Mum writes heartfelt apology to her son after becoming ‘hysterical’ when he came out as gay
The mother of the gay Australian TV presenter Patrick Abboud has written him a heartfelt letter apologising for her terrible reaction when he came out.
Growing up in Sydney, Abboud was raised in a strict Arabic household where he didn’t even know that being gay was even an option.
For years he tried to be straight by having a girlfriend and “praying the gay away”, but eventually his parents discovered his secret and did not take it well.
“From the moment my parents found out, my life became so incredibly isolating and difficult for a long time,” he told news.com.au. “If I walked into a room my Dad would get up and walk out.
“My mum was wailing hysterically… It felt like I was dying inside. I had to get away for their sake and mine so I went overseas for a number of years. It was an agonising journey for all of us.”
When he returned to Australia he began the long process of rebuilding his family relationships, and today he is a journalist, broadcaster and award-winning documentary maker.
His mother has grown, too, and used the opportunity of Sydney’s Pride festival and the #AbsolutLoveLetters campaign to explain why she reacted as she did.
In a handwritten letter to her son, she said: “When you came out and told me that you are gay I got hysterical as at the time I didn’t understand it, and thought it was your choice to be that way. I wasn’t educated about it, people said it was a shame to our Arabic community and society didn’t accept it.
“I struggled inside for a very long time but I started searching, learning and talking to professional people about it until I understood the way I needed to, that gay people don’t have a choice to be how they are, they are God’s beautiful creations and there shouldn’t be any discrimination against them.”
The letter ends: “Son, I will always have my mind and heart open to all the rights that you deserve as a human being. I hope we will continue to work together to keep peace and justice in the world.
“I will always support you in any time you need my support and I will always support the LGBT community. Love is the biggest power of all and no matter what happens, what anyone says, I love you so much.”
Overcoming your prejudices and admitting you were wrong is a hard thing to do, and we can all learn a lesson from this loving mum. You can read her full letter here.