Struggle and Triumph


Close Friendships with LGBTQ+ Christians Help a Mother Embrace Her LGBTQ+ Son

By Karen Reume

In today’s blog, an SFA board member shares her personal experience with parenting a gay child and how she discovers that, contrary to popular belief, there is a place in the church for LGBTQ+ Christians.

Let’s be honest, parenting is hard. Many nights I consoled myself with the knowledge that we had all survived, mostly intact, to live another day. We long to do our best as parents and we know we often fall far short. We struggle and, hopefully, learn and grow with our children and often because of them.

I was raised in a somewhat conservative Christian home. I raised my children in a few different churches before landing in one that felt very contemporary and spirit-filled, a place where we all seemed to thrive, more or less. I began to see the “less” moments when two close friends expressed their “struggles with their sexuality.” We thought we had all the answers, of course. And then I watched as those answers didn’t work, as people I dearly loved spiraled deeper into despair. Or self-harm. Or left the church altogether. I’m pretty pragmatic, and more than a little stubborn. How could we be so sure we had solutions when what we seemed to hand out were more problems?? There had to be better answers.

It would be another year or two before I would make a new friend, someone who eventually came out to me and explained they were a gay Christian. A what?! I had been told that wasn’t possible, at least not in our circles. Through that relationship I was introduced to a whole new world of people, support groups, research, writings, and religious leaders. It was a slow journey for me, unpacking and relearning and more importantly building relationships with LGBTQ+ people who were living vibrant, healthy, and faith-filled lives. Turns out there was a better answer.

Little did I know that while I was on that personal journey, my youngest son was going through puberty and high school and his early college years internally “struggling with his sexuality” in that same church setting. He was on his own private crusades for answers.

The good news of our story is that when my son was ready to come out to me a few years ago, I was ready to hear his news, meet him in that place, and support him as he moved forward. For this I am grateful. I am grateful for the people who patiently poured into me for all those years to get me to that point, and the people who still challenge, support, and encourage me on the journey.

However, I regret that my son did this hard work alone for so long. I wish I had been more courageous sooner with the conversations I had with my children. I wish I had acted sooner on the insights I was gaining. When I reflect on those things, I see that underlying my hesitations were fears, mostly unarticulated. The types of “what if’s” that so easily hold us back.

This is why I am involved with Strong Family Alliance. I know what it’s like to have questions, concerns,even fears for my child. I also know the tremendous value of finding resources and relationships that can provide guidance and support. I want to help other parents position themselves to give to their children the love and support they need, and that we as parents long to give. I want to help them get to the place where they can experience what I get to experience now – tremendous pride and joy as I watch my son thriving, confident in who he is and surrounded by people who love and support him.

We share stories like Karen’s on our website so other parents feel less alone. These testimonies give you the opportunity to learn from the mistakes, wisdom, and experience of parents who are navigating this experience with you. You can read more stories in the Family Stories section of our website: