How One Dad Helped His Gay Teen Son Come Out


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Earlier this month, a 38-year-old single dad borrowed his son’s iPad and came across his Google search history. “A lot of the search terms were along the lines of ‘I’m gay, what now’,” wrote the dad on Reddit, going by the username HeMeYou. “He has seemed slightly down recently, as in, he isn’t as cheerful as he once was, and I desperately want to tell him that I love him regardless of which sexuality he is.”

The father, who makes clear in the post that he is “100% supportive,” was looking for advice on how to communicate that to his son. “What are my options? Should I wait for him to tell me? Or should I make a few hints at it?” he wonders.

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Comments poured in, like this clever one from Redditor atomicsiren: “Google ‘how to tell my son I will love and support him no matter what’ and leave it in his search history.”

A few days later, the dad posted an update: “I started off with talking about general media with him, for instance I mentioned how awesome it was that Tim Cook (CEO of Apple) came out as being gay and I asked him what he thought about it and I was completely expecting him to give a typical teenager response like “yeah.. its good” or something like that but he actually gave me a detailed response which I absolutely loved because for the first time in a good while I’ve actually held a conversation with my son that felt really… rewarding,” he wrote. 

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The next day, after picking his son up from school, the dad asked his son if he had any crushes. “I wanted to make sure I didn’t say a gender when I asked him, so instead of ‘he’ or ‘she’ I used ‘they’,” he writes. At the end of the conversation, dad kept up the gender-blind speech, explaining to his son: “Well, whoever it is, they should be so lucky to have you as a boyfriend.” 

His gentle, supportive prodding worked: Later that evening, at the dinner table, his son told him he was gay. “I looked at him and couldn’t help myself from smiling, and I told him ‘____, you know I love you so much… right?’ and I got up and gave him a huge hug,” he writes. “I had my arm around him and he was leaning his head on my chest, and all I could think of was that I’m the happiest father on earth right now.”

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The deep Reddit exchange, with a little help from BuzzFeed, has gone viral, and Twitter users have been weighing in with approval. “Having a proper little weep at this story,” tweeted one fan, with others called out the dad for being “awesome” and providing “probably (definitely) the best thing you’ll read today.” Another noted, “Hey world? THIS is how you nail parenting…”

Psychotherapist Jonathan Alpert, author of “Be Fearless: Change Your Life in 28 Days,” agrees this father did everything right when approaching his son. “He didn’t put any pressure on his son, he put a safe and nurturing environment for him to be honest,” Alpert tells Yahoo Parenting. “At 13, the body is going through so many changes and kids are in the throes of puberty. That by itself can cause someone’s mood to be all over the place and create some confusion. Kids that age might not know what they’re feeling, and that’s OK. This father created a safe and loving space for his son to feel comfortable.” 

Discussing your child’s sexuality can be difficult, no matter what his or her orientation, and Alpert says parents should take a cue from this father. “It’s important to articulate to your children that you love them no matter who they love,” Alpert says. “Let them know that you will support their decisions, and that they should feel safe talking to you.” 

The father, who has expressed gratitude for the online support of the Reddit community, has advice for parents who might find themselves in a similar situation. “If the child grows up with hearing their parents talk about several forms of LGBTQ related topics shed in a good light, then it will be seen from a very young age that being LGBTQ is perfectly OK,” he told Buzzfeed. “I believe within a couple generations it won’t even be seen as a big deal. For the meantime, I think that as long as the parents keep a loving relationship with their children and really emphasize that no matter what, they’ll love their child, it will be as easy as it can get for the children of this day and age.”