Parents

5. It's more than possible for your child to live a happy and fulfilled life.

Learn more about B.T and his mini-series “6 Things I Wish Every Christian Parent of an LGBTQ Child Knew.”

For millennia, LGBTQ people around the world were in hiding, never fully understanding their own bodies, fearing for their lives, and likely never finding kinship with other LGBTQ people.

To some this is an unpopular or unbelievable statement, but it’s true: In all of human history, the best time and place to be a gay person is 2019 in America.

Now, I’m not saying it’s easy to be gay and or that there aren’t any challenges. There certainly are (and I think it’s even more challenging for our trans friends, queer people of color, etc.).

However, as an out, married, gay man, I experience unprecedented freedoms.

My husband and I have carved out a really beautiful life together. We have close friends who love us deeply. We go on vacations. We attend church. Our lives our wonderfully fulfilling, meaningful, and—like our heterosexual counterparts—mundane! We wouldn’t have it any other way.

I bring this up because some Christian parents experience intense worry about their child’s future. They worry about their child being judged, contracting a disease, self-harming, being bullied, or experiencing unique hardships. I wish I could say that these threats don’t exist. They do. However, LGBTQ people are better equipped to overcome them now and experience happy, fulfilling lives. Plus, there’s an entire ecosystem of resources, support groups, educational initiatives, and non-profits set up to support LGBTQ people. This didn’t always exist!

Just because your child is LGBTQ, it doesn’t mean they’re doomed to a sub-par life. A life of meaning, family, success, and thriving is now within reach.

Join us at the Q+ Families Retreat!

“See, I told you I have two daddies!!” The panic set in a few years ago after hearing my then 4-year old daughter exclaim this to her preschool classmate. It was a rare day where my partner and I both went to pick her up at the end of the day. I didn’t know what would happen next. Was she already fielding questions from her friends, as a preschooler, about my sexuality? I wasn’t quite ready for this. And even less sure about how to handle it.

My anxiety subsided as her classmate responded a few seconds later, “So what, I have one hundred mommies!” This wasn’t a deep conversation about sexuality, this was two young kids competing with each other - they wanted to be more unique, not less, what a refreshing thought.  

It was strikingly clear - my daughter lived in a different world than I did, forcing me to reassess what I was projecting onto her classmates (and what they were hearing from their parents) in this lily-white suburban setting easy to associate with intolerant evangelicalism. However true that assessment may have been for me, it wasn’t true for her. This gives us cause to celebrate how far the LGBTQ+ movement has come in both our communities and churches but also leaves LGBTQ+ parents of children with unique questions and opportunities for learning. We all build our families in different ways - previous mixed orientation relationships, adoption, IVF, surrogacy and more but, however your family came together, we share the bond of being LGBTQ+ people trying to model a life of faith to kids within a broader context that may not always be at the same place we are in recognizing the full scope of God’s beloved community.

During this session at the Q Christian Summer Retreat, my fellow co-Executive Director Bukola Landis-Aina and I will lead discussion on some of the topics facing our unique part of the Q Christian community in a relaxed and informal setting where we can all learn from each other. Some questions to think about include:

  • How do same-gender parents split-up parenting responsibilities with duties historically tied to gender roles?

  • Based on the situation, when is the right time to address sensitive topics like divorce, adoption, coming out, bio donors, etc.

  • What do we teach our children about gender roles and sexual ethics appropriate to different age levels?

  • Are there good questions to ask in finding a church community that will fully celebrate my family?

  • How do you navigate situations where parents share significantly different theological beliefs?

As part of the Q Christian executive leadership team, Bukola and I also hope to illicit your feedback and advice about how Q Christian can best resource and support this growing demographic within our community - one we both are proudly part of!

Most importantly, we hope you’ll leave the inaugural Q Christian Summer Retreat with the knowledge that you aren’t alone in this unique journey - one full of laughter, tears, joys and frustrations - emotions we can face together, in love, as a community of God.

4. Work to preserve a long-term relationship with your child.

Learn more about B.T and his mini-series “6 Things I Wish Every Christian Parent of an LGBTQ Child Knew.”

Many years from now, do you want your child to respect you? Do you want them to cherish your words and wisdom? I hope you do.

I challenge parents to imagine their relationship with their child on a timeline.

Let’s imagine you are 50 years old and your newly-out child is 25. With advances in medicine, it’s not unrealistic to imagine that you could live ‘til 100. That means you have 50 more years of relationship with your child. 50 years!

Sadly, many parents will sacrifice the next 50 years of relationship for the short-term, compulsive need to fix their child, shame their child, or reject their child so as to “let them know where we stand.” This is a disastrous mistake.

I have gay friends in their 30s who are completely estranged from their Christian parents because of how their parents reacted to their teenage coming-out conversation. What a tragedy! This is why this principle matters so much.

I plead with parents to take a long-term relational perspective. They do that by de-escalating emotional conversations, working to find common ground, and being insanely committed to loving their children, no matter what. I want parents to have a healthy, thriving 50-year relationship with their child, so that they can maintain respect with their child. This should be the goal of every Christian parent, regardless of their theology.

Work to preserve a long-term relationship with your child.

2. Worrying about what your friends will think is a trap.

Worrying about what others—friends, family, or extended family—will think about your child is poison to your soul. Some may gossip or ignorantly think that you’re a bad parent. Gossip exists, and the more we obsess over it, the more power we give it. Ultimately this is out of our control, and there’s a freedom in just letting go of the compulsion to worry about it.

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