I always loved my father and knew that my father loved me, but when I was a child, I thought was he was just another dad who loved his kid. There wasn’t anything exceptional about him. Because he never went to a place and said, "Aren’t you lucky you have a father like me? Don’t I stand out? Aren’t I different from all the other fathers, because I’ll put up with behavior from you and no one else will." He never went there. He never represented himself that way.
I had no gay consciousness, I didn’t know I was going to be homosexual, I didn’t know what it meant. My dad couldn’t discuss that issue with me. He had to show the love that he had for me regarding my sexual orientation in all kinds of subtle ways. It wasn’t something you talked about. It was something you did. It was a sparkle in his eye.
When I was 30, and I was out, I’d talked to so many different gay men about their relationships with their own fathers. Then, 10 years after he died, I began to realize what a truly unusual and remarkable man he was for his time and place. It’s incredible. I was so blessed to have a father who loved me. And he knew very well what I was going to be when I was six years old. I didn’t know it, but he did. Which sissy’s father in rural America in 1960 is telling them, "Whatever you do, don’t sneak because you’ll ruin your immortal soul?" One in a million, one in three million, one in 10 billion? So I didn’t know it at the time, but I’m 70 now and I’m looking back and going, "You had a really, really amazing father." When he said "don’t sneak," I said, "You’re right dad, I’m not going to sneak." And then here comes Lavender Country, fuck all of you. If you would’ve had my dad, the patron saint of all sissies everywhere, for a dad, you would’ve written Lavender Country too. You’re supposed to write Lavender Country with a dad like that.
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