“I don’t have a relationship with him. In order to have a relationship, I guess you have to relate.”
– Dear Dad
During the 2011 National HIV Prevention Conference, I attended a presentation by the ever sexy, always brilliant Dr. David Malebranche. He talked about father-son relationships with black gay/bisexual men in a recent study he conducted in Atlanta. Most of the participants he interviewed had negative/non-existent relationships with their biological fathers which lead to maladaptive behaviors as adults and ultimately HIV risk.
In essence, absence as trauma.
I never thought of it like that. When I hear people talk about never meeting their bio dad or crazy stories of parents actively sabotaging their children, I’m like, “people really do that? That really happens?” (my middle class privilege)
I’m ambivalent about my father. He was physically (and financially) there growing up, but never emotionally. He didn’t seem to like my mother very much. I wouldn’t be surprised if he was gay. A story for another time. But I harbor no active hatred towards him.
As Trent Jackson often says, the first relationship you observe (read: learn to model) is your parents. If dad was never there, how does that affect your interpersonal relationships as an adult? How can you trust other men when you can’t even trust your own father?
Dear Dad, a new film by Chase Adair (also in Atlanta) seeks to explore those questions and more.
It’s a timely piece, especially considering we still have to deal with parents pulling stunts and shows with their LGBT youth, leaving them to fend for themselves at a young age. No one should have to go thru that.
Check out the trailer above and please donate to the Kickstarter if you can. This film needs to be released to the masses.