A fifty-seven-year-old man has been disowned by his family after his father recently found out he was gay and the news has shocked everyone who has heard his incredibly emotional story.
Have a look for yourselves...
Now, even though the LGBTQ+ community is bigger than ever...
Discrimination still lurks.
Despite amazing development, an array of narrow-minded individuals who spread constant hatred and fear among this community are still in existence.
Discrimination comes in many different forms.
Whether it's in the form of cyber-bullying or in the form of a violent physical act, discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community is rife.
Hate crimes are happening all over the world and it's not okay.
It's a heartbreaking reality that these discriminatory crimes are still happening against the community.
But education is key to putting an end to this misery.
It is common knowledge that those who discriminate against and abuse members of the LGBTQ+ community are often uneducated on the topic. Why? Who knows! Because the internet is just one click away and there are hardly any excuses for being ignorant.
Education is so important.
Increasing knowledge on the topic could easily help to decrease the overall hate aimed at the community.
But even though things are getting more and more progressive, sadly, some people still face discrimination...
Even from their own families.
Jake McPherson is a fifty-seven-year-old man who was recently disowned by his family after his father found out he was gay.
He wrote an emotional piece about how his family handled finding out about his true self and it's really worth the read.
This is his story.
Jake remembers the first time he was presented with the idea of being disowned.
"It's the 1970s and I am a teenager. The TV is on in the living room, my parents are in their recliners, and I'm sitting on our brown plaid sofa. We are watching Barbara Walters interview Anita Bryant, a prominent anti-gay activist," he writes.
"Walters asks Bryant what she would do if her child came out as gay."
"Bryant's response is immediate and harsh: She says she would disown her child."
His parents seemed to agree with the anti-gay activist, and that forced Jake deeper into the closet.
And throughout his early years, all the way into adulthood, he realized he would have to stay there in order to be loved. Even when he attended church with his parents, he would hear everyone talk about how God loved everyone except for homosexuals. This idea that some sins just couldn't be forgiven was etched into the back of his mind and kept him from being who he knew he was.
And unfortunately, Jake found other, more tragic ways to drown the thoughts about his sexuality.
"...One supposed vice that I did embrace while at that religious college was drinking. I loved it. I was sure I seemed sophisticated holding a glass of liquor, but, even more importantly, drinking allowed me to stop worrying about my sexuality, at least for a bit, and that feeling was heavenly. I had found serenity, I thought. But what alcohol really gave me was a new way to continue to repress my sexuality ― a new way to hide from the world and convince myself that it couldn't see who I really was."
Things didn't change much when he ended up marrying a woman.
He expressed how much he loved her and even after having 3 children with his wife, he continued loving her, but was tired of lying about who he was. And so the drinking got worse and worse until one day, when he was at his lowest, he decided to do something he'd never done to any of his family...
He came out to his wife.
"I realized that all those years of drinking were killing me. I was killing myself. The tragic part was that I felt so low, I really wished for death. I just couldn't take it ― any of it ― anymore, and I clearly saw that I had to end the life I had been living one way or the other. So, in 1998, when I was thirty-five years old, I came out to myself and my wife.
"My wife reacted with love and told me to find myself. I didn't immediately tell our children since they were still very young at the time."
Then, in 1999, Jake decided he was going to get his act together.
Quite literally actually.
During his time in AA, he found the confidence to be himself after receiving so much support from the people around him and it was also there that he "first reveled in drag, and my alter ego, Miss Constance Havoc, was born."
The following year, he and his wife separated, and even though it was necessary, it hurt all the same.
But slowly, things were unravelling because the following year, he called his mom and came out to her over the phone.
However, she did not react well to the news.
"She was horrified. She didn't say anything about how this would affect my relationship with my father and her, but she was very upset. I always assumed she told my dad, but I never directly asked. For the past 19 years, I never thought my dad didn't know I was gay. Our weekly phone calls continued as they always had, although I never overtly mentioned any of the men I was dating. I thought that I was keeping the peace and that because I wasn't discussing my new life with him, he was too."
"It never occurred to me that my mother had kept the truth about my sexuality from my father," he continues.
Even though it was a secret for nineteen long years, in the past 2, something happened that changed Jake's life forever.
And it all started when his niece gave Jake's father an iPhone...
"At some point in the last 2 years, my niece gave my father an iPhone, which he was especially excited to learn to use so that he could receive photos of his great-grandchildren. From there, it was only a matter of time before he joined Facebook and, I'm assuming, discovered my profile, which shows me as an out and proud gay man."
"On Jan. 4, 2020, at 9:56 a.m., my phone rang. It was my father calling."
"When I answered, he told me, 'It's about this homosexuality. Your mother and I can't condone that. You are not to contact us in any way ever again.'"
"There I was ― disowned at the age of fifty-six because I'm gay."
"My heart was pounding harder than I imagined was possible. My vision blurred. I felt like I was being physically attacked. Before the call ended, my father added, 'Am I making myself perfectly clear?' I told him he was and hung up."
Jake's loved ones surrounded him with love and support during this difficult time.
"Everyone I reached out to was shocked, but they also made it clear they wouldn't abandon me. They all wanted me to know that despite my parents' rejection, I am loved unconditionally by them.
"Because I came out as a grown man, I hadn't faced many of the difficulties that other LGBTQ people face early on in their lives. Being disowned by my parents had such an unbearable weight to it. It felt like I was boxing and got punched right in the head, and now I was out cold on the mat."
The healing process was difficult, obviously.
"Recently, I had a chance to talk to my oldest friend about being disowned at the age of 56 by a 90-year-old man. 'It's ridiculous,' we both said at the same time. As I continue to heal, I am less shocked and less hurt and, really, all I can think is, this is ridiculous. I'm an independent adult. I have a full life. I'm finally able to be who I really am. What could my father possibly think he's accomplishing?"
But there were a few, little pieces of hope...
"My mother, who is suffering from dementia, sent me a card for my 57th birthday. It was obvious that my father had nothing to do with it. Inside the card, there was a note that read, 'We love you.' There was no preaching. No venom. And, even more incredibly, it was the first time in my life that she used the word 'love' without being prompted. Because of her dementia, her critical self has disappeared and, at the age of 89, it appears she's turned into the loving mother I never had."
Even though things like this can provide comfort for some, it didn't for Jake.
"Sadly, I do not feel I can reach out to her," he added. "My father would intercept anything I sent her, and he always answers the phone so I can't call. But I'm going to keep this beautiful card as a reminder that somewhere inside of her, she holds love for me and that, maybe, it's never too late to find and receive and send out love into the world ― exactly as you truly are."
"Despite everything we've been through, that feels like a gift. I think I'll accept it."
What a beautiful and emotional story. Read the full piece here.
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