What It Looks Like When A Father Disowns His Gay Son

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This week, a letter has gone viral that a father sent to his son, disowning him because he is gay. Here is its full text:


This is a difficult but necessary letter to write.

I hope your telephone call was not to receive my blessing for the degrading of your lifestyle.

I have fond memories of our times together, but that is all in the past.

Don’t expect any further conversations with me. No communications at all. I will not come to visit, nor do I want you in my house.

You’ve made your choice though wrong it may be. God did not intend for this unnatural lifestyle.

If you choose not to attend my funeral, my friends and family will understand.

Have a good birthday and good life.

No present exchanges will be accepted.



The letter was sent five years ago. James, who usually goes by Jamie, had this to offer upon sharing the letter this week:

It’s important to know just what this zealotry from Bryan Fischer, Maggie Gallagher, Dan Cathy, et al., does to everyday people. I’ve never done drugs, was an excellent student, an obedient child (far less trouble than many of my classmates), didn’t drink until I was 22 because it terrified me, and have had just 1 speeding ticket in my life. Yet I am still seemingly deserving of this terrible act of hate and cowardice that one person can place on another.

5 years on and I am still doing fine, though this letter saunters into my mind every once in a while. When it does, I say without hesitation: Fuck you, Dad.

Some might be quick to dismiss this letter as a hoax, but I can assure readers it’s not. In fact, I’m going to break the editorial fourth wall for this post to disclose that I actually know Jamie personally. We were friends in college — in the same degree program, in fact — and I can assure the world that he is very real, and one of the kindest, sweetest, and gentlest people I’ve ever known. Though I haven’t seen him since our last overlapping year of college, I remain connected to him through social media, and vicariously through his partner, fellow blogger Viktor Kerney, who posted about the letter at The Bilerico Project.

I, like many fellow LGBT bloggers and activists, argue daily here at ThinkProgress that the anti-gay rhetoric spewed by conservatives and the actions taken against the LGBT community have serious consequences. Time and attention has been dedicated to the Chick-fil-A controversy, for example, because Dan Cathy’s open condemnation of gay people and his company’s donations to hate groups and ex-gay ministries aren’t just offensive — they harm people. Study after study has shown the impact of family rejection on homelessness, the impact of bullying on depression and suicide, and the impact of societal stigma on the health and economic well-being of LGBT people. Here before you is an example of that harm in its simplest form: a father prioritizing his disdain for homosexuality over his ability to love his own son, his own flesh and blood.

Almost every group opposed to LGBT equality identifies somehow with defending the “family,” either in name or in messaging. But it is the anti-gay rhetoric they profess on behalf of families that actually destroys them. It’s up to those who so proudly turned out for fried chicken last week to defend and justify encouraging such rejection.