This is my dad on my 21st birthday. It has taken him 21 years to call me his son. It’s taken 21 years for him to tell me that he’s proud of me. It’s taken him 21 years to tell me that he loves me. It’s taken us 21 years to love each other.
When I first came out as transgender my dad didn’t understand and so he reacted with hatred, anger and disappointment. He shamed me for my gender expression and we had to cut off communication.
But after my chest surgery in December of 2016 he finally opened his eyes to how happy I finally was. He made the decision to attend rehab and therapy to better himself and focus on his own mental health issues in order to restore our relationship.
Since my surgery he’s been nothing but loving and supportive. He always calls me Liam and uses the correct pronouns. He calls me his son and we’re more connected now then ever.
In these photos I’m opening a birthday present from my dad. His present was a black ball cap that read “The Jet-Lag Club”. He explained that it was a bar in Japan only for international flight crews. A bar that his father had gone to and he had frequently gone to as well. He got the hat from being such a frequent customer, but it has closed since and now there is no possible was to get one of these hats. He told me it’s his most prized possession. And then he handed it to me and said…
“It’s yours now. It’s tradition, from father to son.”
Remember that people can grow and change. They can accept and love even after hatred emerged. Remember that people can see who you are. Don’t give up just yet, things can change and they can get better.