Karamo Brown shares that despite a little shock at his son coming out as pansexual, he loves him all the same.
In preparation of his upcoming children’s book I Am Perfectly Designed, Brown is making the rounds with media sources. The Queer Eye star worked on the book with his 22-year-old son Jason “Rachel” Brown. But as he told The Advocate, their relationship wasn’t always so smooth and collaborative.
In 2007, Karamo found out that he was the father of a 10-year-old Jason. While he came out as gay at 16, it turns out his high school girlfriend became pregnant (and chose not to tell him). Karamo ultimately rose to the occasion and took full custody of his son before adopting his son’s younger half-brother, Christian, in 2010.
While being a father of two was always challenging for Brown, he admits that one of the hardest moments was when Jason came out as pansexual earlier this year. And for Jason, the moment was just as hard.
“We have such a good connection of communication and I never hide anything from my dad, so when he heard this — and he was not the first person to hear this — I could sense that it kind of hurt him, and that’s why it transferred to a little bit of frustration,” recalls Jason.
Karamo admits that he felt a lot of emotions during the moment. One such feeling was hurt over his son not feeling comfortable sharing this earlier.
“I believe that the term ‘coming out’ is a bit antiquated and outdated in the sense [that] it gives the power to someone else to accept or deny you when, in actuality, what the process is, is that we’re letting people into our lives,’ says Karamo.
“So when Jason let me into his life regarding him identifying as pansexual there was a myriad of feelings that I had. First, he didn’t let me into his life regarding being pansexual until he was 21.
“This is a young man who grew up in a household where his father is a career gay … yet there was still a fear in his mind of sharing with me. When he shared with me that he identified as pan, I was, first of all, disappointed … I was a little hurt.”
On top of that, Karamo worried about outsiders complaining that he had turned his son into an LGBTQ man.
“When I got custody of Jason, people said, ‘Don’t have your son be raised with a gay man, because it’s going to turn him gay. And obviously, I know that’s ignorant, I know that’s not true. Someone’s sexuality cannot be determined by their environment, it’s who they are.
“But when he let me into his life [about his pansexuality], I immediately thought, Oh, here we go. Now I’m going to have to defend this. Here’s another fight. It was hard … I understood to some small degree what parents go through from a different lens — because my initial reaction for the first hour was not as positive as you’d think.”
That said, Karamo later realized that he needed to take a step back and get his feelings out of the situation. This is ultimately his son’s story.
“I felt betrayed by him lying to me and I had to go on this journey quickly, really quickly, to educate myself and then to remember this is his journey,” says Karamo.
And again, the two then worked closely together to work on a children’s book that focuses on accepting ourselves for who we are as people. The children’s book I Am Perfectly Designed will be released in November and is described by Publisher Macmillan as, “An empowering ode to modern families.”
And it seems, that’s a great lesson to learn from one modern family to another.