God gave me a gay son . . . and I did not always think it a blessing

Editor’s Note: This piece was written 19 years ago, by a father learning to accept his son’s homosexuality with honesty and love. It was one essay in the magazine’s 25-page exploration of a subject that has evolved since that publication, while revealing and examining important issues that endure to this day.

Mark gazed out the small window of his dorm room. It was Saturday morning and the bitter cold bleakness outside matched his mood. He may have made a mistake going to school so far north and so far from home, but he had chosen this school in northern Michigan because he loved the natural environment of the north country where he could ski, hike in the woods and enjoy the serenity of this sparsely populated place. Mark also had thought college would bring people into his life who wanted a good educational experience, people with whom he could be open and find companionship. But the dream turned into a nightmare.

His anguish — realizing that he was attracted to some of the young men around him and the conviction that those feelings would disgust people — fed his terrible feeling of isolation and left him feeling numb. He didn’t think it was his fault; he wondered if God had made him that way. But it wasn’t a problem he could talk about, not to family, not to friends. No one could help him. Even God didn’t answer.

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Originally published by Notre Dame Magazine at magazine.nd.edu in its Summer 2004 issue.