House of Guramayle | a safe space for the Ethiopian LGBTIQ+ community

Letter To My Parents

  |  02.05.22

Mom, Dad, Before I go into the tougher bits of this letter, I want you to know how very much I love you both, and I hope that what I’m about to tell you won’t change that—Dad, with all our disagreements, you still have my utmost respect and reverence. However, I’ve come to realize that I can no longer hide from you because I’m only deceiving you, and there should be no need for me to go this secret alone. I hope these revelations won’t get in the way of our semi-cordial relationship.

Mom, Dad, I am gay. I have always known that I was different, but I spent most of my teenage years denying my sexuality. I played word games with myself like, ‘I am not gay, I’m just attracted to men’ or ‘I’m not gay, I’ve never slept with a guy.’ All in an attempt to deny what should have been obvious all along.

In some sense, I was lucky that nobody peered into my inner struggles. My commitment to religion, interest in sports and martial arts, plus my general lack of feminine mannerisms, were convenient disguises for an inconvenient truth. Perhaps that has helped me fly under the radar for most of my teenage years, But I no longer want to fly under the radar. I’m tired of spending countless hours trapped in my thoughts, tired of scrabbling my thoughts and feelings down on paper, tired of saying one thing to you while thinking another, tired of pretending to be something that I’m not. It ends here; this is who I am. How you deal with it is up to you.
Mom, dad, coming to terms with my sexuality was the hardest thing I ever had to do. I fought my nature tooth and nail, trying to be like other kids. I spent hours, days, and weeks praying and pleading with God to make me normal. I’ve wept on my knees for hours at church, asking, ‘why me?’ ‘why did I have to be cursed this way?’ but nothing changed. The holy water I drank every morning did not cleanse me of my gayness; there was no priest or exorcist I saw that could rid me of my nature. Because gay is not what I am, it’s part of who I am. I know this might be so unbelievable that you take it for satire, but there are no jokes here.

Though I was always in a death struggle with my ‘urges,’ my entire childhood was not a facade. I did not play sports to hide my sexuality from you. Those were my genuine interests, and I still enjoy the occasional game of football and some light sparring. I understand that those are not things you usually associate with gay people, So I’d like you to extend that revelation a bit further.

Dad, I remember the first time I told you that I had gay classmates in college; your first reaction was disgust, followed by a warning to make sure they do not know where I live. I am not writing this to chastise your comments, but this is the sentiment of a person who has never met a gay man. Well, that has changed. I, your son, am gay. Unless you believe that I have always been a sex-hungry pedophile and rapist in the making, the one gay person you know, i.e., me, am nothing like you thought a gay person should be.

I can tell you both that almost everything you think you know about people like me is completely wrong. No, we are not all drug addicts. Although some suffer from substance abuse, ALthough this is not just a gay issue, Do I need to point out that almost everyone you and I know who has substance abuse problems is straight? No, we are not all promiscuous. Some are, others are not. You have to understand that the gay community has as much diversity as the straight community.

I could not keep this to myself anymore. I know this letter can not and does not address all your potential questions, but I am happy to answer any questions you may have. I understand that this will not be an easy letter to read; it wasn’t easy to write either. All I ask is that you try to empathize with my situation. If I decide to send you this, it will be knowing that this might be the last time we speak. But I am tired of hiding my nature from you only to be afforded a half-hearted chat once in a blue moon. If the truth separates us, so be it. I’d rather be alone for who I am than keep you for who I am not.

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