May 6, 2010

May 6, 2010
Happy Birthday Dad

Welcome to another day in my life. Today is Thursday and I hope you are having a safe and great week. It is another beautiful, hot and humid day here in south Florida. Except for the few rainy days, it is always hot and humid in south Florida this time of year.

Today is also my Dad's birthday. So I would like to say Happy Birthday Dad. Since it is Dad's birthday and my dad is an important person in my life, I thought I would dedicate a blog entry to him.

See I come from a time when most of my friends were disowned by their parents when they came out as gay and/or HIV positive. After all, I do come from a conservative, religious, military and southern family. Families with that background were generally not very accepting especially in the 70s and 80s.

Now I do not think anyone dreams about having a gay child much less one with HIV and AIDS. Most parents hope the best for their child and even if they are not homophobic; parents know a gay child will have a harder time in society than a straight one.

After all, childhood is almost never easy. Very few of us are fortunate enough to be in the A group, the popular group, the star jock or head cheerleader. Most of us deal with puberty, insecurity and trying to figure out who we are while dealing with peer pressure. When you know you are gay at a young age, it just compounds all those issues. If you are out about your sexual orientation or HIV status, it makes it even harder.

Like I said most of my friends in the 80s and 90s were disowned by my parents. I still remember when I flew home and disclosed not only my sexual orientation but also my HIV status. I know my parents were stunned at first. After all, I had never said anything about my gay feelings. My dad was a man's man and I really did not think he would approve.

Now I am not saying they jumped up and down for joy. At first, I think they were shocked and maybe even a little upset. But seeing the doctors had told me I might only have weeks to live, my parents had to process the news I had dumped on them quickly. Luckily for me, my parents love me no matter what and have told me so.

I know it has not always been easy for them to have a gay child who was also one of the first in our country to be diagnosed with HIV. I am sure a few of their friends stopped calling them. I know my Mom got into more than one argument with another church member and the preacher over what they had to say. And I know my Mom stopped talking to one of her aunts over the issue.

I guess what I am trying to say is I love my parents so much for always standing by my side, loving me for who I am and maybe not whom they would have liked me to be, always being there for me and for sticking up for me. Life would have been a lot harder not having my family in my corner.

If you are reading this and are not so fortunate I feel for you. Two of my partners did not have the support from their family that I did. And I saw the effects the lack of support had on them.

So Dad, here is wishing you the happiest of birthdays. And thanks for teaching me family is more important than anything, to stand up for those less fortunate and to always make the best out of what life deals us.

Until we meet again; here's wishing you health, hope, happiness and just enough.

big bear hug,

Daddy Dab