Celebrating the Truth and Beauty of the Real You

Celebrating the Truth and Beauty of the Real You September 17, 2015

Hannah Cottrell
Hannah Cottrell

When Clay told his parents he was gay, they screamed that he never should have been born and told him to get out of the house. He was sixteen.

Vanessa listened to the gay-bashing every week in church—no one knew she was one of those the pastor was bashing. To escape the spiritual assault, she had to give up her lifelong church community… and possibly her family.

How do you prepare for that?

Danielle was in heels and a short skirt when I met her at my transgender friend’s birthday party. We discovered that I knew her boss… and now she had to trust me not to out her at work where she is an engineer named Dennis.

You may have lived through something similar yourself.

If you grew up lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning (LGBTQ), you know what I’m talking about. You have undoubtedly endured some intense pain from which you may not have fully recovered. You’ve endured more rejection, dehumanization and hate than most of us realize.

Worst of all, the majority of this torment has come from people closest to you: church, friends, family.

When our daughter Annie came out to us, my husband and I knew the church’s position on LGBTQ people (though we couldn’t recall a single conversation about it). We embraced her immediately and wholeheartedly. But we were deeply troubled to realize how bumbling (and damaging) much of the evangelical church has been around this. We were heartbroken to learn how many, many LGBTQ people have no family or community support.

So my husband and I speak out daily to help families reconcile with their kids. I wrote “Mom, I’m Gay” – Loving Your LGBTQ Child Without Sacrificing Your Faith to help parents do just that.

But even as I wrote it, I knew I wanted to write True Colors – Celebrating the Truth and Beauty of the Real You to help LGBTQ people recover from their family and faith-related wounds. Every person deserves a place to belong, to be loved, to be whole. I longed to offer you that place.

And now it’s done. Finished. And so, here it is, just for you.

Remember that little child you once were? The child who just wanted to love and be loved? That child deserves to be loved.

We live in a heteronormative culture. If you were that child who discovered an unexpected gender attraction or nonconforming identity within, you may have received toxic messages from your caregivers, the church, and the broader culture that have caused you to fear, distrust, even hate yourself and your sexuality.

Others may have abandoned you. You may have abandoned yourself. Your wounds may be days old or decades old.

It’s time to reclaim that little child who did not deserve to be abandoned!

And so I bring you my brand new book—with my heart in it—to honor the you you were before the toxic pain. The true you.

Together we will recover what was lost to you, the peace and joy and belonging that is your birthright.

As a mom and a friend, here’s my promise: I will be your companion on this journey of healing, to discover how beautiful you are, just as you are. No exceptions. I will tell you what you should have heard in school, in church and in your family.

Together we will recover the love that belongs to every human being.

This post is an excerpt from Susan’s brand new book—True Colors: Celebrating the Truth and Beauty of the Real You. IT IS AVAILABLE EXCLUSIVELY HERE!







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