Just Because He Breathes

Just Because He Breathes

June 1, 2009 – 2nd Day of 17 Days in Harborview

On the night of November 20, 2001, a conversation held over Instant Messenger changed our lives forever. Our twelve year old son messaged me in my office from the computer in his bedroom.

Ryan says: can i tell u something
Mom says: Yes I am listening
Ryan says: well i don’t know how to say this really but, well……, i can’t keep lying to you about myself. I have been hiding this for too long and i sorta have to tell u now. By now u probably have an idea of what i am about to say.
Ryan says: I am gay
Ryan says: i can’t believe i just told you
Mom says: Are you joking?
Ryan says: no
Ryan says: i thought you would understand because of uncle don
Mom says: of course I would
Mom says: but what makes you think you are?
Ryan says: i know i am
Ryan says: i don’t like hannah
Ryan says: it’s just a cover-up
Mom says: but that doesn’t make you gay…
Ryan says: i know
Ryan says: but u don’t understand
Ryan says: i am gay
Mom says: tell me more
Ryan says: it’s just the way i am and it’s something i know
Ryan says: u r not a lesbian and u know that. it is the same thing
Mom says: what do you mean?
Ryan says: i am just gay
Ryan says: i am that
Mom says: I love you no matter what
Ryan says: i am white not black
Ryan says: i know
Ryan says: i am a boy not a girl
Ryan says: i am attracted to boys not girls
Ryan says: u know that about yourself and i know this
Mom says: what about what God thinks about acting on these desires?
Ryan says: i know
Mom says: thank you for telling me
Ryan says: and i am very confused about that right now
Mom says: I love you more for being honest
Ryan says: i know
Ryan says: thanx

We were completely shocked. Not that we didn’t know and love gay people – my only brother had come out to us several years before, and we adored him. But Ryan? He was unafraid of anything, tough as nails, and ALL boy. We had not seen this coming, and the emotion that overwhelmed us, kept us awake at night and, sadly, influenced all of our reactions over the next six years, was FEAR.

We said all the things that we thought loving Christian parents who believed the Bible – the Word of God – should say:

We love you. We will ALWAYS love you. And this is hard. REALLY hard. But we know what God says about this, and so you are going to have to make some really difficult choices.

We love you. We couldn’t love you more. But there are other men who have faced this same struggle, and God has worked in them to change their desires. We’ll get you their books…you can listen to their testimonies. And we will trust God with this.

We love you. We are so glad you are our son. But you are young, and your sexual orientation is still developing. The feelings you’ve had for other guys don’t make you gay. So please don’t tell anyone that you ARE gay. You don’t know who you are yet. Your identity is not that you are gay – it is that you are a child of God.

We love you. Nothing will change that. But if you are going to follow Jesus, holiness is your only option. You are going to have to choose to follow Jesus, no matter what. And since you know what the Bible says, and since you want to follow God, embracing your sexuality is NOT an option.

We thought we understood the magnitude of the sacrifice that we – and God – were asking for. And this sacrifice, we knew, would lead to the abundant life, perfect peace and eternal rewards, even if it was incredibly difficult.

Ryan had always felt intensely drawn to spiritual things; He desired to please God above all else. So, for the first six years, he tried to choose Jesus. Like so many others before him, he pleaded with God to help him be attracted to girls. He memorized Scripture, met with his youth pastor weekly and went to all the youth group events and Bible Studies. He chose to get baptized and filled journals with his prayers. He read all the Christian books that explained where his gay feelings came from and dove into counseling to further discover the origin of his unwanted attraction to other guys. He worked through difficult conflict resolution with Rob and I and invested even more deeply in his friendships with other guys (straight guys) just like the reparative therapy experts advised.

But nothing changed. God didn’t answer Ryan’s prayers – or ours – though we were all believing with faith that the God of the Universe – the God for whom NOTHING is impossible – could easily make Ryan straight. But He did not.

Though our hearts may have been good (we truly thought what we were doing was loving), we did not even give Ryan a chance to wrestle with God, to figure out what HE believed God was telling him through scripture about his sexuality. We had believed firmly in giving each of our four children the space to question Christianity, to decide for themselves if they wanted to follow Jesus, to truly OWN their own faith. But we were too afraid to give Ryan that room when it came to his sexuality, for fear that he’d make the wrong choice.

Basically, we told our son that he had to choose between Jesus and his sexuality. We forced him to make a choice between God and being a sexual person. Choosing God, practically, meant living a lifetime condemned to being alone. As a teenager, he had to accept that he would never have the chance to fall in love, hold hands, have his first kiss or share the intimacy and companionship that we, as his parents, enjoy. We had always told our kids that marriage was God’s greatest earthly gift…but Ryan had to accept that he alone would not be offered that present.

And so, just before his 18th birthday, Ryan, depressed, suicidal, disillusioned and convinced that he would never be able to be loved by God, made a new choice. He decided to throw out his Bible and his faith at the same time, and to try searching for what he desperately wanted – peace – another way. And the way he chose to try first was drugs.

We had – unintentionally – taught Ryan to hate his sexuality. And since sexuality cannot be separated from the self, we had taught Ryan to hate himself. So as he began to use drugs, he did so with a recklessness and a lack of caution for his own safety that was alarming to everyone who knew him.

Suddenly our fear of Ryan someday having a boyfriend (a possibility that honestly terrified me) seemed trivial in contrast to our fear of Ryan’s death, especially in light of his recent rejection of Christianity, and his mounting anger at God.

Ryan started with weed and beer…but in six short months was using cocaine, crack and heroin. He was hooked from the beginning, and his self-loathing and rage at God only fueled his addiction. Shortly after, we lost contact with him. For the next year and a half we didn’t know where he was, or even if he was dead or alive. And during that horrific time, God had our full attention. We stopped praying for Ryan to become straight. We started praying for him to know that God loved him. We stopped praying for him never to have a boyfriend. We started praying that someday we might actually get to know his boyfriend. We even stopped praying for him to come home to us; we only wanted him to come home to God.

By the time our son called us, after 18 long months of silence, God had completely changed our perspective. Because Ryan had done some pretty terrible things while using drugs, the first thing he asked me was this:

Do you think you can ever forgive me? (I told him of course, he was already forgiven. He had ALWAYS been forgiven.)

Do you think you could ever love me again? (I told him that we had never stopped loving him, not for one second. We loved him then more than we had ever loved him.)

Do you think you could ever love me with a boyfriend? (Crying, I told him that we could love him with fifteen boyfriends. We just wanted him back in our lives. We just wanted to have a relationship with him again…AND with his boyfriend.)

And a new journey was begun. One of healing, restoration, open communication and grace. LOTS of grace. And God was present every step of the way, leading and guiding us, gently reminding us simply to love our son, and leave the rest up to Him.

Over the next ten months, we learned to truly love our son. Period. No buts. No conditions. Just because he breathes. We learned to love whoever our son loved. And it was easy. What I had been so afraid of became a blessing. The journey wasn’t without mistakes, but we had grace for each other, and the language of apology and forgiveness became a natural part of our relationship. As our son pursued recovery from drug and alcohol addiction, we pursued him. God taught us how to love him, to rejoice over him, to be proud of the man he was becoming. We were all healing…and most importantly, Ryan began to think that if WE could forgive him and love him, then maybe God could, too.

And then Ryan made the classic mistake of a recovering addict…he got back together with his old friends…his using friends. And one evening that was supposed to simply be a night at the movies turned out to be the first time he had shot up in ten months…and the last time. We got a phone call from a social worker at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle asking us to come identify our son – that he had arrived there in a coma, in critical condition. We spent 17 days at Harborview, during which time our whole family was able to surround and love on Ryan. We experienced miracle after miracle during that time, things that no doctor had any medical explanation for. God’s presence was TANGIBLE in Ryan’s room. But that is a long, sacred story that I’ll have to tell another time.

Though Ryan had suffered such severe brain damage that he had almost complete paralysis, the doctors told us that he could very well outlive us. But, unexpectedly, Ryan died on July 16, 2009. And we lost the ability to love our gay son…because we no longer had a gay son. What we had wished for…prayed for…hoped for…that we would NOT have a gay son, came true. But not at all in the way we used to envision.

Now, when I think back on the fear that governed all my reactions during those first six years after Ryan told us he was gay, I cringe as I realize how foolish I was. I was afraid of all the wrong things. And I grieve, not only for my oldest son, who I will miss every day for the rest of my life, but for the mistakes I made. I grieve for what could have been, had we been walking by FAITH instead of by FEAR. Now, whenever Rob and I join our gay friends for an evening, I think about how much I would love to be visiting with Ryan and his partner over dinner. But instead, we visit Ryan’s gravestone. We celebrate anniversaries: the would-have-been birthdays and the unforgettable day of his death. We wear orange – his color. We hoard memories: pictures, clothing he wore, handwritten notes, lists of things he loved, tokens of his passions, recollections of the funny songs he invented, his Curious George and baseball blankey, anything, really, that reminds us of our beautiful boy…for that is all we have left, and there will be no new memories.  We rejoice in our adult children, and in our growing family as they marry…but ache for the one of our “gang of four” who is missing. We mark life by the days BC (before coma) and AD (after death), because we are different people now; our life was irrevocably changed – in a million ways – by his death. We treasure friendships with others who “get it”…because they, too, have lost a child.

We weep. We seek Heaven for grace and mercy and redemption as we try – not to get better but to be better. And we pray that God can somehow use our story to help other parents learn to truly love their children. Just because they breathe.

Linda Diane Robertson
Originally posted on FaceBook on January 14, 2013 – Ryan’s would-have-been-24 birthday
An expanded, live version of this story, presented at the June 2013 Exodus International Conference can be seen here.

Note: If you’d like to see an example of the beautiful, gracious, loving soul who was the person of Ryan David Robertson, read the letter that he wrote to my husband, Ryan’s dad, on Father’s Day 2009, just 9 days before his accidental overdose. We’ve included a picture of the original letter, blown up into poster-size, which hangs in our bathroom to remind us of GRACE.

2,031 thoughts on “Just Because He Breathes

  1. Melissa

    Thank you for sharing your story and for sharing the amazing letter from Ryan. I have a transgender child who before sharing that he was transgender shared that he was gay. As a Christian, it was a struggle. Pretty much the same story as so many others. My child attended youth camp, was baptized etc. Then problems came when he was about 11 and knew he did not fit in there any more. He began down a path of self injury and suicidal thoughts. He did not tell us he was gay until after an inpatient hospital stay due to his declining mental health. Our Pastor visited with his thoughts on how our child could fight this homosexuality. Thank God for another pastor who also visited and simply loved our sin unconditionally. We slowly changed churches and watched my child open up again.
    He is 16 now and finally we have realized our mistake. I pray for you and your family that you have peace. Your story will stay with me every day and as I go through the pain of watching my daughter transition into a son I will remember your words and they will help me accept him as he is.

    Reply
    1. Linda Robertson Post author

      Melissa…Wow…what a blessing that the second pastor showed you and your son the gracious love of Christ! If you’d like to connect with a group of Christian moms who have trans kids, I’d love to connect you with them. Friend me on FaceBook and I will…I am Linda Mueller Robertson there, Melissa. Much love to you!

      Reply
    2. mikeinasheville

      Dear Melissa: Here is one of my favorite memories of my dad; this happened more than 30 years ago, a couple of years after I came out at 20. My NYPD cousin told me of a conversation my dad had with my cousin and aunt (my dad’s sister), when my dad commented “well, if one of the boys (I have 4 brothers) was going to be gay, I’m glad it is Michael — none of his brothers would be brave enough to be happy being gay.”

      That your 16 year-old has the courage to even express being transgendered is really quite remarkable. Put your memory cap on and remember yourself at 16 and all the angst of fitting in vs expressing yourself. 16 is very young and subject to massive swings in hormones. Your son, or daughter, will be going through so much trying to figure out his/her self. Most transgendered are not gay, rather straight, once they have adjusted/corrected their sexual identity. Confusion is going to be confusing, to you and your family, and of course, to your son/daughter.

      Clearly you have love in your heart. Keep that love strong because your daughter is going to need you by her side.

      When I was growing up in the SF Bay Area, the SF Chronicle ran a daily column “Tales of the City” by Armistead Maupin. It was a fictional tale of everyday life of an apartment house in SF with the grand dame transgendered landlady. The stories range from the tearfully painful to the genuinely happy. As a teen, my dad used to read the column aloud at the breakfast table — ultimately, I knew no matter how difficult it was going to be expressing myself as a gay man, my dad would be there on my side (and he was, in many ways, my best friend). Whether its “Tales of the City” (available through bookstores and online) or some other story (there are a couple books about Renee Richards, the transgendered professional tennis player and dentist), sharing one with your daughter will show your commitment to loving your child, whomever the child grows up to be.

      Wow, I am still amazed — a 16 year-old. How proud you should be with a child so brave and strong. You must be a great mother. Best wishes to you and your family.

      Reply
  2. Anonymous

    What a lot of totally unnecessary pain and suffering. Religion is truly terrifying. I’m so grateful for my atheism.

    Reply
    1. Anonymous

      I agree completely.My amazing and beautiful 17 year old son came out to me 3 months ago and abhors the judgmental and intolerant stance of religion

      Reply
  3. Lenee

    Miss Linda, Thank you for opening up your life and letting us see your pain, growth, and healing. I was truly touched, as the mother of 3 beautiful gay/bi/hetero children… Your loss was profound and I am deeply sorry for it. May the Gods bless your Ryan and the rest of your family, and grant you peace and joy on your new path. Brightest blessings.

    Reply
  4. Anonymous

    Religion can be dangerous to young people coming out of the closet because its intolerant stance toward same love can create problems in terns of self acceptance .Love is love

    Reply
    1. mike miller

      How elementary & uninformed our public discourse has become in modern culture. With respect, all too many in our culture have uncritically swallowed hook, line, and sinker this leftist mantra. Christianity’s stance on the propriety of homosexual behavior has nothing to do with “who one loves.” Indeed, Christianity admonishes Christians to love everyone. One question that should be grappled with is “what is love?”. Is it an act of love to encourage & affirm a loved one towards behavior for which there is overwhelming evidence of both physical & emotional damage? If that is love, then should love be trusted?
      A sincere Happy Easter to all as we navigate these waters of life together.

      Reply
      1. Linda Robertson Post author

        Overwhelming evidence of both physical & emotional damage? There is NO evidence of any kind of damage whatsoever from monogamous, committed same-sex marriages. Promiscuity of any kind can cause damage – that isn’t specific to gay promiscuity.

        Reply
        1. mike miller

          Characteristics of a “straw man argument”: The so-called typical “attacking a straw man” argument creates the illusion of having completely refuted or defeated an opponent’s proposition by covertly replacing it with a different proposition (i.e., “stand up a straw man”) and then to refute or defeat that false argument (“knock down a straw man”) instead of the original proposition. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Straw_man
          Respectfully ma’am, my original proposition said nothing of monogamy versus promiscuity, or marriage. That said, even your straw man argument is false. There is overwhelming statistical evidence that within the homosexual population there are significantly higher risks of depression, substance abuse (drugs and alcohol), STDs (including HIV/Aids), suicide, shorter life span, various forms of cancer (in men), smoking, breast cancer (women), etc. The list of risk factors is long. To be fair, some of these risk factors would be mitigated with an exclusively (life-long) monogamous relationship. But not all of them. Some of the risk factors have nothing to do with a multiple partners versus monogamy dynamic. Again, to be fair, some have argued that the psychological risk factors (depression, substance abuse, suicide) are related to/a result of social stigma, and not homosexual-specific at all. But that argument would seem to fall on its face when there is no significant deviation of statistics in places like Denmark, where there is little-to-no social stigma.
          It give me zero pleasure to point these things out. There is no room for malice or hate in my broken heart, which is filled with sorrow & bewilderment. I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t understand… but I’m trying to.
          mike

        2. Anonymous

          It is the damage that is done by unaccepting people that causes the problems. There is nothing innately damaging about being gay. Perhaps you should read Linda’s story again.

        3. Susan

          First and foremost, thank you to the amazing and brave Robertson family. Their story has touched me so deeply. My own brother faced challenges based on our southern baptist upbringing. I love my brother. He never chose to be gay. I’m so grateful that we can finally have conversations about God-about the teachings of Jesus. My brother now knows that he is unconditionally loved. I never even knew until he came out at age 40.
          Lastly- please, don’t come here to condescend or preach hate. We’ve all seen enough of that. This is a place for love and understanding. It’s not kind, not right, not cool to come here with the intent to tear people down. This should be a page for love, kindness and understanding. I’m sorry it just upsets me to see negative comments by someone who just wants to be right. Love and prayers to all.

      2. mikeinasheville

        Talk about elementary and uninformed, that describes you to a tee. Please Mike, cite this “overwhelming” evidence; or, rather, cite true pier reviewed scientific evidence that is not propaganda from the religious right fanatics. Hint: you can’t because it does not exist.

        Oh, and pointing to HIV/AIDS is a red herring. World-wide, heterosexuals vastly outnumber homosexuals in HIV/AIDS infections and deaths. Also, there is zero statistical correlation of HIV/AIDS infections for sexual conduct among lesbians. Further, many many more millions of North and South American natives died from syphilis and smallpox brought by Columbus/Europeans than the many HIV/AIDS deaths.

        And of emotional damage, each and every disenfranchised group in the history of civilization suffers emotional abuse from their bigoted abusers. Whether it was the slaves taken by force by the ancient Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, Huns, et al, to the Catholics against the Jews and Protestants, or the Protestants against Catholics, to European, American, Asian slavery campaigns, to the Indian caste system, to centuries of treating women as chattel, to Hiller’s campaign against the world, to Stalin/Lenin crushing the “stans”, to Apartheid, to the mass killings in Southeast Asia — every suppressed group suffers emotional damage at the hands of the suppressors. (Unfortunately, the are scores of other examples of men enslaving, murdering, stealing fellow men/women.)

        *****
        Thank God that the Robertsons, who once thought along your idiotic and dangerous lines have initiated their process to lift up from your type of ignorant suppression. While they missed the mark to bring Jesus into the light of their son, they are helping others not fall victim to the vile nonsense you espouse.

        Lastly, even your so-called “sincere Happy Easter” is hollow. Cite just one single verse where Jesus himself calls out same-sex sexuality or relationships as a sin. Just one. Oh, you can’t because not once does Jesus himself make that statement. He has a lot to say about adultery and divorce, but NOT A SINGLE WORD ABOUT MEN/MEN OR WOMEN/WOMEN. Graduate from that, elementary and uniformed Mike Miller.

        Reply
        1. mike miller

          Dear mikeinasheville,
          I am truly sorry to have angered you so. That was not my intent. I’ll try to answer your challenges one by one.
          First, you seem to doubt the existence of evidence of higher risk (both physical and emotional) inherent to homosexuality. You seem particularly skeptical of dubious sources, citing “religious right fanatics” as a particular concern. So, let’s simply disregard any sources that could be considered biased. Instead, let’s look at a source that most would concede are sympathetic to what I assume to be your worldview…the GLMA (Gay/Lesbian Medical Alliance). Now granted, this is not specific, peer reviewed research. But it is representative of the informed & educated opinion of medical professionals whose views on the propriety of homosexuality appear to align with yours. The link below confirms that even they say that gay men are at a statistically significant higher risk for HIV infection, hepatitis A,B, and C, bulimia, anorexia nervosa, all manner of substance & alcohol abuse, depression, anxiety, suicide, STDs, smoking (tobacco use), HPV, and anal cancer.
          http://www.glma.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=Page.viewPage&pageID=690
          I didn’t specifically point to HIV/Aids, but it is most certainly not a “red herring.” You are right, in that “world-wide, heterosexuals vastly outnumber homosexuals in HIV/AIDS infections and deaths.” But that is a meaningless distinction. Heterosexuals vastly outnumber homosexuals period. What’s important is the relative percentages, not the actual numbers. Also important is the relative ease of transmission. The percentage of HIV positives and deaths is much higher amongst MSM homosexuals than in either the general population, or heterosexuals. The relative ease of transmission is also a negative, in that it’s much easier to transmit HIV via anal sex as opposed to vaginal sex.
          You state: “…there is zero statistical correlation of HIV/AIDS infections for sexual conduct among lesbians.” I agree.
          You state: “Further, many many more millions of North and South American natives died from syphilis and smallpox brought by Columbus/Europeans than the many HIV/AIDS deaths.” Agreed. But what does that have to with anything we’re talking about?
          Then, you seem to hyperbolically imply that I’m somehow a “suppressor” akin to a Genghis Khan or Stalin. In what way have I attacked or “suppressed” (oppressed) anyone, sir?
          Lastly, you attack the sincerity of my holiday greeting. I’m sorry, Mike, if I offended you. I really am. That was not, and is not my intent.
          You state: “Cite just one single verse where Jesus himself calls out same-sex sexuality or relationships as a sin. Just one. Oh, you can’t because not once does Jesus himself make that statement.” Again, you are right. Jesus said nothing (of which I’m aware) specifically concerning homosexuality. I truly wished he had. I hate the divisive nature of this and other social dilemmas for which we don’t have definitive answers. There are many issues we wrestle with today that Jesus didn’t specifically address (abortion; cloning; when, why, and if to go to war; etc.). Jesus said nothing specifically concerning homosexuality, but Christianity (the teaching of Jesus) must be understood in context, comprehensively, and with a very large dose of both faith and humility. You seem to imply that only the specific words of Jesus should apply to Christian theology, and that all other biblical teaching is irrelevant. But Jesus himself DID address that fallacious argument in Matthew 5:17-19, which reads: “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven.” (The “jot” and “tittle” are the smallest characters in the Hebrew alphabet.)
          I wish you well.

        2. Kyle

          Why, oh why, are so many people so concerned about OTHER people’s sexuality? If it is against your religion, or if you personally feel it is immoral, then do not involve yourself in a same sex relationship – your problem has now been fixed! I find is beyond strange that so many so-called straight people (such as Mike Miller) can not STOP thinking about, bringing up, talking about, and concerning themselves with the sexuality of other people. Do you also concern yourself with what goes on in other straight couple’s bedrooms? I am a bisexual who is spiritual, but not religious (and thank you Mike Miller for reinforcing yet again why I am not religious), and this sad story about such a beautiful child (and beautiful family I’ve come to realize) moved me tremendously. In fact, I felt a spiritual connection to Ryan and his family after seeing a slideshow of Ryan and realizing that I could have easily been in meaningful relationship with him – he seemed like such a wonderful person and we shared many of the same interests. I wish Linda and her family the best as they continue to move forward with their lives.

          Please, please, worry about your own sexuality and your own sex life and stop contributing to the damage that your hate brings so many innocent people simply because you don’t agree with their lifestyle or their sexuality. I can tell you first hand, no one “chooses” to be gay or bisexual. Mike Miller, when did you choose to be straight? I am not religious at all, yet I don’t spend any time actively protesting against religious people, trying to convert them, or condemning them for their beliefs – they are not of my concern (only when they try cramming their beliefs down other people’s throats and/or people get hurt).

          Not everyone is religious, not everyone needs to believe what you believe. Not to mention that so many people who have been vigilantly anti-gay in the past, surprise, surprise, end up coming out later in life or it is unveiled that they have been secretly in a gay relationship. Being overly anti-gay and constantly lashing out about it is oftentimes really just a coping mechanism for repressed feelings. Please, please just “live and let live” – the world would be such a better place!

        3. mike miller

          Kyle,
          Why, oh why, are so many people so concerned about OTHER people’s conversations? If the conversation conflicts with your views, or if you personally feel offended, then do not involve yourself in the conversation – your problem has now been fixed!
          Do you see how nonsensical your “butt-out” argument is? Now, to your question, Kyle.
          “Why, oh why, are so many people so concerned about OTHER people’s sexuality?”
          I cannot answer for “so many people”. I can only answer for myself. I am concerned because I love OTHER people, and what concerns them concerns me. Hate is not the opposite of love. It is callous indifference (lack of concern) that is the antithesis of love.
          mike

        4. mikeinasheville

          Mike Miller, You don’t anger me, you annoy me. Why you even comment here is a mystery to me, clearly, you hold onto dogmatic organized Christian religiosity. No one here is interested in “love the sinner, hate the sin” makes-bigots-feel-better-about-being-assholes bullcrap.

          Indeed gay men are at much higher risk factors for a vast variety of medical conditions. You, however, correlate that with men choosing to be gay. The correlation, though, is not with being gay, it is being subjected to anti-social acceptance for being born gay. Human behavior correlates with human condition; telling a young gay man (or woman) that they are sinners bound to an eternity in Hell is the cause of depression, which, in turn, is the cause of lack of personal care and risky behavior.

          Yes, you can play your own “straw argument” games by pointing out you didn’t mention HIV/AIDS in your original post, but, of course, you ignore how you left dangling the statement: “behavior for which there is overwhelming evidence of both physical & emotional damage”. Further, my point about zero correlation among HIV/AIDS and lesbians should be pretty obvious — if HIV/AIDS is the reason that man-man sex is immoral, or, if HIV/AIDS is God’s judgment for man-man sex, then explain why woman-woman sex does not have HIV/AIDS risk?

          My point about the millions of syphilis and smallpox deaths in the Americas is also pretty simple. Christianity only spread across the Americas due to massive killings by disease and murder caused by Christians steeling the lands of non-Christians. Oh, so Jesus worthy, the disease infliction and rape and murder of “savages.”

          And, I will maintain my point that Jesus himself never once condemns man/man or woman/woman sexuality and relationships. Nor, might I add did God Himself include homosexuality among the Ten Commandments. Yes, cite Matthew 5; I’ll respond read Galatians 3. And yes indeed, I believe that only followers of the Words of Jesus are true Christians; all others are followers of false prophets.

          You cannot call your self a Christian and not follow Jesus’ Commandments: Mark 12:30-31: [30] And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. [31] And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.

          Got that Mike, NO OTHER COMMANDMENT GREATER THAT THESE. Gay kids simply want their American promise of their God-given rights to life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness, just as their heterosexual neighbors. If you hold for yourself life, liberty and pursuit of happiness, you are COMMANDED by Jesus to respect every homosexual’s rights too.

        5. mike miller

          mikeinasheville,
          I’m truly sorry that I annoy you. The reason that I comment here is that I’m interested and I care. I too, have loved ones and friends that embrace a gay identity. I found this blog in my search for understanding. The way I seek understanding is probably very similar to you. I seek the perspective/opinions/experiences of others, and weigh them against what I believe and my own opinions/experiences. Sometimes others bring things to my attention that change my beliefs/opinions… sometimes not. Sometimes my confusion is deepened… so the search continues. But always the tragic & heartbreaking experiences of others deepens my compassion.
          You know, when I was a kid, I always assumed that the older I got, the simpler life would become; that it would become clearer what is right vs. what is wrong. But now that I’m an old man, I see that that was a false hope. The incoming questions have far outpaced the accumulated answers. I don’t have all the answers, Mike. But at least I’m searching, and with a humble heart.
          Once again, I’ll try to answer your challenges one by one.

          You state: “Indeed gay men are at much higher risk factors for a vast variety of medical conditions.”
          I’m glad that you agree with me.

          You state: “You, however, correlate that with men choosing to be gay.”
          Nonsense. I never said or implied that. Indeed, had you read all my posts, I’ve made it quite clear that I do not think that same-sex attraction is a choice.

          You state: “The correlation, though, is not with being gay, it is being subjected to anti-social acceptance for being born gay. Human behavior correlates with human condition; telling a young gay man (or woman) that they are sinners bound to an eternity in Hell is the cause of depression, which, in turn, is the cause of lack of personal care and risky behavior.”
          I’m not really sure, but I think you’re making the “social-stigma” argument here. Indeed, social stigmatization “can be a contributing factor” (correlation) to depression and/or destructive behavior in many forms. I certainly don’t deny that. But you attribute, presumably to me, things that I would never, never say or imply. I would never, never tell “a young gay man (or woman) that they are sinners bound to an eternity in Hell.” I would never say that to anyone concerning anything. As a matter of fact, in accordance with my understanding of scripture, I’m only aware of one unforgivable sin. That is for a Christian to blaspheme the Holy Spirit. (Christians held to a higher standard than non-believers.)

          You state: “…you left dangling the statement: ‘behavior for which there is overwhelming evidence of both physical & emotional damage’.”
          No, I didn’t, Mike. As you requested, I provided you with a link where gay & lesbian medical professionals corroborate that very statement. A statement that you yourself have agreed with.

          You state: “Further, my point about zero correlation among HIV/AIDS and lesbians should be pretty obvious — if HIV/AIDS is the reason that man-man sex is immoral, or, if HIV/AIDS is God’s judgment for man-man sex, then explain why woman-woman sex does not have HIV/AIDS risk?”
          I try to be very precise with my words so as to not be misunderstood. Yet once again, you attribute things to me that I’ve never said. I’ve never said that “HIV/AIDS is the reason that man-man sex is immoral”, or that “HIV/AIDS is God’s judgment for man-man sex.” Further, I believe both those assertions to be false. Please don’t put words in my mouth.

          You state: “My point about the millions of syphilis and smallpox deaths in the Americas is also pretty simple. Christianity only spread across the Americas due to massive killings by disease and murder caused by Christians steeling the lands of non-Christians. Oh, so Jesus worthy, the disease infliction and rape and murder of ‘savages.'”
          This would seem to be an attack on Christianity (or rather, Christians) in general. I’m willing to go there, but in doing so a distinction must be made between Catholicism and the various Protestant sects, all of whom dealt with native Americans differently. But generally speaking, your point is well taken. The native Americans were dealt with in a despicable manner in many instances. And their exposure to diseases from Europeans & Africans for which they had no immunity was devastating. But no one did that on purpose. But should you wish to hold Europeans accountable for their unintended influence, then consistency would demand reverse accountability as well. The influence of one thing from the native Americas has been far more devastating to Western culture, and indeed the world, killing more people than all of the diseases introduced to the Americas combined. The native Americans got their revenge. Have you ever heard of tobacco?

          You state: “And, I will maintain my point that Jesus himself never once condemns man/man or woman/woman sexuality and relationships. Nor, might I add did God Himself include homosexuality among the Ten Commandments. Yes, cite Matthew 5; I’ll respond read Galatians 3. And yes indeed, I believe that only followers of the Words of Jesus are true Christians; all others are followers of false prophets.”
          Do you realize that according to your own words, you just called yourself a follower of a false prophet? The words of Galatians are not of Jesus, but of Paul.

          You state: “You cannot call your self a Christian and not follow Jesus’ Commandments: Mark 12:30-31: [30] And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. [31] And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.
          Got that Mike, NO OTHER COMMANDMENT GREATER THAT THESE.”
          I got it, Mike. Thank you, and I could not agree with you more. I try very hard to follow these two Commandments. You’ll note that in all of my posts, not once have I personally attacked anyone… not even you. But let’s see, you’ve attacked me by calling me annoying, insincere, a bigot, an asshole, elementary, uninformed, idiotic, dangerous, ignorant, a suppressor, and an espouser of vile nonsense. Which of us needs greater reflection on Mark 12:31?

          You state: “Gay kids simply want their American promise of their God-given rights to life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness, just as their heterosexual neighbors. If you hold for yourself life, liberty and pursuit of happiness, you are COMMANDED by Jesus to respect every homosexual’s rights too.”
          Once again, you wrongly characterize all that I’ve said. I’ve never advocating taking anyone’s rights, much less gay kids’. As a matter of fact, show me where that’s happening in our country and I’ll be the first warrior in the trenches.

          I truly love and value the discussion & debate of issues that are important to all of us. But discussion ceases to be fruitful when it incessantly descends into ad hominem personal attacks, denial of self-evident truth, inaccurate inferences, and obfuscation through intentional mischaracterization. Additionally, this conversation has disintegrated so far from civil discussion as to be disrespectful to the Robertsons, and irreverent to the memory of their son. For the part I’ve played in that disintegration, I humbly apologize. While I cherish the opportunity for a genuine & respectful exchange of ideas & experience, I will no longer respond to personal attacks or position mischaracterization.
          I wish you well, Mike.

      3. Gryph

        Being gay is not just about behavior, just like being straight isn’t about only about behavior. Why is it all the folks like you choose to pick on one aspect of who gay people are to talk about? Gay people have jobs, they go to school, they give to charities, they do lots of things in life, just as a straight person does.
        I’ve seen more damage done by people who make the choice to push gay folks back into hiding and not by a gay person living their lives with love, respect and trust from their family, friends and the partner of their heart.

        Reply
        1. Mike Miller

          Gryph,
          I agree with your first statement, that “Being gay is not just about behavior, just like being straight isn’t about only about behavior.” But that doesn’t mean that we can’t isolate the [involuntary] impulse, desire, or proclivity from the [proactive] behavior, both for the sake of discussion and in terms of conduct. If we couldn’t isolate impulse from behavior, then we’d be mere animals, and most of us would be murderers. As for your inquiry: People’s jobs, schools, giving habits, etcetera are not generally thought of as controversial. (At least not by me.)

  5. Juliana Braunsroth

    Linda
    This is trully beautiful. Others will be able to heal their relationship with their children. I have a gay brother who came out when he was about 16. All we did was to love him. He was the same person to us. I hope that you and your family can find healing through it all. Love is always here. 💗💗

    Reply
  6. Retrik

    This story is very important to me.
    Through it all my life, unfortunately my father and mother are gone, but never offered me some love even before they go .. my current family, brothers and sisters, run away from them, as if is nobody .. ..
    thank you for helping me, I keep trying to follow my life, despite all the problems and issues that have, today I know that I live by myself, and so I’m still living ….

    Reply
  7. tom

    Linda don’t feel guilty about what happened with your son. Despite the results everything happened as it should as you grew is wisdom and your son as a spirit served his purpose by being born as a gay male. Everything here is about spiritual learning through experience. Everything God built and created was made on the foundation of love. This is who all of us are. Where your son is today as a spirit there is only pure unconditional love and joy

    Reply
  8. santi

    Linda i hope you are reading this because i would love this message to get to you: i hope the rest of your life to be horrible, you are a murdering piece of shit. all these morons saying supportive crap, you should have tought about consecuencies before it was too late, you killed a poor boy, as lot of other pieces of shit that have the cynicism to call themselves mothers, and if your god for whom you kill your son exists i would to see you for all eternity in heaven as you see your son suffer for the same ammount of time for what you think is a sin, you rotten crap.

    rest in peace, poor ryan, i’m so sorry for all you had to endure.

    Reply
      1. Anonymous

        Dear Linda,
        As I’m sure you’ve ascertained, I have not (yet) come to a place where I agree with your present positions concerning homosexuality. That said, I’ve enormous compassion for the painful journey that you & yours have traveled. I’m thankful you posted Santi’s comment. It gives everyone some idea as to the hateful & illogical rhetoric you’ve chosen to endure in order to stand up for what you believe in. I respect you for that.
        When I was boy, I had a problem with bedwetting… a problem that persisted well into junior high school. My parents went through 3 distinct phases in dealing with my bed wetting. In my early grade school years (stage 1), the were patient, thinking I’d soon grow out of it. Then “stage 3″ was characterized by resigned capitulation. They just gave up trying to change it, and we all did our best to live with it as respectfully & compassionately as we could. In about 9th grade, I did outgrow it. But I’ve yet to tell you of “stage 2.” Stage 2 was characterized by my folks doing all the could to fix my problem. They tried no water for 1 hour before bedtime, then no water after dinner ’til bedtime (3-4 hrs). (This actually bordered on cruel, as I grew up in relatively poor suburban Dallas where 6 months of the year it’s quite warm. We had no air-conditioning ’till I was maybe 9 or 10.) But then they tried something that really scarred me for some time. They had sent me to some kind of doctor who said my bedwetting was a discipline problem, and he had the “right” equipment for the “right” therapy. Every night I had to sleep on an electrified screen about the size of a pillow case (which we put inside a pillow case. When I would pee my bed in the middle of the night, a loud beeping buzzer would go off, waking everyone in the house. My folks would get me out of bed and then make me change my own sheets (with a little help from mom) before I could get back in bed to sleep. This sometimes happened multiple times in any one night, and went on for over a year before my folks gave it up.
        Today this sounds barbaric & cruel. But it wasn’t. My folks are, and always have been very loving parents. They were doing what they thought at the time to be right and best for me. I know that now, if I didn’t know it then. I feel pretty safe assuming that Ryan knew the same of you and your husband.
        To borrow a line from a movie, “There is no way to be a perfect parent. But there are a million ways to be a really, really good parent.” Love endures our mistakes, even when we don’t agree on what were the mistakes.
        Mike Miller

        Reply
    1. mikeinasheville

      Santi: if you cannot allow a sinner to learn and grow, there would never be movement toward righteousness. You have it right in that the Robertsons sinned against their son and their faith. But that is the purpose of this blog, the Robertsons exposing their sins in hope to inform and educate other anti-gay sinners to the terrible results that can and do happen.

      I first started donating money and efforts for same-sex marriage back in 1994, when the first winning test case won in Hawaii. The negativeness faced twenty years ago was horrifying — even HRC refused to support the effort as being too aggressive. We even faced horrifying backlash from the Democrats in Congress who also overwhelmingly supported DADT and DOMA. But as our side did not give up on perusing our God-given right to our pursuit of our happiness, the majority of Americans, yes a slim majority but growing, have eschewed bigotry and embraced equality.

      The Robertsons will spend every day of the rest of their lives living in the hell they themselves created — the responsibility for the death of their son. They rightly suffer from their sins; nonetheless, their efforts to help others avoid the terribleness that happens to children hounded by anti-gay bigotry is a win. It is efforts like these that have made the changes.

      When I met my now husband 29 years ago, I never imagined we would ever to able to marry. We have lived together as a couple the entire time and were married 7 years ago. Again, this change in attitude and support has only been achieved because those who were once anti-gay bigots have moved up from their sins. We will never have full equality until even more and more, until a vast majority, also move from bigotry to equality.

      Reply
  9. Jon mison

    I would like to suggest that the idea that only ‘a small percentage’ making it to their forties is entirely false. What an ignorant and small person you are. Do not use the word ‘love’, because your not using it right

    Reply
  10. apopesocal

    Health? I don’t know any of my LGBT friends who are less healthy than my straight friends… Several of my gay friends are surgeons, doctors nurses, and other health care workers and most are in better shape than my straight friends. Most of us are in our mid -40’s into our healthy and vigorous 70’s

    Reply
  11. Anonymous

    God bless……what you are doing is a very wonderful thing for other families experiencing unacceptance. In reading your messages, here is a site you might find some peace in using for yourselves. Please take the time to check it out. Theeventual.com

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s