Dad Writes Letter and Saves His Son From Coming Out Steven Folkins

This week, a photograph of a letter was posted to the Facebook page of FCKH8.com, a pro-gay clothing and accessory website, and quickly went viral. This letter from a father to a son has been herald as a source of inspiration about acceptance after the father overheard his son talking on the phone about his plans to come out to his parents.

When I came out to my parents, it was in person amidst a flurry of tears, mostly on my part. The sentiment I got from that experience and from telling my family over the course of a few days was very similar to what the father in the letter wrote: “We’ve known.” It wasn’t like I never knew – it was coming to terms with it and what it meant for my life. I completely understand the sentiment in the letter and how it’s such a ‘dad thing’ to do, but I really wonder what Nate (the son) will think about this in the future. Maybe he feels complete relief? But the thing about coming out, at least for me, was that it wasn’t real until I said the words “I’m gay” aloud.

The world keeps changing and accepting people, especially your children, as LGBTQ just gets easier and easier. We don’t know much about either the father or son at this point as they wanted to remain anonymous, but the posting of this letter is another step in showing the progress the world is making.

FCKH8 released a statement about the letter in the aftermath of its unexpected popularity:

We hope it sets a good example for father’s to love their kids the way they were born. The fact that it has been shared by so many sadly means that this kind of acceptance is both too rare and deeply craved by LGBT people so used to being rejected by families. (via)

I don’t know if I completely agree with their statement about it being “shared by so many sadly means that this kind of acceptance is both too rare and deeply craved by LGBT people so used to being rejected by families” meaning what it means. I tend to believe in the power of social media and how easy it is to share something like this. I do believe that it is a powerful statement and one that may make it easier for parents to accept their children when they see other people doing the same.

Image via Facebook

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  1. I really feel like there is a lack of context in regards to this letter. I got the impression that he overheard his son preparing to come out to him soon, like that night… so the father waited till he got a pretty clear indication that his son was ready and did what many a good parent would: did his best to protect his son from pain and anxiety. It may or may not always be right to protect your kids from everything, but it is a pretty solid instinct. We also don’t know the context of their relationship. I don’t think that this is always, or even often, the right way to handle this situation, but it may have been exactly right for this family. After all, this dad probably knows his son better then any of us do. I’m willing to give the benefit of the doubt to this family that it was a positive thing to do, for them, and created a positive experience for son and father, that son and father. Especially considering it was posted to the internet. A father who is trying that hard to be considerate wouldn’t have posted something like that on the net without his sons encouragement and support. In a world were GLBT people are becoming increasingly accepted and supported we all have some learning to do on how to handle the transition. <3

  2. While I can respect the point of view about the father taking away the sons moment, let’s also understand the fathers point of view. He is NOT gay and could not have known he was taking away an important moment from his son. He thought he was relieving him of something that his son was scared to do.

    Many people aren’t accepting of gay rights and the son may have been terrified that his parents wouldn’t accept him. i.e. a pregnant teenager was terrified to tell her religious parents that she was expecting. Well, many girls wouldn’t. They would keep the pregnancy a secret. Therefore if the girls parents were to let her know that they KNOW she is pregnant, she is more likely to have a healthy pregnancy.

    I believe this is ALL the father was trying to accomplish. And stating that he felt the boy and his boyfriend made a cute couple was his way of letting his son know that he is loved and his parents are ok with his choices. The son can still make it official by saying “I’m gay”. There are more people in his life than just his parents.

  3. “it wasn’t real until I said the words “I’m gay” aloud.”

    Oh yeah. The first time I read this, I felt a sense of discomfort, I realized what it was fairly quickly.

    This dad outed his son. Instead of waiting until his song was ready to tell him, he instead took the opportunity out of his son’s hands. For many gay people, myself included, coming out is an incredibly empowering experience, and to have that stolen from me would have upset me greatly. It makes me more uncomfortable that he wrote it in a note, a medium in which the boy would have no room to respond to these words. He would have to wait until later to reply, furthering him from the authority to define his own sexuality. Of course many parents claim to “know” their children are gay long before they did, but that once again takes self-definition out of the equation, and the ability to define oneself is I think the MOST important step to coming out.

    Now, it doesn’t seem like anyone involved here was hurt. It’s certainly not the same as being disowned, or having your definition rebuked, told that you’re not actually gay. His parents are clearly sweet, supportive people. I hold nothing against them.

    But it does make me uncomfortable to see a letter that is nothing more than glorified outing turned into an act of a heroic father.

  4. Hi. I agree with the last part of Steven’s posting…”I don’t know if I completely agree with their statement about it being “shared by so many sadly means that this kind of acceptance is both too rare and deeply craved by LGBT people so used to being rejected by families” meaning what it means. I tend to believe in the power of social media and how easy it is to share something like this. ”

    I would share this story in a heartbeat, but I’m not LGBTQ etc. I just love it when families know each other better than they think they do, which is normally the case. Although a lot of people aren’t as wonderful and accepting as this father is, his actions showed how much he loved his son and didn’t want him to stress out over something that they (his parents) already knew. This is a story of a family’s love and I think that’s why a lot of people have chosen to share it.