A Rising Son

His father is a charismatic anti-gay activist. And he has come out of the closet

OutExcerpted with permission from the May issue of Out magazine. The issue hits newsstands April 20th.

It's hard to point to one moment when you begin to come out to yourself, but if I had to, I'd go back to a night seven years ago, when I was 17. I was home from boarding school in my old bedroom at my parents' house in Windsor, N.Y., where my friend "Johnny" and I had just finished fooling around. Suddenly he asked me, "Do you think we are bisexual or gay?" The question so stunned me, I didn't know how to respond. I mean, we had been having sex for ages, but I'd always believed I couldn't be gay: I was the son of Randall Terry, a major leader of the Christian right's antiabortion movement and now a leader in the fight against marriage for same-sex couples. I'm 24 now and I'm still figuring out my own story.

My father founded Operation Rescue, which became well-known for staging mass demonstrations next to abortion clinics and sometimes flooded an entire city to hold it "hostage." Growing up in my house was anything but boring. And it was made even more "interesting" because from a very early age I knew I was different. When I was 4 my favorite female was Miss Piggy. That alone was probably not much of a giveaway, but my soft voice and my mannerisms turned out


to be signs that I was gay. However, when you grow up in a house where to be the thing you are is an abominable sin, you tend to try to shed those behaviors. I would try to be more masculine in every way I could. My father would rarely say something derogatory about gays around my mom or my sisters, but he would around our male friends and to me. I guess it was the usual stuff you hear, but it hurt me sometimes, and I would ask him not to say those things; I felt that for Christians, it's not right to mock people, even in their sin. My father knew I was right, and he would apologize. One thing about my father: We kids could certainly tell him what we thought, and we usually wouldn't get in trouble.

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