My Life Changed Forever The Day I Found Out My Father Was Gay

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father daughter holding hands
One writer/actress reflects on how her father's coming out shaped their relationship and her life.

Times have changed, and so have I. Our President has publicly declared that he believes same-sex couples should be able to get married. We're at a point where gay marriage support may finally eclipse opposition. It may be possible for my friends like John and all others to feel that their love can be open and legally recognized in all places—that it's no longer a "disease." I can't help but think how life could have been different for my dad if this had happened in his lifetime. 40 Celebrities React To Obama's Support Of Gay Marriage

On the other hand, you have the North Carolina voters who recently approved a constitutional amendment banning not only same-sex marriages, but civil unions for gay and lesbian couples as well. I think of the effects this will have on the lives of people who are gay and those who love them. When I look at pictures of me and my dad from before my parents divorced, before he left the house and before I found out he was gay, I see a little girl who loved her dad without qualification. No shame, no fear, no belief there was something wrong with him or something wrong with me for loving him. I wish I had always felt that way.

We still have a way to go, but today, a girl can more easily accept her father's choice to be true to himself. When I think of my father now, I don't feel embarrassed. Instead, thanks to the way he lived his life, I'm inspired to express myself more honestly, and fearlessly, and this is why, in part, I've finally been able to write and perform. 

Now, when I see my father in my mind's eye, he and I are high-kicking down a New York City street. We are arm-in-arm, and this time, I don't stay silent. Instead, I sing. I sing at the top of my lungs right along with him. I don't care who's watching.

Adelaide Mestre is an actress, singer, writer and solo show performer living in NYC. She has performed in numerous theatrical productions/films including Woody Allen's Husbands and Wives, and just finished a run of her musical memoir Top Drawer at the Triad Theatre, NYC. Upcoming dates of Top Drawer to be announced at: adelaidemestre.com.

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