Op-Ed: A Father's Day Letter to my Daughter, By Senator Juan 'Chuy' Hinojosa

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Happy Father's Day to all of the dads, grandfathers, male role-models, single mothers pulling dual parent duty, brothers, uncles and everyone else working to have a positive impact on a child's life.

The unconditional love of a supportive father or father figure can make a tremendous difference in a child's life.

Senator Hinojosa has penned an op-ed in honor of Father's Day that demonstrates his unconditional love for his daughter.

He writes, in part,

    As your journey into adulthood revealed that you are gay, it made no difference to me.  You are still my daughter.  You did not change.  I will always love and support you unconditionally.  Fathers love their children who have physical disabilities, intellectual disabilities, or are multi-ethnic. There are all kinds of children.  A father's love is without end. Why would sexual orientation change anything?  

We're honored to publish it in full here today.

Read Senator Hinojosa's op-ed about how his daughter has reaffirmed his own resolve to fight for equality.

A Father's Day Letter to my Daughter…..

By Senator Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa

Dear Kris,

From the moment you breathed life, when you first smiled up at me, I knew how strong the love of a father could be.  An unconditional love for such an innocent child that only a father could know.  As you began to grow, I hoped for a safe environment for you and wanted to protect you from the harsh realities of this unjust world.

But as you matured into a strong young woman, I began to realize there were cruelties I could not protect you from — simply because of your sexual orientation.  I could not protect you from the discrimination, ignorance or hate.

I knew that we have discriminated in our country against women until we gave them the right to vote.  We discriminate, and often continue to do so, against African-Americans, people of Jewish decent, and Hispanics.  However, I was unprepared for the discrimination you would experience for being gay.

As your journey into adulthood revealed that you are gay, it made no difference to me.  You are still my daughter.  You did not change.  I will always love and support you unconditionally.  Fathers love their children who have physical disabilities, intellectual disabilities, or are multi-ethnic. There are all kinds of children.  A father's love is without end. Why would sexual orientation change anything?  

I know you have encountered many challenges and struggles because of your sexuality, but I also know that my love has given you strength and courage.  Views are changing as people begin to accept and understand that same-sex couples are part of our communities, culture and country.  They live in our communities, work in our communities, attend church in our communities, and volunteer for our military where they fight for our freedom and liberty.  They are our sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, and colleagues and friends.  Same-sex couples should be allowed the freedom to marry one another and be treated with dignity and respect.

It saddens me to know that you live your life in a society that views you as “different,” or as someone who should not enjoy the same basic rights as a straight person does.  You are my daughter — you deserve the same love and acceptance and to share in the same freedoms to marry the person you love.

As a society we should not tolerate acts of discrimination, hate or violence for any reason.  We are all equals.  I remain committed to the cause of equality and most importantly in fighting to protect you and the children of all fathers.  All men and women should have the freedom to choose their partner.

As you are all grown up now, you will still always be my little girl.  I am very proud of you.  I hope one day that you, too, can experience the love for a child. And I hope one day that your children will live in a world where they will not need protection for wanting to marry who they love.

With love,

Dad

About Author

Katherine Haenschen

Katherine Haenschen is a PhD candidate at the University of Texas, where she studies political participation on digital media. She has previously managed successful candidate, issue, voter registration, and GOTV campaigns in Austin. In addition to serving as the president of Austin Young Democrats, she is also UCONN's #1 fan in Texas.

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