Guest Author - Cynthia Parker
Have you seen the Lifetime movie, “The Truth About Jane”? Sexuality is not a “phase” or a something you grow out of. I am sure that you have all heard of Matthew Sheppard; what a horrible death, yet it brought nationwide attention to the prejudice against homosexuality. There was and is a sharp divide between those who thought he “got what he deserved” and those who knew that his death was a horrible waste dealt by hatred. In "Doing Time on Maple Drive", the son would rather commit suicide than have his family know that he is gay because he fears their rejection. Fortunately, he lives and has the opportunity to give them a chance to understand. His siblings accept and his father loves and by the end of the movie, even his mother is coming around. The good news is -- he lived through it all. Where will you stand if your child comes to you in question of his or her sexuality?
One of my daughters has a friend whose mother kicked him out of the house when he told her that he was gay. It took his stepfather three weeks to convince his mother to let him come home. Until then, he stayed with friends whose families were more accepting of him than his own. His stepfather was more understanding than his own mother. I cannot imagine what it would feel like to be rejected by your mother…or father. There are parents who lock their children in mental hospitals or in programs that claim to “de-gay-ify” young men and women. These young teenagers or young adults do not have a mental illness. They cannot be “converted”; sexuality is not about choice. You may beat them into submission or brainwash them to believe something that it is not real for them. But you will not “cure” them of who they are. You will not make them a “better person” by forcing them to be someone they are not.
If you cannot believe that we are all made and loved by the same Creator who designs us exactly as we are, then know for a fact that no one would choose a lifestyle in which they are guaranteed to experience ridicule, prejudice and hatred. Just as sexuality is not a choice, nor is it possible for any human being to deny their true self. Do not ask your child to pretend to be someone that he or she is not. The painful damage that will be done from this one act of trying to keep you happy at their expense can leave scars that will last a lifetime. One’s soul will be called - perhaps driven - to their own specific truth regardless of what you want. The resulting tug-of-war can only lead to devastation.
Your child needs your love, support, understanding, and acceptance. If you are having trouble giving them that - then seek support for yourself. Talk to a family counselor; join a support group; find a PFLAG (Parents and Friends of Gays and Lesbians) chapter and get to know other parents who have walked the same road as you. Find a way to get over your hang-ups, fears, embarrassment, and anger before you lose one of the most precious gifts in your life - your child. You are not the first parent whose child has confessed that they are homosexual, bisexual, transsexual or is simply questioning their sexuality. However, you do have the opportunity to handle it better than many who have gone before you.
Your child, regardless of sexuality, needs your love and guidance. They are not going to accept your words of wisdom if they feel that you reject them or that your love is conditional upon your approval of their life. Facing the world - growing up - is difficult enough. Your children need to know that you are in their corner when things get tough. Make sure they know that without a doubt.