Tyler is a 15-year-old from Vancouver, B.C. Like many LGBT people his age, he decided to be honest about who he is with his family. Tyler told each member of his family separately, and allowed them to react to the news. His mother and sisters were supportive of him, as any loving family members should be, but his father’s reaction was nothing short of shockingly hateful.
Tyler’s father took to Facebook messenger to berate and ridicule his son, saying things that were unbelievably cruel. His father said:
You are trying to ruin me. This is worse than death. I’m going to puke.
Here is a screenshot of some of Tyler’s messages with his father. Warning-Offensive Language:
Despite the level of cruelty in the messages, Tyler is showing that even at the age of 15, he is a bigger and better man than his father will ever be. He says he does not hate his father, and hopes to work things out with him one day:
I’m upset with what my dad said, but I don’t hate him. I’m hoping there’s still the possibility that he could change, even [if] it takes [a]while. Maybe he could accept me, because that’s all I want … I just want him to be there for me.
Needless to say, Tyler is not living in the same home as his father since coming out, but with his aunts instead. Hopefully, things are better for him there than they are at home. He says he decided to tell his story to the world to highlight the fact that people are still regularly rejected by their families, friends and communities for being LGBTQ.
His sentiments were echoed by Dara Parker, who works for Qmunity, which is a center that provides resources for LGBTQ people in Canada. Parker says:
It’s a sad story but unfortunately it’s not surprising. We average between 20 and 40 youth each week and unfortunately we hear these stories more often than not.
Personally, I hope that this story and those like it serve as a warning to parents who might be inclined to react negatively to their children’s coming out. To do that is to do irreparable damage to the parent/child relationship, and perhaps even destroy it altogether. I personally live with the reality each day that many of my family members, including my own parents, will never fully accept me as I am. The kind of pain that carrying that knowledge for a lifetime brings is indescribable. So parents, think twice before you react in the manner that Tyler’s father did. After all, love for one’s child is supposed to be unconditional.
Luckily, it looks like Tyler’s story could have a very positive outcome, in spite of his father’s horrible treatment of him. He has received support from many people from around the world since taking his story to the airwaves. Tyler says of the experience:
It’s just amazing. People need to know there are so many other people who would want to love you and be your friend, so (that’s) what really matters.
Tyler, you are wise well beyond your years. Thank you for sharing your story. I am sure you don’t know how many people you have helped. All the best as you take the world by storm. I know you’ll go far.
Watch a news report, courtesy of Huffington Post B.C. below: