This story was originally published in This Is a Book for Parents of Gay Kids
Last October, my son Daniel told me and my wife that he’s gay. I know the exact date—it was the first of October. We were having spaghetti and meatballs that night, and we haven’t had spaghetti and meatballs in our house since—now it’s a joke. Daniel said, “I want to tell you something that you probably already know. I’m gay.” And then we asked the question that parents rarely know not to ask: “Are you sure?”
For me, it was a complete surprise. I was totally unprepared. I have several gay friends and employees, and I’ve never viewed them as different from anyone else. When it was in my own house, though, I didn’t know how to handle it. I was in shock. I cried for two days—my tears were tears of pain for what I imagined Daniel was going through. But when I looked at him, I felt he was the same smart, happy kid.
After he told us, Daniel thought that we were going to kick him out of the house, that we wouldn’t love him anymore, and that things were going to change. I think he was surprised when we didn’t react the way he thought we would. We said, “We love you no matter what. You’re our child.” My wife’s first call was to a psychologist friend of ours who has known Daniel since he was very little. My wife said, “Daniel just came out to us. What do we do? Where do we go?”
The one thing that helped me calm down was the support from my friends. I just told a couple of very close friends, because I felt like I needed to share this with somebody other than my wife. The resounding response was, “So what? He’s Daniel. He’s the same loving kid.”
That gave me a lot of strength. And then, as more people heard, they would call me and say, “Hey, Sergio, I just found out. You know, Daniel is a great kid.” There are definitely people out there who can be ignorant and closed-minded, but we live in a society where there is a lot more understanding, and I saw so much of it when it came to Daniel.
The first week after my son came out to us, I went to see a therapist, and I told him what I was going through. He told me point blank, “Sergio, you’re doing everything right. You love your child.” That meant a lot to me.
Now that I’ve had some time to process all of the things I was feeling when Daniel first came out, I find that I feel grateful. Grateful that my son was smart enough to have the nerve to come and tell us at this age, and that we get to know him completely as he grows older.