Dragging Parents Through the Mud

During the interview I gave today, the topic of my parents came up and their thoughts about gays and the ex-gay movement. I explained that while I was growing up my parents never said anything negative about homosexuality, and they never said positive, so I assumed that they felt the same way about it as all the other people in the world who made it clear that gay people were sick perverts.

At age 17 I had become a born-again, evangelical, conservative (Republican) Christian and about that same time my parents first learned that I liked other boys. My folks became more upset when they heard I had become a Christian than when they discovered I was gay.

In talking today, I remembered yet again how my parents felt traumatized by the Love in Action Family and Friends weekend. They walked away with the message, “You messed up your kid”. They felt heartbroken, years later my sister told me that for weeks they were not themselves. They couldn’t eat, the light went out in their eyes, and they barely spoke.

Today Jim Burroway posted his second reflection of his time at the recent Love Won Out anti-gay conference held in Phoenix, AZ. Most of the people who attend are parents of LGBT or questioning children (or fear they might have a queer kid). These parents come looking for answers and leave with veiled and not so veiled accusations leveled against them. Do read Jim’s posts, they are very powerful.

Prologue: Why I Went to Love Won Out

Part One: Love Won Out–What’s Love Got to Do with It
Part 2: Love Won Out–Parents Struggle with No Exception

This post has 6 Comments

  1. Elliot on February 23, 2007 at 1:36 pm Reply

    As if it isn’t clear enough already, ex-gay and anti-gay programs and conferences suck.

  2. nonsequitur on February 23, 2007 at 5:15 pm Reply

    Interesting paradox within the fact that they are being dragged through the mud for supposedly bad parenting… yet many of them will go home with this false guilt on their hearts and proceed to make their glbtq son or daughter’s life much harder, possibly damaging and/or alienating them. How is this better from a parenting perspective? The outcome of this sort of scenario is far more likely to drag parents through the mud.

  3. Craig Hickman on February 23, 2007 at 7:14 pm Reply

    My birth mother to this day thinks I’m gay because my adoptive mother didn’t pray enough.

    Strange days, indeed.

    Parents berate themselves and other parents for raising glbt children.

    It’s really something they need to stop doing.

  4. Bruce Garrett on February 23, 2007 at 7:30 pm Reply

    I think what really appalled me about Burroway’s second Love Won Out post was not only the trauma to the parents but also the trauma to their community. Barroway mentions how Melissa Fryrear, who ironically was one that made aneffort to tell parents that they weren’t to blame for their child’s sexual orientation, went on to pound them with her belief that all gay people are gay because they were molested.

    Now, I know some gay people who did endure that, but I also know many who didn’t. I didn’t. I just grew up liking guys instead of girls. But I hadn’t really considered what that dogma does to communities too, until I read this from Barroway: I also wondered how many coaches, teachers, boy scout leaders, and neighbors fell under an unwarranted cloud of suspicion, all because Melissa Fryrear said she never met a lesbian or a gay man who had not been abused or threatened. There was tremendous cruelty in the “nevers” and the “always” that were thrown around with such ease at the conference. It’s a cruelty that these parents didn’t deserve.

    Nobody deserves it. Not the parents, and not the coaches, teachers, boy scout leaders, and all the neighbors of all the families of all the gay people. Geeze…every time you look under this rock you see it doing more damage then you thought it was.

  5. Dharmashanti on February 23, 2007 at 8:40 pm Reply

    In my upcoming book, I talk about how a related incident. Before coming out as transgender, I was a part of the First Baptist Church of Atlanta. One day as I was driving home from services, I had to wait at an intersection as the Gay Pride Parade went by. In my holier-than-thou attitude, I said to myself, “How Sad”.

    A year later, I had come out of the closet, started my transition and was IN THE PARADE! When we marched past the church (and all of the people holding their hateful signs – you know the ones), I looked at these hate-filled Christians and thought to myself, “How Sad”. True story!

    Peace,
    Dharmashanti
    Now blogging at http://dharmashanti.blogspot.com

  6. Peterson Toscano on February 23, 2007 at 8:48 pm Reply

    Wow, these are incredibly powerful comments. I’ve been running around doing errands today, and my PDA phone thingy keeps vibrating with e-mails with your comments in them. I literally stopped in my tracks reading them.

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