Gay Son’s Open Letter to ‘Shameful’ Parents

·Senior Editor

A gay blogger has written an open letter to his religious parents and posted it online, taking them to task for refusing to attend his wedding in 2013.

“It’s been 890 days since the day that you both decided not to partake in my wedding. I don’t know why it’s taken me this long to say anything about it,” began Patrick Bradley (pictured above), a New York–based food columnist and creator of, in his letter, published Nov. 23 in Out magazine. “Perhaps I’ve been afraid of what the family will think, what the family might say. Or perhaps I’ve been afraid of losing even more of my wonderful, beautiful family, whom I think about day and night.”

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Bradley reached out to magazine columnist Michael Musto and asked him to publish his letter, which, Musto notes, “provides a stinging rebuke to the small-minded way in which, to this day, supposedly responsible adults can turn against their own.” It was written during a fit of insomnia over the situation, Bradley writes, explaining that his aim is not vengeance, but to tell his side of the story.

“I’m doing it because I’m tired of walking on eggshells around my siblings, godchildren, nephews and nieces,” he notes. “I’m tired of having to be ‘civil’ with both of you, ‘for the sake of the family.’ I’m also tired of the unwanted holiday and birthday gifts, and I’m tired of you having the audacity to speak to my husband (and myself) as if nothing has happened. Have you no shame?”


Photo: Instagram

In his letter, Bradley recounts a pre-wedding visit with his mom in New Jersey, just after Mother’s Day of 2013, during which he tells her that the extended family of his fiancé, Michael, was excited about meeting her. “You simply replied that you both would not be going to the wedding. I tried my best to retain composure, thinking that I’d be able to change your mind before the big day,” he writes. But when mom started quoting the Bible in the supermarket — and then told him of her fear of an angel appearing to her, saying, “Stop praying for Patrick! He’s already in hell!” — he knew things would not be turned around so easily.

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Instead, he put forth an ultimatum: “I explained to you, simply and calmly, that if you (both) did not attend my wedding, you would not see me again after the wedding: no holidays, no birthdays, no hospitals, no funerals,” he writes. “What I heard next put me into a state of mild shock. You followed up, quickly and readily, with, ‘We know that! I talked to your dad last night and we already accept it! We said that we give you back to God!’”


International coverage. (Photo: Instagram)

Bradley wraps up his letter with an offer. “I will forgive you both for what you have done, if you, in front of the entire family (from youngest to eldest) admit that what you both did was wrong; admit that you both should have been at the wedding. Because I do think that what you both have done is shameful,” he says. “You’ve torn a family apart. But what breaks my heart most is what this has done to the youngest in the family—the ones who were too young to know, or too young to understand what was going on. The ones whose only conclusion was perhaps ‘Patrick must be bad’ or ‘He must have done something wrong because Grandma didn’t go to his wedding.’ That is where I think you both should bear the shame, not me.”

Regarding the letter, Jean Hodges, president of PFLAG National, tells Yahoo Parenting, “All of us are on a journey to understand the meaning and importance of love, and it’s not always an easy path; as much as we all have the capacity to love, we also have the capacity to hurt one another. In this moment, sadly, these parents seem to be in a place where their actions are causing only hurt.”

She continues, “I hope this man will continue to reach beyond the need for parental love to the other love surrounding him, including from his husband. At the same time, I am hopeful that at some point in the future, this relationship can heal. We see this kind of change at PFLAG all the time; we know it is possible.”

Bradley did not respond to Yahoo Parenting’s request for comment on whether or not he’d heard from his mother or father, although he told BuzzFeed that since mailing them the letter on Oct. 22, he’s seen them once and “they both still act as if nothing has happened.”

Meanwhile, news of his letter has been picked up by publications around the world, and supporters have been reaching out to him on his Instagram and Twitter pages. “Your parents are misguided and wrong,” noted one. Another posted, “God Bless your marriage… remember this it is already blessed by God because you found your soul mate!!”

Top photo: Instagram

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