Who's Your Daddy

Pride and a slice of melon

A couple of days ago, I was scrolling through a social media app when I saw a posting from one of my friends promoting a queer food festival. Now I admit, at first, I wasn’t sure what queer food was exactly. I assumed it must be brunch. And as The Simpsons declared years ago, brunch isn’t quite breakfast; it isn’t quite lunch; but it comes with a slice of melon. It turns out he was letting his thousands of followers know about an event featuring queer-owned eateries.

Predictably, there was a comment from someone trying to troll him. The guy wanted to know if he could hold a straight food fest. That made me wonder what straight food is. I assume it’s some sort of casserole that involves a can of Campbell’s soup, Velveeta cheese, and potato chips crumbled on top.

Of course, the guy was simply trying to couch his homophobia behind an argument that LGBTQ+ visibility is somehow a special right. You know, just like a month of Pride.

This Pride issue of QSaltlake marks my 15th anniversary of penning Who’s Your Daddy. That’s 180 columns of me sharing my thoughts, complaining, scolding, and hopefully giving readers a positive glimpse into what it’s like to be gay and a father.

A lot has changed in the decade and half since the column debuted back in 2009. Some of that has been really good: marriage equality; gay couples being able to adopt and foster in Utah; overwhelming support for basic civil rights for LGBTQ+ people.

That’s why Pride is more important than ever. Sure, we only need look at stupid bathroom laws popping up around the country or, you know, to be asked when straight people can have a food festival to understand that a lot also hasn’t changed over the years. But every year, the visibility of Pride helps someone feel less alone, less afraid.

Tonight, while I was walking the dog, we passed a house two blocks away that we’ve gone by a thousand times before. Every day, they fly a Pride flag. What’s unusual about that is the fact that they’re an older couple, a husband and wife in their 70s – not your typical rainbow flag family.

When we strolled by this evening, I saw the woman was taking their garbage can to the curb. She was using a cane, so I asked if I could help her. She thanked me but said she could handle it. I then thanked her for flying the flag.

She told me that they had had a son who was gay; he is gone now, but she told me that he was such a good man. They fly that flag every day in honor of him. In my suburban neighborhood, on a street filled with well-kept homes nestled behind manicured lawns, a couple is proud to have a gay son – a gay son who was such a good man.

On my favorite hoodie, I sport a pin on which is written “together we are strong” circling two rainbow-colored hands clasped together. I’ve kept in on my lapel for a good five years because it was an impromptu gift from my then 16-year-old son. For him it was a subtle, shy way of telling me he’s proud of his gay dad.

That’s the kind of pride, the kind of support, the kind of familial love that makes people testily ask about straight food festivals. It’s this inclusion, not their fantasized exclusion, that truly offends them.

Maybe they should try a slice of melon.

Thank you all for putting up with me these past 15 years.

Happy Pride, everyone!

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