I recently received the email below, and wanted to share it with you (with permission, of course). This is how the personal dynamics of this sort of affair are unfolding in families all across the country today. And for that I cry hallelujah. (I also send infinite thanks to the commenters on this blog, who—and I certainly have the emails to support this—are in and of themselves doing so much to bring peace and understanding to so many. I don’t say it often enough—especially lately, due to this Very Big and Exciting Project I’m working on and will soon be announcing—but you guys rock it like Gibraltar. If you’re not already one of our commenters, become one. Join in! Every positive note rings somewhere.)
We knew our son was gay from the time he was four years old. It wasn’t anything flamboyant, but just a sense that he wasn’t a typical boy. We were involved in a fundamental Christian church and school,* where homosexuality was an abomination to God, and a choice to sin.
I really wanted to believe it was a choice, because I didn’t want my son to have to live that life. As time went by, I was praying every night that he wasn’t gay. When he was in the ninth grade, he had a girlfriend, and I thought, “Okay, he’s not gay.” I know: stupid.
The following year, he told me that while he used to think he was gay, now he knows that he isn’t. I ran with that, and didn’t look back. I thought, “Yeehaw, we were wrong!” But in eleventh grade, things went downhill fast. He became very depressed and began cutting himself. We took him to counseling (not a Christian counselor), and lo and behold, a month later, he told us he was gay.
We were very supportive of him; we told him how much we loved him, and would always love him. But I wasn’t fully accepting of it. I wanted to immediately pull him out of his Christian school, but he didn’t want to start a new school. Halfway through the year, he was found out and expelled from school anyway. That turned out to be a blessing in disguise. I homeschooled him the remainder of the year; he took his GED, and is beginning college a year early.
I have watched my son struggle his entire life to “fit in” in his Christian school. He never fit in with the boys; they started calling him gay in fifth grade, but he had wonderful “girlfriends.” I watched him come to the brink of suicide this past year over his self-loathing. He was told at church and school his entire life that he was an abomination to God, because he couldn’t help who he was attracted to. Even though he hadn’t acted on any homosexual act, he was told that just feeling as he did was a sin. He hated himself because he couldn’t change himself. He hated God because he couldn’t understand why God would make him that way if it was an abomination to Him. I watched my honor society, sweet, compassionate boy become an angry, God-hating, Christian-hating man.
I stumbled upon your books, and read UNFAIR: Christians and the LGBT Question in one night. I was spellbound reading the stories of homosexuals and what their own families had done to them. I realized that I was living in fear; fear that my church would find out; fear that my family and friends would turn their backs on me; fear that our son would become a victim of AIDS. Your collection of stories gave me the courage and strength I needed to do the right thing for my child.
I began telling my friends and family; he told his friends, and everyone has been very loving and supportive. We left the fundamentalist church we were attending, and are now looking for a more compassionate, loving church.
I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for giving this mom material to read to help me truly understand what homosexuals go through. It has made me less judgmental. A relationship with Jesus is the most important thing; all of our roads to that relationship are different. I know now that homosexuality is not a choice. My son was born this way. God made him this way for a reason. I can’t wait to see the path God will lead us both down in the future. But for now I’m content, because my son is finally content with who he is, and he knows that he is loved.
Thank you, John for shedding so much light on an emotional topic. God is using for his glory.
* For more on Christian fundamentalism, see my The Fundamentally Toxic Christianity.