Guest post by PhebeAnn.
My dad and I have always been close, but we have especially been so since my mum died in 2001, when I was 17, and my dad became my only parent.
I remember when I was around 12 – this would be the mid 90s – I told my mum that although I sometimes had crushes on boys, I thought I might be gay because I was definitely attracted to girls, and not just in a friendship way. My mum’s response was basically that I was too young to know and that while it was okay to experiment, she really hoped I wasn’t gay because gay people’s lives are difficult.
I don’t remember talking to my dad about my feelings at that time. After my mum’s response, I was hesitant to talk about my sexuality again. But then, when I was 18, I fell in love with my friend S., a straight woman. Falling for S. is another story, but suffice it to say, I have never been so lovesick before or since. This love was so elating and torturous that I couldn’t keep it to myself.
I remember telling my dad “Dad, I am attracted to girls,” to which he replied cheekily, “me too!” His casual answer is memorable because to him the news was just that: casual. It didn’t change anything between him and me. I’m a bit of an oddball, and so is my dad. He is the one person in my life who from the minute I was born has always accepted me for exactly who and what I am and has never asked me to be anything else. My sexuality was no different. When I told him I was in love with S., he was not surprised. He knew her well as my friend, and likes her very much. He grieved my unrequited love with me and provided a shoulder to cry on many times.
Our discussions were mostly focused on my feelings about S. We didn’t talk about labels as far as I recall. I don’t remember ever telling my dad I was a lesbian, which is how I identified at the time.