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Parents told gay son he’d go to hell but now they’re his biggest drag fans

Written by gaytourism

A performer from Texas has recounted how his parents went from disapproving of his sexuality to embracing his drag career. His folks now help run his fan club and regularly turn up to performances.

His dad is even thinking of becoming his manager and is pushing him to try and get on to RuPaul’s Drag Race.

Timothy Byars of Austin, Texas, told his story in video format for I’m From Driftwood. The site is a groundbreaking online platform that showcases LGBTI stories and oral histories.

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Growing up in the church

Young Timothy Byars was brought up in a very religious household. His dad was the family church’s Worship Minister and his mom the Youth Minister. Grandma played the church piano.

Timothy says he first realized he was gay at around the age of 12. However, it was his internet viewing history that outed him to his folks when he was 17.

‘I wasn’t really good at deleting my cookies … and my parents found that. And so they outed me and it was painful. I was going to hell.

‘Immediately they called my pastor over to talk some sense into me. They said they would never love my choice in a lover. They would never be at my wedding, they would never invite him over for dinner … Things like that.

In an effort to get Timothy away from ‘that gay kid in school’, his parents moved the family to a small town in Oregon. But it was no good. Timothy was not going to go back in the closet. He started to find himself gay friends in the local community.

He also began performing at local bars as a boy.

Timothy Byars performas regularly in clubs and bars in New York, Texas and beyond (Photo: Facebook)

First steps on stage

‘And then we did drag as a gag one night for my grandmother,’ recalls Timothy. ‘And my mom and dad were like, “Oh, we were just – knew this was a matter of time until this happened. Ugh. We knew. Does this mean you want to be a woman, Timothy?” Using my whole name and everything.’

Thankfully, his parents had begun to come around to the idea their son was gay. However, embracing drag was a whole other level.

‘My mom was like, “Well, I guess you’re gonna be a girl now, aren’t you?”’

‘And I was like, “No, I don’t want to be a girl. I’ve never wanted to be a girl. I just think it’s fun to perform.” They would never ever want to see a picture. They don’t even care to know her name, nothing. Talked about her like, you know, an ex-girlfriend that stole a lot of money. They just don’t like her.’

His mom’s stance began to soften when she first saw photos of her son in drag. He performs in New York and Texas under the name Sabel Scities. His mom was blown away by how pretty he looked and how good his makeup was.

‘The little curiosity bug was planted into my mom’s head that day.’

Timothy as Miss Sabel Scities

Timothy as Miss Sabel Scities (Photo: Instagram)

Mom turns up at a show

Then, one night when Timothy backstage at a gig, he heard a commotion out front.

‘I am at the show just finished my first number and I’m going downstairs. My co-host is running the show. And I’m talking people – dadadadada – all of a sudden, I hear upstairs on the microphone music in between and I was like, why is this break taking so long? And I hear my co-host talking to somebody. I’m like, god, there’s a drunk lady here.

‘And then – “Do you want to hear about Timothy when he was a little boy?”’

To his horror, Timothy’s mom had turned up to watch her son and had got up on stage. And she was having a blast.

Timothy tells GSN this was in 2007, about two years into his drag career.

A short while later, at another show, Timothy’s mom was joined by his dad.

‘I was backstage and I just – I was feeling real good about my body again. Shaved my legs up and I was just wearing, like, this little patch, this little piece of fabric glued to my butt and like this thing glued around my neck to cover my tits. And I’m doing the song that I do by Sweet Pussy Pauline. Thirty seconds before I go on stage, my overtures on, I’m ready.

‘All of a sudden, Jersey goes, “You didn’t tell me your dad was coming in tonight.”

‘And I was like, “Hmm?” Dad would never come to a show.

‘“Girl look out there. He is front and center with your mom right now.”

‘And I was like, “I’m doing Sweet Pussy Pauline first. Can we change -”

‘All of a sudden, “Welcome to the stage…” And I had to go on stage. There was no way to change the song. No way to change my costume. So almost as naked as the day I was born doing every word I was sworn not to do as a kid. My dad is front row laughing and cutting up.

‘They started coming all the days after that.’

Timothy Byars as Miss Sabel Scities

Timothy’s parents are now proud of their son’s drag career and hugely supportive. One of Timothy’s most treasured memories is of when he gave a farewell show in Portland, ahead of a move to New York.

‘I’m on stage doing “Leaving On A Jet Plane”. And my dad comes up with two dozen roses. And I lose it. I just see him standing there and I spent half of the song crying into my daddy’s arms, who was there to see his daughter doing her final number before she goes to pursue her dreams in New York. That was one of the most life-changing moments I’ve ever had.’

Timothy’s dad now runs his website and helps produce stickers, T-shirts and other merchandise. His mum helps embroider his hats.

Timothy Byars

Timothy Byars (Photo: I’m From Driftwood)

‘To go from, “I’m going to hell” and that they’ll never love any of my lovers, to now: they’re the presidents of my fan club and my dad is pushing for me to be on Drag Race.

‘And when I do get on Drag Race, he wants to be my manager, you know, and if I never make it on Drag Race and I hit it big in some other way, he wants to be my manager. And I think I’m a trust him to do that. I call it his retirement plan. He can take care of me.’

‘I gotta remind myself constantly how lucky I am because there’s so many kids who are still kicked out, who were still exiled, who were still verbally being categorized by their parents. You know, they’re still using them for jokes in the family. And that’s not me anymore.’

H/T: I’m From Driftwood

See also

Pearl claims RuPaul said: ‘Nothing you say matters unless that camera’s rolling’

Drag Race’s Aquaria helps fan come out to her parents in hilarious video

From party boy and jail to family man – one gay dad’s story

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