As a kid, I had never heard my father being supportive of the gay lifestyle. To be absolutely fair, I had never heard him be unsupportive. But because of the nonexistence of subject in our lives, I didn’t know how he was going to react to the news I had finally decided to give.
It was three days before Christmas, and I was nineteen years old, the day I sat at the edge of my father’s bed and, without looking at him, told him I was gay. It took everything I had to say those words. Everything I knew at that moment was up in the air.
Since I was a little kid we were a self proclaimed “team,” just me and him. We would sit on Sundays and listen to music and he would ask me how it made me feel. We would watch movies and talk about them afterward, dissecting story and character. He would read every word from every draft of every story I wrote. He would see every show I was performing in, multiple times. Support, amazing support, is what my Dad had always been. I wasn’t at risk of just losing a father by this news, I was at risk of losing my best friend.
Looking back, there really was no need to worry. My Dad had been such an amazing support throughout my life and wouldn’t stop because of this one thing. He hugged me. He asked questions. He reminded me that I still was and would always be his son. He called me at work the next day to remind me. He left a message on my phone to remind me. And when I came home that next night, there were presents under the tree for the boyfriend I had just told him about.
Now that is a father.
I have known plenty of “Andrews” who fought tooth and nail for their parent’s approval, support, and love, in regards to being gay. I have seen many family relationships fall apart by this news and the horrible reactions of non acceptance. I have known plenty of “Alexs” who are at the turning point of understanding. I still know plenty of “Ruths” who will take even longer to learn.
When I was approached with this story, I hesitated. How should it be told? How do I reach down and connect with something so tragic and tell it through music? How do I work a play that is already beautiful and adapt it? I tried to look through Andrew’s eyes, the worry and fear...and found a link. But the real feelings began to flow, the real words began to appear, when I sat and thought about Alex. Alex has an amazing journey, the growing understanding and support…In essence I was going to turn a man who was opposite of my father, into everything my father is. There needs to be more of my dad in the world.
With that thought in mind, the words fell onto the page. The adaptation fell into place. The story started to sing. Very soon it will make its way on stage.
And knowing my dad, he will be first in line to see it.
This one’s for him.
Writer/Actor/Storyteller. Theatre Maker. Husband. Bad Hombre. Cat Taunter.
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