In this episode:
Our oldest son Ethan was 18 years old and six weeks into college when his dad, Matt, came out. Now 22 and a college senior, Ethan is ready to tell his story in hopes that it will provide hope and guidance to parents and children.
One of Ethan’s most confusing days was accidentally stumbling upon Matt’s separate email account and realizing that his dad might be gay. Worried “it would kill her”, Ethan didn’t tell me and carried this secret for two years. Anxiety, confusion, and self-doubt settled in while Ethan pretended that life was A-Okay.
Shock; the immediate reaction to Matt’s simple acknowledgement “I’m gay.” Slowly Ethan began talking with friends; finding freedom and support in sharing.
Living 2,000 miles away from home, feeling alone, and confused, Ethan struggled. When his 16-year old brother was in a near-fatal accident and suffered a severe traumatic brain injury, it brought Ethan to a breaking point. Rock bottom – and a turning point – was the night that Ethan considered attempting suicide; he no longer knew who he was, what his family had become, and he simply didn’t want “to deal with it anymore.”
Wanting to be just like his dad – his hero – Ethan wondered “Am I gay?”
A void in Ethan’s knowledge, he finally turned to a counselor who helped him realize his emotions, thoughts, and feeling were normal. Ethan discovered that he is not gay and wants others to feel supported in their own questioning and self-discovery.
Now, stronger than ever, Ethan has found meaning in the chaos. He’s discovered his own identity, is learning to be his best self and follow his heart, his passion and to live life for himself and not for others.
Ethan’s advice for parents?
It’s never easy; he encourages parents to share what they are thinking, what will happen next, and assure their children that their emotions are normal.
Keep talking, address the “confusion that swirls in a child’s head.”
Ethan urges children to find someone to speak with, to know what they are feeling is normal, and most importantly, this happens to others and – “you WILL get through it.”
COLAGErs are people with one or more LGBTQIA+ parent or caregiver—they are skilled, self-confident, and just leaders in our collective communities. Our stories are important, and so is yours.
1-800-273-8255; available 24 hours everyday.
Thank you for listening!
You too can make a difference by sharing your story. Publicly or privately – Reach out to me, I’d love to chat.