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My Dad, Father of Three Homosexual Children

by Rick van der Made in Columns & Opinions , 30 mei 2018

Dit artikel is ook in het Nederlands beschikbaar

Last April it was fifteen years ago my father died at the age of sixty-eight. My father loved reading and my mother, a former nun. He also loved his children, which manifested itself mainly in the chores he did for them. Less in showing physical affection.

My brother, Father and me
Out of the four children, three are homosexual. Only the eldest daughter was attracted to men and she married a Kurdish intellectual who had fled from Turkey. They had four children. It was a motley crew in the Catholic Brabant in the 1980s.

The second youngest brother of my father married a Frenchwoman, only to find out, about twelve years and two children later, that he really was attracted to men. My uncle is almost eighty now. He is a great-grandfather and - how could it be any different? – out of his five grandchildren, two are homosexual.

In my family we never made a fuss about homosexuality. It is what it is. Some go for blonde, others for brunettes. Some go for men, others are attracted to women. It is not a problem.

Hans Warren with Bert BakkerA few months after my mother died, my father cleaned out his bookshelfs. He gave nearly all of his books to his children. The only books left were all of Hans Warren’s diaries and the entire oeuvre of Gerard Reve. Coincidence or not, they were two homosexual writers.

My father died suddenly. He had purchased the latest volume of Warren’s diaries, but had not yet read them. All children and children-in-law wrote something in the book, and we put the book in the coffin and buried it with my father.

My father was a man of few words, but he accepted his children for what they were. He was part of the generation of men who paved the way for a more open society. A more open upbringing, more diversity. My uncle had to get married before he dared to come out. We could tell our parents without any problem that we had a less straightforward path in mind for our future.

Gerard Reve with Rudy KousbroekWe never asked my father why he only had books by Warren and Reve in his bookcase. It does not matter. Father loved these two authors as he loved his children and grandchildren: silently, quietly enjoying and wondering what surprises the future had in store for him. Smiling and without prejudice.

I am writing this column for my father. A father of three homosexual children. I wish every gay child has such a father.

A father with Gerard Reve in his bookcase.
A father with Hans Warren in his coffin.



In the New Issue of Gay News, 328, December 2018

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