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Outing my father

By Cristina P. Agatep
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 21:06:00 06/19/2009


MANILA, Philippines –
My father and I were extremely close. Sometimes, even my high school classmates would express envy at our closeness. I would tell my dad everything, and I was more close to him than my mother.

No one would have guessed that he is gay. He works for an IT company as a consultant for foreign transactions and though it is not as “macho” as say, a position in the military or in an architectural or engineering firm, his work reflects himself—highly organized, quick to respond to changes and find solution to problems.

For prom he drove me to the salon and gave me money to choose a dress. He showed support by trusting my date; he was quite open-minded in my choice of boyfriends. He was never strict; he was like a “kabarkada.” He would even sit down with me and mom watching chick flicks.

But I noticed he was not physically expressive toward my mother. He never held her hand, and his kisses were limited to her cheeks. Perhaps it comes with age, I told myself.

He was a gym buff. After work he would spend probably two hours at the gym, sometimes longer. We would always eat dinner late, because mother insisted on having dinner together all the time. My older brother hated it, because we would have school the next day and we prioritized getting a good night’s sleep. So, poor mother would wait until my dad was home for dinner. He would be normally late: sometimes he would stay overnight at work for “business transactions.”

I discovered his real identity when I used his computer without his knowledge. As soon as I went online using my father’s e-mail account, a “hi baby” popped in instant message. My stomach felt a knot as soon as I saw who he was. The avatar on the instant message was a foreigner. And that foreigner was a man.

I signed off immediately and felt confused. Was he cheating on my mother?

And was this whole guy avatar thing just a mere shady way of masking the true identity of this person trying to ruin my family?

It was a bizarre feeling that while I could tell him everything, I could not dare bring up what I had discovered.

I felt betrayed , hurt and angry. How dare he do this to my mother, the perfect wife!

I can’t remember how it all started, but months before graduation in high school, my mother had a serious talk with me. Since I was moving out for university, she said it was important for me to know something before I leave.

Her voice was firm.

“Your father is different…” she said. “He’s gay. Never lose your love to your father. He is always that way. But I love him nonetheless. I have understood his urges to meet up with men sometimes, but I am fine with that. ”

No amount of words can describe how shocked I was.

That was several years ago. Now, despite my discovery about my father’s sexuality, I maintain my respect for him. Years ago maybe I would have crazily mess my life up. But I see no reason to do so now.

I admire his courage, and his dedication to our family. Now that I have a child of my own, he is every bit a loving “lolo” to my baby. And my love has never changed.