Can a gay couple get along with a religious family? Here’s my story.
I originally posted this story on Quora is response to a man who wanted to know how he should handle meeting the boyfriend of his son, who had just come out. I hoped this story would give him a positive way to frame his thoughts.
Once upon a time, my father flew to New York City.
I'm a gay man. He used to be an evangelical Christian preacher.
My husband Lenny and I picked him up at La Guardia. I was pretty nervous, as you can probably imagine.
Dad stayed with us for almost a week. We did all the tourist stuff. Empire State Building. Twin Towers. Times Square.
We wandered the Village with him, and ate at some of our favorite places. We took him to the Minetta Lane theater and saw a show with Lucie Arnaz. After, we had oysters and other treats at a bistro right by the theater.
Ms. Arnaz came in (as I suspected she might) and had dinner with friends two tables away from us. She graciously signed my dad's playbill while I pretended not to be embarrassed that he'd broken the New York code of not noticing celebrities.
He's never stopped talking about that trip. He loved it that Lenny and I could show him the “real New York.”
What we were actually doing, of course, was showing him our life, and inviting him to be part of it.
He accepted that invitation, despite his religious beliefs.
Years later when Lenny died, Dad flew to New York again and helped me through the worst of my grief.
Because he was my father, and that's what fathers do.
He told me he liked Lenny a lot. Not a surprise. Everyone did. He didn't understand our relationship, but he didn't have to. That wasn't required.
All he had to do was be a good father, a challenge that he met with a heart full of love.
Your son wants you to meet his boyfriend because he wants to share his life with you. He wants you to be part of it.
Take the plunge.