Dad Disowns Gay Son: Letter Goes Viral
In most cases, coming out isn't easy but it seems it was especially difficult for a gay Reddit user named "James."
James, 33, from Pennsylvania, posted a photo of a heartbreaking letter written by his father on the social news, meme-generating website, and it almost instantly went viral as several media outlets, including the British newspaper the Daily Mail, have reported the story.
Before James' father wrote the letter, the Reddit user, who goes by the handle RegBarc, told his father about his sexual orientation on the phone.
"The moment I said it, the phone got quiet and he got off the phone after a few 'Okays,'" James wrote on the message board. "I decided to give him time to process the news. About a week later, and not long before my birthday, I received the following letter."
The letter reads: "James, this is a difficult but necessary letter to write. I hope your telephone call was not to receive my blessing for the degrading of your lifestyle. I have fond memories of our times together, but that is all in the past.
"Don't expect any further conversations with me. No communications at all. I will not come to visit, nor do I want you in my house.
"You've made your choice though wrong it may be. God did not intend for this unnatural lifestyle. If you choose not to attend my funeral, my friends and family will understand.
"Have a good birthday and good life. No present exchanges will be accepted. Goodbye, Dad"
James defended himself on the website and wrote: "I've never done drugs, was an excellent student, an obedient child (far less trouble than many of my classmates), didn't drink until I was 22 because it terrified me, and have had just one speeding ticket in my life."
"Yet I am still seemingly deserving of this terrible act of hate and cowardice that one person can place on another."
James says he knew he was gay since the seventh grade but was afraid that coming out would ruin his relationship with his father. He told him he was gay when he was 27.
"So, for those intervening years, I'd completely laughed at very anti-gay jokes he made, pushed aside comment after comment about my future wife and just carried on," James told the Daily Mail.
The publication notes that James decided to post the letter after Chick-fil-A's president, Dan Cathy, condemned gay marriage.
"There is a continuing and increasing thumping here in the States that the excising of religion from the public sphere is somehow causing the tearing apart of families," James said. "While I understand that the experience I lived through is an extreme and not the belief for the majority of religious households, my disowning is indeed proof the opposite is also true," he added.
"That the repeating tenor of 'Homosexuality is bringing God's judgement upon us' also tears families apart."
He also said that he still does not have a relationship with his father.
"I continue to abide by his wishes and have not contacted him. That's not to say that I continue to be impacted by his decision. But every once in awhile silently telling him what I think of him is likely the closest I'll ever be able to get to closure."
At the end of the original Reddit post, James did tell his father what he thinks of him: "5 years on and I am still doing fine, though this letter saunters into my mind every once in a while. When it does, I say without hesitation: F**k you, Dad."