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6 Things I Need My (Gay) Son to Understand

By Patrick Roth (Huffington Post)

 

1. You Are Bound by Nothing.

 

Your future is limited only by your desire to succeed and work hard. Want to be a star athlete? Work your ass off. Want to join the military? Aim high. Want to be president? Go for it. Being gay in America no longer prevents you from doing anything you want to do. You just have to want it bad enough and work for it tirelessly. Don't be afraid of failure; it often teaches us far more than success ever could. Live authentically.

 

2. Being Gay Is a Big Part of You, But It Isn't All of You.

 

Yes, you're gloriously, fabulously gay! Your sexuality influences just about every aspect of your identity, but you are not a gay young man. You are a young man who is gay. You are not my gay son. You are my son who happens to be gay. If you get married, it won't be a gay marriage, just a marriage. Oh, and for the record, I want grandkids. Don't think being gay lets you off the hook on that one. It may define you, but it isn't the sole definition. One day I hope it will be as irrelevant as your eye color. In the meantime, know that while there may be those who give you grief because of it, far more will not give it a second thought.

 

3. Know Your History.

 

You are fortunate to live in a loving, accepting environment where the fact that you're gay is irrelevant at home and largely unremarkable at school. It hasn't always been this way, and it still isn't easy for everyone. There was a time not long ago when being openly gay was not just detrimental to success, it was potentially deadly. Countless numbers of men and women have fought for the relative safety and comfort you enjoy today. The modern gay rights movement, from Stonewall to Windsor, cost a lot of people real blood, sweat and tears, and it isn't over. For many people around the world, being gay is still a deadly proposition. You need to honor those who came before you by fighting for those who will come after you.

 

4. HIV Is Still Deadly.

 

HIV/AIDS may seem like some obscure bit of history that only older gay men have to deal with. It isn't. Young people account for nearly a quarter of all new HIV infections. Don't be complacent. Treatment has gotten much better, but people still die from AIDS. Don't think it can't happen to you; it can. Don't be afraid of sex, but know how to keep yourself safe and always assume anyone you're with could be carrying something. He may not even know it. You are responsible for keeping yourself healthy. Play safe and get tested regularly.

 

5. Understand the Difference Between Lust, Love and Friendship.

 

Men, by and large, will eagerly participate in sex. Know that just because a guy is willing to get naked with you, it doesn't mean he is interested in anything else. Frankly, it doesn't even mean he's gay. Also, don't assume a guy wants to get naked just because he's friendly. There will be men who think you're cool or funny or whatever, but it doesn't mean they want to get physical. They may just want to be your friend. Work to understand the difference. One day, you'll find someone who is all those things and he'll feel the same about you. Don't settle.

 

6. I Love You.

 

Last, and most importantly, I love you. My love for you is unquestionable, unconditional, and unending. Never forget that.

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He's wrong.

 

#1 If you don't think there are all sorts of barriers for gay people, you aren't gay and you haven't run into them.

A few states have anti-discrimination laws. The majority of the country does not.

 

#2 Your being gay is all that matters to some people. It  is all that they need to know to make them hate your guts enough to want to hurt you.

You can expect to be attacked on some level- bullying at school as a kid. As an adult, they will undermine you to neighbors, try to get you fired from your job and tell bald faced lies about you. If you think they aren't out there, you are dead wrong.

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I think the original author is looking at things differently to James. These are messages to a gay son. They are trying to be goals and hopes, not restrictions and boundaries.

 

James is correct that things are not rosey, but the original author is also correct in that their (hypothetical?) gay son should not be bound by what others think. As he said in point #2:

 

 

One day I hope it will be as irrelevant as your eye color. In the meantime, know that while there may be those who give you grief because of it, far more will not give it a second thought.
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I agree with Graeme, these are personal viewpoints of how he sees his son as an individual. Although partially based on what his sexuality means. I believe he is more or less showing his support and concerns in an uplifting way. There are very real concerns in there as well, underlying the uplifting tone. It is nice to see parents step up to that plate and be more proactive. 

Edited by Krista
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This is a problem with political dimensions and we can't really take it on here.

 

I guarantee you that those of us living in red states and living with the backlash see things very different from the people in blue states where things are hunky-dorie.

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That's something I have to bow to you. I've never seen or encountered much in the way of outright homophobia. Homophobic comments, yes, but nothing to the degree that I believe you've experienced.

 

I was wandering the streets of Wellington, New Zealand, before Christmas (it was a pleasant weekend and I went for a walk), and a couple of men, probably late thirties, ran past me. One chasing the other. The leading guy allowed himself to be caught not too far in front of me...and then they kissed. In public, in the capital of New Zealand, in the middle of the day.

 

That's my experiences when it comes to seeing openly gay people. I'll admit that I still give a double-look when I see two young guys holding hands while walking down Chapel Street in Melbourne (it's not that common, but I've seen it more than once), but there's no one screaming or pointing.

 

I accept that that isn't the case everywhere, but while I know that intellectually, I don't know it or understand it emotionally.

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