The story

A Complicated Love

When I heard that my son Jared was gay, I was at first shocked, then deeply disappointed. My disappointment was partly because I had an expectation than all my sons would be straight. It never really entered my consciousness that one of my sons would turn out well, different.

My deep disappointment was not with Jared, but with myself. Jared was in Africa at the time and I was in Canada, and I started to question myself about mistakes I could have made in our relationship. I asked myself, ‘Why is Jared gay? What caused him to become gay? How did I inadvertently cause him to become gay? How have I failed him as a father?

We began to trade emails and three years later, Jared came to Canada and we went on a road trip through rural Nova Scotia. Our courageous conversations during that trip taught me that my judgments about homosexuality were way too hasty and my arguments far too shallow. I also learnt a lot about myself.

During our discussions, I realized I had missed the opportunity to sense and respond to the unique challenges that Jared was facing within himself as he was growing up. Sadly, I had been aware of what he was going through. I kept asking myself the question, if I had been there for him as he worked through and came to understand his sexual orientation, would things have turned out differently? Would our relationship be better now?

So what did I learn? One of the life lessons I learnt is that for me to understand and reach into Jared’s experience, I had to earn the right to speak into his life. Because love of self is always a prerequisite for love of others, earning that right evoked a tough choice for me. Ultimately, I would have to look at my own life, understand my own assumptions about homosexuality before attempting to understand his lifestyle.
~ Dene Rossouw

Go to the official site for A Complicated Love

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