it. Instead, I began to relax, let go of trying and before I knew it, the things-in-common-juices began flowing.

  • We both suffer from low self-esteem.
  • We both blow our corks in anger at the drop of a hat.
  • We both do things for others in hopes of gaining acceptance.
  • We both let our pride get in the way of asking for help.
  • We both brush off compliments.
  • We both debate in the hopes of winning the battle.
  • We both have infidelity in our past.
  • We both have an overt tendency to judge others.
  • We both tend to listen but not hear others.
  • We both allow our jealousy to damage our relationships.

On a more positive note, I discovered we both...

  • Believe in something greater than ourselves, that's beyond this world.
  • Cherish our families.
  • Love a good joke.
  • Go out of our way to help others.
  • Dig great food.
  • Use our creativity to express ourselves.
  • Like to explore the bigger questions.
  • Love doing physical labor.
  • Seek to grow and learn.
  • Want what's best for everyone.

Are you shocked? I know I was as this all began to unfold and gel. Each check mark of similarity helped me realize the beauty of DNA transference from parent to child, parent to child and so on and so forth.

Too often we both get hung up, blaming our parents for the stuff in our lives, instead of giving gratitude for the beautiful gifts they brought to enrich our lives. As that thought washed, back and forth over the inner recesses of my mind, I came to one profound conclusion: For all our differences and similarities, the only thing that is profoundly different between you and I, Dad, the thing that actually can't be changed, is I'm a homosexual man and you're a heterosexual man.

So I'm curious, Dad. If we could find peace over our differences about my homosexuality, what might be different in our relationship? How would our relationship improve? What else might we discover we really like about each other?

I know I'm curious and ready to see what's possible for our relationship. How about you, Dad?

Enjoy your Father's Day, Dad, and don't forget: We're more alike than we are different, and for that I'm actually grateful! I can't wait to receive your responses to the questions I just posed.

Happy Father's Day with buckets of love!