When Your Child “Comes Out”

The following post was written by Nathan Albert. Nathan is the Director of Pastoral Care at The Marin Foundation.

I get a lot of emails from parents asking what to do when their children come out.  As a heterosexual, I can only say so much on this subject. However, after talking to countless LGBT youth and young adults about their coming experiences, this is the advice I often give to others.

Parents,

Understand that the moment when your child comes out to you is probably the most vulnerable they have ever been in their life. Possibly for years, they have been in turmoil over their feelings, attractions, and how they would ever tell you. They are spilling their soul to you. And, most likely, they are expecting you to reject them as they sit before you in their vulnerability. For some, they may think this could be the last conversation you will ever have together (One of my closest friends told me years after him coming out to me that, because I was a Christian, he expected that once he told me he was gay we would never talk again. Sad.). Needless to say, they are usually expecting the worst.

Take their coming out to you as a holy moment. A holy moment where they, as your child, are being the most vulnerable with you, where they are holding their heart and soul in their palms, and asking you to be their loving parent. They are hoping that you will simply see them as the child you have always loved. So love them and let them know. View them as your child, as the infant whom you held so close, the toddler that finally began talking and walking, the child on their first day of school, the child who overnight seemed to grow up, and the child you love with all your heart.

When they finally venture to say the words, “I’m gay,” for the sake of their souls don’t look shocked, don’t become angry, don’t get heated, don’t say anything actually, and don’t check out of the conversation.  Don’t say, “Are you sure?” (I promise you, they are sure. They’ve been dealing with this internally for at least a few years). Don’t try to convince them they are straight, even if you disagree with homosexuality theologically and morally. In this moment, you don’t have to throw out Bible verses about homosexuality (I guarantee your child has done a lot of homework with the Bible on the topic).

Instead, listen. Ask them questions about being gay, how long they’ve known, if it was tough, or if they’ve told others. Perhaps even thank them for being so open and honest. Let them share their soul with you. Let them be your child. You can have time to be upset or shocked later as a married couple or single parent behind closed doors. In that moment, they need you to be their support. They need you to affirm your love for them through words and expressions of affection even if it is difficult at the time for you to do so. You need to be the parent who unconditionally loves them. They don’t need you to be a disciplinarian.

Understand also that once your child tells you they are gay, you will be entering a grief process. Realize it and accept the tough days ahead. Since the day your pregnancy test revealed you were going to have a child, and perhaps even before then, you have had dreams and visions about your child. You, for decades, have been dreaming about what your child will do, who they will become, who they will love, what they will accomplish. And now that they are gay, your dreams don’t entirely match up with reality.

So, the dreams you have had for your child for countless years must now change. It’s ok to grieve. Take your time. But begin to be open to new dreams. Allow your child to teach you. Allow your child the chance to parent you through this time. Allow your child to shepherd you. Ask them questions. Get to know them in a new way. Learn from them. Please don’t abandon them. This just might be where they need you the most. Continue to show your child grace. Continue to show yourself grace.

Find other parents who have LGBT children. Do life with them. Learn from them. Let them support you so you can support your child.

Pray for your child. Not prayers that they will change their sexuality, be healed, or even that they will find a loving partner. Pray that they would know the love of Christ more deeply. Pray that they would not abandon their faith. Pray that the furious longing and love that God has for them would overwhelm them. Pray that God would be their rock, foundation, and anchor. Pray that God will protect them and make His face to shine upon them. Pray that they will continue to find their identity in Christ.

And for goodness sake, with the amount of LGBT youth who have had horrific coming out experiences with their parents, which often leads to suicide, I plead with you to LOVE YOUR KIDS! Unconditionally. Please. I’m tired that the norm experience in our culture is that kids become homeless because parents can’t handle their child’s sexuality. That child is your flesh and blood. Love them. Please. Please. And if you are a Christian, for goodness sake, you are mandated to do this.

I guarantee this has the possibility of bringing your family closer together and you will see that after a long hike you’ll reach the peak of that mountain, the view is unbelievable.

-

If you are a parent that had a child come out to you, what did you find that helped you and your family in the process? If you have come out to your parents, what are some things that they did well and/or what do you wish they would have done?

Much love.

www.themarinfoundation.org

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About Andrew Marin

Andrew Marin is President and Founder of The Marin Foundation (www.themarinfoundation.org). He is author of the award winning book Love Is an Orientation (2009), its interactive DVD curriculum (2011), and recently an academic ebook titled Our Last Option: How a New Approach to Civility can Save the Public Square (2013). Andrew is a regular contributor to a variety of media outlets and frequently lectures at universities around the world. Since 2010 Andrew has been asked by the United Nations to advise their various agencies on issues of bridging opposing worldviews, civic engagement, and theological aspects of reconciliation. For twelve years he lived in the LGBT Boystown neighborhood of Chicago, and is currently based St. Andrews, Scotland, where he is teaching and researching at the University of St. Andrews earning his PhD in Constructive Theology with a focus on the Theology of Culture. Andrew's research centers on the cultural, political, and religious dynamics of reconciliation. Andrew is married to Brenda, and you can find him elsewhere on Twitter (@Andrew_Marin), Facebook (AndrewMarin01), and Instagram (@andrewmarin1).

  • http://Wordofawoman.com Michelle

    Anazing. Thank you so much for this!
    M

  • http://www.onesheet.com/earlharville Earl Harville

    Beautifully said!! This is a great tool that will hopefully bless many families.

  • Lindsay

    This bridge you’re building between Christianity and the LGBT community is changing lives…changing me..

  • Jana

    This is such Godly advice. When my daughter came out to my husband and I we did some wrong things and, and now I hope, some right things. Reading “Love is an Orientation” has helped me immensely. My daughter and her partner are wonderful, loving, Christian women who are deeply concerned with finding God’s will for their lives. We love them both.

  • Sharon

    My 17 y/o son “came out” one night at the dinner table. My daughter gave us a head’s up that he was gay…so one night after dinner while we were still talking I looked at my daughter, who only one year before told us she was going to be baptized Mormon, and said, “Do you think there’s anything you can do to make us love you less?” She said, “no.”
    I looked at my son and asked the same question. He said, “I’m gay.”
    I said, “I know…but, there’s nothing you can do that would make us love you any less! I want you to know that we love you and you are always welcome in our house.”
    It has not been an easy road. We have cried many tears behind closed doors, but, every day I pray that he will have a hunger and thirst for the things of God all the days of his life.
    He’s a beautiful child and no matter what he’s still MY child! I can’t agree with his lifestyle, but, I will always validate him as my son, even if his story is heading in a different direction than I have ever dreamed of.
    Thanks for this article, well written.

  • Terri Nestel

    Beautiful post. I wish everyone could see it. Thank you.

  • joy

    I see everyone the same. We are all children of god. Homosexuality & lesbienism comes through a SPIRIT of LUST AND PERVERSION. When faced with a child coming out we should absolutly show love, never anger, dissapointment, or judgement. However lets not forget how, through the power of the blood of jesus , we can interceed for our loved one that thay be delivered out of the hands of that spirit of lust and perversion. God tells us in his word that he sees these kind of acts as detestable, our law books state that anyone engageing in this kind of behavior is mentally disturbed and up until the 1970′ s anyone found taking part in these acts could be placed into a hospital for treatment. I realize I have hit a vein with my comment, however even though I do not condem anyone or point my finger at anyone, after all I AM far from ever being hollier then anyone, I can not get into agreement with something I BELIEVE is spiritually & morraly wrong in GODS eyes. I believe that the ministers, pastors, and all other religous leaders are doing people a great injustice and helping to condem them to eternity in hell by being accepting of this kind of activity, when we all should be praying for their deliverence back into gods hands.

    • http://jontrouten.blogspot.com/ Jon Trouten

      Do you think LGBT people should be involuntarily hospitalized and treated?

    • Sharon

      Joy, I can see where you are coming from as that was my position for many years. I would have NEVER allowed a known gay person to stay in my house, or a Mormon, and now I have BOTH of them living with me! I heard Billy Graham, when questioned about sitting/eating with a known adulterer said, “It’s God’s job to judge, it’s the Holy Spirit’s job to convict, It’s my job to love.”
      So, regardless of my position on the matter, it’s not my job to make his life miserable so he will “come to realize” the “error of his ways” or anything like that…it’s my job to love on him! I welcome his friends and I feed them and I will do anything for them…just as I would for a glutton, or a LIAR, or someone addicted to pornography (and aren’t our churches and pulpits full of them!?) who are we to decide that this person is not worthy of our best because of our beliefs? We are NOT condemning them to hell. We are loving them to life; I pray every day that my son will continue to stay close to Jesus as I have raised him to…what he does with his sexual orientation is between him and God and if he stays close to God, God is more than able to do exceedingly above and beyond anything we ask or think, and many times (if you’ve noticed in the Word) God almost ALWAYS does the thing we least expect! I believe my son IS in God’s hands! All I am called to do is LOVE him!
      Should he be kicked out of the choir because he has same sex attractions? Should he not be allowed in church because he hasn’t renounced his gay ways? If that’s the case then there are a LOT of people who should not be in church because they have sin in their hearts and they are lying about it to everyone by coming out with a smiling face and making everything think they are ok, and above all, God HATES liars…I think if we used this theology with all sins, our churches would be quite empty.
      So I am going outside the walls of the church and into the walls of my house and doing the ONLY thing I saw Jesus do…love on the people in the villages and wherever he went…love on his disciples who were a constant problem…and never give up on them…all the way to the cross…I will never stop loving my son till the day I die and I pray every day that he is there with me when I stand before the throne and hear the words “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
      God won’t be saying, “Oh, you had too many struggles in your life…and you didn’t overcome them ALL so, you can’t come in.”
      All HE said was, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved!”
      Everything else I believe in has been challenged up to this point, and this is the foundation that is left.
      Not only is my son in God’s hands, but, I trust that I am, too… and that some day He will welcome us home.

      • Renee

        Sharon, your response fills me with so much hope, joy, and love. Thank you for your grace. You’ve got some really blessed kids.

    • Jerome

      If I believed that God would condemn God’s own creation to an eternity of burning in a humanly invented locale called hell, I might personally be troubled and concerned with your comments. But thanks for reminding me that none of us will ever be able to see through God’s eyes. It is humans who create belief systems.

    • Ophidimancer

      I’m sorry Joy, but I can bear you direct witness that homosexuality, at least in my case, comes from a spirit of affirmation, life, and goodness. My relationship with my husband has not only been a source of emotional comfort and physical pleasure, but of spiritual growth as well. He really has been my life mate in flesh as well as spirit.

  • Jerome

    Indeed, coming out is a holy moment. God bless and prosper all that you are doing for the church and the LGBT&Q community.

  • Sharon

    Thanks,Renee. It’s only by the grace of Go that I am where I’m at! I grew up memorizing large parts of the Bible… True to live by the 10 commandments to a fault…I was like paul.. The best Pharisee of them all, but that’s not what pls’d God! He wants me to love Him and my neighbor!! It’s all boiled down to those 2 things now and it’s amazing how trying to live by that alone grates on all the “religious” mindsets!!!

    • Sharon

      Opps, sent this from my phone..sorry for the typos…meant to say God (not Go) “Tried to live by…” (not True to live by)

  • Mom Maria

    As a Mom of a gay son, and former leader of a church group to support parents of gay kids, I applaud your comments to love and keep faith in the picture. Our son loves the Lord, church and is not acting on his attractions , a struggle but he is thinking what his future will be. As a parent, some of the statements made cannot be so easily accepted, I dont think crying with your child is wrong, they know you are shocked, grieving must be admitted for everyone to heal, then we can move on. We feel we just have to get over that initial feeling, and had wonderful support, Andrew spoke to our group and our friend Nancy Heche, all healing wonderful Christ led experiences for the parents! Keep loving! How can we not ?

    • Sharon

      Mom Maria, I am finding that I feel very alone, as a Christian parent of a gay child…I know there are others out there, but, I don’t know of any personally, so I feel like there is no one to talk to who really understands…well, not really true…I can talk to Jesus. But, I was thinking of starting a group and doing the video and participants guide for Love is an Orientation…but, my pastor wants to approve it first…not sure how that’s gonna go!?
      Anyway…thanks for your support

      • Mom Maria

        Sharon, you are never alone ! You can always have a group meet in a home if your pastor feels it more private that way. You are very welcome to communicate with me at any time, I have many online parents we chat to, my husband and I both.

        • Sharon

          Thanks, Mama Maria! : )

  • Pete

    Thanks for the great post. I wish I could have had read this advice before my daughter told me and my wife that she is gay a few weeks ago. I was surprised and my response to her was denial believing that she is probably wrong about her feelings. I think my feelings of denial were mostly (hopefully) rooted out of concern that life can be very difficult for gays, and I want my daughter to be happy. My daughter’s response to me was something like, “it’s okay if you are in denial … I was in denial for a long time too.”

    My daughter is our oldest child which gives her a special place in the family. Some of my best memories as a new father are remembering the Sunday afternoons when as a baby she would nap on my chest after church. For the last 21 years she has been such a blessing to me. My daughter is a truly exceptional person and I am very fortunate to be her father. She has been incredibly kind and sensitive since she was a little girl, always thinking about others before herself. She is a very committed follower of Christ, and has been admired by our extended family and church family for the wonderful person she is. She has been extremely active in our church and at a Christian summer camp and attends a Christian university. I know she has lived a celibate and pure life and will continue to be a follower of Christ.

    Thanks again for your words of encouragement.

    • Pete

      Small correction/clarification to my previous post:

      I was not trying to say that she has to be celibate in order to be
      a follower of Christ. I do not believe in sex outside of marriage.
      I believe my daughter also holds these values and I hope someday
      she will find the right person to marry to share her life with. (My personal feeling is that gay marriage will be legal in all 50 states within the near future.)

  • joy

    To all concerned, no I don’t believe that people who believe being gay or lesbien is not a choice, should be locked away. What I am saying is that society at one time believed, as does GODS WORD, that homosexuality, is a demonic spirit of LUST & PERVERSION. We as a society have gone from dealing with this spirit, through interceding prayer & binding up the demons , to letting our gaurd down and excepting it because we don’t want to rock the boat, hurt the demons feelings, or be politically incorrect. When does it stop? When do we concern ourselves more with what Gods word says, what we as children of christ know to be the right thing to do. God tells us in his word that we are to become part of the world but rather the world is to become part of us as a body of christ. If we continue to be so excepting of homosexuality, as we are showing the love of JESUS, we are granting that same spirit of LUST & PERVERSION free access to our lives. WHY do we pray over our food and ask God to bless it? WHY do we pray for GOD toPROTECT us & KEEP us from HARM? Demonic spirits can come off of anyone & anything and attach to us. From food, people with Other ” LIFESTYLES” and other RELIGIONS. Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying I am perfect, only JESUS was perfect and without sin, what I am saying is WHEN & WHERE DOES EXCEPTANCE OF UNGODLY SPIRITS STOP!!! When our children are being taught that sin of anykind “grown men having sex with children , people having sexual relations with animals, GODS children being taught that homosexuality is the norm, having to experience homosexuality on a personal basis to be excepted by their classmates and teachers” . If you think that you can win them to CHRIST by just being accepting and giving the love of JESUS you are being deceived more then thay are. I don’t judge anyone, but I wont lie either. Anyone who enters my home knows that I love with the love of CHRIST but will not allow any adverse, ungodly, detremental behavior around me and my lil girl. I allways tell her to love everyone with the love of JESUS, that no one is a bad person only bad choices, we are all beautifully made in Gods image, HOMOSEXUALITY is NOT IN GODS IMAGE. If and when this is a required lesson In school my daughter will fail it because she knows that that kind of behavior is not of God and it is a LIE that the devil tells, NO ONE IS BORN WITH A SPIRIT OF LUST AND PERVERSION (HOMOSEXUALITY). God bless all as I continue to pray that God reveal to us ALL His truth and guide us.

  • http://www.harvillevocal.musicteachershelper.com Earl Harville

    I find it disheartening that too many straight Christians seem to think that we as gay Christians haven’t worked out our salvation with fear and trembling. There is an arrogance to the presumption that you know what’s better for us than we do. I won’t debate the whole topic of ‘born this way’ or not, but will say that it does not help in productive dialogue to disregard our personal accounts of our journeys.

  • Sharon

    Joy, I am not going to disagree with you. How you pray for your brothers and sisters in Christ is between you and Holy Spirit. What I am saying is that every thing I’ve ever believed in has been challenged and all I know is that until God’s timing to set my son free from his struggles, it is my job to love him! It doesn’t mean I’m petting and being friendly with evil spirits, it means my son is a person whom God created and loves and what happens in his life is between him and God. Yes, I pray for him, but for a thousand more reasons than yours alone. I pray every day that he will be a mighty man of God and have a hunger and thirst for the Word and the things of God every day o his life!! But, until I see the fruit of that, it’s my Jo to love on him not judge and condemn him

  • joy

    To all concerned, yes God tells us in his word that we are to love one another. My point is just simply this, if we as beleavers in christ continue to tiptoe around the subject of homosexuality and the negative outcome that IT WILL have on ones ETERNAL LIFE, we are aiding in sealing ones DOOM & ETERNAL DAMNATION. IF we side step the TRUTH because we LOVE one, and we are waiting for God to do all the work, and continue to just LOVE & NOT CORRECT then we are just as guilty and we will be judged for not telling the truth and getting in agreement with the devil. I know people who are homosexual, I don’t hang out with them nor do I have a friendship with them because I am not going to hurt anyone and who and what I believe in is contrary to their mislead chosen life. I don’t go out of my way to hurt anyone, I am not afraid to talk to anyone, if one needs help and I can give it I do gladly with the love of JESUS. When Jesus told us to love one another as he has loved us, I personally don’t believe, that he ment we had to turn a blind eye to sin and keep silent about it in order to show his love. I am the kind of women & mother that keeps quiet until something is either directed at me, my concern, my life, my child, I am a christian and I want my daughter to hear about God, talk about God, share about God in her public school. However it can’t happen because that would be FORCING MY OPINION, RELIGION, LIFESTYLE on others, so where do the DEMONS OF LUST & PERVERSION think that what thay are trying to force is any different. Thay want our children to be taught that same sex marriage and SEX is acceptable, I want JESUS AND GODS WORD being taught. If I had the funds my daughter would be in private school. If any of my comments have come off as being judgemental its because of the shame and guilt that accompanys any act of SIN. Try practicing TOUGH LOVE, you can love without accepting and going along with SIN. GOD BLESS

    • Lyndsey

      Joy – All four of my sons attended Christian colleges. One son is gay. He didn’t find help with his questioning on his Christian campus so he sought answers elsewhere. Perhaps if he did receive the love he needed at the time, he would be in a different place. Every person’s journey is their own. When and how we arrive at wholeness is in God’s hands. You are judging on what happens in families that may have a gay child. Don’t go there. Become informed by reading stories of people who have been in hard places. And yes, continue to read scripture. 1 Peter 8 : “Finally you should be of one mind, full of sympathy toward each other, loving one another with tender hearts and humble minds”. My study notes say that Peter developed the qualities of tenderness and humility the hard way. The Holy Spirit changed Peter to God’s use and teaching him tenderness and humility. If you want someone to know Jesus, you have to be Jesus to that person!

      P.S. I’m glad you don’t hang out homosexuals!!

      • Sharon

        Dear Joy,
        I have been crying all day since I read your note this morning. Trust me, I have done EVERYTHING you say that you are going to do with your daughter…and I pray that it works for you…I pray that your daughter WON’T be a Mormon, or JW or GLBT or ANYTHING that you don’t agree with, but, it doesn’t matter if she’s in a private school, or public, or if you cast all the demons out of her, or just say bed time prayers, in the end she WILL make her own decisions and she will have to work out her own salvation between her and God, and in the end, you won’t have any say over it.
        I do pray that your theology works for you.
        When my children were younger, I had great ideas and held hard and fast to my theologies about how to raise and teach them, and I thought I did all the right things…but, they reached an age where they made a decision for themselves.
        I can not choose for them how they will live their lives…they know the Word, they’ve heard it since they were in the womb…they went to church and youth group and I even home schooled them for the early years and had them in private schools…I had them memorize scriptures, and did devotions with them every night…we prayed for anything and everything, and I taught them the difference between right and wrong…but, in the end…they grew up with a mind of their own and made decisions of their own…I can’t say I agree with all the decisions my son or my daughter have made, but, THEY have made them, not me…and all I know to do now is to say, “Hey, Kiddo, I love you! You are still my son/daughter, and you are always welcome in my house!”
        I pray that when your daughter grows up and she makes those decisions that are hard (harder on you they will be, than on her!!) that you will look back at these conversations and say, “I’ve seen this before, and I know what to do.”
        Be blessed!

        • lyndsey

          Hi Sharon – I have gotten so much out of your responses and I would love to be in conversation with you. There is a parents retreat in Colorado that is call “Healing a Parents Heart”. My husband and I attended almost two years. I highly recommend it! It helped us immensely on how we can love on our son. You can go to Desert Hope Ministries http://www.deserthope.com. Peace and nothing but love! Your sister in Christ

  • Sharon

    Lyndsey, Thank you so much for your love and support…wish there was some way to privately msg you or give you my info for contact…but, not sure how to do that here…??
    Anyway..>I will check out that info @ Desert Hope..Thank you so much for that info…
    Be blessed.

    • lyndsey

      Sharon – maybe Andrew can send you my email address. Andrew, you have my permission. Andrew’s book “Love is an Orientation” was the first book I read when we learned of our son’s struggles. Since then I have read many more and I have passed Andrew’s book on to our son’s friends. Sometimes I feel I have earned a PHD in this particular subject! You may be able to get my contact information through Desert Hope. I have always believed our journey with our son was for some greater purpose and maybe knowing another sister in Christ who is going through the same thing is this very purpose. Thanks Andrew Marin! and thanks to you too Joy!

  • joy

    It does no good to feel sorry for people who are being fooled by love and deceived by the enemy, but I truely do feel very sorry for all. I have had more then one demon try to speak something negitive over my daughter, my responce is the same” in the name of Jesus Christ I take authority over that lying demon right now, I curse every negitive thought and spoken word regarding my daughter and bring it under the blood of Christ jesus to be canceled out and cast back into the pit from where it came.” I am not afraid of ANY demon and I will not back down. I realized the unfortunate need to teach my child early on about the things the devil tries in order to gain control of our lives, and have been guiding her since she was a toddler. I tell her that we belong to Jesus, including our body, and that even though no one is perfect we need to allways try to keep our lives, actions, behavior, speech holy unto God. She knows what is acceptable and what is not. You can’t give a child freedom when they are little and then try to get back control when thay start acting up. Thay need our constant guidence, sometimes through adulthood. We give them all that money can buy, allow them to do all the activities that will make them popular, but do we stop to think how it will effect them later. Since my daughter was an infant I have had people, friends, family, strangers in stores I was shopping at, come up to me and tell me that I should put my daughter in commercials, and send her picture to Gerber baby food because she looks like the baby on the Gerber label. My daughter is verry smart, is in an advanced class, and that is how God made her. I have no doubt that had I put her in commercials she would be a great success. But I thought ahead. What would it do to her as a child, what kind of atmosphear would she be exposed to, what kind of inappropriate behavior, dress, and conversations would she be exposed to. You can tell a child all you want not to do something but if you allow them to be continually exposed to it, thay can become a part of the very thing you warned against. Shirley Temples mother, while she was doing pictures, never allowed anyone to complement Shirley, her mother fixed her hair, and her mother did this because she did not want Shirley to become concieted or loose her childhood. I teach my daughter that there are no bad people only bad choices and God forgives. I also teach her that we must show the love of Jesus to all and not think bad of anyone because of what we see them say or do. I am not friends with the devil because the ones he is possessing need to be delivered, and until thay are I WILL NOT ENTERTAIN THE DEMONS in my home or around my daughter. If it helps those concerned, to JUDGE ME its ok I am not hurt or bothered, I do regret any tears I have caused, and that was not my intention. I mearley wanted to voice my concern regarding the erosion of marriage the way God intended it and what is causing us to loose our children to the devil. Did any of you ponder why God made man & woman? If he intended sex to be anal then why creat woman, God could have just kept making more males to populate the earth, or if he intended sex to be only on oral with added latex then he could have only created women, and continued, oh but wait God took the rib from adam to create eve with the specific intention that MAN & WOMAN would come together to populate the earth. My words may be more then some can handle, please forgive me, sometimes being graphic is needed to get a point accross. I have made my point, I will continue to pray for the DELIVERENCE & SALVATION for the infected and their familys, I am moving on now GOD BLESS.

  • Sharman Bradshaw

    This is a humbling article with such wisdom and Godly advice. I wish that 8 years ago when my son told me he was gay that I had this wisdom. I went to my pastor at the time to seek councel so I did not do things wrong when responding to my son. I was given a book to read and a list of all the scriptures that God speaks on this. You are so right that didn’t work, he knew those scriptures. Eight years later and a better understanding I have recently started a Life Group in my church for mothers dealing with children with same sex attraction. It was not easy to approach the Pastoral staff about the need for the church to address this subject. After reading Love is an Orientation my world was rocked and I have a passion for the people of God to be able to deal with this in church. Sin is sin, I suggested we lable the chairs at church with all the sins and everyone take the chair that is approiate for their sin. I thank you for this ministry! I feel we need to address this subject and have the church on board to help minister to familes. God is love, let us be a people of Him!

    • Sharon

      Sharman, I hear ya! I totally agree with your note…I praise God every day for all HIS help and support through this journey, and I pray that God will raise up more people to build bridges.
      Be blessed,

  • http://theresamazza.com Theresa

    I will look to this blog post again and again. You’ve highlighted the most important thing for all of us to hear LOVE, truly LOVE. Don’t abandon a child or friend for the sake of being righteous, religious, or protecting your own rights to be right. Love this!!!

  • Luke

    Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. Romans 13:10

  • http://tyrannyofgrace.blogspot.com Chris T

    As a gay person who came out 20 years ago, I can say that it is also a Holy moment for the person coming out. It is moment when you are called by God to love beyond your understanding and be compassionate beyond your comprehension. It’s most overlooked opportunity to be Christ-like through your action and reaction to those whom you love.

  • Katii

    My mom believes in God whereas I do not, and although she respects my choice to be an atheist, I know she doesn’t whole-heartily approve of it.

    Your post hit so close to home for me–when I first came out to my mom she did a lot of the things your mentioned not to do (judging, thinking it’s a phase, trying to tell me I wasn’t, etc.). She still told me that she would always love me, but I feel like now she views me in a more distant way. She has expressed that she doesn’t agree with homosexuality, that it was a shock to her, that I “laid a bomb” on her.

    I had thought coming out to for quite a few months, but never found the right time to tell her. When I finally did tell her I felt as though she rejected both me and my feelings. She tried to blame it on being a teenager, being confused, and the relationship (or lack of thereof) with my father. I felt as though she discounted what I was going through and entirely based my coming out experience on herself and how she was feeling.

    She suggested that I get a therapist (denying that getting one didn’t have anything to do with coming out, though), and whenever I tried to get her to educate herself on the matter (like reading articles like this one, for example), she would have nothing to do with it.

    I know I can’t change how she feels and reacts to these types of subjects, but I wish that I could actually have a positive conversation about being gay to her without us arguing. It just feels as though she just doesn’t want to hear about it. She doesn’t seem to realise that coming out to her– knowing that her reaction wouldn’t be one of complete support and acceptance– was one of the hardest decision of my life.

  • JLynne

    Katii, this is one thing I know about my parents. Over time, they seemed to better deal with my being a lesbian. I’ve been with my partner for a very long time, so year after year, I think this helped. Luckily, my parents have a great distaste for fundamentalist christianity, and so there were no bible arguments or going to hell. I think my parents might have worried about my happiness or my ability to make a living without any men at all. Women get very dependent on male income, and heteronormativity is all about a man on your arm.

    In my opinion, you come out for your own self. It is about you as a true authentic person in the world. How straight people handle this is up to them, but I believe in the truth. When I came out, I was prepared to lose everything, and my family was not very good at all for about seven years.

    The irony for me, is that almost all my parent’s hetero couple friends have become divorced, kids ended up in the penitentiary, drug addicted, or just plain struggling as single mothers. But my partner and I am still together despite a complete social exclusion from married anything.

    You will find your way Katii. Maybe now is the hardest, but really hetero parents often have no clue at all. How could they know these things?

    All I can say, is that although I once feared getting fired, killed, beaten up etc., I was completely happy in being lesbian. I had no desire ever to be straight, and having the benefit of the feminist movement that was once very radical and powerful, I saw heterosexuality as simply slavery for women.
    I didn’t pray to be straight, I didn’t want that life at all. I found my most profound friendships and love within a lesbian sisterhood, a social world so different from my hetero sisters.

    I don’t know if this will help or not, but our job as authentic lesbians is to be fully true to ourselves. Our biological families might make us feel in pain, but we are not there to please them, or to be something we clearly or not.

    To be an out lesbian is a spiritual gift from god; to know the truth is to be set free, and this freedom is incredible. I believe we are actually a chosen people, and that the last 50 years of the lesbian and gay movement are about a chosen people finding spirituality, discovering our gifts to help the world. We can be of liberating service to the world, but first we must be brave, we must be ready…

    Congratulations woman of courage! Welcome to the beauty and loveliness of lesbian sisterhood!!!

    • Katii

      JLynne–
      Thank you so much, your words had me smiling, tearing up, and they truly touched my heart! I had regretted telling my mom at first, but you’re right; coming out made me feel relieved, like I don’t have to hide who I am.

      Something that my mom did that really irritated me was that she kept stressing that I was only ‘labelling’ myself gay and that I actually wasn’t. Us gays and lesbians don’t have it easy, we didn’t choose to have this attraction nor can we ever change it (or want to for that matter). And in a way, we are forced to be a lot stronger than hetroseuxuals. The majority of them don’t understand how hard it is to face rejection, hate, guilt, and judgement. I completely agree that we are not here to please them or anybody else–it’s our life, and being a lesbian has no reflection on them as parents (which is something my mom is have a hard time understanding).

      I really wish my mom would be willing to go to a support group for people in her position, but because she doesn’t believe in being homosexual it is out of the question. A lot of things that I’ve read have also said that it takes time.I can only hope that you’re right and that my mom will eventually support the way that I am, even if she doesn’t agree with it.

      I was very close with my mom and sister, but I know they are both homophobic and don’t agree with homosexuality. I don’t want to loose my relationship with them, and that’s my biggest fear.

      But thank you again! You’re words honestly liberated me and gave me confidence and courage.

  • JLynne

    I’m glad what I said was helpful to you Katii. Each lesbian that chooses to come out to her family faces a variety of challenges. It is a risk, but I also believe in telling the truth, and telling the truth is the very heart of spiritual integrity.
    I’m probably from some ancient old fashioned generation, and some things I luckily didn’t have to deal with. Anti-lesbian hatred by out there right wing churches really didn’t exist in my era. Also my most powerful transformative experiences were based on a lesbian feminist awakening.

    Parents have their own way of dealing with children who don’t meet their expectations. PLAG, the parents group, is an excellent resource, and I found meeting those people wonderful. Whether your Mom will want to go to their meetings or not might be up in the air, but it is a resource you could tell her about and let her decide what to do with it.

    I don’t believe that your parents will out and out reject you. I think they are struggling with new information that shocks them.

    As for your Mom saying you are “labeling” yourself, I can’t exactly speak to that. Somehow, I get the impression that if you came out as a lesbian you probably really are one. However, lesbians I personally know have come out at all ages, largely depending on the generation they were born in, but also what they could learn about themselves. Some lesbians are very fearful of public opinion, or they really really want to fit in and be liked by their peers. Most women are socialized to be compliant, or to care a lot about what the norm is.
    The most attacked and hated lesbians are ones who don’t gender conform, and don’t care about feminine appearance at all. My type just didn’t much care about social conformity or social approval, but again, it is individual.
    Not all gays or lesbians were “born that way.” Some of us really chose to be this, others of us really were born different, some of us were bisexual but preferred love relationships with women. Some of us were happy with one partner some of us don’t believe in being owned by anyone.
    You will find your own way. Your parents will find theirs. I would love it if your Mom came to accept you, and learned more about lesbians in general.
    This may or may not happen, it may happen sooner or later. The president of the united states just declared that he is in favor of gay and lesbian marriage on national T.V. the other day. I don’t much care what straight people think, but I do know his words will greatly influence all the straight people in America. It will make life easier for gays and lesbians because every time a president steps up, parents get better.

  • JLynne

    Katii, I want you to know that you will find yourself, and your Mom will get better with this. You might have a different relationship with your Mom and sister, it might feel different, because you’ve changed. Now they have to get used to the new you.

    It’s a pretty good time for a lesbian to be alive in America today. We have loads of resources that I never dreamed of back in the 70s. We did have the power of radical lesbian feminism, and women only communities which were really great, but young women have advantages too.

    Now people are bugging me for not being married or having kids, neither of which appeals to me at all, even though my partner and I have been together for a very long time. Straight people ask if my partner and I am married; they seem surprised when I tell them I don’t believe in marriage.
    But many lesbians do want this.

    Feel free to ask me any questions. I’ve been there for a very long time, and I have an excellent life. The older I got, the happier I became and I feel free of pretty much all social expectations. Happiness attracts others who will love and respect you, and people who don’t approve of lesbians usually just shut up and smile at you, or the ones who are hateful will leave you alone.
    Sometimes you do have to be more socially careful, because there are violent men out there who do attack us, call us names etc., but most people are pretty nice.

    Then you’ll fall deeply in love with one woman or many over the years, and I must say one of the most beautiful things about women is how in love with each other we can become. We are free of what men want women to be, free of being owned by men, we are free to break new social ground.

    It is a new adventure really, and I’m smiling inwardly because I hope all my work has really benefited your generation. Things may or may not be easier… it’s relative, but to love women is such a great gift, and throughout all of human history, it has been very rare for women to live openly on our own terms, free to earn our own living, free from tribal customs…. we have a great deal of social freedom as lesbians, but we must always use it wisely.

    Good luck!