One Father's Unexpected Advice To His Gay Son

October 15th 2015

Diana Crandall

A story about a gay man and his supportive father is going viral this week, and people are listening in disbelief.

Patrick Haggerty grew up on a dairy farm in the 1950s in Washington state and has an unbelievable story to tell about acceptance. He recounted the tale to his daughter, Robin, in a recording session with StoryCorps, an organization dedicated to recording, collecting, and sharing people’s stories.

Patrick's story begins with a school assembly. He used glitter in his costume — something that his older brother didn’t approve of when he dropped Patrick off at the school.

“[My brother] called my dad up and said, ‘Dad, you better get up here. This is not going to be good,'” Patrick told Robin.
Patrick’s father, Charles, went to the assembly looking for him, but Patrick dodged his dad.

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Patrick wasn’t avoiding his father because he was wearing glitter. He was avoiding him because Charles was in manure-caked boots and jeans.

Son hides from his father in "The Saint of Dry Creek"

After the assembly, when Patrick climbed into the car, Charles confronted the boy about avoiding him and his “cow-crap” jeans.

“Look, everybody knows I’m a dairy farmer,” Charles told his son. “This is who I am. Now how about you? When you’re a full grown man, who are you going to go out with at night?”

“I don’t know,” Patrick said.

Father and son driving in The Saint of Dry Creek

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“I think you do know,” his father replied. “And it’s not going to be [that girl] that’s been making goo-goo eyes at you, and you can’t even pick up the damn telephone.”

“Now I’m going to tell you something today,” his father said. “And you might not know what to think of it now, but you’re going to remember it when you’re an adult. Don’t sneak. Because if you sneak, like you did today, it means you think you’re doing the wrong thing. And if you run around spending your whole life thinking that you’re doing the wrong thing, then you’ll ruin your immortal soul.”

Patrick’s father died just two years later, in 1961. But his lesson stayed with Patrick for the rest of his life.

“I had the patron saint of dads for sissies,” Patrick says now. “No, I didn’t know it at the time. But I know it now.”

Patron saint of sissies in The Saint of Dry Creek