I am sorry if the title of this post shocks you, or strikes you as harsh or over-dramatic. But honestly, parents don’t realize what they’re asking of their LGBTQ+ kids. And they don’t realize what their rejection is doing to them.
This is not some debate about inclusion. This is a matter of life and death.
By making children stick to their own expectations and standards for them — whether they really think the lie that their gay child is going to hell or honestly are just ashamed of them — parents are asking their kids to change something inherent, something that their son or daughter can’t change. No matter how much they pray or plead. It’s just not happening.
And the message that sends is absolutely devastating. It tells our kids (young, teens or adults) that they are broken, not okay, for whatever reason.
It’s plain wrong. And it can be tragic.
The suicide statistics for LGBTQ+ youth is alarming — 40% of gay youth contemplate suicide, 50% of transgender youth – 4 to 5 times the rate for their straight peers. And gay youth who come from highly rejecting families are 8.4 times as likely to have attempted suicide as gay peers who reported no or low levels of family rejection.
57% of transgender youth without supportive parents attempt suicide. When even one parent is supportive, that number drops to 4%. 57% to 4%. Mom and Dad, THAT is the power you hold over your child. This is the impact of faith-based family rejection.
I have been in dialogue with a close friend about my support and full affirmation of gays, and I am heartsick. We met for coffee, to see if we could find any common ground. She says she follows Jesus, so that should be our common ground. But people get disjointed about this, bent out of shape, worked up.
They twist the Bible in order to condemn and shame and bully our lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer children.
She has already expressed her deep disapproval in me. I am simply loving without condition, which my main job in life. To even think about meeting with her made me queasy, but I must speak up for those who deserve to be spoken for.
Just imagine the one who IS LGBTQ+. How do they feel? Having to discuss this with a family member who doesn’t approve, and other family members, and friends, and church, and society. No wonder this is so hard to walk through. No wonder they feel so alone, because they essentially are so alone.
Family… we are supposed to love and support each other no matter what. If our own family won’t do that, how does that impact our confidence that anyone else can?
Imagine the depth of the shame of a child rejected, condemned, shunned by parents. Or the shame that comes from parents who just “tolerate” their gay child, but the child clearly knows the parents are disgusted by who they are. Parents who stand behind that unBiblical lie to “love the sinner, hate the sin.”
And imagine a parent conveying the message that God too is ashamed and disgusted?
Shame is not a good motivator, it’s a horrible motivator that can destroy a person’s heart and spirit. Shame only makes a person feel fundamentally defective, and no one has the right to do that to someone else.
EVERYONE deserves to be treated as a human being. A person’s worth is not something we can disagree on.
Mom and Dad, I know this can be hard. Please don’t go through it alone. I have private online support groups and extensive resources. Just click here: contact us.
I am so proud of you for reading this. It may be the first step in making the decision to err on the side of love, to affirm your child. You may have saved their life.
I promise you that the answers will come. Just stay on the journey, take the next step. I am here if you need me.
We know of way too many families who kicked out, condemned, rejected, shunned and shamed their gay child – “in Jesus name,” claiming they were speaking for God – and who lost their child to suicide or drug abuse.
Please. Don’t. Just don’t. This is a fragile, vulnerable time for your child. Don’t drive them over the edge.
Every one of us would regret that for every single day of the rest of our lives.
Breathe. Love them for who they are. Err on the side of love. Trust God with all the rest.
It’s what they deserve because they are human – and because they are your precious child.
Just love. Please.
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