As people shared their personal stories on National Coming Out Day, Grant Ginder's contribution is making people laugh, appreciate supportive parents and fondly remember the era of 1990s AOL.
“When I was 13, I began collecting pictures of hot men that I found on AOL,” Ginder, now 36, began in a hilarious Twitter thread that has gone viral. “I kept them on my family’s computer, in a file called ‘downloads’ I thought no one looked at, and I labeled them with the one word I knew how to describe hot men: ‘beefcake.”
Ginder spent six months carefully curating photos of “buff, hairless” guys in red thongs, until one day, while driving in the car, his father turned to him with a important question. Who was downloading all the beefcake pictures?
“Looking him straight in the eye, I said, very gravely, ‘Dad, I think it was Mom,’” Ginder recalled. “'Mom?' he said. 'Huh. You think I should talk to her?’"
A panicked Ginder told him that wasn’t a good idea.
“No — she’d probably be super embarrassed if you did,” Ginder explained.
Ginder’s dad let it go, and they went back to listening to show tunes.
“He surely knew they were mine. Looking back, he was giving me the space to come out if I wanted to,” Ginder, who teaches writing at New York University, told TODAY Parents. “I just wasn’t ready. I was still working myself out.”
“I’m really lucky,” he revealed. “They made sure that I knew from day one that my sexuality would never be an issue, and I know there are so many people who are not in that situation.”
Ginder’s Twitter thread, which was inspired by National Coming Out Day, has more than 62,000 likes and comments continue to pour in, with many praising his dad.
“This is the best thing I’ve read on the internet all day,” wrote one person. “Great thinking on your feet (What else are moms there for but to be blamed for d/l beefcake). And awesome of your dad to play along and not force you to admit something you weren’t ready for.”
In his Twitter thread, Ginder thanked his dad for taking his explanation at face value, and thanked his mom for taking the blame for the beefcake photos.
"Update: My mother just called," he later posted. "'There was one of a man on a motorcycle,' she said. 'You had excellent taste.'"