CLICK TO LISTEN:. Temecula Bookworms Interview
Feb 18, 2018 at 1:22 PM
I want to thank Temecula Bookworms for reading “Voice for the Silent Fathers”. With every new reader, I feel like I’ve made a new friend and I hope the feeling is the same.
1. In your book, you identify disassociation as your coping mechanism before coming to acceptance. What created the shift?
My disassociation or my detachment ended when I came to the point when I was really doing my own personal evaluation of who I am. When the suicide situation came into play, knowing that homosexual teens have the highest suicide rate, my son’s sexuality meant nothing to me. All I wanted was for him to live. I didn’t have the answers to how I would deal with his gayness, but death is final, you can’t come back from that.
2. Once you decided to accept your sons’ lifestyle how did you move towards a relationship with him and what was his initial response?
There were always small steps throughout the years. One that stands out is when I asked him if he was gay and he said “No” because he knew that’s the answer I wanted to hear, fearing my response if he told me the truth. I told him I would love him if he was but he didn’t believe that, and why should he when I mishandled other situation in the past. But when I wrote him the letters explaining I always knew he was gay and accepted him, his initial response was a little too much for me, with wanting to tell me about his boyfriends and talking to me like a friend instead of his father. I explained that to him and he respects that. We have boundaries that continue to grow more and more still.
3. What made your move successful for you?
The fact that there was nothing wrong with accepting my son. Once I chose to accept the truth of what is, there was a weight lifted off my shoulders.
4. In your book, you visit the concept of accepting relationships between parents and their gay children and the lessons you have learned the hard way. What are some of the primary lessons you have learned and how can a parent avoid those pitfalls?
I’ve learned to not judge what I don’t understand. All that stress, hurt, and feeling of disappointment were all my self-inflicted wounds because of my closed-mindedness. There’s no perfect way to avoid the pitfalls, that’s parenting. Your child knowing that their sexuality isn’t a determining factor in the relationship is the key to success.
5. As a father of a gay man, when you were targeted by your friends how did that play itself out in your life?
When my friends would joke about the possibility of my son being gay, I gave the macho gangster responses like “I’d kill him” or “I’d disown him” but he was just a kid. My friends have supported me. I’ve been congratulated for having the courage to admit I have a gay son, which is sad when you think about it.
6. How can fathers of gay men better support their sons and defend the relationships they have with their gay sons?
By making sure their sons know they have their love and support first. But then I’m still finding that I take steps to show it by asking about his current boyfriend and discussing different aspects of having a healthy relationship. Once when I called him, his boyfriend was there and I asked to speak with him. That meant a lot to my son and for his boyfriend at that time. So it’s not only saying you accept them but taking the actions to show your support.
7. A lot of people think that being Gay is a choice. What’s you’re feeling about that?
I don’t think it’s a choice. That’s like me saying, one day I choose to be heterosexual. I’ve always been straight and my son has always been gay.
8. What can we do as mothers to be more supportive of gay sons and their relationships with their fathers?
Force the fathers to read my book! But really, mothers might have to be the ones that explain to their sons that it’s the fathers who really have the problem. One reader told me that my son raised me, and on some level…he did.
9. What do you say to people who think being gay and living a gay lifestyle is sinful and we should not be accepting?
There was a time not to long ago when marriage of a different race was considered a sin and slavery wasn’t, all authorized using the bible. My God is one of unconditional love. I’ve experienced hell when I wouldn’t accept my son. I think calling the gay lifestyle “sinful” is a cop-out for those that fear change and refuse to evolve. It’s the easy way out of dealing with the reality that love knows no race or gender. Love is love.
10. Tell us about your next book series.
The Evolution of a Gangster Turned Guru is just what it sounds like. My spiritual journey of finding my true self, building a relationship with God and helping others to do that same.