Posts Tagged As: Father’s Day

The Winner of BTB’s SuperDads Contest

Jim Burroway

June 17th, 2008

Congratulations to Tony K! His entry was selected as the winner of BTB’s SuperDads contest. Since Tony already feels blessed, he asked that we donate the winnings to someone more in need.

So I decided to make a donation in Tony K’s honor to the Wingspan LGBT Community Center for Southern Arizona. Wingspan has a great array of services, most notably their anti-violence project (which includes hate crimes and domestic violence) and the great work they do with at-risk youth. They also have great health and wellness programs, senior programs, transgender support and advocacy, Latina/o outreach, and a public policy program. And since Wingpan has a fundraiser going on right now, this $35 gift is getting matched, dollar for dollar, by a generous donor.

If you missed them, you can read SuperDads essays from Tony K., Garrett, Ben, Jason, and me.

Exactly The Opposite of What The Ex-Gays Told Me

Jim Burroway

June 14th, 2008

This Father’s Day essay is from Jason Cianciotto, Executive Director of Tucson’s Wingspan LGBT Community Center. You can also read Fathers Day essays from Tony K. and Garrett and Ben. If you’d like to share your Fathers Day memories, please send them to The best entry gets a free T-shirt or other gift (up to $35, which is just about everything) from our BTBStore.

I vividly remember sitting in the therapist’s office hearing him slam my dad yet again for “not being there for me” when I was a kid. This was just one of the reasons why these experts determined that I liked boys instead of girls. I was 16, depressed, embarrassed, ashamed, and desperate to be the young man that my Christian family wanted me to be. Among the most incredible destinations in my personal journey of acceptance was that it was ultimately my father who rescued me and provided a safe and welcome space for me to become the man I am today.

My parents divorced when I was 2½ years old, and shortly afterwards my mother became a born again Christian. I saw my father every weekend, but the faith I was raised in created a sharp divided that lasted well into my teenage years. I remember hearing my father and stepmother share how heartbroken they were when they had to bring me back home to my mother one weekend because I was afraid of them after I heard they they were going to hell because they weren’t Christians. Though he doesn’t talk about it, I know that my father held back a lot of frustration and anger against my mother because of how her faith created a separation between us.

Growing up, I remember a lot of fun times with my dad and my “other” family, my stepmom, brother and sister; vacations at the Jersey Shore; wresting matches with my father on the living room floor; boxing matches with me wearing my kid gloves and standing on the bed while he stood on the floor and pretended to be knocked out by my glancing blows. These memories run counter to the reasons I was told why I was gay — a child of divorce with the the distant father who chose not to be a “man of the lord.”

By age 19, I was desperate to find the answer to the questions inside of me. Years of therapy and prayers in the basement of my house with my head covered with a towel in submission to God while listening to contemporary Christian music had failed to divert curious glances at my male classmates from high school through my freshman year of college. My father and siblings had already moved from the east coast to Tucson years before and our time together was relegated to phone calls I don’t really remember. My “new” father, the man my mother married when I was 11 years old, was distant and hardly spent time with me. I remember an awkward conversation with him over pizza at that time in my life. I realized that the man my mother determined the Lord had brought into her life was really just for her, not for me.

That became all too clear the day I came home from work and found most of my personal belongings in black garbage bags on the porch of my house. My mother had found the secret stash of gay porn given to me by a new friend I had made in the LGBT support group at the local community college I was attending. They reached the end of their rope with me and felt that the only way they could protect their family from me was to exorcise me from their lives.

When my father realized the extent to which my life had fallen apart, he invited me to drive cross-country and live with him in Tucson. He encouraged me to go to college at the University of Arizona after establishing state residency. I arrived after my 2,000-mile drive, traumatized by the years before and still thinking I was a straight guy with a gay mental health problem. After I found the youth group at the local gay community center and finally came out to myself and my family, I remember him sharing with me how his only concern was that my life would be harder than others because of the discrimination I would face because of my sexual orientation. This was a sharp contrast to the response of my Christian family, who, after I came out to them via telephone, barely spoke to me for three years.

As I approach my 33rd birthday, I look back in awe — the thing that I needed most to heal and become a whole, healthy human being was exactly the opposite of what the therapists and the faith I was raised in told me. I have a superdad because, in him, I have a friend who was really there for me when I needed him most. Thanks dad, and happy Father’s Day.

Jason Cianciotto
June 13, 2008

Do you have something you want to share for father’s day? Please send it to

The First Picture I Ever Took

Jim Burroway

June 12th, 2008

It’s not too late to submit your essay about what your father means to you. As I said before, you can do it any way you like: It can be an essay, a poem, photos, video, podcast — whatever motivates you. It can be about your father, your grandfather, your neighbor’s father, your stepfather, your kid’s father, or your favorite father figure.

We’ve gotten three so far, from Tony K. and Garrett and Ben. Yours could be next. Just send it to between now and midnight Sunday night. The best submission gets a T-shirt.

Me and my brother

I mentioned earlier that we have very few pictures of my dad, simply because he was always the one taking the pictures. Like this one of me (left, about six years old) and my younger brother (right) playing in the back yard. Who knows why he decided to go outside and take this picture. Maybe he just wanted to finish up a roll and get it developed. Who knows?

But what I do remember is that it was an unusually bright, spring day, and that we were going to move soon to the town that I would eventually regard as my home town. I also remember on that spring day that I didn’t want my picture taken, but I did want to take a picture of my dad.

And so I asked him. “Dad, can I take your picture? Please?

Now like I said, he took all the pictures. He had a brand new Kodak Instamatic, a fancy jobber with an automatic winder. This baby was his camera. And so I also remember the sense of awesome responsibility I felt as he carefully placed it into my two small hands, wrapped the cord around my wrist so I wouldn’t drop it, and showed me how to slowly, slowly press the shutter so the camera wouldn’t jerk and take a blurry picture.

And so there I was — with my dad’s camera! — ready to take my very first photo.


And there you have it. The very first picture I ever took. That look on his face? I think he’s still worried that I’m going to drop his camera, but he let me take the picture anyway. Because that’s the way he was, worried sometimes but supportive always.

So, what about your dad?

Update: My goodness, I just looked at the calendar. It was twenty-five years ago today that dad passed away. He’s much loved and much missed still.

A Small Story

Jim Burroway

June 11th, 2008

This Father’s Day message is from Ben. You can also see Father’s Day Messages from Tony K. and Garrett.

This is just a small story.

I was raised by my biological family. My family was (and is) not just a little bit strange — ironically, I think I am the only one of four children that did not come out damaged. My Dad was OK — a good man with strong values and a good mind. He raised me properly, and I think I turned out well. But something was missing with him — I suspect it was what I call the gay Oedipus thing. My Dad recognized that I was very different from him (or entirely too similar to–take your pick) , and so we were perhaps not as close as we could have been, though we certainly had a decent relationship.

When I was 13, I met the boy who became my best friend, and his family became my family. I would escape there every weekend that I could. What a world of difference in how I was perceived and treated! John’s father, Dick, became a second father to me, in many ways, the father I always wanted, though he was far crazier in a lot of ways than my own father. His wife, Virginia, similarly became the mother I always wanted– loving and kind and supportive, not even just a little bit crazy, unlike my mother. They were the ones who showed up for my senior year choral concert– my own parents didn’t like classical music, and couldn’t be bothered. In all ways, Dick and Virginia were great parents to me, as they were with their own children.

Dick and Virginia were also very conservative and Christian. During the Watts riots, he said if “they” came near his house, he’d pull out his shotgun, sit on the front lawn and “pick off his limit”. Yes, THAT conservative.

For this reason, I was very hesitant to tell them I was gay. They were in fact the very last people I told, and I told them because I had made the commitment to myself that there would be no more lies. If I lost them, then I lost lost them.

So, I wrote them a long letter explaining the whole thing. I few weeks later, I received a response. Their words have always been engraved on my heart:

“It makes no difference to us. You are our son and we love you. We’re glad you loved us enough to tell us.”

Do you have something you want to share for father’s day? Please send it to

“Thanks Dad!”

Jim Burroway

June 10th, 2008

This Father’s Day message is from Tony K.

My father was an “old fashioned” man. After returning from a long army posting abroad he and my mother were strangers, so they had me to keep them together. It’s not strange that I ended up as a couples therapist.

He learned parenting from his father but decided that he wasn’t going to submit me to the continual brutal beatings that he’d had. Insteadhe needed to toughen me up — after all I was going to have to fight as a soldier, just like he had. Softness of any sort was going to leave me vulnerable and hurt. He didn’t want that. When I was three he decided not to touch me except in anger. To drag, push or hit. He never cuddled, held, praised or showed affection. It’s not that he didn’t love me. The experiences he’d had in Burma and India were so bad that wanted me strong and independent. This was his way of loving.

When he did touch me I would often end up on the other side of the room. I was terrified of him.

When I went to college he told me that I could never return to be at home with my family. I’d left them for an education and would never be able to part of them again. He was proud of me but terribly sad.

On a visit back I came out to my parents. He was standing in the kitchen by the sink. He went silent.

Then he opened his arms, stepped towards me and hugged me for the first time in twenty years. “You’re my son. I will always love you,” and then he went upstairs.

Later I introduced him to my boyfriend. Boyfriend? We’ve been together for thirty years. He and Dad shook hands and I saw my father change.

He loved hugs, he hugged me, my friends, my partner. He trusted Bryan to run his finances, give him advice, and he laughed with him, with me.

So often we do things in love that are totally wrong. My childhood was a nightmare of fear and terror. Not because he didn’t love me but that he loved and hoped so much that he wanted me never to hurt. He toughened me up.

It worked.

Genetics be damned. I learned to be very strong. Anyone who hurts my family, my friends, my people, my children finds out that I won’t stand for it.

I’m walking down the street. It’s “Fantasy Fest” in Key West. I have a friend on each arm — hell, I have a drag queen on each arm. Not, I have to say, very pretty ones and they keep falling off their heels. There’s a group a straight couples on a corner and as we pass they shout out something nasty. One of the girls pushes me forward. “Go get ’em Tony.”

I step forward. The straight couples run, the women squealing, the men (overweight and drunk) dive for doorways, run across the street. One is sick with fear.

“Thanks Dad!” I say.

He taught me to stick up for myself. I’ve been arrested on marches, sacked from jobs, attacked on streets, in buses, at libraries, bars, boats and bookshops. None of it hurts, not really. I’ve rescued
children, battered women, chained animals, abused gay teenagers, elderly people, the disadvantaged, distressed and derided.

“Thanks Dad!”

Do you have something you want to share for father’s day? Please send it to

A Father’s Day Message

Jim Burroway

June 9th, 2008

This letter for Father’s Day comes to us from Garrett.

Growing up with my father was a blessing. He taught me so much. He was my coach and best bud when I was younger. I came out after I graduated from high school and things kind of changed. I know that he still loves me and we still speak; though it seems to hurt him to have a gay son. Here is my card to him:


Do you remember when you would let me drive the car, eating Megabite popsicles, and drinking cream sodas during our daily commute? I miss those days scouting the new town to live in before the rest of the family would make the move.

Do you remember jamming out to “Sweet Emotion” by Aerosmith when you would work on the Jeep? I remember running around occasionally screaming when I stepped on a grass burr. You thought I was singing to the song. Haha

Do you remember when I fell the first and last time on the red track gravel from jumping a hurdle? I guess it only took once…

Do you remember setting up the watering system for the football field grass with the rest of the coaches? I loved helping out with the clasps between each connection.

Do you recall me scurrying around with the wires to your headset during football games? It was so great to hear you instruct from the sidelines and use the signals for formations.

Do you remember how bad we felt when I blew coverage on that wide receiver and lost the game for the season? You made it seem like nothing and taught me to prepare and practice to perfection.

Do you recall how jealous the other students were because I got to each lunch with my dad everyday of school? It was like we were best friends who lived together.

Do you remember writing me passes to show up late to class because I didn’t want to go when the bell rang for the end of lunch? I got to hang out in your class room and watch the students laugh at your funny teaching.

Do you recall the corny face I had when I won the state championship? I remember the 5:30 AM practices and all the injuries, but you were there going through it all with me.

Do you remember when we’d say, ‘How ’bout them Yanks’ in front of the team? It was our way of saying ‘I love you’ without anyone else knowing.

I know that having a gay son is a hard thing for you to swallow right now. Please just know that I am and will always be your son who has some awesome memories to share with you.

How ’bout them Yanks Dad!

Happy Father’s Day

Love always,

Do you have something you want to share for father’s day? Please send it to

BTB’s Father’s Day Celebration

Jim Burroway

June 8th, 2008

Dad and meThis is one of my favorite pictures of Dad and me. Whenever I see this picture, it makes me think of two things: 1) how much fun it was to wrestle and climb all over him and 2) aren’t those drapes behind the couch fabulous?

This picture is one of the very few that I have of my Dad and me. Like many fathers of that generation, Dad was always the one behind the camera, not in front of it. And so while I have many wonderful memories of Dad (he died when I was in college), we actually have very few pictures of him. We have whole albums of vacation pictures where one would think he was never there. But of course, it’s impossible to think of those vacations without him.

Like the time we went to Florida for Christmas in 1972. The night before we were due to leave, my mother, my brothers and I all came down with a horrible case of the flu. But Dad was undeterred. He said we could just as easily be sick in Florida as in Ohio, and all in all he’d prefer Florida. So we packed up the Skylark and threw a couple of extra coffee cans in the back seat and off we went.

Ah, yes. Vacation memories…

Anyway, Father’s Day is coming up this year on June 15 — just one week away. I thought it might be nice to turn this blog over to you, and let you post a short (or long) tribute to your father — or gripes (not all fathers are perfect!) or hopes or whatever else stirs you. You can write that letter to your father you’ve been meaning to write, or you can tell us what happened when you did. Your story is all up to you. You can send photos, essays, letters, drawings, videos, podcasts, or whatever else conveys a sense of what your father has meant to you. Your only limitation is your imagination.

You can send your submissions to, or you can just leave them in the comments and we’ll re-post them with your permission. We can keep your name and other personal details anonymous if you like. Please say so if that’s what you prefer. The best submission gets a free BTB T-shirt.

So tell us. What makes your Dad so special?


Featured Reports

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In this original BTB Investigation, we unveil the tragic story of Kirk Murphy, a four-year-old boy who was treated for “cross-gender disturbance” in 1970 by a young grad student by the name of George Rekers. This story is a stark reminder that there are severe and damaging consequences when therapists try to ensure that boys will be boys.

Slouching Towards Kampala: Uganda’s Deadly Embrace of Hate

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Paul Cameron’s World

In 2005, the Southern Poverty Law Center wrote that “[Paul] Cameron’s ‘science’ echoes Nazi Germany.” What the SPLC didn”t know was Cameron doesn’t just “echo” Nazi Germany. He quoted extensively from one of the Final Solution’s architects. This puts his fascination with quarantines, mandatory tattoos, and extermination being a “plausible idea” in a whole new and deeply disturbing light.

From the Inside: Focus on the Family’s “Love Won Out”

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Prologue: Why I Went To “Love Won Out”
Part 1: What’s Love Got To Do With It?
Part 2: Parents Struggle With “No Exceptions”
Part 3: A Whole New Dialect
Part 4: It Depends On How The Meaning of the Word "Change" Changes
Part 5: A Candid Explanation For "Change"

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At last, the truth can now be told.

Using the same research methods employed by most anti-gay political pressure groups, we examine the statistics and the case studies that dispel many of the myths about heterosexuality. Download your copy today!

And don‘t miss our companion report, How To Write An Anti-Gay Tract In Fifteen Easy Steps.

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Straight From The Source: What the “Dutch Study” Really Says About Gay Couples

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Daniel Fetty Doesn’t Count

Daniel FettyThe FBI’s annual Hate Crime Statistics aren’t as complete as they ought to be, and their report for 2004 was no exception. In fact, their most recent report has quite a few glaring holes. Holes big enough for Daniel Fetty to fall through.