Wednesday, July 16, 2014

I was scrolling through Twitter...

...yesterday when I came upon this Tweet from my godson Brad:

If you follow national politics, I'd just like to say I don't think Rick Perry should be involved in defining Republican foreign policy.

After clicking on "Favorite," of course, I checked out the rest of Brad's page to see what he was up to. (Last I had heard, he was working for a private equity firm or hedge fund in Oakland, of all places.) I came upon this:

I still can't believe the love and support I've received this past week. Thank you to everyone who has reached out, I'm forever grateful.

Huh? I thought. What the heck is he talking about? What happened last week? I scrolled further and read this:

Ran the beach this morning and got an amazing email from my dad, felt compared to share: Each of you have brought so many special blessing to me and taught me how hard and yet joyful it is to be a father. It would be a lie to say I wasn't shocked when you came out to Mom and I but, I’ve been pleasantly surprised at my level of tolerance and understanding given my years of intolerance.  It is quite amazing to me how blindly bigoted I have allowed myself to be and for what?  I think we fear what we don’t fully understand, like the monster under the bed, there’s really nothing there to be afraid of! I have always and will always be the biggest advocate (except for your mom) for my kids.  You all mean the world to us and today I celebrate the joy of having all of you in my life. #BeTrue

"Came out?"

I scrolled further:

As an athlete, I've struggled to accept my sexuality. Today, I'm proud to share who I am

I immediately texted my son and asked him if this was some sort of prank. We decided it wasn't, so I DM'd Brad on Twitter and found out first-hand that it was all legit. I tried to give him the same "love and support" he received from others and also emailed his mom (below) with a similar message, all I'm sure in my typically clumsy fashion.

But I'm still reeling from the news. Not because I care one way or the other (I hope I've gotten over all that a long time ago), but because I was so surprised. Brad, you see, was an O lineman at the University of Kansas who tried out for the Arizona Cardinals. A mountain of a man (whom I'd heard had shed a lot of weight since hanging up his cleats a few years ago), he was decidedly not your image of the typical gay man. In fact, I'm a little shocked that my "gay-dar" failed me so spectacularly. I would never have guessed in a million years that Brad was gay.

Either way, though, I still love this kid (and everyone who's younger than me is still a "kid") and I'm especially proud of his dad Brian. A typical suburban, Republican, golf-playing, steak-eating, beer-drinking, Packers-watching pharmaceutical salesman, he really stretched and came through for his son. I've often wondered how I would react in a similar situation; if I could handle it half as well as Brian I'd be pretty happy with myself.

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