Dan Pearce holds a special place in the hearts of the evoL= blog team. We would not be here if it were not for him. No, he is not our Dad… and we would all be SOMEWHERE without him, but we would never have met, and we would not have created evoL=.
Dan wrote a blog piece over a year ago called “I’m Christian Unless You’re Gay”. It was a sensible piece with a core observation on Christians who seemed to lose all sense of their Christian principles when it came to their reactions to gay people. The piece went viral. Our blog team came together as we met in the discussion section writing pro-gay posts to those who were deriding Dan’s points. I had caught wind of the article early on, and was one of the early responders to it. I shared in a post how I was a gay Dad, and my appreciation for Dan’s work, and how I felt about my sons and orientation. I wrote about those feelings again later in my own blog piece. Dan commented on his Facebook page and called me a “rock star Dad”.
Now Dan is the rock star. (Not that he ever wasn’t one.) Today, he publicly came out as bisexual.
He is getting lots of support… all good as far as I can see. I wanted to write him a special note, however, and here it is:
Here is my letter to Dan:
I am very proud of you. Coming out is a very personal thing and by doing it publicly, you have helped many others. More than you will ever know.
My sons are both 10. Both adopted through fostercare, they are actually 4 months apart. My younger son stands a good 8 inches taller than his brother and speaks more like a teenager than a 10 year old. For that reason, they have decided that he is the big brother, and my other son is the older brother.
You, to me, are the BIG brother blogger. You have built your brand, your experience and I have read your guidance and learned from it. I am getting my own collections here on evoL= and on the Huffington Post, but am a mere novice. But on coming out and being a gay dad…. I am the older one.
So here is my open letter to you, based on decades of me traveling the road you are now on….
First… Dan. I knew.
I did not know because of what you wrote about. I knew because of what you did not write about. I knew not because of what you reacted to—but because of what caused you to react with stress. In any case, I knew, as other LGBT people know when we see someone trying to make their way. It is a helpless feeling to watch because the only answer is to let the person find it out for themselves. You can’t tell them, they won’t believe you, or they will and will close you out as if YOU are the issue itself. Right outside their closet door.
Welcome to the world outside the closet. It is both an exciting, and scary place. It is also the place where you will find true love. Not just the true love romantically, but the true love from family and friends that you have been denying yourself.
When you live in the closet, you know that every time someone says “I love you”, it is a lie. It is not because they are being dishonest, it is because inside you there is a voice that says “that is all well and good, but they love who they THINK I am… if they only knew…” Well. Now they do. We all do. And we really love the real you.
As you take that in, your confidence will grow. Your fear of what others will think and fear of rejection will be replaced with self worth and an assertive expectation of acceptance. You have every right to that acceptance. You will find your world dividing, and it will not be as you expect. Many people in your world will come to question their pre-conceived notions of bisexuality versus you, the man they know. Many will surprise you and discard the old beliefs and be grateful for the profound education (and you may have to give them some time to do this…). Others, a few, will go the other way. You have to let them. The sad news is , they were never your real friends, the good news…now you know.
Give others in your life bandwidth. Look at your own road to coming out, one in which you had the guidance of your own internal, albeit mixed up, feelings. They have to travel the same road you did, but without feeling the feelings…which makes it even harder for them to relate. They will need to hear your feelings, argue with them, and process them. Be patient. They will wear out your patience, trust me, but you owe them that.
Be aware that while you threw open your closet door, many of your family may have just be thrown into ones of their own. Who do THEY tell, who can THEY trust? What will people think of them having a bi brother, son, cousin…dad? There is a difference between them accepting you, and of them being out of their own closet. For some, your blog may have forced them out already beyond their comfort zone.
They have someone who can gently and non-judgmentally help them through that….. you.
The best of your life is ahead of you because it is the one you were meant to have as the real you. No one can give you shame over it unless you let them. And you must not let them.
You are carrying precious cargo, that bundle named Noah, and he will be watching. He, like my boys, has a real person developing in him too. How much worth and confidence he allows for himself will in no small part be guided by the worth he sees modeled by his dad.
Here is the wish I made for my sons. It is the wish I wish for you, Dan…and for Noah:
“Someday you will fall in love. As we have talked about, there are men who fall in love with women — quite a lot of them, actually — and then there are men who fall in love with other men, like Papa and I did. As you develop into the men you are going to be, your instincts will tell you which of these you are. Your instincts may also tell you that you are both. I don’t know.
Here is the important point, however: I won’t care. I only care that you are happy and the best you that you can be. I care that you strive for your dreams, that you are in touch with the spirit of the universe (I call Him God, but what you call him/her/it will be up to you), and that you treat all people well along the way. I won’t care about the gender or ethnicity of your future spouse; all I will care about is that you honor and nurture each other and support each other’s value as people, and that neither of you lose your identity behind the desires of the other. “
Good luck, Dan. We are here for you.
Signed, with Love,
Kathleen Zottarelli…much love, peace and joy on your journey!
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