New York Times: Essay on Hetero and letter to father

I cannot decide if what I yearn for is to write a letter to my father or if I wish to talk about my experiences as a queered straight man as a result of him; but I think I need to do both.

To my father, I thank you for everything that you have given unconditionally and struggle to thank you for the things that were conditional. Growing up, I had a convoluted idea of the presence that a father could have in ones life because of how much I idealized your presence as well as was ignorant to what your absence could look like. When the two of you divorced, misery became an understatement for the affective and visceral emotions that we felt throughout the years.

Its a privileged dissonance to say that I wouldn’t do anything differently, but your ego showed itself in some wonderful ways and I welcomed the selection of traits that you made so very visible in behaviors and attitudes. Wonderful is definitely charged positively, but I truly see all the negative that you brought and welcomed the authoritative role you played in my life as it taught me how to fight back. To mother, the same goes for you. While the two of you were not perfect, you made the decision to raise kids and it got us this far.

With all that said, there was one thing that you could not raise me to understand and that was what it is like to be a straight man in a queered world. While I have gotten far enough in my concentration on critical feminist and queer theory on gender, sexuality, and identity to understand that I could drop the identity factors, the reality was that within five minutes of landing in Amsterdam for a program focused on my concentration – nobody let me.

Its simple to start with the idea that gender is a performance, but sitting in a cafe at Schipol airport with 17 other differing identities posited something for me.

keep journaling: talk about the story of landing. talk about your positionality, talk about how it is all welcomed