Early in our marriage my wife and I were still trying to figure out our opinions concerning Gay Rights. We didn’t really have the language or perspective to clearly discuss the issue, but there was one resolute thing we were in total agreement – that if one of our children were to ever come out to us, we would have lived our lives such that we wouldn’t love them even a single iota less.
I can pinpoint that simple, soulful declaration as the real start to our journey of acceptance and activism. As the years have rolled on, our two children have truly blossomed as unique, self-realized little human beings. We’ve always encouraged them to be who they are and to love what they love and not be ashamed.
Fast forward to Halloween of this year. Unlike Maebe, who fluctuated through a dozen costume ideas at least, Bowie was adamant about being Rapunzel. For months he’d rattle off what he wanted – ‘pretty shoes, purple dress, and loooong blonde hair!’. A week or so before Halloween I got a text from Rachel. It was a video of Bowie trying his new costume out and absolutely loving it. His little face beamed as he twirled and did his signature Bowie dance and ran his finger through his new ‘loooong blonde hair’. I was so happy to see him so happy. And then suddenly my heart dropped.
Bowie was four now and in pre-school. He would have to wear his costume and walk in the pre-school parade. I suddenly thought of the kids who would laugh – the parents who would point. I thought of how cruel people can be to a sweet, sensitive boy like him. And what scared me the most was that I couldn’t protect him from it.
So I wrote him a letter – one that may not be delivered for 5 – 10 – maybe 15 years from now. Maybe never. But in-case anything ever happens to me, I wanted to get it in writing how I feel toward the son I love so very much.
To Bowie – my beautiful son,
As I watch you dance in your ‘Frozen’ underpants to a silly song on the television two thoughts come into my head. The first is how deeply, almost painfully, I love you. Your beautiful smile – your wide blue eyes – your love of kisses and tickles and anything purple. You are such a special, radiant child and I feel humbled to be your father.
The second thought is darker. I think of the world and how cruel, how bitterly bastardly, bitingly cruel it can be. It is my greatest fear that this cruelty will crash into you like a tidal wave when you are at your most innocent, when you are at your most vulnerable, when you are at your most wide eyed. When this happens, and for most people it inevitably does, it may cause you great pain – and even worse it may cause you to doubt in yourself.
Bowie, there’s one thing I want you to never doubt – and that is my love and acceptance of you. If you one day identify yourself as gay I will embrace you – I will kiss your forehead and your cheek and hold you so close I can feel your heart beat and you can feel mine. It is your heart that really matters – and the blood in your veins that I am so proud share.
So Bowie – dance. Never let the world take that from you. It will try – many will make you feel ashamed, tell you you’re not good enough, that you are inferior or faulty or unworthy of real love. But those are lies – damned lies. And if by the time you get this letter the world has already taken something from you, find me, take my hand, and we will dance together.
All my love.