It was August 16, 2008, two days before the beginning of my junior year in high school. I had been anxiously watching the men’s Olympic marathon on TV with my two younger sisters. My father silently turned it off and sat down in front of us with a couch pillow pressed tightly to his chest. He announced the real reason why he and my mother got divorced. After some panicky stutters and what seemed like everlasting and excruciating pauses, he quickly stammered “I’m gay.”
That was honestly the last thing I think any child would want to hear from their parents. I was in complete and utter shock. I refused to speak to my dad. I had yelled at him the next day after he had accused me of being a homophobe and was begging me to accept him immediately. I had gay acquaintances and I was cool with gays and lesbians, but at the end of the day, they aren’t your father. I had lost all respect for my dad. To me he was a freak, a disgusting and unnatural being. I could not begin to grasp it all. School began for me and I was in a trance. I thought, “When is someone going to come out and tell me that I’ve been punked?” I felt betrayed, hurt, confused, and ashamed. A true and traditional Mexican father is supposed to be macho, strong, feared by all the daughter’s suitors. I cried daily for a month. It was difficult to understand why I even existed. Gay people are not supposed to have kids! I began losing trust in the people that mattered most to me; my boyfriend of over a year, my mom, and everyone around me. I truly believed that everyone was lying to me or hiding something from me.
After what seemed to be the longest and hardest months of my life; academically, emotionally, and spiritually, I came back to visit my dad at his home. It was hard at first, and it still is. I sometimes feel uncomfortable, and I still feel weird admitting that he is gay. Sometimes I would wake up and forget that he was, but then reality strikes and I just have to deal with it. Dealing with the truth was proving to be the hardest thing I had ever done in my life. Believing in the truth, rather than merely accepting it was a challenge, yet it is one which I had no choice but to undertake.
I believe in acceptance. I know I want to be accepted. I believe in understanding things that are difficult to understand, or at least attempting to. I believe in being open-minded. I believe in learning to “love the sinner but dislike the sin.” A person does not have to agree with everything that someone does or believes in, but they can learn to not be so ignorant about it. I believe in second chances, because we all need a second chance, and maybe even a third, fourth, fifth, and sixth.