Dear Mom and Dad

15 10 2012

Dear Mom or Dad,

I am a parent as well and wanted to write you a quick note. I realize that right now you are not feeling very chipper, in fact you may feel as if you were just punched in the gut, just take some deep breaths and give me a minute or two of your day.

I have been where you are. I have a kid who has recently told me about his sexuality… and it was a shock. When my kids were small and homosexuality would come up, I would get a twinge of fear and wonder “could one of my kids be gay” – but then I would quickly toss it aside and say to myself  “Nah – that can’t happen – we are good parents. We are raising them up in church to obey the bible.” Well, you can see how that worked out for me – and apparently you as well. Let me just assure you of one thing before we move on – we ARE good parents. Good parents love their children unconditionally, and if you are reading this then I know you love your child. Secondly, good parents are not afraid to admit when they were wrong.

The most important thing right now is your child. Not what your family will say or think or what your church friends will say or think – but what your child is going through. Imagine all the years of turmoil they have been experiencing all on their own – with no one to help carry the load with them. They couldn’t come to us, because we had already made it clear what our views on the subject were – “homosexuality is a choice and a sin – no one can tell me different – I have read my Bible!!” Have you ever uttered those words? I know I did, and more than once! Oh gosh, if I had only known then what I know now – that every time I uttered those words, I was hurting my child in a way that damaged his self-esteem and for sure his confidence. In my defence, I had no idea – but it doesn’t change the fact that it hurt my child deeply.

So, here we are now – parents of a gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender child. I don’t know about you, but when my kid came out of the closet – I went into one. I had many conservative friends and I had no idea who I could safely talk to. It was weeks of that before I was brave enough to call a friend. I didn’t even know her very well, but I knew that she had a gay sibling. As fate would have it – her father has been helping parents learn to love and accept their gay children for twenty years! He was a life saver for me. I know he would help you too, if he could! Well, he can!

This letter is a guide to all of the information and resources that he sent me to immediately. I soaked it up like a sponge. A Christian had never told me before that homosexuality was NOT a choice and a sin. I had never gotten that memo – how refreshing to seek the truth! Isn’t it ironic that the one thing that should bring us peace and freedom – our faith – is the actual source of our pain during this time of learning about our child? I am a Christian, so I am just gonna say it – Christians are hypocrites. Now, don’t get angry if you are a Christian – just hear me out. We cling to these homosexuality verses like they are a matter of life or death yet we ignore TONS of stuff in the bible. Are you wearing clothes of two different fibers? Of course we are! Do you eat shrimp? Well, that is an abomination. I don’t know about you, but I have yet in my lifetime seen a woman stoned on her wedding night for being found to not be a virgin. I mean the bible says that is the only option to deal with such a situation. I am not trying to offend you, I really am not, but just let it sink in for a minute. Let your mind open up and hear this new information. Your child is NOT an abomination – well, maybe they are, but did you know that abomination had a different meaning at the time the bible was written than it does today? Do I have your attention? I hope for your child’s sake, that you are still with me.

The first and most important thing that my friend said to me was this: “Stop thinking about sex. When we hear about someone’s sexuality, the first place our mind goes is to sex. Sex is a very small part of who your child is – just like it is for you as a heterosexual person. Your child is the same person they have always been, you have just learned something new about them. They haven’t changed, your perception of them has.”

Places to turn for information:

Movies: “For the Bible Tells Me So”

“Prayers for Bobby”

“Fish Can’t Fly”

Websites: PFLAG (Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays – also includes Bisexual and Transgender)

Here are a few of my own that I have found specifically helpful for dealing with the Bible and Faith:

Kathy – an amazing, straight, Christian Ally – who tells it like it is

Believe Out Loud

Now – run, do not walk – RUN …. or type as fast as you can: PFLAG Chapter Info … or just click the link – and find a chapter near you – and GO to the meeting! I know it is scary – I remember the first meeting we went to – my heart was beating so fast it felt like it was coming out of my chest.

Here’s the deal – Mom or Dad – we are parents – and parents – good parents – put their kid’s needs ahead of their own. We do the right thing – even when it is the hardest thing we have ever done in our life. So, take a few more deep breaths and start doing your research. I can not promise you that this will be the easiest thing you have ever done, but I can promise you that it will be a very rewarding journey.

And, while we are at it – call or text or email that queer kid right now – and tell them that even though you don’t understand all of this – that you love them and they matter to you. Tell them you are going to start eduacating yourself and that you would appreciate their patience with you in the meantime. I assure you – they will be happy to comply – because you will have just done the one thing they have hoped and prayed for all of their lives – you have shown them that they matter to you, more than what your friends think or what your church says. They are your kid and you are their parent – and together you will get through this!

with love and hope for all of us –

Michele G

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11 responses

15 10 2012
journeybesideme

That actually brought a tear to my eye. My parents had to deal with my older sister being outed in high school and was the talk of the town. But something my mother told me a friend of hers said to her that made all the difference. “Isn’t the most important thing that you want for your child is that they are happy? Is she? Well then you need to help support her and let her know you love her.” My parents attended her marriage to her partner 9 years ago and I know it meant the world to them. What a great post. Thank you for putting it out there!

16 10 2012
rainbowicecream

what a beautiful story!!! So glad they overcame their own issues to embrace your sister. It is silly the things we let affect our families, which should be our most important relationships! hugs!

15 10 2012
Kathy Verbiest Baldock

I ADORE my friend Michele and her FABULOUS family right down to Grandma!!!! She is the REAL DEAL and is built of compassion. Parents–LISTEN TO HER!!! She loves God, Jesus, her family, her community and HER GAY CHILD!!!! GO Michele. I love you sista.

16 10 2012
rainbowicecream

thank you Kahty!!! Love you!!!

15 10 2012
Dear Moms and Dads, | A Letter to Christian Parents of glbt Youth -

[…] beautiful post from my friend, Michele. A wonderful person and Mom of a gay child in rural […]

17 10 2012
Brandon Mathews

Oh wow. This is one of the coolest things I’ve ever read. Luckily for me, I had an understanding family. I came out to them on Christmas, about 2008ish. I was worried, I was scared. Though when I finally told my uncle, (who had been my guardian since 2001), his response was ‘so what’s the big deal.’ To a lot of people, that might have come across as a dismissal, or a denial, however, I knew Uncle Jim very well by this time. To him, it really wasn’t a big deal. It meant I could relax, could talk to him about my relationships, and not have to worry about being judged. The immediate family around him, even my Aunt, whom goes to church every Sunday were very supportive. Though, a few took a bit to get used to the idea considering I didn’t realize I liked other men for many years! I was 18, and graduated from high school when I figured it out.
Anyways, I’m glad to see that there are people whom will put the well-being of their children before what ‘people will think’. This was a wonderful and heartwarming read. Thanks so much for sharing this!

17 10 2012
rainbowicecream

Brandon- your story is wonderful and inspiring!! Thanks for sharing!! Hugs!

20 10 2012
Charlotte

My girlfriend and I told my parents last year that we were in a relationship… It didn’t go down well with my dad, but I guess my mother was okay. I was forbidden by them to tell anyone, as in friends, family etc…. But, its my life and I don’t care who knows! My uncle & auntie know and all my friends do too. My uncle/auntie don’t care, they still love me, and so do my friends. I’m the same person I’ve always been. Why should I hide the fact that I’m in love? 😦 I haven’t told my grandparents and the rest of my uncles/aunties and my brothers yet. I’m scared. My maternal grandma is homophobic, I grew up hearing her say some of the most horrible things about my grandpa’s sister, she’s a lesbian… Its sad because my grandpa was clearly upset by it, but was too scared to stand up to her, as were we all. My grandma won’t speak to my mother again if she finds out… I don’t want to hurt my mother like that. I’m finding it all really hard right now. And I don’t know what to do. 😦

1 11 2012
rainbowicecream

I am so sorry you have family members that are not accepting… or for instance with your Grandma you are unsure. I wonder if she wouldn’t come around over time? Most Grandmas are NUTS over their grandchildren – I am sure she loves you very much. I know it is hard because of your Mom. I guess if she is that open about her unacceptance of your Aunt that is pretty hard. I wish I knew how to help you. feel free to email me if you want to talk further or just need someplace to vent! hugs to you and your girlfriend! I am glad you have each other! Michele – mgrabbe1008@msn.com

31 10 2012
Kris

Amen! Thank you for posting this and being a
amazing loving open parent! Hats off to you! Everyone knows someone who is gay I do and my feelings for them has not changed a bit they are still the same bright wonderful outgoing person and they will always be! Shining stars!!

1 11 2012
rainbowicecream

Thanks Kris -and I agree!!

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