Your dad is gay, too? How Jared, Erin, and Amie found each other and created a project for families like theirs.
The Gay Dad Project aims to explore families—and the complex relationships within these families—where one parent is gay and one parent is straight. Amie Shea, Erin Margolin, and Jared Karol all share the experience of having had a dad come out as gay. They have all found comfort in sharing their stories with one another, and in knowing that they are not alone.
They created The Gay Dad Project to share their stories with the world, and to connect with other children and families who have had similar experiences. The Gay Dad Project is a space where engaging and dynamic discussion on this topic occurs that is both inspiring and empowering. In addition to the website, The Gay Dad Project has plans for a book and a documentary film.
March 3, 2012
I love U2. Bono is my hero. But there’s one song I can’t listen to. If it comes on the radio, I have to switch it immediately. It’s the “Pride/In the Name of Love” song.
The last time I heard it in its entirety was late 1991 or early 1992, right after my dad came out of the closet. My brothers and I were trying out our first overnight stay at his new apartment in the warehouse district in New Orleans. The song played on his stereo as he cooked us dinner and I perched awkwardly on a new sofa in a new living room in an apartment I’d just stepped into for the first time. I remember he was roasting some new potatoes he’d tossed with olive oil and a packet of Lipton onion soup mix.
I was 15.
The lyrics cycled through my head as my dad sang along from the kitchen and I felt like vomiting. Clearly he’d gotten the hang of the gay pride thing and I’m all for that (and I was then, too, although the whole thing was HARD), but then I needed for him to just be my dad. And to not have everything be all about the gay part.
Will part of me always be resentful? Will a voice inside me always ask why he waited so long, why he married my mom when he knew the truth? Why did he create a family, a lie? Why did he put us though all of that? (He realized he was gay when he was 12 years old, but thought he could shut it down and live a “normal” life and ignore the other stuff)
He is now joyfully out of the closet while a part of me remains locked inside. The part of me with trust issues. Worrying about being left. Worrying about people lying to me, pretending to be something they’re not. Worried they’re not being honest.
I don’t know what this letter is really about. Maybe I need validation. Maybe I just want to know I’m not alone. Maybe I want to know all of these feelings are normal and okay. But people don’t talk about stuff. Back when I was 15? I got laughed out of a bookstore looking for a book to help me learn how to deal with having a gay parent. Aside from Leslea Newman’s “Heather Has Two Mommies,” I’m still not sure such a thing exists.
Or maybe I’m just super sensitive and have too many issues and such a book isn’t necessary?
Give it to me straight, Jared. Pun intended.
(Your Aiming Low partner in crime, fellow parent of twins, and fellow offspring of a gay dad) Erin
Read Jared’s response to Erin.
Image of figures of man in paper courtesy of Shutterstock