Viral email to family asking them to stop GOP voting changed dad’s mind

  • A gay man’s email to his family urging them to stop voting Republican went viral this week.
  • The email eventually changed his father’s mind and prompted him to resign from his Republican club.
  • Ryan Short said he’s heard from other people who have asked that his message be used as a template for their own families.

On Tuesday night, Ryan Short, a gay man from Seattle, Washington, spoke to his father on the phone. During the call, his father, Richard Short, an 80-year-old retired war veteran who lives in Dallas, Texas, told his son that he was still a Republican.

“We just had one of our casual meetings and he just casually said, ‘I’m still a Republican,'” Short told Insider.

Short asked if he still supports the party despite its recent anti-LGBTQ rhetoric.

His father said “yes”.

The comment prompted Short to email dozens of family members on Wednesday, urging them to stop voting for the GOP in support of him and his other queer family members.

“Hear me clear – you cannot vote for the GOP and continue to have a relationship with me. No exceptions. I don’t invite dialogue and have no interest in nuance,” Short said in the email, told Insider.

At 42, and self-described as “middle-aged,” Short said he “don’t want to waste my time on things that don’t bring any light into my life.”

“The safety and peace of me, my husband and my community is fundamental, non-negotiable and has nothing to do with politics,” Short wrote. “Voting GOP means dividing the family.”

Short told Insider: “That letter was a boundary, not a conviction. He shouldn’t convince anyone.”

The family’s email goes viral

After clicking send, Short posted a screenshot of the email to Twitter, along with a text conversation with a family member, who initially didn’t respond positively.

“My letter. Sent with proud force,” Short wrote.

The post has since garnered more than 15,000 likes and more than 3,000 retweets on the platform.

Some supported Short for issuing the ultimatum.

“Thanks for posting so others can use your experience as a resource,” responded LA-based actress Sarah Greyson. “I’m sorry you had to say it, but it had to be said!”

“I’m very sorry you had to send this,” another user commented, saying they wanted to be a “fly on the wall” if the email is read.

But other commentators argued he went too far.

“It’s sad that you’re willing to throw away the most important love you’ll ever receive like this,” one wrote.

After posting the email on Twitter, Short told Insider that people — college kids, “trans 20s” — started texting him, asking if they could copy what he wrote to to send them to their own families. One person asked if they could paste the letter into a Google Doc to share.

“I was like, ‘Do it, man, how open source this shit! We’re only free when we’re all free.'”

Ultimately, Short is happy with what he did, telling Insider, “I quickly got to a point where I was very proud to have published this news. Especially when people said they wanted to copy and paste that to help their situation.”

His father’s answer

Short said his family is not homophobic and he has numerous LGBTQ relatives.

“We don’t have anyone in my family who doesn’t like queer family or doesn’t support issues. It’s just a specific action to vote for the people who do this.”

“It’s becoming clear that defending queer and trans rights is necessary to defending our family itself,” Short said.

Short told Insider that almost everyone in the email chain replied positively, confirming they would no longer vote Republican as he requested.

But initially his father Richard said he reacted negatively and “quickly, without thinking”.

Richard Short said he only understood what he had read after the fact, when his wife and another friend explained it to him. Ultimately, he agreed to stop supporting Republican candidates, and he and his son reconciled.

“Family is family,” Richard Short told Insider.

He said he felt happy to “sincerely and truthfully” agree to his son’s request.

“As a hardhead, I’m a little hard to get hold of,” Richard Short said. “But then I’m one of those people, I sit back and think and think about what I said and I apologize very quickly.”

Not only has Richard Short agreed never to vote Republican again, but he’s also resigned from the Republican club he’s a member of in Collin County, Texas, he told Insider Thursday.

“I was so worried that I had lost my son.” said Richard Kurz.

He continued, “And luckily I have a son in Ryan who has accepted my sincere, open and honest apologies.”

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