I had a gay dad before it was cool. I grew up in a small town that, according to my mom, if you counted the dogs and the chickens, you might get 3,000 people.
By the time my biological father, Dave, came out, my parents were divorced and I was being raised by the best stepdad ever, Jim. Dave came from the next small town over and, if you counted those chickens, you might get to 3,001. As all good-small-town-gays do, he married my mom after an over-rambunctious date night that lead to my big brother, Todd. Somehow, either from the universe, god or lots of alcohol, I squeaked in a few years later. I have no idea how he felt being gay and living in a small Connecticut town back then, but since he hightailed it out of there as fast as he could, we can assume there were no rainbow parades given in his honor.
When I was 13, I asked Dave what he would think if “I was gay”, which convinced him that I was psychic or, at the very least, a witch. It spooked him enough that he waited another few years to share his sexual orientation. He finally told my brother and me over pizza, which is my favorite food in the entire world. My response was something like, “that’s cool, we still love you, one more slice please!” The next day in Mr. O’Connor’s English class, I started to cry and still don’t know why.
The next few years was a mix of cringes after hearing my small town peeps making gay jokes and secret pleasure that I was so much cooler than they were because I had a gay dad! Jim was the rock-star raise-me dad, but Dave was going to be the gay-star-for-my-20s, raise your hands up Dad! I was already looking forward to my stereotypical gay-future, escaping the small town doldrums at 21years old to the Birdcage; where I would pursue acting/writing, RuPaul would come visit for tea, my dad’s boyfriends would dress me up in high heels (even though I was already 6 feet tall) and being the hottest and tallest heterosexual on the gay dance floor, I would playfully turn down hot lesbians hitting on me. It was going to be gay-tastic! Most importantly, I was finally going to get a chance to know my dad.
Unfortunately, that stereotypical gay future ended up being a future with AIDS. Dave died in 1993 when I was 18 years old, right before I was able to run free and finally have the fun-gay-time I always fantasized about. Years later, I learned that if President Reagan had heard the pleads of gay men in 1981 and started funding medical research, there is a good chance that my dad would be alive today to play with his grandson Frankie and his mini-me granddaughter Jennifer.
So, even though #LoveWins thanks to SCOTUS is a bittersweet gay victory for me, I hope this will allow future cool-small-town-gay dads to give their kids the gay-tastic time they’ve always dreams of!
xoxo Nicole Myrick, Lipstick Liberal