By the time I reached my late 30’s I’d been out of the closet for years. My family knew I was gay (since middle school) and most of my closest friends had known since college. In my professional life, colleagues at the office repeatedly met my husband. There was no question, I am gay: unashamedly.
I was out everywhere.
But, two years ago, when I became a father, something unexpected happened. Suddenly, and almost incessantly, I found myself having to “come out” over and over again.
No, strangers don’t randomly query me about my sexuality as I wait for the bus or order at Starbucks, my two boys in the stroller before me. Rather, the sight of my twin sons and my slim gold wedding band leads many of the folks I now encounter to simply assume I’m straight. It occurs everywhere: at the park and playground, swim lessons and playdates, the pediatrician, pharmacy and at McDonald’s where my little boys love the ice cream cones.
And it happens all the time.
During the summer, after my husband leaves for work, I take the twins for a session on the swings, a walk on the beach, or a stroll around the park. And like clockwork, some well-meaning fellow parent or even a stranger invariably asks about “my wife” or “their mother.”
“You mean husband, not wife,” I respond.
Sometimes, depending on my mood, I’ll deadpan, “There is no mother — their other parent is a dude.” This transpires so often in such similar places and at similar times that being a gay dad has begun to feel a lot like living in Groundhog Day — Bill Murray’s now classic 1993 film.
For me, every day with our kids seems like National Coming Out Day, and I’ve started to accept that it will probably be like this for a long, long time.
What I’ve realized is that no matter how “gay” your friendship circle is or how strong your community of fellow gay dads, being a parent immediately thrusts you deep into the heart of the heterosexual conventionality complex.
True, LGBTQs are now well represented across most mainstream media, and yes, same-sex marriage has become the law of the land. But let’s face it: Most parents are straight. And, such is the wont of the human mind, they’re conditioned to think that all of their fellow parents are straight, too.
This is the other side of coming out. And slowly we’re showing that there isn’t just ONE way to create ‘family’. And it highlights the ever so important reasons for more and more of us to come out!
We want to hear your story—please share it with us!
Each Sunday we feature a new Coming Out Story on the Latter Gay Stories blog. Coming out is an important process that is different for everyone; some experiences are difficult; while others are heart-warming and inspiring. Coming out is rarely easy—but your story will help others draw inspiration from your own experience.
We rely on weekly submissions to keep the Coming Out Stories alive and invite you to share your story now.
Your story can be shared anonymously.