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 about inclusion. This is a matter of life and death.
By making their children stick to their own expectations and standards for them — whether they really think 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 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.
I have been in dialogue with a close friend about my support and affirmation of gays, and I am heartsick. We are going to meet for coffee, to see if we can find any common ground. She follows Jesus too, so that should be our common ground. But people get disjointed about this, bent out of shape, worked up.
She has already expressed her deep disapproval in me. I am simply loving without condition, which my main job in life (and it’s hers, too!). To even think about meeting with her makes me queasy, but I must speak up for those who deserve to be spoken for.
Just imagine the one who IS gay. 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.
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. Even people you might disagree with.
I know this can be hard. Please don’t go through it alone. Seek out people to talk to – people who will support and encourage you – people who will affirm, accept and love your gay child, and you too.
I have a secret private Moms group on social media, Rob has a secret private Dads group — email us about those. There are support groups and affirming churches you might consider while you are on this journey.
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 it does get better. The answers will come. Just take the next step, and find someone to take it with you.
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. Don’t drive your child 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. No matter what.
Just love. Please.
October 28, 2014 by Susan Cottrell
Courtesy of Patheos – Hosting the conversation on faith.