One of the unique things about the Strong Family Alliance website is our collection of first-hand accounts written by parents of LGBTQ+ children. These stories are valuable on many levels for both their authors and readers. The act of writing the stories is often cathartic for struggling parents, and reading about others’ experiences is empowering and inspiring for families of LGBTQ+ kids.
Today we’ll share thoughts from a few parents about why they’re glad their child came out of the closet, and advice they would give to other parents.
Knowing what you know today, would you want your child to “stay in the closet”?
“Never….Because he deserves to be the person he was meant to be, the person God created him to be. He deserves to be free from all the ugly stigmas attached to LGBTQ+, not closed off in a closet. I have a strong faith in God and the God I serve does not see sexuality, color, or race…we are all his children and equal… No person, for any reason, should “stay in the closet”
Mother of a Gay Son in Rural Arkansas
No. The pain of having an inward gender identity that doesn’t match the outward body can lead to depression and even suicide. It’s too hard if you are alone. Relationships are always fake when one person has to pretend to be who they are not. Having parents and family who understand and love her makes her stronger to deal with all the challenges of claiming her true self. Learning about my child’s gender identity or sexual orientation has changed me for the better. It has taught me much about myself. The way we have handled it has made my marriage stronger.
Father From Oregon with Transgender Daughter
No. We have seen the self-destruction that causes. Plus we love everything about our son. Everything.
Parents of a Gay Son
What would you say to other parents learning the LGBTQ+ identity of their child?
I would encourage parents to let their child know that they love their LBGTQ+ child that has come out. Don’t turn them away or think that this is “just a phase.” Your child needs to know that you love them unconditionally. If parents do have questions or concerns, I would encourage them to find someone with whom they can talk about these issues in a safe environment. If the parents are in a church, they will need to discern if their pastor is willing to be accepting of them and their child. The parents may need to find someone outside of their church with whom they can talk if they cannot find someone with whom they can have a safe conversation in their church.
Christian Pastor Father of a Lesbian Daughter
It is understandable that you may be experiencing a lot of pain, confusion, grief and a whole array of various feelings. Try to be patient with yourself and with your child. Read and learn all you can about gender… Take good care of yourself. Find yourself the support you need, whether that’s with PFLAG or friends or family. If you go to church, find a supportive one. Transition is something the parent goes through as well as the child, and it’s a process that takes time and energy. Most likely your child will become happier in the long run being able to be more themselves, and therefore you will be happier, too. Hang in there!
Mother of a Transgender Daughter
Your child’s sexual orientation does not change the person you have always loved. It does not define them; they are exactly the same “child” you have loved since birth. Sadly society still has prejudices and you need to be there for them more than ever.
Parents of a Gay Son
You can read the full parent testimonials and more on our website in the Family Stories section. If you find these stories helpful for your own family’s journey, we encourage you to share your experience anonymously with the SFA community. You never know how your words might touch someone else’s heart.