No matter how much progress is made, members of the LGBTQIA+ community never know how their families will react when they come out or express themselves.
According to a 2018 Human Rights Campaign survey of over 12,000 LGBTQIA+ teens, 77% felt depressed, 70% felt worthless and hopeless and 77% said they heard family members say negative things about LGBTQIA+ people.
So you can only imagine how Daniel felt when, at 18 years old, he was caught off guard by his dad during a vulnerable moment: putting on makeup in his bedroom.
Lemus was wearing acrylic nails and expertly doing a full face when his dad walked in.
Daniel’s dad, Luis Lemus, wanted to know what was going on. The exchange happened in English and Spanish.
“What are you doing?” the father asked him. “Turn on the lights.”
Daniel explained he was recording a video for YouTube. The son nervously laughed.
“I’m gonna tell you something, whatever it is you want to do…” the dad said.
“Dad, don’t make me cry, don’t make me cry,” Daniel interrupted.
“Whatever it is you want to do, you’ll be OK. I’ll be OK with you. I’m with you, OK? I love you, papa. If that makes you happy, do it, but do it good. I’m always with you, OK? I’m not going to drop you or anything. You be happy.”
The father held his son tight and showered him with kisses on the cheek. The touching moment was the catalyst for Daniel to come out to Luis.
“I never told my dad that I was gay, until that day I felt like I truly came out to him,” Daniel told Newsweek.
“I know that he knew already but I just felt that I came out to him right then and there when he caught me with makeup on. It’s just so amazing how that actually turned out, and I’m so grateful to have parents who accept me for who I am.”
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