Dear Jody: Readers react to Hurt Dad

Readers react to 'Hurt Dad'

Q: Readers: In the Sept. 8 column, "Hurt Dad" wrote that he was upset because he was not asked to give away his son "Thomas" at his commitment ceremony – another older man who'd been a father figure for his son had been given the honor. (Hurt Dad was invited to Thomas' commitment ceremony.) Hurt Dad admitted that when his son came out to him, years earlier, he disowned him. However, in the past few years, he had come around and became supportive of Thomas and his partner. The letter drew many responses from readers. Here are a few of them – along with a follow-up from the writer, "Hurt Dad."

Response: Jody, I disagree with your response to Hurt Dad. You advised him not to push it with Thomas, and to just go, be supportive and enjoy the day. You said that the man who was giving Thomas away had stepped in (as a father figure) when Hurt Dad stepped out, and that Hurt Dad should appreciate that man for it.
I agree that he should appreciate the guy that played the father role for Thomas, but when it comes to who gave Thomas his life, it was Hurt Dad. Thomas should have recognized his blood father's growth and rewarded him by letting him have the special honor at his commitment ceremony; Thomas definitely should have let Hurt Dad give him away.
Blood Thicker Than Water

Response: I agree with what you said to Hurt Dad about going to his son's commitment ceremony and showing how happy he was for his son on that day, and not pushing it about being the one to give Thomas away. I don't care how far he has come in accepting his son. There are consequences to disowning your son. (And how could Hurt Dad do that, especially when Thomas' mother was dead?) Hurt Dad should be "Happy Dad" because his son found a stand-in dad to help him through his early days of coming out as gay person.

Proud Mother of Gay Son

Response: Jody, you were right to tell Hurt Dad to settle down and accept that another man had earned the right to give Thomas away at his commitment ceremony. It sounded to me like Hurt Dad let his religion be his excuse for disowning his son, but I believe that people choose, or stay with, a religion that confirms their own attitudes and beliefs. I do give Hurt Dad credit for turning it around and embracing his son, but Hurt Dad needs to understand the results of stinking thinking.
Loving My Gay Sister

Response: I think that Hurt Dad has nerve feeling that he deserves the right to give away his son at the commitment ceremony. Does Hurt Dad think that just because he has come around and become the father he should be that his son doesn't still have a lot of hurt himself? Can't he understand how his son might feel a lot of love and gratitude for the guy who became a father figure to him?

And now a follow-up note from Hurt Dad:
Jody, you were right to tell me to not push it with Thomas in regards to allowing me to give him away at his commitment ceremony. I did go. I met the man "John" who stepped in for me when I was not there for Thomas. He's a great guy and we got along very well, and I told him how much I valued what he has done for Thomas. I know that Thomas and his partner appreciated my being there, and talking to John. Thomas introduced me to many of his friends and truly seemed proud of me. It was a great day.
No Longer "Hurt Dad"