So, your dad just has just told you he is gay, and you had no idea. You may have a lot of different feelings and emotions surrounding this news and quite a few questions that you need answering. To help with these, below is a list of suggestions to help you on your new journey.
Accept that you’re not alone. If you are finding this difficult to deal with or you think you are fine, it is important to know you are not alone. There are many places you can turn to for support such as Family Equality Council, Human Rights Campaign (HRC). In addition, you can always go to YouTube and find hundreds of videos from people just like you! Support is here. You can even reach out to some of the local organisations such as MGRM and Willingness Team
Speak your mind. If you suffer in silence with all of the thoughts or questions it will only make things worse. Speaking to your parent about how you feel will not only be beneficial for you but also for your parent. If you do not feel comfortable addressing your parent just yet you can always speak to a trusted friend or family member. Or else there are always professionals willing to help.
Just because your dad is gay, it does not make you gay. Just because you may have a gay or lesbian parent this doesn’t mean they passed the genetic flow down to you. That is not how it works!
Don’t take sides, just be you. Unfortunately, if you are put in the middle of a mother and father fude, taking sides will not help the situation. While you try to understand how both your parents and yourself feel, being an adult here is key. Both of your parents will have their own feelings they have to deal with and the last thing you want to do is get in the middle of this. Processing your own emotions is more important that being a buffer.
Discomfort is normal. Just because you feel uncomfortable it does not make you a bad person or homophobic. It is a lot to take in, your whole world has been turned upside down so it is very normal to feel very confused. Allow yourself time to feel all the emotions needed.
Remember, you have a right to be respected, loved and not kept in the dark, just as your dad wants the same in light of his courage. If you feel you need to find some sort of solace, a very good place to start is a book by Karen McClintock. After Karen’s father died of cancer, she discovered his lifelong secret and this lead her to her write a memoir called My Father’s Closet.
Stef Gafa’ is a counsellor with Willingness who has a particular interest in trauma, attachment, domestic violence and the LGBT community.