Families really go off a cliff when they allow any disagreement to translate into: “You no longer belong to us. You no longer deserve to be here. We no longer want you.” Here’s the bottom line: to reject your LGBTQ child is among the worst transgressions a parent can commit.
What is a family meant to be, if not a safe place where people have your back? You may not always agree, you many not always even like each other—but reject you? That is indefensible.
Unfortunately, this is nothing new. For millennia parents have rejected their kids for dating or marrying the wrong race, religion or profession. (“A musician? Honey, really. Isn’t there a nice doctor you could marry??”) Romeo and Juliet is based on two kids from feuding families, who fall in love—and the disaster that followed. (After all, it is a tragedy.)
Parents reject their kids for going into the wrong religion or even a profession. Dad wants an accountant, but the child wants to be a designer. Or mom has dreamed of college for a daughter who has no interest in going. Why are these reasons for rejection?
Families reject because of fear.
They may fear for the child not turning out the way the parent imagined, and it may be fear of what it means about them as parents and what others will think. Families reject for their own reasons, because they aren’t getting what they want, and they don’t want to adjust. However it breaks down, it’s not healthy.
Parents with irrational or overwhelming fear impose their own interests on their children. Parents reject their kids because they are afraid of what will happen to them (the parents) if they don’t. They are afraid of what God will think, of what friends and neighbors will think. It has NOTHING to do with the one they reject.
How can I say that? Because other parents would have accepted you. Your friends whose families have accepted them would have accepted you, too. So it’s not you!
For those who love you most to reject you is one of the most painful traumas you can endure. If you’re a marginalized racial or ethnic minority, your family also is that minority, so at least you have community within your family. But to be the only LGBTQ person in the family that rejects you? That is excruciating. Even if they rejected you decades ago, it continues to throb.
It’s really important that you see that just because family members reject you does not mean others will. Even if family doesn’t love you, that does not mean no one else will. The world is changing, and people are coming around every day. Your parents may not, but many others will.