When I came out to my dad, it got messy for a moment. He seemed okay at first, but his true feelings came spilling out a few days later, launching a bitter debate that lasted a week.
I sat in my parked car in Burbank one evening, a half hour late to work, eyes drowning in tears, yelling at my dad, just trying to get him to understand.
There’s one thing he said to me that I remember most clearly:
“You know I’ve always supported your film projects, but if you ever did a ‘gay’ project, I could never support that.”
That was three years ago.
Today*, things blew up in the best way with a project I’m working on called “Calling All Lesbians.” It’s a documentary that started casual, but has suddenly turned into such an important, meaningful thing that people have already connected with, and we haven’t even started the main bulk of production yet. This morning, Pride.com published an article written by my good friend and the producer of the project - Chanel - and it exploded. 500 likes on Pride’s facebook page, then hundreds of likes on Out Magazine’s and The Advocate’s facebook pages as well. We’ve been getting random messages from supporters all over, so glad that we are doing a project like this to bolster the visibility of queer women, to address the issues that face us and to just tell our stories and feature our faces. Our Instagram hit 1000 followers (I’m a millennial and that’s oddly important - sue me), and the connections are starting to feel endless, in the best possible way. I spent all of my day at work both elated and distracted, overwhelmed by how everything seemed to take off at once.
On a whim, I decided to check our recently launched Indiegogo page, satisfied to see that we had gone from the $50 we had the night before to $90.
Less than an hour later as I continued to witness how our article was taking off on social media, I decided to check Indiegogo again on another whim.
The amount of money we had raised had gone from $90 to $340!
I only had access to my phone at the time, which wouldn’t let me see who the backers were, so their identities were shrouded in mystery, but I imagined they had been some of the many women who had connected with our article. Finally tonight, I had access to a computer and was eager to see what strangers I should be eternally grateful and indebted to.
At the very top of the list as the most recent donor, having donated $250 was my dad.
It’s been a long day. I worked from 8AM to 6PM, outside on my feet, walking through uneven terrain and lifting film equipment, and then I went straight from work to meet up with Chanel to further discuss and plan Calling All Lesbians. I got home at 10:30PM - 15 hours after I had left my house. I have felt the full brunt of the best emotions in addition to all the work I’ve put in, so I’ve weathered down to my barest.
So it’s finally starting to settle in, what it meant seeing my dad’s name as our biggest donor.
This man told me in one of my weakest moments that he could never support anything I do that had to do with part of my identity. A part of me that had taken so long for me to accept, that would from that point on always to some extent define who I was and how I existed in the world, which would naturally influence the art I created - he blatantly stated his refusal to support it.
Yet today, he contributed to a campaign in support of a project that has come to mean a lot to me, that I’ve been working on constantly - a project that is blatantly about my queerness, that has “lesbian” in the title! In one of my best moments, he brazenly supported it.
He supported me.
And so here I am, tears threatening my eyes again at his hand, three years later, but for an entirely different reason than before. It’s so meaningful on so many different levels that I cannot even begin to unpack it right now, but I feel the full brunt of it all the same.
People change. And love really does conquer all. And I am unbelievably grateful for the way my life has turned out so far. I am so glad to have been brought to this moment. A little battered, sure, but okay. I’m okay. I have great people around me who love me, and I’m okay.
*February 18, 2016