Despite their close upbringing, four of the Huckabys were hiding one important thing—they were gay. "I was first [to come out]," Jason says. "It was about 1985 and I was studying to be a Catholic priest. I'd been in seminary for a number of years, and I came to the point in my life where I realized that I didn't want to live my life alone, that I need today to have a partner in my life." So he wrote a letter to his parents, telling them he was gay.
After receiving the news, the Huckabys' parents told the other seven children about Jason's letter, and Jonathan says they were "not pleased." "Even though it was very scary, I trusted that there was enough of a solid foundation there that it would eventually be a safe thing for me to do, to come out to my family," Jason says.
Jonathan and Jody say as they grew up, they, too, realized they were gay. "If only we had been able to talk about it. There were no parameters. We went to Catholic school, and you certainly didn't talk about that with the nuns," Jody says. Their parents' reaction to Jason's letter made Jody concerned to come out, but eventually, he and Jonathan each admitted their secret. Jody says a fourth brother is also gay.
At first, even their other siblings rejected their lifestyle. Their sister, Jann, says it took her more than a year to fully accept it. "I had prayed about it, and I realized that I did not need to judge. I needed to love," Jann says. When their brother Jude first heard the news, he thought Jason had chosen to be gay. "After the other brothers came out, I said, 'This can't be a choice. This has to be…the way they were born,'" he says.
Jody, who is now the executive director of Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG), says his organization helped his mother find peace with having four gay children. "For me, it's sort of a full-circle experience, because all these years later, I'm running this national organization, and it's for parents, it's for family members and friends and straight allies to deal with these issues," he says.