Dear Gay Dude: Do You Think My Dad Is Gay?

Dear Gay Dude,

My dad has been happily married to my mum for over 15 years. We often tease him about how he must be secretly gay because he listens to Mika, Abba and Will Young and his favourite film is Top Gun. Last night I turned on his laptop and found he had gay porn websites up. He was on private browsing and had an extra private IP address program running. He had an account on the website – it must be something he does often. What does this mean?

From,

Confused

Dear Confused,

Oh my god. Okay, first of all, let me extend to you my deepest sympathies as I’m sure you are tripping out right now. Finding gay porn on your father’s computer definitely ranks high up there on the “Things I Would Never Want To Happen To Me” list.

So your dad is looking at gay porn and you want to know what it means. Hmm, okay. Normally, I wouldn’t have answered this question because it’s so intense but I surprisingly have some experience with gay dads. My father is straight but my mother’s father turned out to be gay or bi (that’s a long story for another day). I also used to date someone whose father had recently come out of the closet, and I have a best friend whose dad came out when she was in her early teens. Through listening to my mom and my friends, I’ve kind of gotten an idea of what it felt like for the family and how they recovered.

I’m not saying your dad is gay but at the same time, an account with a gay porn site is mighty suspicious. You really don’t know the situation though. For example, your mother might even already know about his fondness for men. It could’ve been something that was understood going into the marriage. I don’t know the dynamic of your family but if you have a sibling, maybe you should go to them first. I mean, you have to tell someone obviously. You can’t carry around the knowledge that your father might be gay without sharing it with someone. I think that would make you go crazy.

What I’m struggling with is whether you should go to your mother or father first with the information. If you tell your mother first, you run the risk of her not knowing and it turning into an absolute shitshow confrontation with your father. However, if you go to your dad first and are like, “Hi, dad. What is this I found on the computer?”, he could potentially freak out and pressure you into keeping it a secret, which would be TOTALLY fucked. You do not want all of that pressure and guilt resting on your shoulders. It’s not your job to protect your father. Everyone in the family deserves to know. But it’s hard to say about anything because I don’t know what kind of man your father really is.

However you choose to go about it, you need to understand that it will all be okay. Maybe not at first but it’s important to know that you will survive this. Because at the end of the day, he’s still your father. That doesn’t change. My friends are still very close with their fathers after they went through the gut-wrenching coming out experience. It was certainly hard at first and their families definitely went through a tough period but everything’s okay now. And it will be for you too. Again, I’m truly sorry that you’re going through all of this. I’m sure you wish you could forget that you ever saw the gay porn site. The only thing you can do now is move forward by figuring out what’s really going on with your dad. Talk to someone in the family and take it from there. Good luck! TC mark

Love,

Gay Dude TC mark

Ryan O'Connell

I'm a brat.

Trace the scars life has left you. It will remind you that at one point, you fought for something. You believed.

“You are the only person who gets to decide if you are happy or not—do not put your happiness into the hands of other people. Do not make it contingent on their acceptance of you or their feelings for you. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if someone dislikes you or if someone doesn’t want to be with you. All that matters is that you are happy with the person you are becoming. All that matters is that you like yourself, that you are proud of what you are putting out into the world. You are in charge of your joy, of your worth. You get to be your own validation. Please don’t ever forget that.” — Bianca Sparacino

Excerpted from The Strength In Our Scars by Bianca Sparacino.

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  • Gus

    ryan, your writing is awesome but unfortunately, this is complete and utter shit advice. i would recommend that Confused just forget that he had ever seen that shit on his dad’s laptop and just try to get on with life.

    what’s letting his dad’s secret out of the bag going to achieve? short of ruining the whole family, of course. no, the best option is to just forget you’ve ever seen this. it’s not an easy secret to keep, but i’m sure you’ve more shameful personal secrets of your own that you’ve never told anyone.

    your dad gave you the world. don’t fucking call him out like that.

    • pshhh

      You’re dumb.

      • Gus

        what an unnecessary reply. nothing to contribute? next please.

      • Gus

        what an unnecessary reply. nothing to contribute? next please.

    • DC

      Agreed.  GD is way off the mark here.  Not everyone in the family “deserves to know” something if Dad has things that he wants to keep private.  We all have things we want to keep private.  Some of them are awkward and difficult.  Some of them we’re ashamed about.  I don’t know what this Dad is or isn’t ashamed of, but the decision about what to keep private is his.  Sucks for Confused, but he should share it with non-family friends, talk it through with people who don’t know his family, and leave it at that.

    • Guest

      outing someone is a shitty thing to do (I was outed, it fucking sucked) however… I think it would be a good idea for the person to talk to his/her dad about it. This is my opinion, but I wish that instead of being outed to everyone at once, someone in my family would have asked nicely and with an open-mind, and not pressure me into saying anything…you know? It would have made it easier, and such a heavy weight lifted off my shoulders, if it were one person at a time. If the father is gay, it’d probably be a relief and given the option of possibly tearing a family apart (though I doubt that’d happen, the asker and mom seem like they wouldn’t judge and hate the dad) and having him live a lie forever… well. :/ I can only speak from my experience though. it’s a difficult question to answer..

  • http://twitter.com/ichrischen Chris Chen

    I agree with GUS, some secrets are best left untold. So his dad might be into gay porn, that’s his own business. Letting it out will only embarrass and humiliate him.

  • http://www.facebook.com/julianptate Julian Paul Tate

    Love you, Ryan. But total shit advice, dude. How would you feel if someone had preemptively forced you out of your little gay closet before you were ready? You’d be pissed and wouldn’t appreciate it. If Confused’s dad is gay, he’ll come to it on his own; it’ll surface eventually and the family will deal with it then. Otherwise, Confused should just stay confused and go on living his/her life.

  • space mtn

    yea dont tell anyone.  who cares its porn its gay so what

  • Anonymous

    This advice is absolutely horrible. NO, everyone in the family does NOT have a right to know what kind of porn Dad is looking at. What the hell, Ryan? 

    Don’t say anything, person who asked the question. It’s none of your damn business. Is it any of your Dad’s business what porn YOU watch? No. Move along and pretend it never happened. 

  • Bi Dude

    Having gone through this myself when I was 17 or so, I kinda take exception to your advice here, too, Ryan.

    Long story short: I found gay porn images cached on the family PC (while I was removing traces of my own porn viewership), didn’t say anything, turned out they were my dad’s, he came out to my Mom a few months later and then to me a few months after that.  Ultimately, my parents split up over it, but stayed very friendly through the whole process and were very considerate not to make it a super shitty time for me.  As an only child teenager trying to break away from my parents, I was actually pretty happy for anything that distracted them.

    Now, we’re all still quite close, my parents are still good friends and help each other move and stuff, and the period of uncertainty my Dad coming out created wasn’t a bad time for me at all.  

    I’d guess that looking at gay porn on the internet was a way for my father to explore a side of himself he’d been repressing his whole life (he was raised super catholic), and it could have turned out one of several ways.  Maybe Confused’s dad will come to the realization that he’s a bit bi and attracted to men, but wants to stay with C’s mother, maybe he’ll realize he’s totally gay and needs to date men, maybe he’s straight but gets off on gay porn for some strange reason, who knows right now!  Sexuality is weirder then we give it credit for and his dad, like all of us, deserves a little space to figure his out.

    If I were Confused, I’d do what I did, and let it sit and see what happens, let his dad figure out his shit first and then let the family know what’s going on.  If he had evidence his dad was *cheating* on his mom, fooling around with guys IRL without her knowledge, it would be a different story, but it doesn’t sound like that’s what’s going on here.

    Basically, Ryan, you need to chill, and to tell Confused to chill.  Assuming his dad’s a decent person, C needs to trust him to balance his needs and the needs of his family and come out when it’s right to do so.  I don’t think he needs to force the issue right now.

    • http://twitter.com/ichrischen Chris Chen

      This.

  • http://staugustinian.wordpress.com/ STaugustine

    “It’s not your job to protect your father.”

    Neither is it your right to go nosing through his laptop. 

    • Anonymous

      Confronting is the wrong word but mentioning it isn’t. If you’re an adult guy talking to another adult man (especially your dad) you should be able to start a reasonable conversation. Where it will go . . . well, we can’t know that but you have a responsibility to your mother to figure out what the situation is.

      • http://staugustinian.wordpress.com/ STaugustine

        “….you should be able to start a reasonable conversation…”

        …about the incredibly private stuff you saw while snooping?

        “you have a responsibility to your mother to figure out what the situation is”

        Because you’re the fucking secret police.  So, reverse the situation: Dad is snooping through grown son’s laptop. Same?

      • Anonymous

        Dad has no stake in the matter even if the son is married. You aren’t the police but you care about your mum and for all you know your closeted gay brother is the one who borrowed the computer and did it. It is better to talk about things than to wait and see what happens.

      • confused

        i like that you everyone automatically assumed i was a grown man. i’m a 15 year old girl who went on her dad’s laptop cause she couldn’t be bothered starting up the desktop computer.

  • Mr Shankly

    Comments seem pretty positive.

  • Jess

    I actually like Ryan’s advice. In a close family, I don’t see how a person could find this information and then forget it ever happened. I would at LEAST tell my brother, otherwise it would be too big a secret and I would go nuts. The dad is either an idiot or secretly wanted to be caught. Who would leave private browsing open with gay porn sites up? If he wanted to keep this a big secret, he would have.

    • Bi Dude

      I totally agree that if this bothers Confused, he should find someone (beyond gay advice columnists) to talk to.  Therapist?  Teacher?  Friend?  Sibling?  I just don’t think there’s anything to be gained by confronting either of his parents with it as if this is some kind of horrible secret.  

      Sometimes, people look at porn.  Sometimes, the porn they look at mimics the kind of sex they want to have, sometimes it doesn’t.  It’s not some kind of shameful transgression.  If you go poking around someone else’s computer, you might find out what kind of porn they look at.  That’s a risk you take.

  • woop

    Ryan’s advice is all kinds of rad. 
    As someone who went through this process – what with the talking to the Dad and the subsequent secret keeping (woo for ‘totally fucked’ families) – the last thing you need to do right now is leave it be. It might be nothing, your Dad and Mum might like watching some man lovin’ while they get busy (ewparentshavingsexew), or your Dad might be totally, utterly and fabulously gay. Either way, the cat’s out of the bag. I think it’s too much to expect you to just forget about it and y’know wander off into the sunset. You don’t necessarily have to ‘out’ your Dad, but I’d suggest at least speaking to someone/anyone.    

  • _|_

    I am surprised by this advice. I’m not saying that one should let this eat them alive from the inside out, but sex is complicated and porn is A space where fantasy rules.  Yeah, he may be gay, but if it were me (a gay dude who is very close to his father). I wouldn’t say anything. I’ve found his porn. It’s weird. but it’s his. and I want to keep it that way.

    What would one hope to accomplish by bringing this up?

  • skylar

    I am a straight girl who watches gay men porn. Sometimes I watch lesbian porn. Sometimes I watch straight porn. Thing is, there are so many different types of things that turn me on. But I still identify as straight and I’m sure my boyfriend would be kinda weirded out if he knew the types of things in porn that I’m into, but it doesn’t reflect my sexual preference, I’m still a straight girl who is super into my bf. This guys dad may or may not be gay but to make people feel like their person is tied to the type of porn they watch is awfully confronting and way too assumptive.

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