Kevin Newman on dealing with his son's coming out
In All Out: A Father and Son Confront The Hard Truths That Made Them Better Men, Canadian journalist and news anchor Kevin Newman alternates perspectives with his son, Alex, on Alex's coming out — and what this taught both of them about what it means to really be a man.
WHY THEY FELT SO FAR APART WHEN ALEX WAS GROWING UP
Alex: When I looked at my father when I was a child, he was always this hero. He was always confident, always masculine, always successful, in my eyes. I didn't really know how to admit to him that I was failing at something, that I wasn't the son that I thought he wanted me to be. That was a real struggle for me. I felt like I had to keep some kind of secret.
Kevin: The irony is, I was at exactly the same place as Alex. I was insecure. I was going through a very difficult time. I wanted to withdraw into a corner. I didn't want Alex to know what was going on. I didn't want to admit to Alex how insecure I was, how afraid I was, how much I felt like a failure. I felt, "That's not the lesson I want for my son."
HOW THEY HANDLED ALEX'S COMING OUT
Alex: There wasn't a definitive moment, a moment where I felt "I am gay, this is who I am." It was a progression, it took time. Part of the turmoil I went through was I couldn't find the answer inside myself. There was no internal voice that said, "Okay, this is who I am." It had to be learned through experience, and through that I was able to realize who I was.
Kevin: I wasn't completely accepting; I still had issues myself. I could be there to support Alex, but to be truly accepting meant not just accepting Alex as a gay man, it meant accepting what it meant to be a gay man in today's world. And that took 10 years, I have to admit, not proudly.
It's been an incredible growth experience. I went to World Pride with Alex and his boyfriend in Toronto last year, and I put my arm around his boyfriend and thought, "This is great." To reach that level of humanity and to reach that level of "Who cares?" and to reach that level of "I'm just enjoying myself with some really fine people," I thought, "This is a gift."
Alex: That moment was key. It was no longer about Dad showing he's accepting, it was Dad just accepting himself in a moment.
Kevin: I learned how to be a better man from my son.
Alex's and Kevin's comments have been edited and condensed.