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Coming Out to Christian Parents

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HillsBen
Youth Coordinator
Joined in 2008
June 21, 2008, 20:45

Hey all,


I am so nervous and scared at the moment mixed with a bit of excitement.


I hope to come out to my parents next weekend (29th June) as I feel that this will be the most appropriate time to tell them. I am going away that night to a mates place and I was going to leave them a letter. I feel this is the best option as this gives them time to think and process the information without my pressure and gives them time to think about how they want to answer me and address the topic.


I would prefer to do this is some other way than a letter but with my parents I don't think there is any other way.


Below is my draft letter to my parents. Please tell me what you think and I would love to get any hints or tips surrounding this issue. Also Anthony i have used one of your quotes in my letter "Homosexuality is not a choice but morality is". Hope you don't mind. 😀


Dear Mum and Dad

You’re probably wondering why I wrote you a letter. Well firstly I wanted to tell you how much I love you as my parents and I am truly blessed to have a mum and Dad that have always been there for me.

You have supported me through everything and given me anything I ever needed. You were strong when I was weak and have raised me to love our amazing, mighty God.

I am not perfect as you know. I’ve made mistakes, been hard to handle and been a bit too much sometimes.


Writing this letter is probably the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. Because I love you and the thought that this could hurt you is enough to almost not say anything. You mean the world to me. But I know that I’ve needed to tell you this for a while. Here goes…I am gay.


There are probably many things going through your head during this moment. Perhaps you are sad, disappointed, shocked, worried, or confused. It is natural to not know what to do or to think. I know that there's a lot of theories that parents have something to do with their son being gay; I want to tell you both that none of it is true (both scientifically and psychologically) and to not accept it. As far as I know I was born gay.

This isn’t easy for you. Not many parents have to go through this and I am sorry that you have to. I’ve had my whole life to come to terms with it and it has still been extremely difficult. If you need to take some time to deal with it that is alright and I completely understand that. I love you both and will give you all the time you need. I hope that your journey to acceptance and love of your gay son doesn't take as many years as it has for him.

I am still the same person today as I was yesterday. I haven’t changed except I am finally being honest with you. I am gay and I am alright about it for once in my life. Over the past few months through my depression I have struggled with accepting myself but I have come to accept me for who I am. I know that God still loves me and my relationship with Him will never change. Jesus is still my Saviour and while I probably have more questions than answers I just have to have faith in His saving grace.

This has been so difficult for me and when you know you’re gay and you are a Christian it almost seems like they are two worlds in conflict. But there are others, Gay Christians that is. I believe the church as a whole is changing, motivated by the love and compassion of Jesus Christ and with the knowledge that gay people can still live a life devoted to God. Homosexuality is not a choice but morality is.


Being gay doesn’t mean that I have to be promiscuous or that I have to change the way I act. There are so many gay people out there that are humble, loving, caring, honest and understanding. I am myself and I will still carry on the same way and just in case you were wondering I do not have a boyfriend or anything like that.


Most nights growing up I cried myself to sleep, desperately praying for God to change me. I hated myself and didn’t think that being gay was part of God’s plan. I constantly lied to myself and to others pretending to be straight. I would continually put on a facade as if everything was ok but underneath it wasn’t. I don’t know if there is anything harder than trying to deal with your sexuality in a church and a society that condemns and devalues you.


For all my life I’ve been praying for God to take the gay away but He would not make me straight or ‘cure’ me. He seems so present in so many circumstances but it’s almost like he just leaves me alone to deal with my sexuality. I have studied the bible many times and have probably come to take a more liberal approach than before but my faith stands strong if not stronger because of this. I have a deeper connection with God and a greater understanding of human frailty and potential and what it means to love unconditionally.

I’d love to tell you that this is just a phase or that I can change but sadly that’s not the case. I’ve been gay for as long as I can remember. I don’t know why I just know that I am. Who knows why some people are born in developing countries and some are born to wealthy families; who knows why some people are straight and some are gay. There are no definite answers to these complicated questions but we have to believe that God’s plan is bigger than just what we see and hear.

I’ve read almost every single book I could find on changing the homosexual as I was desperate to be ‘normal’ and believed that change was what Jesus wanted of me. I have been through what the church call ex-gay programs to make you straight but they don’t work. After several attempts to try and ‘cure’ me it didn’t work. The success rate of these programs is something like 13% and even for those that claim to have changed, many are just denying and suppressing their true feelings. Personally, it made me depressed to the point where I almost took my life. I hated myself and constantly believed that I was a mistake or problem and started cutting myself just to feel anything. I kept who I was a secret, covered under shame, guilt and loneliness for most of my life. I was told I was an abomination and that is what I believed. I tried to change but could not and in my eyes that made me a failure with a one way ticket to hell. I had no self value, confidence or peace. Recently with a lot of medication, regular psychology sessions and heaps of prayer I have come to the knowledge that this can’t be what God requires of me. The heart of Jesus Christ cries out for love, freedom, truth and justice. Surely he doesn’t want me hating myself and wanting to die. There had to be something else to this. His word only says 6 debatable verses condemning homosexual sexual relations. The bible never condemns homosexual orientation nor says anything about trying to change homosexuals into heterosexuals but it does say:

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” – 2 Cor 12:9


Maybe I can be a light in the gay community, perhaps which part of God’s plan for my life is. I want to be a part of bringing hope and justice to those that were in the same situation as me. Recent statistics have come out showing that one of the highest rates of suicide occurs by young gay men and women. Many are not told the truth nor given real answers. The term homosexual wasn’t even put into the bible until 1948. And nowhere in the bible does it say that you must change or that because you are gay you are a mistake. I can’t just stand still knowing what I know, what I have learnt and what I believe. I will be part of the difference and the hope that many in the church need today.


I don’t expect to ever have children or a family and that knowledge is once more a hard thing to face. But I cannot continue living a lie nor could I ever bear to put a woman through a false sense of love and marriage.

These next few weeks and months will be difficult but I will not back down. God is by my side standing with me for truth and justice, walking each and every step with me. Teaching me new things, blessing me with compassion and helping me unlearn many old, unhelpful attitudes and beliefs. Jesus is my guide, my strength, my rock. The God that I had once blamed for all of this has always been my liberator and my refuge. I just took longer to see Him for who He really is.


I would love you to support me in this even though it’s hard. You don’t have to agree with me but I would really appreciate your love and support. I don’t know where you stand on this complicated issue and the choice is completely up to you. I would love for you to ask questions and I’m sure that by now you have heaps of them. I will be more than happy to answer any of your questions or concerns and I would love your advice. Again I would love for you to take all the time you need. This will be difficult for you and you both may need some time to reflect on it, ask questions and get support. If there’s anything I can do to help you deal with this then I would be happy to.


I love you so much and I hope you love me too. It is ok to find this hard, I probably would too if I was in your situation. But I want you to know that no matter what, I am still your son and I still absolutely love and respect you.


Lots of love,

I’ll see you when I get home tomorrow.

Ben


Ps.

Hopefully you are both reading this together and if so now might be a good time to give each other a hug. I’m sure you need it.


Sorry. It is pretty heavy stuff at times but let me know what you think.

Thanks heaps,


Have the best weekend!!!



orfeo
 
Joined in 2007
June 21, 2008, 21:46

Wow. Awesome stuff, Ben.


Seriously.


I personally think it’s really valuable that you’ve put something in there about the depression and misery, because as parents I’m sure that your Mum and Dad genuinely want their son to be happy. This is one of the things my Mum picked up on immediately – she understood that struggling with my sexuality had been a factor in my depression (and general unhappiness before I was ever formally diagnosed).


I don’t think I can really comment/advise beyond that, because this is just such a personal thing. You know better than any of us do what your parents are like and how they might feel about things (although believe me when I say, you don’t know them perfectly and they could still surprise you!).


The only other thing I’ll say is, if there’s anyone who could ‘be there’ for them AND for you, that would be great. I know it might not be possible. I was incredibly blessed when I came out to have a minister who was able to stand alongside both me and my Mum, who goes to the same church. He talked to her after my ‘coming out’… and even lent her some reading material, which I think right now she’s minded to quote back at the NEW minsiter whose views are less sympathetic, lol!


But yes, encourage them to talk about it. To you, to each other, to others they trust. As you’d well know, it’s a lot better than keeping guilt and shame inside.


Wish I could be there for YOU in person, but will just have to settle with being there in spirit and electronically.


– Trevor



bec_oz
 
Joined in 2006
June 22, 2008, 09:33

You are brave Ben.


I’ve been there and it takes alot of guts to be honest with your parents.


Know that however they respond you have love and support here with your new freedom2b(e) family.


Thinking of you. Let us know how it goes as you’re able.



Anthony Venn-Brown
 
Joined in 2005
June 22, 2008, 11:22

what an absolutely amazing letter Ben. You should be very proud of the way you have communicated…..as you say is an extremely difficult conversation to have with parents.


I really do wish that we were a little further along in discussions with Hillsong so that there was a pastor I could recommend that would support your parents appropriately. Do you want me to see what i can do?


A suggestion I’d make would be to mention all the reading you’ve done so that you are well informed now about sexual orientation and your situation as a Christian.


Also that you’ve found that there is also lots of support for parents if they at any time would like to talk.


If you think that I could help in some way then just let me know. But as Orfeo mentioned……..the best would be some understanding person from their own congregation who they respect.



oooooo
 
Joined in 2006
June 23, 2008, 12:16

Ben, that is a fantastic letter bud.


Hope all goes well with your folks.


I trust you have some supportive people around you regardless of how your parents react.


All the best champ.



Anthony Venn-Brown
 
Joined in 2005
June 23, 2008, 13:47

for those who are not aware of this great resouse for parents…..here is the link http://www.pflagaustralia.org.au/ Let me know if you need to contact a particular person.


What is PFLAG ?

PFLAG stands for Parents and Friends of Lesbians And Gays. We are a non-profit voluntary organisation whose members have a common goal of keeping families together. PFLAG is here to give help, support and information to families, friends of all gay people.

Who are we?

We are the parents and friends of gay and lesbian people who are a part of our community. Some of our families may be large, some small. Some of us are married, some divorced, some single. Our occupations are a varied as our personalities and educational levels. HOWEVER. We do have a common bond. Someone we love and care for is lesbian or gay.

Where are we?

There are various PFLAG groups around Australia in QLD, WA, SA, TAS, VIC, and NSW. Please click on the “Locations” link to the left to view a current list.

Why does PFLAG exist?

In Australia today, there are many parents with homosexual children. These children, and often their families are victims of social, political and economic prejudice. Gay persons in many communities are affected by discrimination in theirpursuit of happiness and in striving to live their lives with openness and dignity. Homosexuals are not the only ones touched by this discrimination. It also touches their friends and families. We as parents, families and friends of lesbians and gays wish to join together to appeal to the public conscience. We want to achieve the same rights and opportunities for our gay sons and lesbian daughters as are enjoyed by other Australians. As proud parents of gay people, our lives have been enriched by reaching an understanding and acceptance of our gay children and embracing their diversity. It is our goal to bring this understanding and acceptance of diversity to the community.

What do we do?

We have a number of activities aimed at supporting our members. We:


* Hold monthly support meetings where we discuss member issues and concerns. Sometimes we have guest speakers who are professionals in their field to discuss topics of interest to the members.

* Provide a safe, friendly place where participants can talk freely and openly. All our meetings are confidential to the participants.

* Maintain a library of books, videos, pamphlets, and articles to help educate parents and others on issues of homosexuality.

* Publish a monthly newsletter and provide an information telephone line. Provide speakers to interested organisations for discussion panels as and when requested.


We strictly respect and are sensitive to the confidentiality of all participants.



frogger
 
Joined in 2005
June 23, 2008, 21:26

Hi Ben. My mother and father go to Hillsong and have had to go through the parent journey. They are good friends with a few of the pastors as well. I could give you there details for support if you would like.


They have gone from a place of anger and distress to their place of acceptance… PM if you want there details etc.



Sandy
 
Joined in 2007
June 23, 2008, 22:46

Hi Frogger!


Great to see you again it feels like forever! How have you been?



HillsBen
Youth Coordinator
Joined in 2008
June 23, 2008, 23:59

Hey,


Thank you again for the warm support, encouragement and helpful tips and guidance on this issue. I appreciate it and I honestly don’t know what I would do without you all. THANK YOU!!! 😀 😀


This will be hard and I just hope and pray that God guides my way. Without Him this could end very badly. I would go so far as to say my Dad hates gays. But my Mum I hope will be a bit more supportive. I’m just really scared at the moment you know.


I really do wish that we were a little further along in discussions with Hillsong so that there was a pastor I could recommend that would support your parents appropriately. Do you want me to see what i can do?


Thanks Anthony and Frogger for the offer but in my previous talks about this with Hillsong pastors, either they try to shove me in another ex-gay program or like some pastors have, they just pray for me and then ignore it. My connect leader just prayed for me and told me….”Well Sy Rogers did it”. He’s said nothing since. Aargh!!!! 😡


I like others are stating to see a change in Hillsong but unfortunately many pastors and leaders are unwilling to actually help me out. I am scared to think what they will tell my parents. 😕


But thank you for your support. I will definately mention PFLAG to them and maybe they could even come to a session with my psychologist. He is from Hillsong and seems like a great guy. I’m sure he could support them.


I’ve written a list of info and support sources for them:



ALSO – If you need support or advice:

– Ring Friend’s parents ******* for advice or support

– Uncle **** could probably help

– Ring Hillsong if you feel you need to.

– My Psychologist (*****) at the Hillsong ******** – (ph:*******)

– PFLAG

– Gay Christian 101 is a website that explains the theological side http://www.gaychristian101.com

http://www.exgaywatch.com

(Info on Ex-gay programs, reparative therapy and the dangers of entering these programs)

http://www.freedom2be.com.au (Australian Pentecostal GLBT Christian support website)


And I was also gonna buy them a copy of your book Anthony. :). My mum loves a good read!

Also would it be possible for my parents to maybe email you with any questions or anything like that. Most likely it won’t happen but is that possible?



Anthony Venn-Brown
 
Joined in 2005
June 24, 2008, 00:10

Yep…….I think we are possibly doing a dam fine job of support here Ben…….I’m very proud of everyone.


its such a shame there is no consistency amongst the leaders at hillsong…that is what i’d be pushing for……..especially that they would be wise enough to know that their words could potentially contribute to a suicide.


My connect leader is very respectful of me….as I am of his.


if i can be of any help in any way….then let me know.


please print this out first before you give my book to your parents to read.


http://gayambassador.blogspot.com/2008/06/introduction-for-heterosexual-andor.html


its meant to prepare them for some of the content.


Looks like it might be time for me to put my article about Sy on the net.


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