'It's made me a better man': Kevin Newman on the rewards of his son's coming out
Published Monday, October 5, 2015 5:56PM EDT
As a broadcast journalist who makes a living telling others’ stories, CTV’s Kevin Newman says that writing about his challenging relationship with his son is the first time he’s truly shown the public his personal side.
The co-written memoir, “All Out,” deals with Alex Newman coming out to his father, and the difficulties of self-acceptance.
“I’ve been able to control what people know about me for most of my career,” Newman told CTV News Channel. “So to be so honest and welcome everybody into our family dynamic … it turns out to be more nerve-wracking than I thought it was going to be.”
Kevin says the inspiration behind the book was an interview he had with Scott Haggert, an openly gay hockey player who faced the difficult task of coming out to his teammates.
“I realized as I was talking to Scott that I had asked him questions and his family questions that I had never asked Alex,” he said. “So that sort of got us thinking, maybe this is something we should talk about.”
The father and son individually wrote their own sections and avoided showing each other their work to avoid influencing each other’s memories. The structure also sheds light on the gaps in memory that exist between parents and children, Kevin said.
“One of the things that I’ve realized over time is that some of my memories were not accurate. So one of the things we didn’t want to do was pollute each others’ timelines,” he said.
One pivotal part of the story is when Alex came out as a teenager after Kevin asked him if he was gay. It’s a decision the father says he later came to regret.
“I had robbed him of an important part of his own development by guessing and leading the conversation,” Kevin said. “I definitely should’ve waited because it did end up impacting our relationship for a very long time.”
Alex says he often relied on teenage journals to recall the past, and that the writing process offered ample time for “self-reflection.” Through reading his father’s chapters, he says he discovered a more vulnerable side to his TV-personality dad.
“Learning that dad wasn’t as perfect as his TV glossy image … it was a revelation for me.”
The book’s tagline says the father and son confronted “hard truths” to become “better men,” and Newman says that meant looking at his own prejudices.
“I had to frankly confront my own homophobia and get over it,” he said.
“It’s made me a better man because, as much as I embraced Alex (and) loved him unconditionally, it took me a long time to adjust to his new life, his new friends, his boyfriends, and not have visceral feelings about it myself,” he said.
“All Out” was published by Random House Canada and hits shelves Tuesday.