At 19, I came out of the closet to my parents. It was a shock, but not a surprise. At the time, I wasn't quite ready to stand up to my parents' beliefs and hold true to my own. So I slunk back into the closet until I was confident enough to be authentically me. Along the journey, I butted heads with my dad on numerous occasions mostly because he is my dad and we're cut from the same stubborn, my-way-or-the-highway DNA. But that doesn't mean that I was unable to learn anything from him. And as Father's Day creeps up on me, I'm reminded of all the life lessons I've learned from my straight father.
Lesson #1: Thanks, Dad, for teaching me the lesson of standing in your beliefs, and showing me the danger of being overtly bull-headed.
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As the years progressed and I chose to marry a woman not of my faith, I once again found myself in the ring with my dad, this time wearing the religious boxing gloves. Never having seen myself as a prize-winning fighter, I suddenly found myself timidly stepping up to the center of the ring and saying, "But what if your religious beliefs aren't exactly true? Who's to say there's not a hundred different ways to be religious and spiritual besides the way you see it, Dad?"
Lesson #2: Thanks, Dad, for teaching me to never assume anything.
If I had assumed that owning a home would end in a disaster we wouldn't have bought the house, loved it, stayed in it until our first daughter was born and then upsized to the house that ended up being the financial boon during our divorce that enabled me to break the assumption that coming out late in life would leave me broke out on the street. Obviously, I didn't end up on the street, broke and homeless!
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Within 13 years of the fabulous wedding, and with lots of parental interruptions over raising children, surviving marriage, being a "man" and creating success, I finally got the best wisdom I could from my dad on the day that I came out of the closet. He said, "I cannot accept your lifestyle and never will!" Ahem, needless to say, this Father's Day he is here, celebrating Father's Day and graduations with me and my partner, our two daughters, my mom, and my ex-wife. Keep reading...
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