Father Knows Best

Anatomy Of A Letter From A Dad Disowning His Gay Son

Just when you thought it was safe to come out to your parents, it’s Idiotic Letters from Asshole Dads II: This Time It’s Literal.

Reddit user “RegBarc” came out to his dad a few years ago and, according to the letter he posted, the old man apparently didn’t take it too well: Assuming the letter is legit, he wrote a disarmingly direct letter that basically told his own son that he’s dead to him.

But let’s taker a closer look at the hand-scribbled note and what Daddy’s really saying:

“James: This is a difficult but necessary letter to write.”

Translation: “Your mother doesn’t know I’m writing this.”

“I hope your telephone call was not to receive my blessing for the degrading of your lifestyle. I have fond memories of our times together, but that is all in the past.”

Translation: “Remember when I created you, raised you and loved you like a  son? Well, that’s all over now that you’ve up and decided to make your life—and more importantly, my life—miserable by choosing to be gay. We had fun, though, huh?”

“Don’t expect any further conversations with me. No communications at all. I will not come to visit, nor do I want you in my house.”

Translation: “I plan on seeing Jehovah’s Witnesses at my doorstep more often than you. And, unlike you, they’ll actually be invited in. As for your ‘decorating tips’ for the dining room, I see now they were made by Satan and therefore I can have nothing to do with them. The wallpaper stays.”

“You’ve made your choice, though wrong it may be. God did not intend for this unnatural lifestyle.”

Translation: “I told you from the jump, it was either me or this gay business. God may have infinite love and compassion, but not when it comes to that, Mister. He drew that line a while ago. [Cites some obscure Bible passage.]”

“If you choose not to attend my funeral, my friends and family will understand.”

Translation: “It’s impolite to dance on someone’s grave.”

“Have a good birthday and good life. No present exchanges will be accepted.”

Translation: “Well, guess I’ll be seeing you never. Oh, hey—could you return this Blu-ray player to Best Buy? Oh, wait, wrong letter.”

“Goodbye, Dad.”

Translation:  “Let me know when you stop being gay. Mom’s expecting you for Thanksgiving.”

“Family” is an interesting word in the queer community, mostly because it can mean so many things. That a father—the man who helped raise you and become who you are today—could so flippantly turn his back on his son is not a testament to the times we live in, or what Chick-Fil-A is doing.

It’s a testament to shitty parenting.

A family, traditional or not, is supposed to care about you and stick by you when times are good or when times are gay. Which is why “family” in the queer community is what you make it. It’s the people that love and accept you for who you are, not the people who were there for the first 18 years or so of your life.

Hopefully, RegBarc will keep that in mind whenever he sees this letter and, if he hasn’t already, will find a family that will love him for all that he is.


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  • Neo

    What a thoroughly horrific man, only someone of devout religion could inflict something so horrible on their child.

  • dfwdude

    Wow, they must make blueprints for this kind of letter, because my dad sent me an email like this about 9 months ago! The first part is a perfect translation! Mom has no idea the letter is being written. When my mom found out, there was serious hell to pay! It shows lack of forethought to put something so damning in writing. One day, these dads may come around, but this is the kind of stuff you say and no matter the apology, it will never be forgotten. The letter my dad wrote ultimately alienated him from my sister and his grandchildren. Think before you put it in writing.

  • Dagrlzrd

    My parents dis-owned me as well.As did my brothers and relatives,They were not religious, not all of them. They just hated Queers,and Jews,and Blacks,and Asians,and Mexicans.Anyone who was not,well,them. It does not make it any less painful,but now the L.G.B.T. community is my family and for the last 37 years I have felt loved and accepted. Thanks you guys!!!

  • Tallent

    @Dagrlzrd: Of course the family you make can be more significant than the family you’re born with, but still that’s terribly sad to hear.

  • Stephen

    What a stupid man. The son is well rid of someone does something like this.

    I dont believe in God and the bible is full of contradictions, even so, this guy is doing everything that Jesus said not to do.

    What a loser.

  • Dagrlzrd

    @Tallent: Thanks.I can’t say it still doesn’t hurt a bit,but my work with Gay Teens and the It Gets Better project really helps a lot.

  • dee-dee

    Charming. When Daddy dearest gets old & sick i would personally tell him to go jump.

  • Dustolio

    I really hate this kind of stuff. My conservative Christian, Republican, Baptist, Mason, Texan Father LOVES me! He tells me every chance he gets how proud he is of me, and how brave he thinks it is that I came out. In fact, recently he has started bothering me about finding a partner and settling down!

    It really hurts me when I see people who can’t see past their own pettiness and love the people in their lives.

    And tell Regbarc that is if his dad doesn’t eventually come around, mine is available!

  • Ian

    Thirty years ago, my father was struggling with my coming out. Thankfully, a friend of his said something to the effect of “well, you can choose… you either have a gay son or you have no son…” My father chose to embrace me (and my partner) and embark on his own path of learning and growing. It took him (and my mom) years to fully come around, but they did so and I’m proud of them. They, too, are Christians and generally moderate-conservative types. I guess I am lucky in this respect and my heart goes out to all the other LGBT people whose family walks away from them.

  • sfo

    Dear Dad,
    You, my mother and God made me – I had no choice in the matter.

  • Akula

    Something similar happened to my Husband, his dad did the whole “you ‘re shaming the family” bull, though once he got cancer and found out he had a short time to live it brought reality crashing down on his head. He stayed with us for the last 3 months of his life and he did a total turn around, he included me in all family decisions just like all the other son and daughter in laws were. It was good too because it let my Husband get a lot off his chest and start the healing for both of them. I hope it doesn’t take cancer for this butt head dad to wake up.

  • ironhorse

    @Dagrlzrd: Well, L.G.B.T community didn’t capitulate me because of my darker skin tone which is sad. The L.G.B.T community put all lightly skinned people above the darker skinned people. Take a deliberate the gay media, Publication, Fashion, etc out there. When I was twenty-one year old, told number of times I wasn’t welcome in bars in Phoenix. Even at sixteen-year-old, came face to face with L.G.B.T ugly racism. my kind should be more loving. I love all my L.G.B.T don’t matter their (weight,height, skin toned).

  • Ian

    @ironhorse: Racism runs deep in this country. Sucks that you experience it. It’s in the LGBT community just like it’s everywhere else.

  • hf2hvit

    @ironhorse: I understand what you say but why is it that every black man I ever dated would NEVER date another black man?

  • Scribe37

    @ironhorse: Yeah the gay community is not always very supportive or kind to people who don’t fit a certain image. On the father/son issue it really makes me appreciate my father. I am named after him and he had all sorts of dreams for me that I will never fulfill. He is a blk Jehovah witness, very socially conservative, but bless him because he tries so hard to be there for me and my partner. My dad even hired my partner when he couldn’t find work. I have a friend who’s dad attacked him physically for being gay and had a stroke in the process. My friend’s family blames him, so he basically is alone in the world when it comes to blood.

  • kawneekwa

    What a Christian!

  • Scribe37

    @hf2hvit: I really don’t get that, but I’ve have run into it before. I also have issues with a white guy only dating only blk or Asians or whatever because I wonder are they really seeing me or just checking off an item on their list (blk check, big d*ck, etc). I have dated blks, whites, and Arabs- twinks, bears, and super femmes lol. If you can make me laugh and stand your own with me I will give you a chance (when I am single).

  • LittIe,Kiwi

    some lovely comments here, boys. and the reality is that it’s not actually about us winning over an anti-gay family member, but about us (and our SUPPORTIVE family members) making it very clear that we have no room in OUR lives for an anti-gay bigot.

    got a family member who can’t accept you as gay? OUT them, to everyone they know, as an anti-gay bigot. let folks know that not only are you gay, but that your family member refuses to love and accept you because of it.

    you’d be surprised at how much faster people come around when they realize that being an anti-gay bigot will make THEM the community pariah.

  • Ogre Magi

    @ironhorse: WTF! You should sue those bars!

  • Dagrlzrd

    I’m so glad that I am color blind.I remember living in San Francisco during the 70s and 80s women were not welcome in the Gay Bars and while visiting my friend Ron who was dying from AIDS in the Russian River area during The Women’s Music Festival. I was met with open hostility from many Lesbians based on my gender alone. I want to love,accept and respect everyone if I can, but folks sure don’t make it easy to do so.

  • Mike K

    There are worse things. i came out to my family when i was twenty. (1983) everyone was calm and accepting. What I didnt realize was that they didnt care, so it didnt mater if I was gay or not. Im 48 now and haven’t herd from any of then since. THE opposite of love is indifference. My Mom was great and she died last year. Now although I have a brother and sister and father…I have no family. I never understood it but there you are.

  • Roxorz

    @hf2hvit: Ugh here we go with that stuff again. At our core we are ALL men. We don’t chose what skin color, body type or features we are attracted to. There will always be people who are attracted to similar features (Come to Atlanta, you will see PLENTY of black men who only like other black men) and there will be those attracted to different features. I don’t understand why gays make it such a big deal when they see an interracial relationship specifically involving a black man.

  • ElectraDaddy

    I have four children and there’s nothing they could do that would ever make me stop loving them. I don’t understand how any parent could feel the way the father who wrote this letter does. His son is not the problem. He is.

  • Darryl

    Possibly the only thing worse than being disowned is your family pretending they accept you only to blast you for being a freakshow behind your back — when they only want you around so they can feel more loving and tolerant (because they love the freak and showing compassion is good, right?).

    In both that case and this one, I feel like the only real solution is to disown them in return. Do not go crawling back. Do not attempt to make amends. It is not your job to apologize for not being what they want you to be. There is no compromising with bigotry.

    If you allow yourself to be treated like scum, you are allowing yourself to be abused.

  • Tommytakesnobullshit

    Dear Dad,

    The feeling is mutual,and as far as I am concerned you’re already dead!!!

    Your ex-son

  • ironhorse

    When I was ten year-old, my mother had a hard time with me being gay. She made gay youth years a living hell. Non of my male friends couldn’t have sleepovers. Now, as adult she’s trying to be my friend when I won’t let her in that position. My Step-father, seems to be ok with me being gay or don’t care since I’m not his blood. my bio father wish i wasn’t never born, not cause i’m gay just he wasn’t ready to be a father first place.

  • hamoboy

    @hf2hvit: Racism affects (and is internalized by) everyone to some degree. People (of whatever skin tone) not wanting to date blacks/asians/etc, is just a symptom of systemic racism. When the media holds white bodies as the epitome or ideal of beauty, then black/asian/other bodies are devalued and not seen as beuatiful in many people’s minds. And if someone is black/asian/etc themselves and don’t want to date other minorities, they’ve internalized this racism really, really deeply.
    Someone saying they find white blondes more attractive is just a preference. It means someone fitting the description doesn’t need to look as good in other ways to be attractive in the observer’s eyes. But saying “I never find ANY black/asian/etc guys hot” shows internalized racism, because society has so deeply ingrained the meme that blacks/asians/etc are ugly and unattractive that it affects our preconceptions of what is attractive and what is not.

  • hamoboy

    Also, the dad in the article is an asswipe. IF a parent is willing to disown their child because they’re gay, then they were never a real parent to begin with.

  • Geoff B

    This story makes me realize how much I appreciate my mother. When we had “the conversation” she was more concerned that I was scared to tell her. When I explained a lot of parents disown their kids for being gay, she relied “well, a lot of parents are really fucking stupid then. Your mother is not one of them.” As usual, she’s right.

  • HM

    Dear Dad….

    Received your letter. It hurt, but later that night, my $200 million dollar winning Powerball ticket did much to ease the pain. Oh, don’t worry….within 24 minutes after discovering I won, my gay lawyer friend, in accordance with your wishes, drew up papers to remove you from any inheritence claim should it arise.

    I’d love to hash your feelings out with you, but I’m taking my entire apartment complex to Rio.

    Love to Mom…
    Your ex son

  • Dionte

    I wonder if my father would have for the same, he was murdered at a gas station in Detroit month before I turned 2.

  • ironhorse

    @Dionte: Dionte sorry you lost your father in that act.

  • Angelo

    Although disowning me is far from a possibility, coming out to my parents has indeed changed their perspective towards me. And yet both are devastated, it isn’t my dad but my mother who’s clearly taken the downward plunge. She’s depressed, taking medications, and visiting a sexologist. I’m not completely sure but my father has told me she has recurrent suicidal thoughts. She doesn’t even want to bring up the subject personally, but laughs and jokes with her friends and family on topics concerning homosexuality; even when I am present. My dad, on the other hand, has made it clear he will never accept this “decision” of mine, and whatever the case it may be, it has turned impossible to convince him otherwise.
    I believe parents like the one portrayed through this hideous letter (and eventual parents like mine) should be left as is. It is not impossible to change them but it being as hard as it is, leaving them unacquainted for what is to come is clearly a “difficult but necessary” thing to do. Due to their actions, many LGBT members dissociate from family members and close relatives that chose to demonize who we are. It isn’t a choice to be gay, but it is a choice to reject us based on the “moral standards and restrictions” religious denominations impose on whomever. Should they repent and ask for our forgiveness, welcome be it. But if they chose to go missing in action, regardless of one’s intents to make them understand, let them stick to their will. Everyone builds their own jigsaw puzzle. Mismatching pieces? Don’t try to force them in because it wont work; keep looking. Lost and missing pieces? Build them.

  • Giorgio

    There is something fishy about this letter. I suspect that it’s phony, something someone made up. How did you get access to it?

  • mike ramon

    That sorry excuse for a man will one day rue the day he wrote that damn letter.

  • Chris

    This is old news I remember reading it when it first posted on this site years ago. This is a prime example of why LGBT teens and youth should wait until they are adults, financially stable, and living on their own away from their parent(s) to come out to them.

  • jj

    My parents are pretty awesome about me being gay. I feel like because i was so obviously gay since i was like 5 years old it gave them a long time to come to terms with it when i came out at 17. Thats not to say they didnt do some stupid things like buying their ten year old son playboys after finding gay porn on their computer and constantly asking me throughout my teen years if i had a girlfriend every fucking week lol. But their awesome now, they even came to the pride parade with me last weekend and it was their idea!

  • GregR

    What a jerk for a dad. I would thrown it back in his face and told him that it was me disowning him. I would have reminded him that he and mom created me. Who told him to assume that all of his kids would be straight? All parents do that.

  • Geoff B

    [email protected]jj: Your parent’s sound cool as hell. My Dad tried to get me to tend bar at a strip club he used to run. No joke.

  • lope4044

    I had a feeling my child was gay when he was little and it affected me as much as it did when I realized my youngest son was Left handed……….Big Whoop! I want happy healthy children.
    For my Gay child I want him to be happy, healthy, to feel loved and valued exactly the way he is. I want him to experience everything good that life has to offer, including finding passion and love. I am so sorry that any child has had to experience rejection from their parent…. create a circle of friends and “chosen family” who lift you up instead of making you feel bad about yourself.

  • ChrisSF

    GeofB-So what? It’s just a job, and bartenders make lots of money! I know straight people who’ve bartended in LGBT bars, so a gay man could bartend in a strip club. Or let me guess you’re one of those misogynistic gay men who find a woman’s body to be “gross” or “disgusting”.

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