By: Emily Conley
One summer day, Denise’s world turned upside down. Her father sat her down and told her that he wanted to become a woman. “And in my mind, I’m thinking, ‘I’ve already got a mom. I need a dad, I want a dad…feeling like you’re being abandoned, and he’s not wanting to step up to the plate and the fact of being your father,” tears welled up in her eyes and her voice filled with emotion, “It’s a time, a scene in your life that you don’t soon forget. You don’t forget.”
Denise was blindsided with another revelation: her dad told her he never wanted to have children, and he saw Denise and her siblings as mistakes because they didn’t align with his identity. Her home environment felt like walking on pins and needles, as her dad’s resentment over her female body grew. Eventually his resentment escalated to emotional and sexual abuse, and Denise sought a means of escape through boyfriends and alcohol.
Eventually she met Mark, and everything changed. With him, she began to heal. After her father abandoned the family, when Denise found out he was he was dying of cancer, she faced a choice – continue holding on to her pain, or to forgive him, before it was too late.
“There are times when it’s not as emotional, and then there are days when you just sit there and cry because you still feel like that nine year old girl, that just wants her daddy.”
The stories of adults who grew up with LGBT parents, most of whom were involved in same-sex relationships, all have one thing in common—as children they craved the love and presence of their missing mother or father. These courageous men and women are speaking up for marriage so that future generations of children, all of whom deserve both their mom and dad, will know that they were worth speaking up for.