"Nand'yan na 'yan, ano pa'ng magagawa natin? Lahat naman ng pamilya, may bakla. At least, sa atin, alam na natin kung sino."
"It's reality, what else can we do? Besides, there's someone gay in every family. At least we now know in our family who it is."
That's what my dad said after I had confirmed the "gossip" that I'm gay. I told them it was no gossip. My mom proceeded to weep and gently sway forwards and backwards, mumbling "Diyos ko, Diyos ko..." My God, my God...
In just three sentences, my dad managed to:
- Acknowledge that my being gay is real - finally. They must have suspected all along, like most parents do. But whilst my mom, to whom I have always been closer, seemed to have been hoping for a miracle from God in heaven for me to change, my dad knew it was Game Over. Everything finally made sense. Going to the beauty parlor for my haircuts even after his explicit instructions to go to the barber. My lack of interest in basketball, even after he had purchased a PBA-grade ball for me. Non-stop Evita on long road trips. Glee Club.
- Respect me as an adult. In fairness, I was already 18 at that time. By accepting my answer at face value, daddy showed me that he had prepared himself to hear the truth. My mom, on the other hand, might have been hoping for an answer that would mean an easier life for her "original baby" - that's what she calls me. Through simpler words, my dad told my mom: He's a grown person. It's not a phase. It's not something we can do anything about. He's the gay one. He's the one that needs to do something - IF something needed doing.
- Trivialize being gay. Really, where's the interest if it's something that every family has? Daddy must have been thinking about my cousin, Grant, who had been making a living as a stylist from a very young age, and without whom his sister, Gayle, wouldn't have won a truckload of beauty titles. Of course there also were priests in Cagayan who were very clearly flamers. They'd have already burned in hell if God didn't love them as part of His family, too.
- Revert to humor. Dad meant: Now that we know who our gay member is, we can all relax. It's not me. It's not Igi. It's not Vincent.
Of course we all know that there may be more than one gay in a family, particularly when both parents are gay, to start with. But as progressive as my dad was at that time, I don't think he would have been prepared to have two or more gays amongst his six kids. He was fine with just the one, he had reached his quota, please, let that be the end of it.
Daddy, I think it is. I'm the only one, and look - I turned out OK.
"Basta tapusin mo ang pag-aaral mo," he said. Just make sure you finish your studies.
"I will," I promised. And I did.
What does being gay even have to do with whether or not I got my degree, anyway?? But I kept my mouth shut and just gave him and mommy a tearful, relieved hug.
It was so good to end that episode on daddy's good side; I was so scared he'd raise a big stink, disown me, throw me out, etc. He took a chance by confronting me with the issue. I took a chance by telling him the truth. We only had to give each other the benefit of the doubt. After all, I'm his son. He's my father.
Happy Father's Day, Daddy.
I love you.