My dad’s gay, #ProudWhopper

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Rainbow wrapper or not, it’s still my good ol’ burger 🙂 #ProudWhopper (https://instagram.com/p/qAXUYjHKoB/)

Some of you have heard that Burger King made a big splash in the gay pond by releasing a new burger called the Proud Burger. Actually, it’s not new at all. In fact that’s part of the whole deal. Watch: http://bit.ly/1rkn6AF

You see, I dig this kind of gay support. And that’s pretty weird for me, or my discourse communities, or any of my demographics: I’m a white, semi-socially-conservative, Christian. Shoot, let’s go out and say it—I’m Mormon! Which is a way confusing state to be in during this open-minded millennium. And I don’t mean that to be it’s hard living in the future when my values are so Old Testament (they’re not actually—they’re very Doctrine and Covenants). I mean that I subscribe to a faith that believes that homosexual love is fundamentally wrong, and my dad is gay.

He came out in 2000. It was after school had started but before the snow had hit the ground. I came home from shenanigans with friends—and mind you, this was shaping out to be the best school year, or even year of my life: I used to be a nerdy Timothy McVey-esque looking kid, with a thick record of failed comedy routines and zero charisma; I scowled because I thought it made me look tough, and although I knew it didn’t, anything was better than looking vulnerable; this new school year presented popularity, confidence, and optimism, and all due to a wardrobe change and contact lenses [if any of you readers are young, like under-fifteen-years-old young, understand that youngsters are shallow fiends]—thus, my ship had finally sailed into calm waters. I walked into the front door, and saw my dad ironing (probably his jeans, now that I think about it). He stopped and said he had something to talk to me about. I posted and asked what I did wrong. He dismissed that I had, and asked me to come to the garage with him. Knowing that something heavy, and something boat-rocking was coming, I recoiled and yelled no! My dad remained calm and yet became more pleading and empathetic, and my sister, who had been silently watching TV behind me, demanded “Andy, go!” I knew it was inevitable. As dramatic as this all sounds, it indeed happened like this. I crap you not.

As we sat into our seats in the “sea-foam green” Mercury Mystique, he opened up the confession by telling me that life doesn’t always go as planned sometimes, that sometimes it’s just not fair. He went through several effectual synonymic versions of this, and I think somewhere in there he said that sometimes we don’t love who we want to love. And somewhere in there—I began to cry. “Do you know what I mean, son?” Yes, I sobbed. I didn’t know how, but I understood that he felt attracted to men. And, you’ll hate this, but I don’t think I could have come to that conclusion on my Freshman-own; I think the Holy Ghost illuminated that for me. It was clear as day, even though his analogies weren’t. Yes, I’m making a Christian assertion in the middle of a pro-gay manifesto, but—I’m a Mormon. What would I be doing if I was hiding?

Anyways.

At this point, I’m blubbering. My hero, my idol, my male figurehead was just then exploding who I thought he was with his gay grenade. We all associate homosexuality with a blurring of the gender paradigm, and even if you say you don’t—alright, that’s cute, but tell the truth, you. And to a young teenage self, who probably fit more stereotypes that he’d been learning in the last three years of sex-ed than he knew, this concept of fatherly masculinity was being destroyed. My future I imagined with him was now a question. His role as a priesthood holder in the home was odd-ened. Would he get a boyfriend and wear women’s clothes?

“I’m still your father. And I still love you.”

Then all was well in the cosmos. He was my dad! My mike-foxtrotting dad! He was familiar again. I hugged him for all I was worth, and sputtered out that I loved him too. This is still all that matters.

If you must know, my dad was excommunicated from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; but not because the counsel members on his court were homo-haters or close-minded. One told me, when I was nineteen, that they begged him to stay in the Church, and it was he that asked to be removed. From my dad, I heard that people were gossiping about him, and he felt unwelcome. From others, I ascertained that was true, but it was a minority of the congregation that was doing so. Many of the leaders were my dad’s friends, and pleaded for him to keep his membership while they tried to help him however they could. You see, in the Church, homosexuals can have all privileges and offices that heteros can, as long as they do not have sexual relations with their own gender. I’ve heard of a congregational head, a bishop, that was gay. As long as he kept man-things tucked away, he was safe. It’s considered like any temptation: adultery, gambling, pornography, substance abuse, what have you. We all have vices, and we all have thresholds. The prophets and apostles of the Church have recently said that they do not know why homosexuality happens—whether it’s genetic or situational—but that God has commanded against it. Like any of the guilty pleasures I’ve listed, it must be resisted, because it likewise has heavy consequences. I’m not preaching, or hoping you’ll see the light and ask me to baptize you. I’m just ‘splainin’.

My dad came-out almost fifteen years ago. Weird. And there have been consequences. He forfeited his temple admittance along with his membership, so he couldn’t see me or my older sister married for eternity in the temple. Yet, he certainly made a point of being there. He still supports us. He still paid for 80% of my mission. He still paid for tuition at a Church school (go Vikings). He still loves me. And he’s still my dad.

This gay-burger thing. I don’t really care all that much. Yes, it’s dumb how the left wants to keep it local and just a San Fran thing, when they made a huge, national deal out of the Chik-fil-A thing. Hypocritical. But the message is right: “We are all the same inside.” How can you go wrong with that? Wrap someone in a rainbow towel and they’re different? No. We’re all human, we all want to be accepted. We all are the metaphorical X-men just wanting to be accepted by society, and to be happy doin’ ah thang without Congress getting involved. And that’s exactly where I stand on the issue: take marriage out of Congress’s hands, and keep it in the field; the reception hall; even the chapel, if you have to. Marriage is definitely something different than what it used to be. And I can’t fight that. But I can fight improper government.

Inside, we’re still same.

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