Gift of love

Good parenting: How to welcome your gay child’s partner into your home


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A woman’s tweet demonstrating how her girlfriend’s family has welcomed her has gone viral. It’s in stark contrast to some members of her own family, with whom she no longer has contact after they expressed disapproval of her forthcoming marriage.

Kate Austin, who is originally from Ohio, says she normally spends Christmas with her family, but this year she decided she could no longer do so.

In 2019, she became engaged to her partner, Sarah Sulsenti. News of the engagement – and the beautiful proposal in Paris – warmed hearts everywhere.

Well, not quite everywhere. Austin’s family made it very clear they did not wish to attend the wedding and did not support the same-sex marriage.

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This week, Austin spent the holidays with Sulsenti’s family for the first time. A gift from her future father-in-law had a powerful impact on her. This wasn’t down to the nature of the gift itself, but because he signed the gift card, ‘Dad.’

“For those of you that don’t know, i’m not accepted by my parents for being gay. i have struggled for five years with them and decided this year to cut off contact. this is my first christmas not with them and this is how sarahs (my fiancée) dad tagged my gift 😭”

At the time of writing, the tweet has had nearly half a million likes and 30k retweets.

Austin added in a follow-up tweet, “My fiancée and I have been together since 2014. her dad has always been the best… tonight just confirmed it.”

Some questioned Austin not having contact with her family.

She responded: “We stopped speaking months ago due to years of emotional abuse. the door is open if they’d ever like to apologize and move forward but it’s okay to draw healthy boundaries.”

Others said that they had similar experiences and could identify with her.

Austin proposed to Sulsenti in Paris, France, in early October. The Philadelphia-based couple then wrote to Ellen DeGeneres, asking her if she would attend their forthcoming wedding in place of Austin’s family, who refused to do so.

In response, DeGeneres invited the couple on to the show last month. She said she wouldn’t be able to attend the wedding but instead gave them a check for $25,000 to help fund the free bar at the event.

In a series of Instagram Q&A’s yesterday, Austin revealed more details about her first Christmas with her soon-to-be in-laws.

Related: Straight dude spends hours building rainbow fortress for gay friend rejected by parents

Asked how she knew it was time to cut ties with her parents, she said: “I knew it was time because I was sad and upset more than I was happy when it came to them.

“The constantly made me feel like I wasn’t enough or that everything I did well didn’t matter because I was gay. After another round of nasty arguments with my mom, I just felt in my heart it was right! I do have a relationship with any family members that accept us as we are.”

Asked by someone else how to best support a friend whose parents don’t accept them, Austin says: “There’s a million ways.

“Love them wholeheartedly, exactly as they are. Ask how they are… there is no pain greater than parents not accepting you and it’s an easy pain to bottle up and put away. Let them vent and listen as best you can. Let them know that they have a family with you and you love them!”

Queerty has reached out to Austin for further comment.