Let Your Gay Kids Be Gay – They Were Born That Way

Homo young

I can say now that I knew I was gay when I was around six, although I didn’t know what I felt was called “homosexuality.” At that time (in the late sixties and early seventies) there were no gay role models, no support from peers or adults, no one to talk to about what I was feeling. I most assuredly could not talk to parents about it. Most of the information I could find about homosexuality was outdated and negative, and the name-calling from kids at school was devastating. I fought against my feelings and desires as hard as I could for over 20 years. I even got married to a woman at 19, and we had a son five years later. It was three years after that when I could no longer live in denial of who I was – and had been since birth – GAY! I was finally ready to accept what I had been hiding (and hiding from) for so long.
No child should have to suffer or hide – like I did – in their growing-up years. My advice to parents is this: Kids KNOW when they KNOW, regardless of age. Please be supportive and loving. Celebrate and encourage your child to discover the greatness that is within them. Your gay child needs you to be there for them. And you’ll all be better for it.

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My Father and the End of Anchovies

I don’t think of my Dad very often. He died in 1993 and I had to look it up to find the year of his death. We didn’t have a close, loving relationship when I was growing up. There were times I didn’t even like him very much. We had nothing in common. My brothers excelled in all sports (basketball, baseball, and football) and because my Dad was an athlete in school, they shared that with each other. I read books. I spent time alone, pondering life and my place in it. I spilled my milk at the dinner table. When my parents divorced (I was twelve), I treated it as just another life event. It really didn’t change anything for me. I carried on.

But looking at his life with the benefit of these many years between my childhood and now, I realize that he was a good man, and did the best he could with what he was given. Timothy Paul Beerthuis worked the same job for 40 years.He provided for a family of seven. We went to the beach as a family every Sunday during the summer. He was a reservist in The National Guard and the friendships he formed there stayed with him his whole life. He was the manager of his softball team from work, and their 4th of July cookouts at our house were epic and legendary. Our lawn was impeccable and he took great pride in its care and appearance.

There was a dark side, too. My Dad was an alcoholic and that contributed to the distance between us as I grew up. I ended up becoming an alcoholic but I never blamed him for that. I’ve learned that alcoholism is a disease, an inherited genetic defect. I crawled out of a bottle four years ago, and the last two years of his life were spent in sobriety.

Oh, I also inherited his left-handedness. And the habit of grinding black pepper onto everything he ate is being carried on proudly by me. His love of anchovies on pizza, however, went with him to the grave.

As a father myself, I hope my son can look back at my illustrious life, and say some good things about me. I did the best I could, too.

Happy Father’s Day to my Dad. And my Son. And me.

The Beach Boys Outed Me in 1968

I came out as gay publicly in 1990. Well, it’s not like I published a tell-all book, or gave an exclusive interview on TV. What happened was I had been married (to a woman) for nine years. We had a son who was a three-year-old at the time. And I could no longer live a lie. So I confessed to my wife, filed for divorce, and told my family (they already really knew).Then began the long journey of self-identification. A journey, I might add, that I will continue until the end of my long and illustrious life. Soon after, I met my partner, and we have been together for over 20 years. That’s the down and dirty of it.

But that is not what this is about. I came out when I was 28, but I was born gay. All of us homos are. The argument by heterosexuals is that gays choose to be gay. That’s very easy to say when you are born as a heterosexual! Ask a straight person when they decided to become that way, their reply is always, ” Well, never! I was born this way!” Thank you. Argument over.

I was thinking about when I realized, when I knew in my heart and soul, that I was gay. I was seven. It was 1968. I was a first-grader. I had never heard the word ‘gay’ or ‘homosexual’ or for that matter, the word ‘heterosexual.’ In the coming years, I would hear plenty of words; words like sissy, faggot, homo, and queer. But in the first grade, I didn’t know squat. I had a brother who was sixteen and beginning to find his inner hippie; it was 1968 after all. Anyway, he was the only one of my brothers who had his own room. My other two brothers and I shared a bedroom for most of our childhoods. This brother had a record player, and he had a lot record albums. When he wasn’t around, I would go into his room and look at his records, and the record covers. There was one particular album that interested me. It was The Beach Boys cover showing a drawing of them on the beach, shirtless, with their arms around each other (there was a bikini-clad girl ion the cover too, but I never looked at her). Seeing this image for the first time stirred before-unknown feelings of admiration, desire, and longing. I wanted to be in that picture. I wanted to have my arms around those men. They looked so happy.They looked so masculine, and beautiful. I didn’t have a clue at the time what any of those feelings were, or what they meant. I only knew I felt something, and that feeling never went away.

It took me many years to recognize that my seven-year-old self was feeling an attraction to men. I hid it, kept it a secret, and said not a word about it to anybody. I knew having that feeling was wrong somehow, that boys were not supposed to have those feelings. But those feelings never went away. And they helped me to become the man I am today.