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Richard the baby queer.

Richard the baby queer.

My dad Gene is quite the character. He’s a southern boy, born on the bayou in Louisiana. He has a heavy Louisiana accent and a hole in his throat that he smokes through. He has a glass eye, which he got after trying to light a cigarette with a blow torch and he speaks through an electro larynx. He calls it a throat back and he loves to make jokes through it at the most inopportune time. Just envision Darth Vader speaking like he’s from the bayou cracking jokes on you. Since he’s CEO of the family business and takes pride in the company he built, he thinks it’s okay to say whatever he wants whenever he wants. The other day, in our monthly office meeting, my dad begins with, ""Richard, you like take over business? Taught every-ting, you big boy now."" I was definitely caught off guard by this question. My co-workers, who think this is a big deal, begin to pat me on the back, give congratulatory handshakes and treat me as if I just won the Kentucky Derby. I smiled, nodded and said thank you. But I was confused. He’s never mentioned any of this to me and I wondered why the big announcement. As he takes a breath, I notice the eyebrow above his glass eye beginning to spasm and this only happens when he has something serious to say and I was worried. ""But you gay boy, no business for baby queer. Change yo ways and you in boy."" He busts out laughing and everyone in the room followed. I was fucking embarrassed. Not knowing what to say as I try to pick my jaw up off the floor, I made a pansy run for the door hiding my face as if paparazzi were trying to photograph me at my worst. I didn’t speak to him for a week. Neither one of us knew what to say after that. What can you say?

After getting over the embarrassment and the needling from my coworkers, I wondered, how could I change his mind about me? Make him see that regardless of what he thinks, I’m a leader and would be perfect as the new CEO. I’m not gay I’m just scared of women. Who isn’t? They’re bloodsucking demons that eat hearts for a living. I’ve seen them. But I don’t blame him for thinking this way. I’m 34 and never had a girlfriend. I know that somewhere in the frozen bayou of his soul, my dad loves me and would never disown me. But his antipathy for the gay community must be broken.

I’ve always been a hard worker and my dad knows it. There is no question about my ability to lead or my ability to run this company efficiently. So the only concern for my father is my sexuality. I guess he thinks that gays are not real men and will fold under pressure. His upbringing is the cause for his idealistic perspective. But I have a plan. In accounting we have a guy named Miguel. He’s tall, lanky; kind of reminds me of Lurch from the Munster’s, wears shiny pink lip gloss and a rainbow colored bow tie to work, every day. It’s like a gay pride uniform, waving his homosexuality in everyone’s face; courageous to say the least. My dad always jokes about him being a catcher and not a pitcher and that there’s no disguising what team he plays for. So, every time my dad walks by accounting I make sure he sees me joking with Miguel. I’ll either laugh real loud while touching Miguel’s shoulder or say things like, “Hey, did you watch Gilmore Girls last night!”, “O-M-G Kyle’s abs are so ripped!”, “You want to go see CATS with me this weekend?” My dad always shakes his head afterwards and I think to myself, “Yes!”
Last night I invited Miguel over for dinner. I knew it would make my dad really uncomfortable but I needed to show him that gay people are normal and they’re not worth discriminating against. Plus, I am beginning to like having Miguel around. Sure, he’s gay, but we have a lot in common and he doesn’t mind my annoying, incessant babbling. When Miguel arrives, he has on his typical uniform and I introduce him to my mom. She is always a perfect hostess, but I notice that his presence makes her feel a bit uneasy. My mom, with a southern drawl says, “Hi, Miguel, thank you for coming over and how are you today?” Miguel, who has a heavy Spanish accent and slurs every S when he speaks, says, “Fabulousss.”

I chuckled. I couldn’t help it. My mom just stared. “Okay, well, come on in, make yourself comfortable. Would you care for some tea?” she asks. “Yesss, Pleassse.” Miguel replied. I’m about to keel over and die from laughter. My dad walks in from working on his hot rod outside and is covered in grease. Miguel sees him and trying to break the ice, says, “Gene, you look ssso sssexy covered in greassse.” My dad turns pale white, looks at me with a face of death and goes upstairs. Everything is going as planned.

As we sit down to eat, my father takes his usual place at the end and Miguel insists on sitting to the left, across from my mother. I was happy to oblige. We begin talking and my dad starts asking Miguel questions about his family and his upbringing. Miguel tells his story and, of course, he has been ridiculed his whole life for his sexuality. But he said that it made him a stronger person because of it.

He’s in no way afraid to show who he is and what he’s made of. Surprisingly, my dad identified with this statement and I could see a new respect forming. As the night progressed, we had plenty of wine and beer to drink and we laughed and everything was beginning to feel amiable. I glanced over at my dad and I saw “The Twitch”. Oh no, now I was really worried. My dad picks up his throat back and in his most sincere robotic voice, says,”Okay, I made mistake at meetin’. You, Miguel are okay, you welcome in home, Miguel. Richard announce promotion and Miguel you there too.” This is exactly what I had been waiting for. But then Miguel did something unexpected, he kissed me. I have never had something feel more right in my life. I didn’t know I was gay but I do now. With my father’s blessing I now where a rainbow colored tie myself to work, showing my own gay pride and ready to lead.

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