I have five adult children I love with all my heart. Two of them identify as queer. Wild horses would not cause me to reject any one of them. Ever.
These are my precious children. My MAIN JOB is to love them. Nurture them. Protect them. Have their back. Educate them. Correct them when they are young. Direct them when they are adolescents. Let them go when they are older teens. Give them my best wisdom when they seek it. Hold my tongue when they don’t. Hold their hearts in mine for the rest of my life.
My job is not to make their life a living hell.
Here’s what it means to make their life a living hell: shame them, ridicule them, reject them, call them names, tell them every day that they’re wrong, kick them out of the house. These acts would make anyone’s life a living hell.
Some of you reading this may be thinking how can a parent do something so hurtful? But it is much easier to passively convey this message of shame, condemnation and rejection than you think.
I have been told by Christians, well meaning or not, that my opinion on LGBTQ people is invalid—that my opinion is invalid because I have daughters who are LGBTQ, since I would naturally just change my opinion to justify them.
Who are these people? What are they thinking, that I would be so flippant as a mother that I would take lightly this incredibly important part of my daughters’ lives—about which they sought me out, by the way. As if we were leaving the house and they’re saying, “Should I take a jacket?” And I say, “Oh, it doesn’t matter,” because it’s not a big deal.
No, I am fully invested in my children’s well-being. Why would my searching and seeking, which I did with great care, great prayer, not be valid because I’m a mom?
This would leave decisions on these matters to those who have no stake, no one they care about to the ends of the earth to seek out answers for, to advocate for, to fight for.
No. Let me tell you something. Since my oldest daughter first came out, I have pondered, prayed, pressed for answers. I have sought, studied, searched for God. I listened and asked and listened some more. And through it all I heard that still small voice, expressing truth and love and transcendent peace.
Don’t dare tell me my opinion is invalid and doesn’t matter.
I am the one whose opinion DOES matter, because I have something very important at stake—two very important somethings.
Naysayers, on the other hand, toss out their opinions from an armchair, with nothing at stake. Their opinion is the one that doesn’t matter because they have no blood on their face, no sweat on their brow, no beloved someone counting on them.
If you are a naysayer, yours is the opinion that doesn’t matter. You are like men telling women to settle down and be quiet. You are like whites telling blacks it’s not as bad as you think. You are like adults telling children their problems are nothing to worry about.
You are dismissive, and this is, frankly, none of your business.
Because if you’re not here to help restore dignity and reconcile family and community relationships—Jesus’ entreaty to us—then get out of the way. You are not only not helping, you’re mucking things up. You are making life a living hell for countless LGBTQ adults and youth.
Love is our job. Living hell is not our job.
If you are a parent, do not let anyone tell you your opinion doesn’t matter.
If you are struggling, find someone to help you through. If you are fully onboard, help someone else through.
If you are tossing opinions from an armchair, get out of our way.
And if you are the LGBTQ person, draw near to those who love and support you, and protect yourself from those who don’t. It’s your life. You get to live it.
With all my love,