+
More

This ‘powerful’ dad wants to protect his queer son. And the story went viral.

Trung Le Nguyen and his smiley dad are one photogenic pair hailing from Minnesota.

Photo courtesy of Trung Le Nguyen.

But as happy as they are, Nguyen's father is a worry wart, just like many parents.

He's probably a bit more on the extreme side compared to other moms and dads, though. When you learn their family story, it makes a lot of sense.


In a tweet that's now been shared and liked thousands of times, the 27-year-old published screengrabs from a Facebook post he made in 2012. And in the old post, Nguyen gives some backstory on his relationship with his dad, and why it is the way it is.

As Nguyen explains in the old post, his mom and dad emigrated from Vietnam in the early '90s.

Nguyen was born in a refugee camp in the Philippines before his family came to the U.S. in 1992. Speaking little English and starting from scratch in a totally new culture, the young couple had to find a way to make ends meet in their new home of Minnesota.

Photo courtesy of Trung Le Nguyen.

But after the family had settled in to their new American home and began feeling more comfortable, a teenaged Nguyen delivered some news that ... complicated things.

Nguyen came out to his parents as queer.

“They reacted with a lot of fear," Nguyen wrote. "I initially misinterpreted that fear as homophobia — that they didn’t understand or were afraid of my sexual orientation. As it turns out, they were just reacting out of fear for my life."

Photo courtesy of Trung Le Nguyen.

As immigrants, Nguyen's parents faced prejudice and racism living in their mostly white Midwest community, according to Nguyen. They wanted their two sons to know the language and culture well because, "perhaps then," Nguyen wrote, "[he and his brother's] identities would not be so politicized and we could go about our lives in peace."

"My coming out was met with an exasperation — a sudden resurfacing of a fear that they thought to be long-buried," he wrote.

He continued:

"Just when they thought their boys could be free to navigate the American cultural landscape as full-fledged, respected citizens, another identity pops up that would relegate their oldest son to second-class status in the eyes of a lot of people.”

“When we were little, they were worried that either of their sons could be the next Vincent Chin," Nguyen wrote, referencing the Chinese-American man who was brutally murdered in Detroit in 1982 because of his ethnicity. "Just when that fear subsided, it was replaced with a fear that I could be another Matthew Shepard."

Shepard was tortured and killed in 1998, at age 21, for being gay.

So, Nguyen's dad started having "chats" with his openly queer son.

"Before every time I apply for a job, before every time I go out, before every time I go on a trip, my dad takes me aside for a chat," Nguyen wrote. "He warns me that the world is a dangerous place for me. He tells me to protect myself, to keep secrets."

When Nguyen was younger, the chats came off as condescending. But the older he got, the more he appreciated why his dad felt so moved to remind him how careful to be in the outside world.

Photo courtesy of Trung Le Nguyen.

"My dad is a powerful man — a master kick boxer and tournament champion several times over in his youth," Nguyen wrote. "He’s accustomed to taking on the world as a fighter, and he has the scars and the physique to prove it. But when he talks to me before every time I leave the house, he looks so feeble."

"He’s not lecturing me," Nguyen wrote. "He’s imploring me. He is begging me to do everything that I can to come home safe because he knows he’s completely powerless to protect me like he used to."

Nguyen's brother and father, alongside Nguyen. Photo courtesy of Trung Le Nguyen.

Most parents worry. But it's different when your kid lives in a world that doesn't fully accept them for who they are. It's different when their skin color, or their sexuality, or their religious faith — or any other thing that makes them different — plays a role in how the world sees and treats them. And when a parent has the scars from being different as well, the worry rears its head a bit stronger, too.

The day Nguyen posted his story to Facebook in 2012, his father had yet another chat with him.

"My dad has no idea it’s [LGBTQ] Pride weekend," Nguyen concluded, "but this morning began with some sagely advice over coffee: Do what you love, and love who you love. I’m proud of you already." ❤️

via Tod Perry

An artist's recreation of Jackie's napkin note.

A woman named Jackie pulled a move straight out of a romantic comedy recently, and it has the internet rallying around her potential love interest. Jackie met a guy at a bar and liked him so much that she gave him her phone number. Well, 80% of her number, that is.

The world heard about it on January 17 when Twitter user Henpecked Hal and shared a picture of the napkin with her partial phone number written on it. "My 22-year-old cousin met his dream girl at a bar and it's going pretty well,” Hal wrote in the tweet.

Keep ReadingShow less

Indie pop band Sub-Radio created a perfect introvert parody of Whitney Houston's hit song.

There are two kinds of people in this world—those who Google "nightlife" when they're exploring travel destinations and those with no desire to venture anywhere after 10:00 p.m.

Nothing against those folks who enjoy spending after-bedtime hours in crowded nightclubs, but "nightlife" just sounds like torture to me. Even during my somewhat wild college days, whenever I'd go out dancing late at night with my friends, the little voice in my head would say, "You know you'd rather be curled up on your couch in your jammies right now." And it was right. I would have.

While some introverts may genuinely look forward to a night on the town, I'd venture to guess most of us don't. By the end of the day, our social batteries are usually pretty tapped out, so a quiet evening with a movie or a book is almost always preferable to one that involves trying to make conversation over blaring music and strobe lights.

Keep ReadingShow less
Family

A letter to the woman who told me to stay in my daughter's life after seeing my skin.

'I'm not a shiny unicorn. There are plenty of black men like me who love fatherhood.'

Doyin Richards

Dad and daughters take a walk through Disneyland.

True
Fathers Everywhere

This article originally appeared on 06.15.16


To a stranger I met at a coffee shop a few years ago who introduced me to what my life as a parent would be like:

My "welcome to black fatherhood moment" happened five years ago, and I remember it like it happened yesterday.

I doubt you'll remember it, though — so let me refresh your memory.

Keep ReadingShow less
Pop Culture

Magician changes his act so a visually impaired man can experience it for the first time

“I really want you to experience the magic right now. So let’s try something.”

@magickevinli/TikTok

“There’s always a way to experience magic.”

Pro magician Kevin Li has dazzled audiences, celebrities and even heavy hitters in the industry like Penn and Teller with his impressive sleight of hand displays.

However, Li would tell you that one of his “most memorable” performances wasn’t for a sold out crowd, but for a single person who might normally miss out on his gifts.

A video posted to Li's TikTok shows Li offering up a magic trick to a man who is vision impaired. At first, the man politely declined, saying, “I’m blind, so the magic won’t work for me."

Without missing a beat, Li replied, “I really want you to experience the magic right now. So let’s try something.”

Keep ReadingShow less
Identity

Alabama community loves deaf Waffle House cook who taught his co-workers to use sign language

Manager Michael Clements has "never seen" an employee like Pookie White.

via Google

The Waffle House in Hope Hull, Alabama.

Even though companies with workplaces that make accommodations for disabled workers are happier and more profitable, there is still a huge discrepancy in workforce participation between deaf people and those who can hear. According to Deaf People and Employment in the United States, 53% of deaf people are in the workforce as compared to 75.8% of those who can hear.

One of the biggest hurdles to deaf people entering the workforce is discriminatory hiring practices, intentional or not.

“There are often layers of discriminatory hiring practices that make [workplace participation] statistics still hold true today,” the study says. “Such practices can range from the discriminatory language on the job ad itself, to the application & hiring process, and can even impact the promotion of deaf employees.”

Keep ReadingShow less
Photo by Jackie Cook/MyLondon Photography Contest.

Many locks of bright, pink hair peek around the corner of the stairwell.

This article originally appeared on 08.17.16


A group of 105 homeless people gathered at St. Paul's Cathedral in London.

Each of them was given a disposable camera and told to take pictures that represent "my London."

The photos were entered in an annual contest run by London-based nonprofit Cafe Art, which gives homeless artists the chance to have their work displayed around the city and, for some of the photographers who participate in the yearly challenge, in a print calendar.

Keep ReadingShow less