Eight years ago, Reid Chandler came out to his family. A process he admits was “tough.”
In a recent post on Twitter, Chandler shares that his family has been “amazing” in the time since he came out and “made a lot of progress,” which he straight up (you’ll pardon the pun) appreciates.
But over the Thanksgiving holiday, his brother came out as well, an event Chandler characterizes as “tougher.”
As his dad drove Chandler to the airport after the holiday, the father dropped an unsettling comment regarding his second son’s coming out – “Don’t take this the wrong way, but it makes me and your mom feel like we’ve done something terribly wrong as parents.”
After processing the comment, Chandler wrote to his father about the remark responding to the steps backward it seemed to represent.
In sharing the missive on Twitter, which has now gone viral, he wrote: “So I love my parents and I won’t tolerate mean comments… but understand we are from a really southern, conservative background and me coming out was tough. My brother coming out last week was tougher,” Chandler wrote. “It took me that long to process but my dad needed to hear this.”
Here’s the text of Chandler’s message to his father:
Hey, I want to preface this text by saying I love you and you’ll always be my dad. I appreciate everything you’ve ever done for me and I have a lot of respect for you.
But a comment you made on the drive to the airport has kept me up all night every night this week. I don’t expect a text back from you and I don’t even know if I want one. But this needs to be said.
“Don’t take this the wrong way, but it makes me and your mom feel like we’ve done something terribly wrong as parents.”
How do I not take that the wrong way? Essentially you are saying that me being gay is a result of terrible parenting. That this is a pestilence we were cursed with. That I am a curse.
The belief system you and mom were raised on are not mine or Layton’s responsibility to tiptoe around or be sensitive to. Whatever you were taught about gay people-it is wrong. Point blank, period. End of story.
Imagine a parent telling their straight son he is a mistake. How wrong does that sound? That’s how you sounded to me in the car.
It is just as likely your child will be straight, bi, gay, trans, etc. You just weren’t raised to believe that and I guess I have to accept that. But I won’t accept feeling the way I’ve felt all week.
Eight years ago I came out to you and it’s been a journey for our whole family. You’ve been amazing all things considered and I thought we’ve made a lot of progress. You even invited my boyfriend at one time on vacation. Yet my brother comes out and it’s like we hit the reset button. It’s like you forgot everything you learned about love and compassion.
Be better and do better. Expand your mind. And if you don’t, fine, I can’t force you to and I certainly won’t bring this up again. But the train has left the station, Dad. My life is on the path it was always meant to be. Get on board or don’t. I will find happiness one way or another. It breaks my heart I have to even ask this of you.
Just because I love men doesn’t make me less of a man. And just because you don’t accept that doesn’t mean it isn’t true.
In follow-up posts, Chandler said he didn’t anticipate his message receiving the attention it has “but I guess that’s what happens when you put something on Twitter.”
He added that he considered removing the tweet because it felt “too personal” admitting he was “in an emotional space” when he tweeted it.
But after the overwhelmingly “warm and moving” responses he received (over 28,000), he decided to leave it up as it seemed to resonate with so many.
He also tweeted that many followers had asked if he got a response from his dad. He has but “sharing more of our conversation feels a step too invasive.”
Sharing that his father was “kind and loving” in his response, he added that, “Our family is very close and I know I’m privileged in that regard.”