Dan Savage on How to Come out to your Evangelical Family

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Dan Savage moved to Seattle while I lived there and began writing a sex advice column for The Stranger. I never missed reading his column because he was honest and accurate and entertaining. Regardless of where in the world I've been since, I have followed his career. This video clip features Dan at University of Maryland, speaking on the tough subject of coming out to a very Christian family. It gives you a little perspective when you hear the story he tells of the abuse that a boyfriend of his suffered at the hands of his father -- an evangelical Baptist minister.

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When I read your title, I assumed you were talking about atheism. Still, it was worth a listen. The idea of giving the parents a period to get over their mad is good, if they're told at the outset.

But a year of abuse? Make it thirty days. "You can abuse me for thirty days. If you're not over it by then, you won't get to abuse me the rest of my life because you won't be in my life. All sales are final, so you have thirty days to decide the rest of your life."

i think the principles are the same, whether you are gay or atheist. but i agree with you that the abuse should not be allowed to continue for longer than 30 days. dan savage is much more patient in real life than i imagined, based on reading his columns and books.

Unfortunately my mother died when I was 13 just turning 14. So I spent the next five years of my life with my father. Left home at 19 and never looked back.

I don't have a terribly good relationship with my father but not for the reason you'd suspect. He's fine with my being gay. But he's still a racist bastard who doesn't deserve the time of day.

I've even caught him out spouting white supremacist dogma.

Not to mention he's rabidly opposed to marriage equality, even going so far as to sign on and donate money. When I found out I questioned him about it, asking if my relationship of then 15 years had any less validity than his, and how could he sign that petition.

His answer, because his pastor told him to do so. I bet this very same pastor is a racist asshole too.

This is all the more poignant since my SO is black.

So my relationship with my father is relegated to a phone call every couple months. I barely ever see him.

I had a similar experience about coming out as a 'biologist'.