This past weekend, openly gay New York Times columnist Frank Bruni shared a deeply personal story about his relationship with his father who wasn’t always so accepting of his son’s sexuality. Not only does the essay capture the momentum of a much bigger gay rights struggle in America right now, but it speaks to the personal relationship between a parent and child – and how the political and personal can sometimes collide.
“For a long while, my father’s way of coping was to walk quietly from the room. He doesn’t remember this. I do. I can still see it, still feel the pinch in my chest when the word “gay” came up — perhaps in reference to some event in the news, or perhaps in reference to me — and he’d wordlessly take his leave of whatever conversation my mother and my siblings and I were having,” writes Bruni. “He’d drift away, not in disgust but in discomfort, not in a huff but in a whisper. I saw a lot of his back.”
He adds, “And I was grateful. Discomfort beat rejection. So long as he wasn’t pushing me away, I didn’t need him to pull me in.”