Growing up in Bangkok, getting to know LGBTQIA+ people was never a new thing for me. There’s such a large community there, I was saturated by it and it was just part of everyday life. But as open-minded as I am, when I found out my dad is gay it wasn’t easy.
From afar, my family looks just like any other. We often go out for dinner together and vacation together like other families. But the truth is, my parents got a divorce long before I even started walking.
I never knew what had happened to end their marriage. My mom and my dad seemed to be over it and had reached a point where they simply agreed to be friends. I never wanted to ask or dig anything up because the situation worked for me. I was perfectly happy with my family even though my mom and my dad don’t sleep in the same house.
Two summers ago, my dad was diagnosed with liver cancer. I guess my parents realized the time we have together is limited because they didn’t want to hold back the truth from me anymore. My parents finally decided to tell me why they were never able to make it work – my dad is gay.
I guess a part of me always knew my dad was gay or maybe bisexual because the whole idea was not totally shocking to me. I wasn’t angry because there was no reason to be. What I did feel was confusion; my dad led two lives and for years, one of them didn’t include me. I had so many questions running through my head all the time, but I didn’t feel like I could actually grab a hold of any of them. I felt like even if I had all the time in the world, it would never be enough for me to wrap my head around all them.
Because his time was running short, we started spending more time together to make up for what we have missed. I suddenly became a part of his second life that was once foreign to me. He told me stories that I never expected to hear from him. He introduced me to his fiancé. I got to know both of them and see how happy they are. Everything was new and it was all still so confusing. But I still didn’t have to try to accept him and those new things. I just did. It was a natural reaction because I love him so much.
After my dad came out to me (and the rest of the world too), a lot of changes started simultaneously happening. Once a regular teenager, I suddenly had an entirely new label. I became the girl with the words “gay dad” written across my forehead. They say curiosity kills the cat, but apparently most people didn’t mind taking a gamble on that old turn of phrase. Everywhere I went, there were questions. “If you’re dad isn’t into women, how were you even born?” People looked. People stared.
Seeing my dad coming out was harder than seeing my friends coming out. Open-mindedness was never the problem because it wasn’t hard to accept him. More than anything it was just a confusing transition because both our entire lives changed. But it only brought us closer together. In the end, I was able to look at everyone and smile. I wanted to show them all how proud I am of my dad.
The process of my dad coming out may have been a bit of a shock… but I could never consider it a shame.