Whenever I admit that I hate my father, I feel a bit happier. Then, when I think about why I hate my father, I become angry again. Thinking about the hatred I have for my father reminds me of the hatred I internalized for my queer identity, courtesy of his personal hatred toward LGBTQ people.
His hatred for queer people stole my life. I had to wait until he went back to prison to feel safe enough to come out. My coming out story isn’t a brave one, and I don’t feel qualified to celebrate something that isn’t a tale of bravery. Many of my friends came out at the expense of being thrown out of their homes, their parents not talking to them for many years, or actually being physically assaulted. Many of my friends came out knowing that it would put them in danger. I did the opposite. I waited until he was far away to come out, and that stole many years from my life.
When Pride month came this year, I watched my queer friends and social media followers be unapologetically queer. I saw some of my social media friends dressing from head to toe in rainbows. I watched people bravely live in their queerness with genuine happiness. I live in my queerness, but am I genuinely happy?
This year, I felt obligated to sit out Pride festivities. I felt uninvited. I felt like a bleached pigeon in a flock of doves. I accepted my queerness, but I wasn’t queer enough. I wasn’t queer enough to participate in the allure of Pride month. I didn’t buy myself a rainbow flag, any Pride merchandise, and I didn’t make elaborate playlists to listen to throughout June. Instead, I felt anger. Anger toward anyone who has ever made me hate or question my queer identity. And so far, only one person has ever been able to make me feel that way: my father.
Still, I don’t know what it means to be “queer enough.” I don’t know that I can measure my queerness next to somebody else’s; however, I do know that I’m not it. I’m definitely not queer enough to feel secure enough to walk down a parade with a rainbow flag. I want to be that queer, but I’m not, and I don’t think I’ll ever be. Rather, I’ll be that queer person who is reminded of the time he wasted trying to please his dad. I’ll remember how many years I spent cowering in fear of my homophobic father.
I hate my father to the core. I hate him from the bottom of my heart. I hate him so much that the thought of him makes me sick. I hate that we breathe the same air. He doesn’t deserve to breathe in the same air as me. He’s a piece of shit, and I wish him nothing but death and excrement. I wish that he could feel the same pain my inner queer person felt when he ripped them away from me and killed them with his bare hands.
I hate my father because he stole my opportunity to find love, to find friends who are similar to me. My ship has passed, and every Pride month is a reminder of that. I’m not afforded the luxury of being free in my queerness. That’s my fault, and it’s his fault. I was a coward. I feared for my life. And in doing so, I took a life: the life of the unapologetically queer person that resided in me.