My Dad's a Homo
My Dad's a Homo
By Wes J. Pimentel
My father is gay. This is the story of how I found out and the emotions I felt at the time and have felt since. I will then share some anecdotes and finish up with some light gay humor.
My parents got divorced when I was two. I have some foggy memories of us all living in the same apartment, but they’re mostly just disconnected snapshots. Pretty much everything I know about my father I’ve learned post-divorce. During my entire childhood, my brother and I would live with my mother Monday through Friday, while we went to school. We would spend every weekend with my father. He has always been a prominent figure in my life and in fact, I’ve never felt the emotional trauma commonly attributed to growing up in a “broken home.”
So it was, that on a bright sunny day, my Dad took his two sons to the beach. Normally, when you go to the beach, you might walk a little ways up or down the shore to find a good spot. On this day we hung a left at the water and walked way, way down to a remote part of the coast. I didn’t notice it at the time, but we had made our way away from all the nuclear families, who had no idea how the ensuing drama would affect the rest of my life.
My father’s choice of destination didn’t pique my curiosity at the time, because he’d always been what we considered eccentric. I just kind of went with the flow, as always.
After a good while of coastal merriment, my father decided to tan himself while his two little boys played in the sand. It seemed like my father had fallen asleep. Anyway, as my brother and I occupied ourselves with the sand, we became distracted by the happenings at a beach blanket, which was relatively close to our own. There were two young men on this blanket. One was very pale, and the other was very dark black. They were both bald. One was on top of the other, and they were passionately kissing.
I was ten at the time and my brother was twelve. When confronted with a situation like this, most boys of about our ages would do exactly what we did. We immediately expressed our repulsion, saying things like, “Ew! Look at those faggots!!” and, “Ugh, that’s nasty!” We reacted this way for a few moments, until my Dad proved that he was, in fact, not asleep. He was lying on his back and without even looking to see what the two guys were doing, he picked up his head saying, “You guys shouldn’t call people names like that. You don’t even know those guys and you’re insulting them without knowing anything about them.” My brother and I were stunned. At that point in my life I had never heard a straight man defend a gay man. I was beside myself with astonishment.
From that moment, my brain started processing every piece of relevant information about my father that I had been suppressing up until that point. My father greeted all his male friends with a kiss on the cheek; he had mostly single, male friends without wives or children; he never talked about sports or cars or “screwing chicks”; His apartment was beautifully decorated; He was into fine music, art, food, and culture; he shared a one-bedroom apartment with another man. Oh… my… God. All the jokes my uncles had made, that I never got, about us having two mothers and so on, came to mind at that moment.
By the time I came out of my stupor, we were on our way back up the beach. I was holding my Dad’s hand. I looked up at him and asked, “Dad, are you gay?” To which he responded, “Yes, I am.” We walked in silence for about five minutes. Then, I asked, “Is Joseph (my Dad’s “roommate” at the time) your boyfriend?” To which he responded, “Yes, he is.” It felt like the carpet had been pulled out from under my entire life.
I don’t remember anything until we got back to his apartment. True to form, my Dad was ready for this exact situation. He sat us down on his bed and put on a video. I say true to form because as I grew up, any time I had a question about anything, rather than answer the question outright, he would present me with an article or a book or some other piece of media, directly related to the topic in question. It was annoyingly educational. Anyway, he had recorded a documentary about gay parents off the TV. It sounds cheesy, but it was exactly what I needed at the time. I needed to know I wasn’t the only kid going through this and that my father was not a freak.
Well, after I was back at my grandmother’s house with all my uncles around, and my Mom, my feelings changed. Tolerance became deep thought, which in turn became disgust, which gave way to resentment and anger. I told myself my Dad was wrong. I began formulating the speech I would use to tell him that I didn’t want him as a father. I practiced divorcing my Dad for a week until it was time to see him again. The next time we went to see him, all I was able to feel was a deep love and affection which I felt with almost no other person on earth. I never even tried to deliver that speech. In fact, I felt horrible for even considering it. My resentment and anger was redirected at all the people in my family who had made fun of him right in front of us, without telling us what the jokes meant. I felt betrayed by the people I trusted the most. I felt closer to my father than ever before.
The nineteen years since this incident have been filled with almost nothing but joy when it comes to my father. I have been truly blessed with the rare experience of having a gay parent. My Dad has always been there for us and he’s the perfect model for what a father should be after a divorce. I’ve often remarked that I wouldn’t trade him for anyone, not even a straight version of himself. The fact that he’s gay just adds too much to my life to want it any other way.
I remember once he invited me to go to “pride” with him (a gay pride parade). I agreed and made my way to his downtown apartment. He didn’t get the door, but yelled for me to come in. He was busy changing or something. Anyway, I walk in and he says, “I have something for you to wear.” I’m thinking, “Sweet!” because his taste in clothing is exceptional and even though he’s almost twice my age, his clothes are always more fashionable than mine. He says, “It’s on the couch.” I walk over, and there it is… in broad daylight; a plain, white, skin-tight, tank-top undershirt, right out of the pack. On the front of it, in ORANGE MARKER he had scrawled the phrase “I’m proud of my gay Dad.” Not centered, not neat. He was obviously suffering from some sort of heat delirium. My Dad walks up and says, “Put it on.” To which I responded, “Dad, I love you, I’m proud of you, but there’s no fuckin’ way I’m wearing that.” In his best “I’m-your-disapproving-Dad” voice he says, “Wesley!” Needless to say, I didn’t wear the damned thing.
So, there it is. I have a great father. I know a lot of people out there disagree with gay parenting on the basis of it being a poor example to children. First of all, sexuality cannot be labeled right or wrong, unless it hurts someone. As far as the “example” thing, if you haven’t noticed, sexual orientation cannot be taught. Where do you think gay people come from?
Having a gay Dad has taught me to be accepting, tolerant, flexible and broad-minded. For all you self-righteous “good Christians” who believe Jesus wants you to condemn gay people, read Matthew 9:13, or 5:10. According to Jesus Christ, when you persecute gays for the sake of righteousness, you guarantee them heaven. So, thanks.
By the way, I like to tell my father he’s from the northern coast of Faghdad. I just think that’s funny.