Australian chef Kylie Kwong has shared her emotional coming out story, describing her father's reaction in an interview on ABC series Anh’s Brush With Fame.
As Anh Do painted a portrait of her, Kwong revealed that, while living at home, her father grew suspicious that she was dating a woman and confronted her about it.
"He came into my room and said, 'So darling, are you seeing that woman?'”
"And I said, 'Yes dad, I am. Dad, I’m gay.' Just looked at him, and I told him."
She continued: "He said, 'OK. Well, I just want to thank you for your honesty….'
It was then, Kwong said, that she interrupted her father.
"I said, 'Dad, I respect you. During our childhood, you and Mum always brought us up to be truthful and honest, and you’ve always said to us, we three kids, that you just want us to be happy'.
"I said, 'Dad, this makes me really happy. This is just who I am. And I’m really sorry if I’ve disappointed you or let you down but I just need to be myself.'"
Her father responded, saying: “Darling, I just want to say thank you for being so honest." However, he then added: “I don’t… I just don’t understand it and I don’t agree with it.’
That was when he told Kwong that he wanted her to move out of his house, leaving her distraught.
Kwong recalled that he said: "It’s Wednesday. I want you out of the house by Saturday. From this moment, I disown you as my daughter. And when you call home, you can speak to your mum and your brothers, but I’m not going to speak to you."
Kwong said that once her father left the room, her mother entered and the pair shared a tearful hug.
"She held me very tightly and she said, 'Oh, my darling, now you can be free. You can be whoever you want to be.’"
Despite his initial reaction, Kwong went on to reveal that her father eventually had a change of heart.
"I was fast asleep and I got woken up by these very, very quick, heavy footsteps coming down my corridor. And I woke up to… my father’s sobbing face on my pillow. And his whole kind of energy and demeanor was of this vulnerable… a kind of smaller presence. A beautiful presence.
"And he’s like, 'Oh my darling, I can’t do it to you. You’re my baby. You’re my little girl, and I love you and I just can’t… I just can’t. Even though I don’t understand your way of life, I can’t throw you out and I love you and I want you to stay.'
"And I just said, 'Dad, I’m so proud of you, I’m so inspired by you.' What he actually did in that moment was, he was 52, he dropped 52 years of ego, just like that.
"He had done this transformation in those two silent nights. He dropped ego and he became human."
Describing the experience as one of "the great lessons in life", Kwong said that she and her father went on to build a close relationship.
"Be yourself," she said.
"No matter how hard or scared you are to come out with, you know, what it is to be yourself, you’ve got to be yourself, there is no other way."