For many people who are a part of a religion or faith, there may be a conflict between some beliefs…
– Only two genders, “male” and “female,” were created by God
– Homosexuality is a sin
– Opposition to gay marriage
– Bars to membership, ordination, or employment of LGBTQ persons
AND your belief that…
– My child is a good person
– My child is a beloved child of God
– My faith’s writings emphasize love and service above all
– My child identifies and expresses themselves as God created them
We have suggestions that can help.
Hit the pause button
You don’t have to decide right now how to reconcile every question. Most religions reject the notion that children are a parent’s property and have strong teachings on the importance of family cohesion. Focus on keeping the family intact and allow time to work through faith struggles.
Lead with love
This is the same child you have loved and cherished for years. Keep leading with love as it may help you carve out space to resolve other issues over time. Most religions emphasize parent roles and almost universally maintain that the most important parental obligation is the obligation to love one’s children.
Keep being the best parent you possibly can
Prioritize staying close to your child to maintain the safety, support, and interaction so essential as they grow to adulthood. They still need parenting, encouragement, love and safety at home.
Resist being swayed by judgment
If you feel judgment from others about your child, or you struggle with your own judgment about what it means to be LGBTQ, put your relationship with your child first. Maintain communication and affection that is so important for a family relationship.
Represent your faith
Remember your daily example is a living demonstration of your faith for your child. Focusing on the overarching beliefs of their faith such as love, kindness, healing and devotion to God helps many who struggle with individual negative scriptures.
You may be wondering how or whether to talk about this with others who share your religion. Find a supportive person to help you decide if it is safe for you and your child to discuss it. If you have concerns about your own church, consider reading some of the books in our Resources list at www.strongfamilyalliance.org or reaching out to another church.
Depending on your relationship with your church, its leaders, or the community you may feel like you are keeping a secret. This may be necessary to protect your child from unwanted scrutiny and judgment.
Seek positive resources in your denomination
Almost every denomination or religion has supportive groups for LGBTQ people and often provides new ways to think about these changes in the family. If you have doubts or your church is condemning, please visit our Faith Based Organizations page at www.strongfamilyalliance.org to find resources for your denomination.
Many people learn over time that their relationship with God can take many forms. Parents of transgender or LGBTQ children often pray their way through parenting. Finding a one-on-one faith interaction can guide their daily actions better than written rules in their faith.
Help your child keep their faith
Perhaps the most important point is that youth raised in a faith often have deep spiritual longings for faith connections. Staying in a condemning church may drive your child away from faith entirely. Finding a spiritual home that accepts the entire family may be the single greatest gift of faith, witness, and guidance you can provide.