7:00AM BST 08 Aug 2012 By Hannah Furness
A gay man who was disowned by his father after he came out has published the final farewell letter he received, in an attempt to expose the “zealotry”, “intolerance” and “persecution” he has been subjected to.
The hand written letter has been viewed by nearly 800,000 people across the world Photo: ALAMY
The man, named only as James, posted the full letter online under the heading "this is how hate sounds", explaining he had been disowned by his father five years ago after telephoning to say he was gay.
In a handwritten note, his father berates him for the “degrading” and “unnatural” lifestyle, telling him “God did not intend” for him to live that way.
Instructing him never to visit his home or expect any further conversation, the note specifies: “If you choose not to attend my funeral, my friends and family will understand".
The note, which the father claims was “a difficult but necessary letter to write”, tells him the "fond memories" they share are "all in the past" and is signed: “Goodbye, Dad”.
James, who posted the full letter on reddit.com, said he is now “fine” after being disowned in 2007, has asked concerned readers to “please pass your acceptance and love to the people you personally know who are going through this type of persecution and harm from their blindly religious parents/guardians”.
Writing online anonymously, he said: “In August of 2007, I finally built up the courage to tell my father I was gay.
“The moment I said it, the phone got quiet and he got off the phone after a few 'Okay's. I decided to give him time to process the news.
A week later “and not long before my birthday”, he said, he received the letter.
The note, which has already been viewed by nearly 800,000 people across the world, provoked an avalanche of supportive message from those horrified by its content.
One said: “This person is no longer your Dad. Stop giving him the honor [sic] of that title. As long as he feels like this, he is your biological father. Nothing more. He deserves no more respect from you than any other person in this world.”
Another wrote: “This is painful to read, only because my dad wrote me a similar letter when I came out around 7 years ago.
“I'm happy to report that after around 5 years, he came to me and asked me to forgive him for what he'd done, and we've worked on rebuilding our relationship since then.”
A third said: “My heart just dropped reading this. Keep your head up. It saddens me that people think that being gay is a 'wrong' lifestyle and that it should be frowned upon, and then they act as if disowning your children is okay.”
James, who later clarified that he still has a “strained” relationship with his mother as his parents are divorced, said he was now a “happier and indeed a more well-adjusted individual” and feels capable of saying “f--- you, Dad”.
He wrote: “I've never done drugs, was an excellent student, an obedient child (far less trouble than many of my classmates), didn't drink until I was 22 because it terrified me, and have had just one speeding ticket in my life.
“Yet I am still seemingly deserving of this terrible act of hate and cowardice that one person can place on another. “
The full letter reads: "James: This is a difficult but necessary letter to write. I hope your telephone call was not to receive my blessing for the degrading of your lifestyle. I have fond memories of our times together, but that is all in the past.
"Don’t expect any further conversations with me. No communications at all. I will not come to visit, nor do I want you in my house.
"You’ve made your choice though wrong it may be. God did not intend for this unnatural lifestyle.
"If you choose not to attend my funeral, my friends and family will understand.
"Have a good birthday and good life. No present exchanges will be accepted.