A gay athletics coach in Colorado has written an inspiring open letter to his 17-year-old son, crediting him for giving him the courage to come out.
Micah Porter and his teenage son—also named Micah Porter—proudly marched side by side at Denver Pridefest, which coincided with Father's Day in the US this year.
“This past weekend was a Father’s Day I thought would only occur in my dreams,” Micah Sr. writes.
“You gave me the gift of authenticity, courage and a son’s love. From the deepest realms of my heart, thank you. I overflow with pride.”
He goes on to say that while he knew his son was gay when he was very young, he himself was unable to come to terms with his own sexuality.
As he watched his child being his “authentic self every day and challenge every notion of normativity”, he realised that he was ignoring his own sexual identity.
“You were my first teacher about the importance of loving oneself. I have never told you this, but you had an impact on me that is ultimately beyond words.
“My arduous journey to embrace my sexuality and love myself as a gay man began with you. Son, you inspired me to confront my fraudulent life and begin to be proud of who I truly was.”
Micah Sr. says that his eventual coming out did lead to “painful changes in our family” and their relationship was strained for many years.
“I made many mistakes during that time and our relationship was damaged. I am sorry for the pain that those years caused you. I also knew that you were struggling with your own sexuality and I wanted to be there for you in a way that only a father could be.
“Though our time together during those years was limited, for the first time, I sat next to you, hugged you and walked with you proud of who I was.
“Your own journey has been incredible to witness as your father. Two years ago, you told me you were gay. We hugged, we cried, and we bonded like we never had before.
“My heart beamed with joy that night from Grammy and Grandpa Porter’s home in North Carolina. I went to bed with a love in my heart that finally felt free.”
Micah Sr. finishes the letter by saying: "I know we will have many more Father’s Days together, but none will be the same as 2017 when we marched together for Pride. On that day, this father’s pride beamed brighter than he ever imagined possible."
You can read the full letter at Outsports.