One of the hardest things about being gay is the lack of acceptance. It’s not the horrible things shouted by preachers and other religious freaks at pride, either. No — it’s the way people who should love you unconditionally turn their backs on you because they can’t accept who you are. These people sometimes include your own flesh and blood — even your parents. That is just what happened to Patrick Bradley, the proprietor of TheGayFoodie.com.
Bradley married the love of his life three years ago, and his parents wanted nothing to do with what is arguably the most important event in their son’s life. Instead, he has been forced to accept, “for the sake of the family,” that his parents are raging bigots, and that said bigotry is directed at him. No longer able to stomach the silence on the subject, Bradley wrote a beautiful, heartfelt letter to them that is nothing short of perfect. He also sent it to his entire family, rather than just his parents, so that everyone could see what kind of damage their bigotry was doing to him, their own child. Without further ado, here is the full text of that letter, courtesy of Queerty:
Dear Mom and Dad,
It’s been 890 days since the day that you both decided not to partake in my wedding. I don’t know why it’s taken me this long to say anything about it. Perhaps I’ve been afraid of what the family will think, what the family might say. Or perhaps I’ve been afraid of losing evenmore of my wonderful, beautiful family, whom I think about day and night.
But the time is now because I’ve finally grown too tired of the 890 days and nights of being haunted by your presence—by your lack of presence, to be more precise. I’m tired of night after night of dreaming of you. And tonight, I had the most unpleasant of dreams—one that jolted me from my sleep and disallowed me to return to it. So at 6:22 a.m., after little more than three hours of sleep, I’m writing this letter to you—knowing that it is taking from my opportunity of getting a full night’s rest before work; but I’d rather work on little sleep than on little dignity.
As not to keep anyone in the family excluded (any longer), I’m sending this letter to everyone involved. I want everyone to know what had happened on my last visit to you, before my beautiful, wonderful wedding. I’m not writing this letter in an act of vengeance (even though it feels like it is), but rather, I’m doing it because I’m tired of walking on eggshells around my siblings, godchildren, nephews and nieces. I’m tired of having to be “civil” with both of you, “for the sake of the family.” I’m also tired of the unwanted holiday and birthday gifts, and I’m tired of you having the audacity to speak to my husband (and myself) as if nothing has happened. Have you no shame?
I think it’s time that I told my side of the story to the family, as I’m sure you have already told yours. I want everything to be out in the open, so that I can feel like I have all of my dignity with me when I will undoubtedly see you at family gatherings—gatherings which I now would rather avoid if it means that either of you will be present; I have other ways of seeing my family.
On May 13, 2013, I made the trip out to New Jersey—the day after Mother’s Day—to take you out for lunch because I had to work the previous day. You picked me up at the train station and we stopped at A & P to pick up a birthday card for one of the boys. On the way there, I told you about how Michael’s extended family, who’d be traveling from Georgia, Colorado and beyond—in part to meet you!—were so excited about meeting you. You simply replied that you both would not be going to the wedding. I tried my best to retain composure, thinking that I’d be able to change your mind before the big day.
By the time we left A & P, you started citing the bible, while unsuspecting shoppers were bustling about us, running their afternoon errands. And by the time we got back to the car, you’d mentioned your fear of an angel appearing to you, saying, “Stop praying for Patrick! He’s already in hell!” I knew then that it was time to go to my last resort and give an ultimatum which I never expected would be fulfilled.
I explained to you, simply and calmly, that if you (both) did not attend my wedding, you would not see me again after the wedding: no holidays, no birthdays, no hospitals, no funerals. What I heard next put me into a state of mild shock. You followed up, quickly and readily, with, “We know that! I talked to your dad last night and we already accept it! We said that we give you back to God!” I recall other things being said, which I’ll omit here. As I sat in shock—shock that you would rather never see me again than attend my wedding—you simply moved onto your next subject: “Well, I guess you don’t want to go to lunch anymore.” As I opened the car door to walk back to the train station, you offered, “Let me drive you back to the train. Let it be the one last thing that I do for you.” If there was any doubt in my mind that I’d misunderstood what you’d said to me previously, you had clarified your intentions then and there.
Mom and Dad: By not attending my wedding, you rejected me, and you rejected my husband, who is my own immediate family. I, in turn, reject anyone that rejects my family—out of dignity and respect for it. But I am offering resolution.
I will forgive you both for what you have done, if you, in front of the entire family (from youngest to eldest) admit that what you both did was wrong; admit that you both should have been at the wedding. Because I do think that what you both have done is shameful. You’ve torn a family apart. But what breaks my heart most is what this has done to the youngest in the family—the ones who were too young to know, or too young to understand what was going on. The ones whose only conclusion was perhaps “Patrick must be bad” or “He must have done something wrong because Grandma didn’t go to his wedding.” That is where I think you both should bear the shame, not me.
I want everyone to know everything. And maybe tonight, I’ll finally be able to sleep the whole night through.
With Best Intentions,
This letter is nothing short of perfect, and hopefully it is an eye-opener to for homophobes who happen to, despite their bigoted views, love someone who is gay. It does irreversible damage, and that isn’t what we should do to people we love.
This is my worst fear, personally, as a gay woman. Though they are no longer as openly homophobic as they have been in the past, my own parents have serious religious issues with homosexuality. Luckily, I’m single, and there’s no one who I am even thinking of dating at the moment, much less marrying, so that part of things is a moot point. I suppose, secretly, I avoid getting serious with any of my girlfriends out of fear of how my parents will treat them. I look at my heterosexual sister and her awesome fiancee, and know that no fiancee of mine will ever be a part of my family like he is. It won’t be allowed, because they won’t view our relationship as valid, acceptable, or right.
I salute you, Patrick Bradley, for having the courage to tell your family how you feel, and what they have done to you and your husband. You are a good, decent man, and I am so glad that you have found a life partner who loves you, and who you love in return. You are an incredible example and inspiration to me. If my parents refuse to come to my big gay wedding, I won’t just take their bigotry — I’ll call it out. Thank you for giving me the courage to do so.
Featured image via screen capture from Queerty