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Conservative Dad Unsure How To Let His Son Know He’ll Still Accept Him If He Comes Out As Gay

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A 53-year-old widower is striving to be a good father for his three adult sons.

Redditor RAthrowaway1092 is a devout Christian—who together with his late wife—raised their children instilling their church’s interpretation of the Bible for them to be “your typical Christian men.”

But after the ultra-conservative father discovered something about his youngest son’s private life, he visited the Relationship Advice subReddit for guidance.

The Original Poster (OP) wrote:

“I (53 M[ale]) want my youngest son (20 M[ale]) to know it’s okay to come out as gay to me.”

“I’m so stuck with this situation that my friend’s daughter introduced me to this reddit and I would like some honest advice.”

“I have 3 sons and I raised them as strick Christians. I truly believed that taking my sons to church and reading the bible to then as children, that they’d turn out as good honest young men.”

“My 2 eldest still go to church but to a less Conservative church than they were raised, I don’t mind, as long as they feel close to God. My youngest went to college 2 years ago and I am not sure he continued going to church, he grew distant.”

“Now, I’m convinced that my son is gay, or bisexual, but I think he’s interested in men. I found his ‘secret’ Facebook profile and he was pictured with the pride flag with another man and seemed very happy.”

“Now, I raised my boys to be your typical Christian men, no sex before marriage, respect your parents, and being gay is a choice and it is wrong.”

The OP shared examples of two fellow churchgoers with an LGBTQ child to explain the outcomes he does not want for his family.

“I have two friends from church who have both abandoned and disowned their sons for being gay. The first couple disowned their son at 16, and I later found out the poor boy has committed suicide.”

“The second couple disowned their 21 year old son for having a boyfriend, and the father confided in me years later that it was the biggest mistake of his life. Him and his wife later divorced, and he tried reaching out to his son, but he didn’t want to know.”

“The damage was already done.”

“Now my wife died 3 years ago and I miss her a tremendous amount. So do the boys.”

“Our sons were deeply effected by this and I’ve done my best to be there for him.”

“But now my youngest boy might be gay, I don’t want him to think I will shun or reject him. In fact, I want to be as involved in his relationship, I want to understand his love.”

“I don’t want to push my son away and ruin our relationship like how my church friends have with their sons. At the end of the day, I belive God made us the way we are and I want to try and understand my son more.”

With a new outlook, the OP expressed deep regret.

“I don’t think being gay is a choice anymore, and I’m mortified I raised my gay son to believe this. I’m horrified.”

“I don’t know what to do or say to him. I don’t know how to make up for the damage I’ve already done.”

“I want my son to know I’ll be there for him no matter what. I don’t want to lose my son, I want him to know I’ll be there, especially after my wife’s death.”

“I want my son to know in okay with him being gay, but I don’t know what to say or how I should approach this?”

“I don’t know whether to call or invite him over? Any advice, I will be greatful for.”

Redditors offered encouraging words to help a father who wanted to do right by his son.

“Don’t pressure him to come out before he is ready. But you can make sure he knows what you just wrote here. Tell him about the other parents and how you think they were wrong.” – Northlumberman

“Absolutely agree! I think the best thing you can do is reach out to your son to let him know that you love him unconditionally and will always be there to support him.”

“You shouldn’t bring up his secret Facebook or anything directly alluding to his sexuality, because it’s important for him to come out to you in his own way and time.”

“However, I think a good way to express what you want your son to know is to bring up your religion and the parents you spoke to at church, and how experiences in your life have changed your interpretation of God and his love.”

“You mentioned your other two sons go to less traditional churches, so honestly it’d probably be good to have similar conversations with them as well.”

“It’ll help you grow closer as a family, especially after suffering such a devastating loss, and it may even prompt your son to feel comfortable sharing his life and relationship with you sooner than if he thought your wouldn’t accept him.” – peppercheeni

The OP responded:

“I’ve not even thought to reach out to my other sons, maybe my youngest has reached out to them and not me.”

“And yes I will definitely have the conversation with my other sons that I was wrong to teach them such backwards views so young.”

“They’re both married with children, but I don’t want them to think I’m a closed minded person, there are things I regret saying to them as well. Thank you for your comments.”

This person gave an example of what the OP could tell his possibly gay son.

“I think the best way is to tell all of your kids individually (and make him the second or last one) something like this: ‘You know with everything going on in the world right now, I just wanted to tell you something I should have told you when you were just a child. I told your brother the same thing earlier and I wanted to say it to you too’.”

“I love you, son, unconditionally. And there is literally nothing you could say or do to change that.”

“There is nothing you ever need to keep from me. I know I’m a Christian, but I don’t agree with the way Christians handle everything.”

“I would love you just the same, exactly the same, if you weren’t a Christian, or if you were gay, (you have to find a way to say it directly) or if you were anything else I used to think was wrong (this makes it clear to him that you don’t feel the way you used to).”

“Because nothing matters to me as much as you, and I will not only love you unconditionally but I will support you (this makes it clear that you won’t ‘love’ him from a distance), no matter what.”

“By the way, I’m a Christian too and I first had that conversation with my kids when they were under 10. It’s never too late though.”

“Let them know as soon as possible. And I think it’s awesome that you are here figuring out how you can do just that!” – BH0000

“Gay guy here. Props to you for coming around at least a bit. The choice thing is maddening because we’d never choose to be treated the way so many people treat us. What’s worse is that many of the worst offenders are those who profess to be devout members of various ‘isms and so on.”

“Try to find a PFLAG chapter in your area, or something similar outside the us, and start attending yourself. They can help. A lot. There will be many others there just like you.”

“Then talk to your sons and tell them you were wrong to teach that. Explain that you’ve come around and if you can find some examples to show why, great.”

“That alone with help with your son if he’s a member of the community. Then just let it be known, if you can do it, that you support gay people. Find some examples of gays and lesbians you might admire.”

“There are a lot of us, some even religious and conservative. So you can find someone that you’d be happy to bring up on occasion in a conversation as a good person. He’ll start seeing your changed outlook and support. (Of course don’t do all this in one day or he’ll think you’re coming out!)”

“Again, props to you for reconsidering and adjusting your worldview. Many don’t do t and children have suffered and died as a result.” – Isimagen

One symbolic option was suggested for the OP to let his son know he is an ally.

“Put a pride flag on your profile picture and write a post about how you’ve come to love and accept gay people for who they are. Read up about it, do your education, open your mind and heart and realize that all love is sacred and if you believe in God, gay people are His children too and He created your son to be perfect just the way he is.”

“Then, when he’s ready, hopefully he’ll feel comfortable enough to tell you.” – HeiressOfGondor

The OP  agreed that actions speak louder than words.

“I have a flag pole outside my house I aways fly my counties flag, I want to fly the pride flag when he comes home next, this is a great idea. I guess actions speak louder than words. Thank you for your lovely comment, I have way more research to do than I realised.”

“If I want to truly understand my son I should understand the LGBTQ community as well. In the words of Jesus himself ‘he who is without sin shall cast the first stone’.”

However, this Redditor cautioned against using the Pride flag for the following reason:

“I wouldn’t fly a flag. That *outs someone in your home and he may not want that.” – qtothelo

The OP responded:

“That’s fair enough, I’ve shared a post on my Facebook instead about how being gay isn’t a choice. My eldest boy liked it but a lot of my church friends have messaged me some negative and horrible stuff.”

“I don’t think I’ve ever realised how horrible people can be over being gay.”

Redditors continued giving their advice.

“You really can’t say anything to him directly without making him feel cornered, so you’re going to need to make your change of heart clear in a more general, indirect way.”

“Since you have Facebook, make your profile photo a Pride flag or other LGBTQ support image and make a general post saying you have recently realized that the way you used to think was wrong, that you are sorry for anyone you hurt over the years and that you want to learn how to be a good ally.”

“You might get some pushback from people you consider friends, but if you want to talk the talk, then you have to walk the walk and show you mean what you say even when it’s hard.”

“Or send a group message to all your kids telling them that you’re sorry for teaching them wrong growing up, that you wish you had learned to accept everyone no matter what when you were younger so that you could have raised them the same way and that you hope they learned better even if it wasn’t from you.”

“If you’re retired or have extra time on your hands, find a local LGBTQ organization to volunteer with (the homeless LGBTQ youth population is, unfortunately, massive and can always use more volunteers).”

“It can’t just be about your son. You should find ways to learn more and get involved as an ally because it’s right, not just because you want your son to be open with you, but the more you open your own heart and mind, the more likely him opening to you as a side effect of your efforts will be.”

“Just be careful not to single your youngest out in any way. When you say things, keep them general about what you wish you’d done differently for and with all of your kids.” – the_last_basselope

“I think you made a nice start by doing this. Please, don’t be discouraged by other people giving you negativity and don’t feel sad if your son still doesn’t come out to you. He might still be hesitant. As you can now see how horrible people can be over someone being gay I am sure you are starting to understand how difficult it can be for someone to come out.”

“Are all of your kids friends on facebook? Did you set the post public or only visible for friends? I may have missed it somewhere but are your kids also communicating with eachother?”

“If so, I am pretry sure they will talk about your post. Your son will know about your change of heart and I think that is a good start.”

“All the best!” – noukje91

Many Redditors were moved by the OP’s post and praised him for his determination to let his son know he would be loved and accepted.

Written by Koh Mochizuki

Koh Mochizuki is a Los Angeles based actor whose work has been spotted anywhere from Broadway stages to Saturday Night Live.
He received his B.A. in English literature and is fluent in Japanese.
In addition to being a neophyte photographer, he is a huge Disney aficionado and is determined to conquer all Disney parks in the world to publish a photographic chronicle one day. Mickey goals.
Instagram: kohster Twitter: @kohster1 Flickr: nyckmo