The Six Things I Want My (Gay) Son to Understand

The Huffington Post
Patrick Roth
Original Article:

1. You Are Bound by Nothing.

Your future is limited only by your desire to succeed and work hard. Want to be a star athlete? Work your arse off. Want to join the military? Aim high. Want to be President or Prime Minister? Go for it. Being gay in the West no longer prevents you from doing anything you want to do. You just have to want it bad enough and work for it tirelessly. Don’t be afraid of failure; it often teaches us far more than success ever could. Live authentically.

2. Being Gay Is a Big Part of You, But It Isn’t All of You.

Yes, you’re gay and your sexuality influences just about every aspect of your identity, but you are not a gay young man. You are a young man who is gay. You are not my gay son. You are my son who happens to be gay. If you get married, it won’t be a gay marriage, just a marriage. Oh, and for the record, I want grandkids. Don’t think being gay lets you off the hook on that one. It may define you, but it isn’t the sole definition. One day I hope it will be as irrelevant as your eye color. In the meantime, know that while there may be those who give you grief because of it, far more will not give it a second thought.

3. Know Your History.

You are fortunate to live in a loving, accepting environment where the fact that you’re gay is irrelevant at home and largely unremarkable at school. It hasn’t always been this way, and it still isn’t easy for everyone. There was a time not long ago when being openly gay was not just detrimental to success, it was potentially deadly. Countless numbers of men and women have fought for the relative safety and comfort you enjoy today. The modern gay rights movement, from the Stonewall riots to marriage equality, cost a lot of people real blood, sweat and tears, and it isn’t over. For many people around the world, being gay is still a deadly proposition. You need to honor those who came before you by fighting for those who will come after you.

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