As Told By A Gay Son: 3 Life Lessons From My Straight Father

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Gay Life Lessons I Learned From My Straight Father
Sometimes, we have to agree to disagree — and that's OK!

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.

 

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!

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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Article contributed by

Rick Clemons

Author

Rick Clemons, The Gay Man's Life Coach & The Coming Out Coach

Rick is a straight-forward, compassionate, insightful, challenging, mentor, guide, and Certified Professional Coach who's been featured on The Ricki Lake Show, and is a highly sought after radio show personality, blogger, author, and faculty member of Sex Coach U. His loving, challenging, gentle, and inspiring approach ignites a fire in clients, helping them get through the darkest moments of life and come out the other side, kicking butt, and being authentically themselves.

Rick thrives, working with individuals, and those in their inner circle, as they embark on the journey out of the closet and beyond. He specializes in helping people build confidence, live their passion while loving their work, and live authentically. Authenticity isn't just a word he throws around lightly. It's the backbone of his practice and the manner in which he personnally strives to live each and every day of his own life.

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Location: Riverside, CA
Credentials: ACC, CPC
Specialties: LGBT Issues (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender), Men's Issues, Sexuality
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