Jay and Peter

Hello Mr. Magazine - - BELONG TO SOMETHING -

As a kid, I never felt very con­nected to my dad. My par­ents had been hap­pily di­vorced since I was six and weekend vis­its to Dad’s place were un­com­fort­able. Dad was a bloke’s bloke. And I was a mummy’s boy, never in­ter­ested in the ac­tiv­i­ties he would sug­gest.

As a teenager I started to re­al­ize that I was gay and the ten­sion be­tween Dad and me got worse. He would point out chicks as we drove along Bridge Road and I would feel ob­li­gated to pre­tend to be in­ter­ested. While noth­ing was ever said, I knew that he found hang­ing out to­gether just as hard I did.

By the time I was seven­teen, I had put a lot of dis­tance be­tween my dad and my­self, and only saw him once a month for din­ner or at some fam­ily func­tion. I was scared of him find­ing out my se­cret.

He had gay friends, so I as­sumed that he would work out that I was gay from my man­ner­isms or from the way I talked.

When I came out to my mum just be­fore my eigh­teenth birth­day she of­fered to tell Dad and I agreed. I think that whether your fa­ther is a priest or a Mardi Gras or­ga­nizer the fear of com­ing out to him is the same. It’s the fear that – for bet­ter or worse – the re­la­tion­ship will change. I al­ways knew my dad would ac­cept me, but would he ac­cept the world I was en­ter­ing and the man I would even­tu­ally be­come?

Ev­ery­thing changed the day my dad found out I was gay. For the first time since I could talk, we had a real con­ver­sa­tion. Dad ex­plained that he was happy I had come out as he al­ways knew and he didn’t know why I hadn’t told him sooner. He al­ways thought that my not com­ing out to him meant I didn’t trust him and that made him pull away from me.

Af­ter spend­ing a lot more time with my dad in my twen­ties, I dis­cov­ered that we can just chat and joke about things just like mates. I talk about boys and he does that “dad” thing and takes the piss out of me. We talk about what float I might do for Mardi Gras; we talk about what projects I’m do­ing at work.

From the day I came out to my dad, we’ve been best friends. And I don’t re­gret the stage when we didn’t get along be­cause it has made me ap­pre­ci­ate our new re­la­tion­ship even more. It’s like hav­ing a mate, but this mate has un­break­able love for you, and that’s a great kind to have.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.