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In a touching video on their popular YouTube channel, Aaron and Austin Rhodes, twins better know as the Rhodes Bros, called their dad to make a difficult — and very public — declaration: both brothers are gay.
The twins launched their YouTube Channel in July, and have gained more than 70,000 followers in the six months since debuting their first weekly video. In a one posted Wednesday, entitled “Twins Come Out to Dad,” the brothers roll the camera as they go through the emotional process of telling their dad about their sexual orientation.
At the beginning of the video, which has already been viewed more than 800,000 times, the 19-year-olds come out to their fans, and then explain that everyone in their family already knows except their father. They want to tell him before the video goes live, they say, but have decided to capture the whole thing on tape. Then, as they prepare to deliver the news, the tears start flowing.
“I thought my dad might be really upset,” Aaron Rhodes tells Yahoo Parenting of his emotional reaction. “I was expecting the worst but hoping for the best.”
Rhodes’s parents are divorced, and he and his brother didn’t see their dad, a corrections officer in Ohio, very often as kids. “I remember growing up and being so afraid of him finding out,” Rhodes says. “My dad works in a prison. He doesn’t show emotion. He’s so masculine. The anxiety was just building up inside me for so long. ”
Eventually, after both brothers stop crying, Rhodes breaks the news: “I don’t really know how else to put it but, like, I’m gay,” he says. “Austin is too.”
“I just didn’t want you to find out from YouTube and I wanted to be able to have that conversation,” Austin says. “I just want to be able to have you behind us 100 percent and I don’t want you to not love us anymore or anything like that.”
Their father’s reaction is everything they’d hoped for: “You know I love you both, that’ll never change,” their dad says. “You’ve gotta live your lives, you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do.”
Later in the call, he elaborates: “I can’t undo being your dad,” he says. “I’m not going to sit here and try to tell you you’re not, or try to say change. You’re living your lives and that’s all you can do. I love you both.”
Rhodes says his father’s reaction was exactly what he’d wanted to hear. “It’s given me such respect for him. He’s amazing,” Rhodes says. “I felt like a weight had been lifted off me. It was one of those moments I’ll never forget — I felt so much love. I felt free, and to have my dad’s support is so amazing it’s hard to even wrap my head around it.”
To parents who may find themselves in a similar situation, Rhodes says all a kid wants is support. “I would have been fine if all my dad had said was ‘I love you and that’s all that matters.’ The rest was extra,” he says. “If parents are suspecting something, be sensitive. Don’t approach your kid about it because they are dealing with it within themselves. But if they approach you, even if it may make you feel uncomfortable, don’t take it out on your child. Deal with it within yourself. Like my dad said, you can’t undo being their parent.”
Since posting the video, Rhodes says their YouTube channel has already gained 32,000 more subscribers and calls the response “overwhelming.” But the revelation won’t change the brothers’ content too much, he says. “It won’t change the direction of the channel, but it will change what I can say,” he says. “I always felt stifled a little bit because I couldn’t say what I wanted or act the way I wanted. Now I feel freedom to be myself.”