Can My Gay Child Change?

Do you have a son or daughter who is a homosexual? Are you afraid that your child will live a life filled with pain, loneliness, illness and end up far from God for eternity?

Perhaps your daughter is lesbian. Are you afraid she will never become a mother? That she will never have a stable home, a normal life?

Perhaps your son is gay. Are you afraid he will become addicted to drugs, that he will have dangerous encounters with strangers, that he will contract a fatal disease?

Perhaps your child told you that he or she is transgender and that they want a sex change operation. Are you afraid they are making a terrible mistake that they will grow to regret? Are you afraid that he or she will be ridiculed, persecuted and even physically harmed?

Society teaches us that a homosexuality is a lifestyle filled with pain and sadness and sickness. The worst kind of life. I know that for many parents, the idea of a homosexual son or daughter terrifies them. We love our children and want the best for them.

We may remember moments in our younger lives when we witnessed other people persecute “queers”. We heard the horrible names they hurled and may have even seen them physically attack homosexuals.

Who would want that to happen to their son or daughter?

Many parents with a homosexual or transgender son or daughter seek answers:

Can my son change? Who can save my daughter from the lesbian lifestyle? Who can help my child sort out their gender confusion? Is there someone out there who can help? A psychologist? A clergyman? An ex-gay group? God?

Some have tried to seek change for their children with the belief that they are doing the best for them, but in reality these well-meaning parents have ended up harming the children they love so much.

Isn’t it tragic that many sons and daughters find it impossible to confide in their parents? Many times homosexual and transgender children do not share their lives, their dreams, their fears or their hopes with their parents. They fear that their parents will reject them. Rejection from a parent can feel like the worst rejection of all.

Isn’t it tragic that so many homosexual and transgender sons and daughters transplant themselves far away from their own families? Or if they stay near the family, they often lead double lives, silenced lives. This silence creates an artificial peace. But inside your child may feel so very alone unable to open up and share honestly with you. The risks are too great.

Can your child change? Yes, but maybe not in the way you expect.

These gay, lesbian, transgender and bisexual sons and daughters can grow distant from you. They can become unsure of themselves. They can feel hurt and bitter towards you and even towards God. They can live in fear and isolation that someone may learn their secret and condemn them. They become sad without the love and acceptance of the people most important to them–their parents.

Your children long for your understanding, yet they fear you will stone them, and unless they change their ways, you will drive them from home and from your hearts.

Can your child change? Can they go from being homosexual to heterosexual? No, this is not possible. Perhaps some can live like a heterosexual for a time, but their desires remain, even when they insist to you that they do not. And almost always they will end up feeling miserable and unfulfilled, hurting others along the way.

A more important question may be, Can Parents Change? Many parents can change their ideas about gay, lesbian, transgender and bisexual people. They can learn new ideas. They can replace their old way of thinking with new concepts.

Happy and fulfilled homosexuals thrive both in stable relationships and on their own. Many transgender men and women live full and satisfied lives. Many LGBT people serve God with faithfulness and much joy; often as a result of the love and acceptance that their parents give them.

Maybe your world and your experience has taught you that to be homosexual is bad, sinful, and hopeless. But the world is prejudiced; the world lies.

The Bible says:

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:2 NIV)

God has a special plan for the parents of lesbian, gay, transgender and bisexual men and women. You have a vital role in bringing blessing and wholeness to their lives. Seek God and not man, and God will guide you.

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.

Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? (Matthew 7:7-9)

If you want to hear the experience and insights of parents who have been through what you are going through, check out Carrol Grady’s My Son, Beloved Stranger and Jacqueline Ley’s No Ordinary Child–A Christian Mother’s Acceptance of her Gay Son. Also visit Someone To Talk To, a site for families of gays and lesbians.

For Spanish speakers, you can read ¿Puede Cambiar Mi Hijo Gay? on my Spanish blog.

This post has 10 Comments

  1. Carol on December 29, 2006 at 9:34 pm Reply

    Beautiful approach, one I hope will shed light into lives. Well done, Peterson.

  2. grace on December 29, 2006 at 9:40 pm Reply

    wow. i know where that came from…but…i was expecting a video of the loch ness monster!!!
    🙂

    This is beautiful…needs to be published somewhere….i’m not sure your blog is going to get it to the right folks…

  3. Anna HP on December 29, 2006 at 11:17 pm Reply

    for the first time in our so far short friendship your word brought a tear to my eyes. Many times you made me cry out of happyness but this was just .. wonderful. Please take graces’ advice and have this published… on a billboard or something. in big flashing neon letters, for everyone to read.

  4. RR on December 30, 2006 at 4:48 am Reply

    Wow–your words were not only well-chosen and timely, but also God-inspired. I think they’ll also prove to be timelss, too! I love Carol’s website and mailring…they’re a great resource and support.

  5. Srina on December 30, 2006 at 2:11 pm Reply

    synchronicity. last night, we had a reunion of my husband’s family, a clan which includes a young man who is decidely gay and closeted. you’ve met him, p, in fact. i asked him if he had been keeping up with your blog, and he said, “blog?”–so i gave him the address (which i had given him a year ago, after he met you, but which i think he must have stashed deep within his closet with other valuables).

    maybe he’ll read this post. maybe he can use it to his good, and to the good of his parents–who are indeed good people already, but who live under the pall you mention of fear, doubt, and denial. so much so, in fact, that he has fled half way across the country to find the space in which to crack open the closet and maybe even unpack it a little.

    it’s so sad that these people who want only to love and be loved end up so dreadfully alien to each other. you’ve provided, in response, yet another beginning, another starting-point for a bridge. what a great gift for the new year!

  6. Elliot on December 30, 2006 at 3:04 pm Reply

    It’s very beautiful. I agree with Grace, as well–you should try to get it published somewhere.

    Also, thank you. Just… thank you. Acceptance definitely needs to be more wide-spread and universal for Queer teens. There needs to be more support for kids like me, and that really needs to begin with the people at home–biological family. I don’t know what I would do or where I would be without my chosen family, because they’re the best friends I could ever have wished for. But I know that I would be in an even better place in my life right now if I had the support of my biological family. I might never, ever get that kind of support from the people who welcomed me into the world as a newborn (I’ve had to gradually learn that, and it’s been very hard). But it’s still something I hope for.

  7. Diana_CT on December 30, 2006 at 6:04 pm Reply

    Beautiful,! And I linked to it on my blog.

  8. Alejandro on December 31, 2006 at 9:31 pm Reply

    Thanks for the translation. As you well know, the information about LGBT and christianism or spirituality in spanish is almost inexistent.

  9. Liadan on January 1, 2007 at 8:21 am Reply

    Damn. I wish I could make my mom read this.

    … actually, to clarify, I wish I could make my mom read AND BELIEVE this. She unfortunately has Power of Polarized Worldview +10.

  10. E on January 1, 2007 at 8:36 pm Reply

    Change is indeed possible – just not in the way Exodus implies. I’m blessed to have a mother who has always been unconditionally accepting of me, and who has grown with me as I’ve come to realize that I have options in life beyond the strict either/or that many churches teach of the stereotypical “gay lifestyle” vs. a lifetime of trying to become heterosexual. I can’t imagine how much harder all of this would have been without her support.

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