Get ready to ugly cry, folks.
27-year-old Hasan Kilani is an LGBTQ activist from Amman, Jordan. Earlier this year, his father passed away.
Kilani first came out to his dad back in 2009, when he was 19 years old.
“In Jordan, coming out has many risks and consequences,” he tells Gay Star News. “I would feel so bad if my dad had passed away without knowing who I am and about the challenges I suffer.”
While Jordan is further along than many other Middle Eastern countries when it comes to LGBTQ rights, gay people still have no legal protections from discrimination, and many people face the threat of being disowned by their families as a result of coming out.
Kilani’s father, however, was supportive when he learned about his son’s sexuality.
This year for the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia, Kilani decided to write his late father a letter, thanking him for the acceptance he showed in hopes that “he will be listening from somewhere”
“I wish I had a true chance to thank you enough for being who you are, and to thank you for supporting me,” his letter begins. “Thank you for loving me for who I was and accepting me for the person I was determined to become.”
“Your last words were ‘I’m proud of you’,” he continues, “and now I want to tell you that I’m proud of you as my father, I’m proud of my siblings who continue to carry the love and the pride that you gave to us.”
“We learned how to love truly and unconditionally in a time and world you can’t find this kind of love.”
Read Kilani’s full letter below:
My dear father,
I wish I had a true chance to thank you enough for being who you are, and to thank you for supporting me emotionally as no one has ever understood my emotions the way you do. Thank you for loving me for who I was and accepting me for the person I was determined to become.
I remember when I first came out to you discreetly, without telling anyone else in the family because I was confused about my feelings, I knew that you would not be violent towards me or disown me. But I never expected your reaction when you told me nothing had changed and that I needed to be strong instead of being afraid and shameful.
I knew that you truly loved me regardless, unlike many Arab parents who want their children to be the way they want them to be and place so much expectation and pressure on them to fit a certain image to please them and society.
I really admire you for the way you dealt with me and my siblings in respecting our choices and perspectives. We grew up to be fearless and you have taught us to be fair, kind, independent; to be a rebel and to be open.
I felt the need to tell you now that I’m so proud of you.
In the last day of your life you kept discussing with me my future plans and you asked me to continue achieving my dreams. You hoped I would find a scholarship for a masters degree and encouraged me to continue the work I’m doing with the LGBT and marginalized communities.
When you told me that one day people would appreciate my work and I would set an example as a leader, I panicked.
Then I called my sister in the early hours telling her that you kept me awake to talk about things that could have been discussed at any time and not at midnight when I should have been in bed before a day’s work.
I remember I told you: “Baba we can talk and discuss this stuff later.”
You looked at me and said: “I’m sorry, but I felt the need to tell you now that I’m so proud of you.”
Your last words were “I’m proud of you”, and now I want to tell you that I’m proud of you as my father, I’m proud of my siblings who continue to carry the love and the pride that you gave to us.
We learned how to love truly and unconditionally in a time and world you can’t find this kind of love.
photo credit: Facebook