Gay Mormon Austin Swink. (USA Today/ Humankind)
A gay Mormon has shared the moment he came out as gay to his religious father, and the reaction was not what he expected.
Austin Swink, from Port St Lucie, Florida, was 19-years-old and preparing to head off on a two-year mission trip.
Mormon missionaries are typically away from home for two years, often assigned to a foreign country and unable to return at any point to visit their families, so Austin wanted to break the news to his dad before he left.
He told USA Today: “I was about to leave on my mission for my church, and I got this feeling that I just needed to get it off my chest before I left, because it was weighing on me for so long, not saying anything.”
Although he said he and his dad, Vaughn Swink, had “always been pretty close”, Austin was terrified as the Mormon church, otherwise known as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or LDS church, is not known for LGBT+ acceptance.
Austin decided to record the moment, but his dad’s reaction was completely loving.
As the teenager stuttered, “I’m gay”, his dad reached out for him.
He said: “Austin, I don’t care. I don’t care!”
As the gay Mormon 19-year-old broke down in tears, he continued: “Austin, listen, look at me. I don’t care. You’re okay! Are you a child of God?”
Austin said that he was, and his dad responded: “OK, that’s fine!”
This is the amazing moment Austin came out to his Mormon father. 🏳️🌈 ❤️ pic.twitter.com/Ku0XvpWGvG
— Humankind (@humankind) June 9, 2021
Vaughn told USA Today: “It just makes sense for someone to be happy and not have to hide, and not say anything about how they’re really feeling.
“They’re just almost [feeling] like they have to lie to themselves and to others, that’s not right.”
“For him to come out is to be happy,” he added.
Austin, who is now happily out of the closet and has a boyfriend called Jason, received an outpouring of love after posting the video, with many of the comments coming from other young gay members of the Mormon church.
He said: “If you’re going through something like that, if you feel that you can’t be yourself, if you feel that your parents won’t love you anymore, I just want you to know that there are so many other people in this world that do love you.
“You’ll make it through, we all will make it through together. So don’t give up!”