As many of you know, outside of traveling and entrepreneurship, I do keep a part time job. A few months ago I reduced my hours, and changed shifts, which puts me in the constant company of a liberal veteran.
He knows I run a popular blog, so every so often he drops by front desk with some controversy or thought-provoking topic to add to my blogging roster.
This week, he gave me two. This one is the first.
It’s a video by Riyadh K on coming out as gay to an Irish Catholic mother, and an Iraqi father, followed by his father making a confession that shocks both mother and son.
If you’ve got sensitive ears with an aversion to coarse language, do not watch the video.
Of all the personal confessions anyone has to make to their family, I think this is one of the most difficult. After all, if you can’t find acceptance among the people who raised you, where will you find it? This is especially difficult if you’re still a minor, and still living at home.
Every coming out story I’ve ever heard, the parents cry. Even when they come to accept the truth, and accept their son or daughter, it begins with tears.
I think that says a lot about where we stand when it comes to the LGBTQ community, even in societies that consider themselves egalitarian and accepting.
The good news is: many do overcome the obstacle and loss it seems to represent for them. And thankfully, in the case of Sam, it did not mean the end of his life.
Have you or someone you know come out to their family, as gay or some other variant of the LGBTQ community? How did the family react? I’d love to hear about in the comments below.
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17 thoughts on “Riyadh K: Coming Out and Dad’s Shocking Confession”
I had a friend that came out to his parents at 28 yo. His father just accepted it and his mother cried. But she cried because she knew it and she knew he never brought anyone home and why. She was upset he waited so long to tell her. After she he explained that he didn’t hide it from her because he was afraid, he was just not ready yet, she stopped crying and it was a non-issue.
Another friend came out to his parents and HE cried, not them. They basically said “OK, I know and I love you”, and he went upstairs to cry. He expected the tears and the drama, he was upset because he felt like his parents didn’t care. They did, they were just not surprised by his confession. So every family is different and to say all parents cry is unfair to the parents because they cry for different reasons and some don’t cry at all and are really just OK.
Thanks for sharing this Marla! I didn’t say all parents cry though. I said in every story I have heard or read, the parents cried.
As for the mother who cried because she was upset he had never brought it up, family and communication works both ways. If she always knew, she could have brought it up herself — if not directly, then indirectly.
A lot of my LGBT friends confessed to me, though they remained in the closet, because I suspected and made it clear where I stood on LGBT issues. Because of this they felt like they could share that personal part of their life with me. If parents suspect their child is LGBT but not comfortable talking to them about it, that’s one thing they can do to get the conversation off on the right foot, and sooner. 🙂
Yes, but there’s another issue. What if you suspect and you’re wrong? That closes off communication too. As a parent, it’s not an easy call, and every kid is different.
Well that’s why you don’t accuse. You just let them know where you stand, so IF they are, they have nothing to worry about with telling you. That’s why a lot of my LGBT friends had me as the secret keeper. They knew my stance on it, and that I would support them no matter what. One of my best friends from college is gay. Most take the bait, and some don’t. It is what it is.
I didn’t say accuse. I said speaking on your suspicion. I had a friend I suspected, and one day when we were talking, he mentioned a friend of his that was gay. He knew where I stood, and I almost asked him, but he followed up the comment with how he’s no longer friends because being gay is “unnatural”, “disgusting”, and a “sin”. I kept my mouth shut. Years later he came out to his parents and they accepted him and he disowned them because they accepted him the way he was and he felt he was wrong. Like I said, every child is different. His parents never thought being gay was any of those things-a friend of his when he was younger took him to his church and that’s where he learned that. And because the rest of us accepted him, we were no longer allowed in his life because he was a “pervert”. As far as I understand, he never made up with his parents but surrounded himself with likeminded individuals that didn’t know his orientation and remained single because it was easier than accepting what was naturally there for him. Had they said anything to him sooner, about 9000 things could have gone wrong — including him causing harm to himself because he was not ready to admit.
When it comes to people coming out, I agree with you, let them know you’re receptive if they chose to approach, but I feel it’s the parents that have if hardest because despite your best intentions it can go pear shaped at a moments notice. If you cry it’s wrong. Id you don’t cry it’s wrong. If you say it first it’s wrong. If you see nothing wrong with it it’s wrong. If you’re appalled it’s wrong. If you’re surprised they told you out of the clear-blue-sky it’s wrong. All of these are not wrong for everyone, but if it’s wrong for the person you’re talking to, it’s wrong. So what do you do? You wait until they’re ready to tell you, the respond in whatever way is organic to you. That’s my opinion anyway.
Point taken. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with me. 😊
I agree, the fact that parents cry reveals how far we still have to go as a society. I wish progress on these social issues wasn’t so freaking incremental, because kids are dying behind things like this and that is an unacceptable thing to have going on.
These guys are an adorable family, thank you for sharing it. And thank you for once again including a cultural factoid about another culture (tirteen) 😊
Thank you Cynthia, it really does. I guess for parents, they believe they’ve lost their grandparenthood, but there’s always adopting, or getting a surrogate mum.
Suicide rates in the LGBTQ community are very high, as is reckless behaviour. That’s the result of being treated as an outcast and given no rights.
I always tell homophobic people, if you don’t want gay people marrying your mothers and sisters and daughters to hide their preference, then let them be so they can marry each other.
And you’re welcome for the factoid! A lot of Irish people are blown away when they get to the island and note the similarities.
Here’s another: 25% of Jamaicans identify as Irish (part or whole), including myself. It’s the 2nd most common ethnicity on the island. 😄 Some people refer to us darker set as the Black Irish, though the term originally meant White Irish folks with black hair. 😅
My second husband was “black Irish” with the dark hair and eyes😊 and I did not know that there was that much Irish in Jamaica. I love the expanded definition of black Irish😍 because it just proves that globalization happened long before it became the buzzword du jour😄
Haha, indeed. The Irish came before the slaves, to work as indentured labourers. When slavery was abolished the Irish, the Indians, the Chinese and the Germans returned for indentured labour.
I actually grew up in a German settlement in Jamaica, where Blacks were a minority. My mom’s paternal grandparents are a German grandad and a Black grandma. He died in 2015 at about 106 years old, if memory serves. Naturally, some of his kids (mom’s aunts and uncles) had blue eyes.
We are a very diverse little island! 😊
106? That’s freaking amazing!😍
Yeah, he had a long life. Funny enough, I never knew his name. I called him “Papa U” from childhood until the last time I saw him in 2014.
Love is love is love. Great video. Our family accepts people for who they are, no matter what their sexual orientation.
That’s great! I wish I could say the same about mine, but homophobia runs deep in Jamaica. As for me, I don’t care. One of my best friends is gay 🙂
First of all – Irish accents are the best; secondly (but not less important) this family is amazing – so inspiring. Thanks for sharing.
Thanks for watching VJ. The family is amazing. I am endlessly amused by the parents. They seem like such an unlikely couple, but still obviously very much in love.
The Irish accent is interesting. The Jamaican accent is one of its derivatives haha. We pronounce many words the same. Case in point, how they say the word “thirteen” as “tirteen” in the video.