Category Archives: Coming Out

God loves ya…I’m just sayin’

In a prior post, I offered six things to do when your child reveals to you she is “gay.”

The third on the list was “Remind her that God loves her.”

The culture has widely promoted the idea that Christianity, and more specifically the Catholic Church, is responsible for the oppression and persecution of “gay” folk. Pressure from her peers will make it seem important and inevitable for your child to give up her faith.

That is why it is critical that you reinforce with your child that she is a baptized child of God, that God loves her and wants the best for her, and that it is important to stay connected to God through his Church here on earth.

It will help the discussion to reiterate with your child that the Catholic Church demands of Catholics the utmost respect for every human, including people who feel same sex attraction. Here is a quote from the catechism.

“They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided.” CCC2358

Does this sound like hate to you?

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Love him, love him, and then love him some more

In a prior post, I offered six things to do when your child reveals to you she is “gay.”

The very first one was “Rein in your own feelings, and sublimate them to the needs of your child.

That exercise of control over your own feelings happens inwardly. If you do it well, there will be no outward sign that it is taking place within you.

Number two in the list is your first outward action, and that is:

Immediately affirm your love for your child.

Do this as quickly as possible, and do it with both words and touch. Tell him you love him, hug him, hold his hand, look him in the eye, and affirm his dignity and worth as a human being.

Acknowledge that it takes a lot of courage to have difficult conversations like this, and that you’re grateful that he is sharing this important information with you.

Accept that your kid has these feelings. One of the definitions of “accept,” from the Merriam Webster dictionary is: to endure without protest or reaction. That is the definition that we are dealing with here. I might add to that take at face value. Acceptance is not synonymous with affirming or celebrating.

Resist any inclination to dismiss or deny his feelings of attraction, because that is disrespectful of his experience. Don’t try to reframe or rename his feelings. Feelings are real. Give your child the freedom to feel whatever it is that he feels.

Be empathetic. Recognize that your child has been experiencing a lot of confusion and pain. Apologize that you didn’t see it earlier. Make sure he knows you will be there for him from here on out.

The gay culture emphasizes the stories of kids who came out to their parents, and who then were kicked out of the house. Tragically, this does happen, but not as often as they make it seem. Your child may have heard so much about this phenomenon that he may be expecting that of you. So assure him of your ongoing love for him, and that you will all work through this as a family.

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Rein it in and offer it up!

In my prior post, I offered six things to do when your child reveals to you she is “gay.”

The very first one was “Rein in your own feelings, and sublimate them to the needs of your child.”

As parents, you will most likely be experiencing many difficult emotions as you hear the news, and try to take it in. You may be flooded with a lot of negative feelings. Surprise, shock, dismay, sadness, grief, fear, hurt, confusion, panic, upset, bitterness, shame, and anger are common reactions. You might also experience self-recrimination, a sense of “where did I go wrong?” If you have had your suspicions, you might also feel relief that at least the topic is out in the open. Mom or dad, you may even be in fear for your child’s physical health and safety, and for his eternal soul.

But, right now, this is not about you. As Christians, we are expected to “die to self.” This is one of those times when you will have to opportunity to really exercise your Catholic chops.

In yet one more sacrifice you have to make for your child, you must set your feelings aside for the time being, and be present and loving for your child. You are entitled to your emotions and reactions, but there is a time and place for venting and dealing with those, and the moment of your child’s big “reveal” is not it.

Your need for support is very important. I am not minimizing that. You will need time and space to grieve all of the missed expectations, the dashed hopes and the worries and cares that this news brings. (Later, when there is a little time and breathing room, you should contact the closest EnCourage chapter. If you don’t have one in driving distance, then there is an online EnCourage support group, and there are other non-Catholic Christian support groups all around the country. If you can’t find something, leave me a message, I can help.)

If your child had just been hit by a car, you would not indulge your fears and bemoan your crushed hopes, you would get in gear and do the needful. That is what is called for here. As my mother would say, “Offer it up!”

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Coming Out Alive

I am frequently asked by parents, “What can I do when my child comes out?”

How a mom or dad behaves during the moments when a child comes out as gay to his parent(s) can be critical to sustaining an ongoing relationship with the child. This is true whether the child is underage or an adult.

Unfortunately, these conversations are emotionally highly charged, the parents are often blind-sided, and any misstep can confirm the child’s conviction that he is unloved or unlovable. What transpires in this conversation will reverberate through your relationship with your kid, for just about ever.

(If you have already had this conversation, and it didn’t go well, forget all the import I put on you in the first paragraph. Forgive yourself for whatever mistakes you made in that encounter, and start from where you are now.)

Here are five things to do in this first conversation. In subsequent posts, I will elaborate on each point.

  1. Rein in your own feelings, and sublimate them to the needs of your child.
  2. Immediately affirm your love for your child, and his goodness as a person, and as a child of God.
  3. Remind him (or her) that God loves him (or her).
  4. Acknowledge his feelings.
  5. Establish this conversation as the first in an on-going series.
  6. Gently ask questions.

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