Wow! Don't you wish all parents were as accepting of their children as Zach's in this article in today's New York Times?
Matt and I have been pretty lucky about the whole "gay" thing.
Although my mom freaked out (and didn't talk to me for two years), my dad was really cool. (I found out years later he had a gay brother -- about whom I had never heard a word!) Matt's parents apparently have never blinked an eye about it.
But this is about so much more than just a child revealing that s/he is gay: it is about a parent allowing a child to make life decisions that make him/her happy.
My parents were very disappointed that, as smart as I am, I did not want to go to law school (my dad) or become a doctor (my mom). I wanted to be in theater, damnit.
I had been in theater since elementary school, through high school and into college. I loved to act, dance, sing, do production stuff (props, set design, etc.). So, I dropped out of college (I was studying genetics) and moved to California where I very quickly realized I had no talent at all -- especially compared to my peers who did.
That's when I decided to go back to writing -- which I could do well.
Although my writing career has had its ups and downs I am still quite proud of the almost 31-year career I have had as a writer.
I accomplished what I set out to do: produce documentaries (many for radio, one for television), write for newspapers and magazines, write a children's book, and a lot of smaller goals along the way. Would I have been happy as a lawyer or doctor? Who knows? I still am fascinated by law and totally love medicine; but I wanted to do things my way -- and I did, and I would never have it any other way.
When I was in elementary school I created a motto for myself: I would rather do things my way and fail, than do things "their" way and succeed. I have stuck with that ever since, through the good and bad, and never changed it.
Of course, that motto eventually became my strength when I realized that liking the company of guys was the same as being "homosexual." It was a tough road when I came out at age 21 (the early 1980s): not as hard as it would have been 20 years earlier, and certainly not as easy as it had become 20 years later.
So, here's wishing you lots of happiness, Zach. You are lucky to have the family you have, and be living in the world today.