Zee is from Turkey, and shares how his relationship with his father was forever changed when he refused to “act like a boy”.
When he was a little boy, Zee wanted dolls instead of toy trucks and guns.
In elementary school, the teasing started. In junior high, it was taunts of “f*ggot” and calls home from teachers. Zee remembers:
They told them something was wrong with me and they need to do something with me because I would play only with the girls and acting like a girl, behaving like a girl, and they need to take me to a doctor or something.
My father came home and he was so angry. He started screaming at me, “Why are you going to be a faggot?? You are embarrassing our family. You cannot act like that.” And he started slapping at me. One and another and then I collapsed. And then he started kicking me, but my mother stopped him. He left the room and I locked the door and I started crying, but I didn’t want him to hear it.
This happened again in high school, but Zee retaliated, and while his father never hit him again, they never had a relationship.
It wasn’t until a few years later that any reference was made to the what his father had done.
I went to college and after that my draft came which, in Turkey, is a common thing. Every guy goes to the military service. And 10 days before my draft, my father had a really big surgery–he had a bypass. So I took him to the hospital and I helped him and the day I was leaving for the draft for the military service, in the hospital he told me…he told me, “Don’t hate me.” I was like, I just didn’t know what to do. I couldn’t say anything. I told him, “Okay, I…I’m leaving now.” And I thought about it and I never hated him but I never loved him either. It was just something in my heart that I wanted to be okay.
Two years before he shared his story, Zee got the news that his father had died of a heart attack.
And he broke down.
I got a phone call the morning of Christmas Eve and my uncle said my father died. He had a heart attack. I sat on my bed and started to cry. I just realized I loved him. I just wanted a real father, because I knew if we were in a different era or time, we would have been father and son.
Originally published at ImFromDriftwood.com. I’m From Driftwood envisions a world where every lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer person feels understood and accepted, and every straight person is an ally.
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