In a now-viral email, a gay man gave his Republican-voting family an ultimatum.
He warned them that they could not continue to vote for the GOP and maintain their relationship with him.
Ryan Short, 42, of Seattle, sent the email to his family, who reside in Dallas, Texas, following a conversation with his dad, Richard, an 80-year-old war veteran who votes Republican.
“We were just having one of our random catch-ups and he just casually said, ‘I’m still Republican,'” Short told Insider.
Short asked if his dad still supported the party despite its recent rhetoric against LGBTQ people, to which his father responded, “Yes.”
The exchange prompted Short to pen an email to dozens of family members asking them to stop voting for the GOP as a show of support for him and his other queer family members.
“Hear me clearly — you cannot vote for the GOP and continue to have a relationship with me,” Short said in the email. “No exceptions. I am inviting no dialogue, and I have no interest in nuance.”
He posted a screenshot of the email Twitter and included screenshots of a text conversation with a family member who responded negatively to the ultimatum. “My letter. Sent with prideful power,” Short captioned the tweet.
The post has since earned more than 15,000 likes and has been retweeted more than 3,000 times.
Short, who describes himself as “middle-aged,” issued the ultimatum because he didn’t want to expend energy on maintaining relationships with people who vote for a party that embraces an anti-LGBTQ platform, or “waste any more time on things that aren’t bringing light to my life.”
“The safety and peace of me, my husband, and my community is baseline, non-negotiable, and unrelated to politics,” Short wrote in the letter. “To vote GOP is to divide the family.”
Twitter users were divided over Short’s approach to his family. Some supported him, saying he was right to force his family to make a choice.
“Thank you for posting so others can use your experience as a resource,” L.A.-based actress Sarah Greyson tweeted. “I’m sorry you had to say it, but it needed to be said!”
“Good for you, my friend! I hope this inspires many others to do the same,” wrote another supporter.
But others said he went too far, and accused him of being immature and manipulative.
“Wow. This is pitiful, manipulative, narcissistic, and borderline abusive to your parents. You should be embarrassed of yourself,” wrote one commenter. “Do you know how many gay men are disowned by their parents just for being gay and you’re giving ultimatums to your parents — who evidently love and accept you — because of how they VOTE? Absolutely pathetic behavior. Not healthy. Definitely not cool or noble.”
Another commenter agreed, noting that they had taken a similar approach with their own family.
“I didn’t talk to my dad for 2 years over something as trivial as politics, too,” that user wrote. “Reconcile your differences through engaging discourse and don’t make the same mistake I made. Life is entirely too short.”
But Short admitted to Insider that his intention was not to cajole or persuade his family members. “This letter was a boundary, not a persuasion. It was not intended to persuade anyone.”
Short said his family isn’t homophobic and that he has other LGBTQ relatives, but feels their support of the GOP is ultimately harmful to the larger LGBTQ community.
“We don’t have anyone in my family that doesn’t like the queer family, or doesn’t support issues, it’s just one specific action of voting for the people that do,’ he said.
Short claims most of the family responded positively to the email and told him they would amend their voting choices.
His father, Richard, initially reacted negatively. He told Insider that he didn’t understand why his son had issued an ultimatum until after speaking with his wife and another friend, who explained why Ryan felt the way he did.
That ultimately led Richard to reconsider his support for GOP candidates, even resigning from the Republican Club he belongs to in Collin County, Texas.
Richard Short said he feels happy, “sincerely and truthfully,” about agreeing to his son’s request.
“Being a hard head, I’m a little bit hard to get through to,” he said. “But then I’m one of these people, I’ll sit back, reflect and think on what I said, and I’m very quick to apologize.”
He’s glad he’s been able to keep his relationship with Ryan going.
“I was so worried that I had lost my son.” Richard said. “And luckily, I have a son in Ryan who accepted my sincere, open, and honest apology.”
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