Category Archives: Gay Identity

Acceptance is not endorsement

In a prior post, I recommend that you “Accept that your kid has these feelings.”

This is an area of resistance for a number of parents I work with. They express a fear that acceptance means giving up, or rolling over and giving in to the culture. This usually turns out to be a matter of semantics, or sometimes of precision of thought. So, a longer discussion may be helpful.

One of the definitions of “Accept,” from the Merriam Webster online dictionary is: to endure without protest or reaction. Webster’s Unabridged includes: to accommodate or reconcile oneself to. I might add to those: To take at face value. That is the definition that we are dealing with here.

Acceptance is not synonymous with affirming or celebrating or embracing.

It is simply a recognition of a reality. Your child feels these feelings. It is not for you or me to deny that.

I try to use the word accept in a very specific way, and I suggest that you aim for the same precision. Accept that your loved one experiences these feelings (of attraction for the same sex, desire, etc.) That acceptance does not equate to endorsement of any acting on those feelings.

What I do not accept, and I suggest that you do not, is an identity of being gay. Recognizing a person’s feelings is one thing, but turning feelings into an identity cannot be reconciled to a proper understanding of the human person. So you can recognize a person’s emotional experience as real, and still legitimately dispute the conclusion they draw from those feelings.

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