I have worked with numerous people to help them come out. This includes gay and lesbian people in straight marriages, gay pastors or church leaders kids coming out to their Christian parents and also in non-faith situations.
Depending on your situation, writing a coming out letter has proved very effective when done properly. With those I have worked with it has always taken several drafts to get it right. After all, this is one of the most important letters you will ever write. In each of these situations the outcomes people got were good and the vast majority even better than they expected. Here is an example of one of these. Identifying details have been removed but the situation is no an uncommon one. To give you context "David" is in his early 20's and comes from a strong evangelical christian family who are all very involved in Church.
Dear Mum and Dad,
I thought I would do something different and write you both a letter. I would like to start off by letting you know how much I love you both. I would never have made it this far without all the love and support you have provided me.
As you already know, I am not the ‘perfect’ son and I’ve been a handful at times but I have always had your love and support thru thick and thin. And for that I am extremely grateful.
One of my deepest desires is to have a truly honest relationship with you as I love you both and cherish you with all my heart. That’s what makes this letter so much harder to write and that’s why I am telling you these things today. Not to hurt you or to assert my beliefs but let you know what’s on my heart and to ask for your continued love and support.
With all this in mind, I must tell you that I’m Gay. This may have come as a bit of a shock to you or you might have already had some suspicions but I have known for quite some time and have struggled with thought of it till recently. I can tell you with every bit of confidence that I’m not going through a phase and I didn’t choose to be this way – no kid in their right mind would choose to be gay and I wouldn’t wish these struggle I've gone through to sort this out on anyone else.
I can’t begin to imagine what’s going thru your head right now; Perhaps sadness, disappointment, shock or confusion. It’s completely natural to not know what to do or think. For the last few years I have been doing quite a bit of reading and research about this. There was a time when people thought that parents had something to do with their child being gay; That theory was dispelled some decades ago now (both scientifically and psychologically). All major professional organisations accept the fact now that being gay is something innate from birth.
I’ve always had some inclination that I was not like everyone else.
My life got a massive reality check around the beginning of high school when I started to notice that everyone was having these strong attractions to girls that I didn’t have. I liked them as girls and friends but not the same way my friends did. I couldn’t figure it out. I was feeling the same way about guys instead. My self-preserving nature kicked in and I kept these thoughts to myself. Not long after that another schoolmate brought in the word ‘gay.’ I was completely naïve, had no idea what they were talking about when they were describing this guy. It wasn’t until later that I put the two together and realized they we’re using all these words because they thought a guy liked another guy.
This is where my struggle started. I had to look up what gay was and why everyone hated it so much. My first results horrified me the most; ‘God hates gays,’ and being gay is a sin. At a young age my relationship with God was the most important thing I had. It defined so much of me; everything I had was from God. I thought I couldn’t be gay. God loves me so much. He has done so many things in my life and I loved Him with every ounce of my being. I put the thought in the back of my mind and came up with the conclusion that I must have been a late bloomer. So I really put a massive effort into becoming friends with more girls. I tried having those young teen flings where you would hold hands and were practically boyfriend and girlfriend. I have to say I spent more time with girls then most of the other guys and always got along better with them then most guys. But all this didn’t change the fact I was never attracted to girls. I could never see myself ever with a girl as much as I tried to picture a future and getting married.
This completely broke my heart. I started praying constantly for God to ‘fix’ me and help make me straight. I did as much in the church as I could trying to push this out of my mind. I tried as hard as I could to make it go away but nothing changed. I was losing hope almost with every waking moment. God answered mountain loads of my prayers and I heard from him in so many aspects of my life but He was always silent when it came to my sexuality. I struggled keeping my feelings to myself and was living a lie. . . Sy Rogers came to church one night and it firmed my belief back then that I had to change. God must have wanted me to change I thought. If someone else could do it, so could I. (Little did I know Sy Roger’s issues and life was completely different to mine). When I looked for verses in the Bible, all I could see was words like ‘abomination’. However, I thought God would only love me if I changed. I believed that all I needed to do was pray and try harder. I slowly couldn’t stand being in sermons as I felt judged and soon after that, worship no longer felt useful as God couldn’t love half of me. I thought there was no hope for my soul, it was lost. I came to the conclusion that there were only two choices. Either you are a Christian or gay. You can't be both. I had a lot to learn.
By this point I couldn’t stand being in Church and in a Christian school. I started to pull away as much as possible. I had to leave which is why I escaped to that other school. They were a lot more liberal. School become safe for a change; had a more caring and less judgemental environment. There were even a few gay kids in my year level that heaps of people loved. The school was supporting, education wise I was thriving, and I loved it. It wasn’t till later on that I really had issues. I felt something was wrong. I had no identity. I couldn’t be a closeted gay kid. I had nothing left besides a few smarts. But I couldn’t come out. I looked for programs that might help me with temptations and thoughts and really believed that Gods power could change me. No matter how hard I tried nothing seemed to work. I completely collapsed toward the end of the year when a relationship started forming with another guy. I thought, nope. I can’t change. This is my last time.
From here I fell deeper and deeper. My life was falling. I was lost. I had no purpose in life. Nothing to live for. Thought about killing myself so many times. I thought, I was going to hell no matter what. I had nothing to look forward too. The only things that keep me going were my ability to escape and travel.
Life got worse and worse. I couldn’t stand being home. I couldn’t stand uni – there was no point.. My last thing I really wanted in life was to live in America. At least I could fulfil that part of my last dream and just die over there somewhere. That was my plan. Little did I know that I would enjoy living by myself so much, it gave me some hope. I lived quite openly and told almost everyone I meet I was gay. It was a relief to no longer keep hiding who I was. I began to live quite recklessly As I thought I was going to hell anyways. Might as well go out with a bang. Life became fun for a while but things began crumbling around me. I couldn’t keep a steady relationship. The one thing I thought I was good at, sales, was a complete disaster. My life ended up crashing to the ground and I hit rock bottom.
At the beginning of the year I found some books. and that started to change my whole perspective. For too long I have lived with this alone and thought I was the only one who had to sort this out.
Tons of people have done research and there's heaps of others just like me out there. Similar stories, similar struggles and some testimonies on how they reconciled their sexuality with their faith. I also read a lot about programs that have claimed that people have changed from gay to straight. It seems that these are not really true and even the leader of Exodus saying recently that he had never actually met anyone who had changed their orientation.
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.
I kept reading more and more. It gave me a new perspective. God loved me no matter what. I started praying more and more and diving into the Word. It took a while but I finally reconciled my faith and my sexuality. What once was an oxymoron to me became a way I would describe myself, a Gay Christian. Being gay doesn’t define who I am, but it is a part of who I am. My relationship with God has been growing exponentially. I started to regain a purpose and a vision. I may not know God’s exact plan for my life and exactly where He wants me to be. But I know that He accepts me as I am, a son made in His image.
Somewhere along the line. I came out to others I trusted who were so loving and caring. So my life started to change dramatically. From everything crumbling at the seams to everything falling into place. I couldn’t have asked for anything more. God has guided my every step and has worked some crazy things.
I accept the fact that I might never have a family of my own and might never be the father of those grandchildren you have always wanted. But I believe God has plan for my life and as long as I be true to myself, true to God and true to others I will have a chance at seeing it come into fruition and continue to live a happy life.
It’s a sad fact that gay youth are six times more likely to attempt suicide then their straight counterparts and believe me I can see why. How can God not be upset by this, it certainly makes me shed tears for each life lost. No one should ever have to think they are less than perfect and have to change their sexuality to be loved by God and be equal to others.
Maybe God will use me to help others through the journey I have just been on.
“Have we not all one father? Has not one God created us?” – Malachi 2.10
My life and lives of countless others could have been so different if someone told us earlier that it was ok to be gay– God still loves us, the church doesn’t hate us and our parents won’t reject us. At this stage I really don’t know how you will react with this news that you have a gay son. We have never talked about it. Maybe you've always suspected but hoped and prayed not. From what I have read it seems that parents go through a similar journey to the one I have been on. Fear, hurt, denial, bargaining, lots of questions, confusion etc etc till they work through those things and come to a place of acceptance. It took God quite some time to get thru to me and soften my heart so I could accept it. So I understand it might take you both time to come to a place of acceptance. That is okay.
My hope Mum and Dad is that even if you don’t understand or even if you don't agree that you will continue to love and support me unconditionally. Just like God loves us. As you probably already know and have gathered from reading this that I have done a lot of running away, trying to run away from God, you and the truth that I'm gay. I hope that you will be proud of your son who has stopped running and taken the courage to be honest with himself and truthful with you.