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. 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, enthusiastically participated in all the church youth group events and Bible Studies and got baptized. He read all the books that claimed to know where his gay feelings came from, dove into counseling to further discover the “why’s” of his unwanted attraction to other guys, worked through painful conflict resolution with my husband and I, and built strong friendships with other guys – straight guys – just like the reparative therapy experts advised. He even came out to his entire youth group, giving his testimony of how God had rescued him from the traps of the enemy, and sharing – by memory – verse after verse that God had used to draw Ryan to Himself.

But nothing changed. God didn’t answer his prayer – 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. He would never have the chance to fall in love, have his first kiss, hold hands, share intimacy and companionship or experience romance.

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.

1,917 thoughts on “Just Because He Breathes

  1. n8tvtexan

    Dear Robertsons,
    I can somewhat identify with your sad, tragic story. My older brother was gay. I think my Mother just accepted him as he was. My siblings and me always knew but was no big deal for us. However, my father never could come to terms with it. As a result, they never in their lives had a relationship. My gay brother sat by his bed comforting him as he lay dying. Afterward, he was extremely sorrowful he had lost his Dad. He had the compassion to forgive our father for turning his back on him! I lost my brother in 2003 to the ravages of aids. I sat with him til his last breath. As I think back to the onset of that terrible disease, I can’t help but wonder how people were wishing that upon gay people. I miss my brother everyday. I know gay folks don’t choose that lifestyle, their preferences are established at birth. He once told me, “why on earth would I intentionally choose a lifestyle like mine”? I have no choice in the matter. For those that have never witnessed anyone being destroyed by aids. it’s not pretty or pleasant. It’s also an extremely painful way to die. I’m not a believer and find it ridiculous that any believer could think a “loving God” would subject anyone to aids because of who they are.
    My thoughts and sympathies are with you.

    Reply
  2. Beth

    I am so glad to find this blog. Although, I have gasped more than once at the cruelty of some of the responses. I wish I had found resources like this years ago when our son came out to us. I made mistakes and wish often that I would have done things differently. I chose to follow the advice of a Christian counselor even though my mother’s heart told me it wasn’t the best advice. Fortunately, our relationship with our son is better now than ever and he has forgiven us for mistakes we made. My husband is a pastor so perhaps you can imagine how that created another difficult dynamic. A year ago we chose to leave a church he had pastored for twenty five years because the elder board decided that they were going to tell a same sex couple that they could no longer be involved in ministry. We could not stand by and implicitly look like we were agreeing. It has been a year of grief because this was our community for so many years but our love for our son and what this would say to him was far more important. We no longer go to an evangelical church. I can’t listen to simplistic lines drawn in the sand anymore. We love worship so we found a church that is open and affirming to all people. The kind of church that many evangelicals would disparage, but I know the love of Jesus is alive and well in this church.
    I have so much I would like to share about my journey with God and with my son. I would like to follow your Facebook page.

    Reply
    1. Gryph

      It is good to hear you stood up with the couple and with your son. Thank you for seeing them as the people they are and not what everyone else thinks they should be.

      Reply
    2. carolb12

      Hi Beth! My name is Beth too, and we have a 28 yr old gay son whom we love very much!! God has totally changed our hearts concerning this issue. We are still trying to find a church where we will feel comfortable. We grew up adn raised our children in the SBC. Tyou so much for sharing this beautiful story!

      Reply
  3. Gayle Beason Walker

    I am the mother of a gay son who we adopted at 3 months old. I have a truly great friend who is gay and he told me Michael was gay when he was 8 yrs, old. Michael finally told me himself and we have never had any problems except with his older brothers. They refuse to have Michael in any part of their lives.I pray to God to touch them but not there yet. I truly believe God loves everyone. We all sin daily. I had to stop going to church because I really can not believe God will send gays to hell. God is a loving God! I some times wonder if I am crazy because I do not judge people for what they are. I wish all parents of gay children would read all these comments and get a better understanding of the child they have raised.

    Reply
    1. scottstaiwan

      the child is a reflection of the parental teaching… if your other son’s are still being bullied into submission of the church then you need get to educating them from a mother’s perspective—

      Reply
  4. scottstaiwan

    I am sorry for the loss that you suffered and the issues that your son had to deal with in his life but most of all I am sorry that all this loss has been due to religion. It is sad that you could not walk with faith but instead fear..but fear of what? God or losing a judgmental community?

    The leaders of churches cite old texts and use their own interpretation to impose the beliefs of one, the pastor/preacher/ or other leader of the community. The power of the organisation is huge and to be shunned must be something to be feared owing to the amount of control it exerts over it’s members but when does that power become so strong that it leads parents to chose the organisation over their own children?

    Family first!

    Reply
  5. Del Shores

    Linda: My name is Del Shores. I admire you so much for using your story to help and save others. I’m a writer-director — I wrote Sordid Lives, wrote for Queer As Folk and have a new film of my play Southern Baptist Sissies that I would love to gift you. If you watch the trailers (links here) you will see that we share a similar message. I’m a Southern Baptist preacher’s son from Texas. Please email me at DelShores@me.com and I will send you a copy. Best to you! Del Shores
    TRAILER: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lo0k66jXVGI
    TRAILER #2 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FzVo72vBULQ
    FACEBOOK PAGE – http://www.facebook.com/southernbaptistsissies

    Reply
  6. burnsurvivors

    It’s really sad how religion can cause so much harm to the world. It controls people’s live and we don’t even know if it exists. I was a Catholic, and I’m so glad I turned my back on it. Religion is war. I could say many things on here, but I’ll bite my tongue.

    Reply
  7. Emmanuil

    Dear Robinsons , I am truly sorry for your lose of your sun! I am sure he is resting in peace!!!
    I want to share my personal story in this blog and I am very pleased to do so.
    I am 45 years old and I am gay.I come from Greece where the religion is Christian orthodox.When I was 16 I came out to my family.At the beginning it was difficult for my parents to accept but after some years when I was 24 I met a guy and we lived together for 17 years.We had a unique relationship although we did many mistakes but we always loved etcher other unconditionally.My family accepted our relationship and also his family.We were the “perfect couple”.
    Greek orthodox church doesn’t accept homosexuality so we didn’t go to church so often.I always belived in God but never talked with a preach.5 years ago some friends from work told us to go to another church where they have Bible study.We went with my boyfriend and really loved that place.The pastor with his wife and all the people there.Through the bible we learned to truly love and worship our God and most of all I learned how much God loves us.I was so Happy until one day I had a conversation with the wife of the pastor . To make the story short I broke up with my man because of the fear of sin (which actually I never had that before ) .I left our luxurious apartment.I went to stay in a very small apartment with no money.My ex boyfriend didn’t agree with my decision but he said if thats my choice he would understand.It was very painful to leave him after 17 years.I tried to cut all the bridges with all the gay friends and I was praying and beliving for 1.5 year that God will ” make” me straight and meet a woman and fall in love and make family. It was very hard eventhough there where times that I belived that God “saved” me and I thought I was very “Happy”.But I wasnt.I was suffering.
    After 1.5 year of hard praying and worshiping one morning I cried to God to show me if I do the right thing.And the same afternoon I read in the internet about the story of a gay man.That guy for 20 years was trying, and he didn’t finally succeeded to “turn ” into straight .And that day I found myself again.His story was the answer of God to return to my OWN sexual identity.
    I didn’t go back to my exboyfriend.I didn’t have the right.Now we are like brothers with him .He is my family anyway. We still love each other.He has a new boyfriend and I also met guy 4 months ago .
    We don’t go to that church anymore.
    Gays we are not perfect but neither straight are.We all do mistakes.So what…….
    I LOVE MY GOD AND I KNOW HE LOVES ME AND I WANT TO LOVE OTHERS LIKE MYSELF.
    GOD IS LOVE AND ONLY LOVE.
    PERIOD.
    Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
  8. Mumrah66

    I was raised in the church and turned my back on it many years ago, finding it very difficult to deal with the hypocrisy, but what ever gets you through your day is none of my business. I am so sorry for your son, and what he had to endure through his short life. You will surely have to live through the pain and guilt for the rest of your life, and for that I am so, so sorry, but thank you, thank you for bringing your story forward, maybe it will help other parents and children who are going through the same thing. My daughter came out to us when she was 12 years old, and I told her then and tell her now, I love you, your sexual orientation is none of my business. I have no right to agree or disagree with it, in the same way that no-one has the right to tell ME what to do. I do feel strongly that the Exodus church could not be more wrong in what they do. Even their founder admitted he was wrong.

    Reply
  9. Anonymous

    Linda:

    Thank you for telling your story. I am a coach and saw the post about your blog on Queerty. I have a number of players who are gay and I am gay myself… though like your son, I am “all boy (man now)”. No one could ever tell if they didn’t know. It was a shock to my mentee/protégé/goalie that, when he came out to me, my response was “Yeah… so what? Me too”.

    Your son’s story is such an important one. I have a player now who is gay and who is constantly considering suicide… because his parents “just won’t understand”. My mentee has a friend who is gay who is afraid to go to the movies with his hockey teammates (read: without a girl) because his father “would figure it out and kill (him)”. These guys are 14, 15 and 16.

    It is so important that these guys have role models whom they can look up to. It is so important that they have support in deed, as well as in word. It is so important that they know that they are not “broken” or “lesser” or a disappointment to those who love them. Congratulations on your enlightenment. I am so sorry that the world lost a young man who could have made a difference. I am so sorry that you and his dad lost a son. That said, shout your story from the roof tops. Let the world know that “we are what we are”. Your son was spot on in that initial conversation via messenger with you.

    Reply
      1. Anonymous

        Its odd Linda – I don’t think we have to worry much about them and their peers. That generation seems to have it down. Not to say that they’ve reached full equality but my goalie gets his chops busted about the guys he’s interested in just like his straight teammates get grief about the girls in their lives. It’s a good sign. Really, it’s our generation that needs to see the light. It’s our generation who sees things differently. All of the pressure to conform comes from above. Keep telling your story. The next generation of kids will have parents who all “get it”.

        Reply
  10. steve lockhart

    I am so happy you are sharing your family story to all that will listen. Keep up the good work. My story is much different, but I also struggled with my faith and family. It took ten years for my mom and I to work things out between us, but she opened her heart, kept true to her faith and learned to love her gay son and my partner. My mom and i went to pflag together and later as i started a spin off group for gay parents she volenteered to do the child care while our support group met. Mom passed away in 2006, but she left me with heart felt memories of just how deep love can be. She was a good Southern Baptist woman, and she wouldn’t mind saying she had a gay son.

    Reply
  11. freetoflyaround

    I am so sorry for your pain.
    I get it. I finally truly get it.

    I went through a similar situation with my children. They are grown now, and thankfully, I am able to watch God heal them from some if the mistakes I made during thier childhood.

    Because of the mistakes I made in causing them to feel that mine or Gods love was conditional, I spent months creating this 5 minute video about how God’s love is 100% unconditional to us. There is nothing that we can do to make God love us MORE.
    And there is nothing we can do to make God love us LESS.

    I cried buckets of tears while creating it.
    I needed to hear the message too (probably most of all)
    I get it now
    I keep thinking how you may want to use it to help others who reach out to you.
    Feel free.

    Here it is below:

    Reply
    1. survivorgirl007

      I was first introduced to Graham Cooke with this very sermon some years back. Thank you for posting it here with your powerful video. If we all had even a hint of how much God loves us, it would do away with our propensity to make life about “us vs. them.” Thank you.

      Reply
  12. barbiedee

    Thank you Robertsons. I am so happy to see the work you are doing to change the views of the Evangelical church on this most important subject. I am truly sorry that in the process of bringing about this change you lost your beloved son. I try to keep the mindset that our Lord made us all, it is not ours to judge but to accept, and for your to bring that message in a most powerful way is so heartening. I applaude you and your continued efforts. May God Bless you in spreading his word of acceptance.

    Reply
  13. triryche3

    What I am going to say isn’t meant to be mean or cruel but probably will be perceived that way. These questions aren’t just for you but ALL Christian parents who do this to children.

    1: How could you give that sort of ultimatum to a 12 year old?! He chooses Jesus thus destroying his life, or he lives as himself, losing his only known religion but more importantly his family. Worrying about being alone & maybe, in his mind, homeless? He trusted you to do the one thing in this I know Jesus DID talk about, give unconditional love. Which ironically you did give your brother. Didn’t your brother show you being gay was inherent?

    I am not religious now but gave myself a similar ultimatum, my family or who I am. I didn’t want to lose my family so I chose them. I became an addict as a security blanket & messed up my whole life pretty much guaranteeing a life of loneliness that I am still trying to fix. I am 44 & figured out I was gay at 8, so 36 years of pain & loneliness imposed on myself; needlessly as it turns out as my family accepted me unconditionally. Thankfully today it is a little easier for kids to come out. But parents need to know, most kids go through the praying, the trying to change, the agonizing FEAR of losing everything, parents, family, friends, before parents hear one single word from children about being gay!

    2. Why not stop the pain & suffering when it became apparent it wasn’t working?? Before the depression & suicidal thoughts?!

    Before coming out I went through weeks where I didn’t have a suicidal thought every day. I thought of the most painful ways to equal the pain I thought it would cause my family by having a gay man as a member. Drinking drain cleaner, bleach, toxic cleaners. My thoughts were because of religion. The last 35-40 years or so according to religion being gay is worse than being a murderer or rapist so…


    I am not against religion itself. I am against how people use religion to justify their own prejudices. If people followed everything, you would be property of your husband to be killed for a bunch of things out of your control, no shellfish, no mixed clothing materials etc. But people choose just a few lines out of thousands to obsess over, intensifying in the 70’s when gay people chose not to be stigmatized & treated like second class citizens.

    I am sorry for Ryan, his short life & untimely death. If I am honest I can’t say I am sorry for your loss as you caused his pain, suffering & ultimately his death. I am happy all of you got to live the relationships you were supposed to have if only for 10 months. I thank you for your story & trying to right the devastating wrong far too many churches are committing every second of every day.

    Reply
    1. Anonymous

      Those are good questions and ones that Linda and Rob ask themselves daily. But what an INCREDIBLE GIFT that rather than lie low and protect themselves from hurtful comments that rip open the wounds over and over again, they instead speak out honestly about their mistakes in order to allow others to avoid the same errors. Thank you, dear Robertsons, for your courage.

      Reply
    2. Meredith Indermaur

      I understand the anger and pain behind your questions, and I’m grateful to read that your family has accepted you without conditions. Maybe think about how difficult it is for many others to release a firmly entrenched belief system that’s taken hold since before we even knew of a thing called a belief system. We’ve never not had it. It’s always been there and has been passed down from generation to generation. My son is gay, and he knew he was gay years before he let me in on it. In other words, he had time to process, and I had a split-second to respond when he came out. That’s the way it is for a lot of us parents, and many of us regret our initial responses as we try to come to terms with reality. The important thing is that the Robertsons have taken their rude awakening and employed it to try and wake up the rest of us before it’s too late. That is a GIFT. And it’s working, and that’s what matters now. Life dealt them a tragic blow, and rather than hang back in the shadows, they are living transparently so that others like me can benefit from the wisdom of their experience. They are living into the “so now what?” They have experienced death, and they are now sharing in resurrection for all of us.

      All the best to you, triryche3. God bless you.

      Reply
    3. triryche3

      After having had down time, I wanted to come back & tell the Robertson’s I am sorry for the tone of the first part of my last paragraph, that was way beyond what I started out to say. I am sorry, I didn’t mean to add to your pain.

      Reply
      1. Linda Robertson Post author

        triryche3, you are beyond forgiven! What a gracious man you are…especially because you have endured so many years of pain yourself. Huge hugs to you tonight, triryche3…!

        Reply
  14. Caleb

    Linda-

    I just recently came across your blog and could not refrain from saying something. I’m truly not even sure what to say, except that your story moves me very much. I am a 23 year old gay man, also living in the Seattle area. I do not regularly take part in the “good fight”, other than the occasional volunteer work and playing with the Seattle LGBT orchestra. I came out at 14 after a lifetime of knowing, while living in the deep south no less. My parents were not completely okay with it from the get-go, nor my peers. However, I am fortunate that it was very little of a struggle for me. Nearly nine years later, nobody even acknowledges my homosexuality – it just is. We are also fortunate to live in an area as open as this one, though it is sometimes easy to take that for granted. The good fight is spreading outwards, and I think people are coming around every day. All it takes is one person to change the world. You are living proof of that, because you are showing people the truth – a truth that you had to learn yourself. The good fight will never end, but with the help of people like you, I truly believe that it will get easier with time.

    I am very sorry for your loss, but I know that those words do not mean much in the midst of such a profound loss. Still, I feel obligated to say that I am sorry, because you have taken on such a huge responsibility and are reaching out to such a variety of people. Your story gives me hope, and though I am an agnostic, I do have faith in the good of people. Wherever your son is, I hope he sees what you have become and what the world will become.

    Reply
  15. Charlie

    You sound like amazing and wonderful people who made a terrible mistake and have to live with the consequences of your decision. I think every person should be able to relate to that in one way or another. Loss is a terrible thing that we all experience at some point. Making bad decisions is something we all do. It is hard to explain but I have this overwhelming wish to be able to build you a time machine so you could go back and undo what has been done. You deserve better. Ryan deserved better. You should be living the life that you were intended to have as a family. It isn’t possible to do that, but you are already a step ahead of those who never are able to make peace with their children, living or dead, and if you save one life by your efforts then at least your loss was not in vain. It will never change what was for you, but it will change the future of others, and for that I thank you.

    Reply
    1. Anonymous

      R,

      Without any reference to which part of the story/blog you are asking about, its hard to know what it is you are questioning. Nonetheless, your short comment is so sad. Life is a gift from God; it is your to be. There is only one commandment from Jesus, to treat others with the love care you too deserve “just because [you] breath”. Those are the true Christians, followers of Jesus’ words and deeds; there are many who care and offer help. Love yourself as Jesus would love you.

      Reply
    2. mikeinasheville

      R,

      Without any reference to which part of the story/blog you are asking about, its hard to know what it is you are questioning. Nonetheless, your short comment is so sad. Life is a gift from God; it is yours to be. There is only one commandment from Jesus, to treat others with the love care you too deserve “just because [you] breath”. Those are the true Christians, followers of Jesus’ words and deeds; there are many who care and offer help. Love yourself as Jesus would love you.

      Reply
  16. amielzbth

    Being born LGBTQ is NOT a lifestyle. I certainly do not call being born heterosexual a lifestyle. I don’t know any lesbian, gay, bi, transgendered or queer friend of mine who CHOSE to be what they were born as.

    I wrote this because I struggle with my own bigotry. So here goes:

    I can remember the day
    When someone first told me
    What I felt in my heart should be gone
    I remember the embarrassment
    The grief and the wondering
    As I questioned why God made me wrong
    I wonder if they know what they stole from me
    How they robbed me of the joy of my youth
    They forced me to wander in a dark place
    Full of pain that could not be soothed
    I finally found my way back to life
    As I learned what it means to be gay
    Whenever I feel those chains on my soul
    I break them and throw them away. (‘These Chains,’ Adams 1996, 216) (White & White, Jr., 2004)

    I was 14 years old when my uncle came out to me. We were sitting on the front steps of the house in South Richmond Hill. I was the one who asked him and he nodded and said “yes”. Then he asked me a question: “Does it bother you?” I smiled and told him that it could never bother me because he is and always will be my uncle and I gave him a hug.

    I am struggling with my own bigotry. This hate is a seed that has been growing within me through every article, experience, and story told from a friend struggling after he or she has come out as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer. Through all the hate that people who are supposed to preach love are showing towards other human beings, I, myself, am becoming just as bigoted towards religious doctrine, dogma, and people who subscribe to the hate a 3000 year old book teaches. It bothers me so much that I am becoming this way, and every time I try to fight these horrible hateful feelings that I am so against, I feel it grow stronger within me every day. I can’t even walk into a church without wanting to vomit. That’s the honest truth. I can’t subscribe to any of it. When I hear people say “its Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve!” I want to scream in their face and tell them how ridiculous they sound. For every time I have heard someone say “if my child turns out gay I’m turning him or her out into the streets, or getting him/her therapy, or putting him/her in a camp that will set him/her straight”; I want to tell them they truly do not know what unconditional love really means. I think about Jennifer Gable who was a transgendered woman and struggled throughout her life to accept not only who she really was meant to be, but the fact that her own family couldn’t even accept her, let alone society. She was 32 years old when she passed away due to an aneurysm, and the same family who cast her out, buried her. Only instead of burying her as their daughter, Jennifer, they buried her as the man she was never meant to be, cut her hair, and put her in a suit. This burns me up inside and out and I just want to cry out WHY WOULD ANYONE DO THIS???? WHY WOULD ANYONE DESECRATE THE BODY OF THEIR OWN CHILD????? It hurts me, and as much as I want to NOT be bigoted towards a religion or religions that preach such hate, and the people who follow it, it is SO DAMN DIFFICULT when there are people who would do this to their own child’s body because of their own shame and lack of love and acceptance. I think about the young man who came out to his parents and recorded his coming out via his cell phone, and how his family rejected him, tried to beat him, and then kicked him out not even giving him a second thought. I want to yell at his parents for being so hateful and unloving toward their own son. I don’t even want to get into the idiots at the Westboro Baptist Church because the fact that I even mentioned their hateful group gives them some kind of credit.

    I have friends whom I’ve debated with and happen to love them as friends, but at the same time I am struggling with how they could believe in a God of love when there is so much hate attached to it in an old book. I often wonder what it would be like if their kids ended up gay, or lesbian, or bi, or transgendered. Would they be shamed for how they were born? Would they be forced to go to a camp or some therapy that will also try to shame them for being born the way they were? Would they be cast out by parents who are supposed to love them unconditionally? I have family members who are gay and quite frankly I love them. I accept them for who they are and how they were born. The very thought of their parents casting them out or shaming them because they were born gay would give me nightmares and I would have to stand against them and see that my family members were OK and know that I accepted them whole heartily. Luckily, they have family who accept them and love them unconditionally. When I think about the people of this world who have stayed in the closet for the sake of acceptance and fear of being hated by a God of love, and the people of the church they go to, I think of someone named Mel White. Mel White was born into a conservative Christian family in Florida. He wrote a book in 1995 entitled “The Stranger at the Gate” where he described his evangelical upbringing, his early years at a Christian College, and his experience at Fuller Seminary. The book then went on to describe his heterosexual marriage, as well as the tortured struggles of his homosexuality and how he tried to fight his natural desires for the same sex. It was a vicious cycle of “sin” and repentance, and though he was successful in repressing his sexual needs, they would just reappear again. Eventually Mel White came out of his closet, joined the MCC Ministry for a while, and then founded Soulforce which is an activist organization that advocates the traditional techniques used in public protest and civil disobedience to struggle for full LGBTQ inclusion in Christianity (White & White, Jr., 2004). I think about him because through all of the therapy, repentance and prayer, he knew who he was, and that his worst enemy was not accepting the fact that he was born gay. Through all of the “rehabilitation” he was still gay and eventually came out. He is not a bigot. He has been through so much and I can’t imagine the backlash he received when he finally did accept who he was and how God made him. Yet, he still believes in God and Christianity and fights for the LGBTQ inclusion in it. I wish I had his heart. Right now I’m so pissed at some Christians who believe that hate is God’s love that I want to burn my own Bible, and I have two of them.

    People ask me why it matters so much. Why am I so passionate about LGBTQ rights? I remember someone at the job in the city once telling me years ago “why does it matter to you? Are you gay?” I told her I wasn’t, and she basically said “then how does it affect you?” It affects me because I know what it’s like to be told not to be with my husband because he isn’t Christian, and I am not Jewish. It matters to me because I know what it is like to be discriminated against by people who do not wish to accept my marriage to my husband because I’m not Jewish and am basically treated with not one ounce of respect by some if not most of the family. It matters to me because I’m sick and tired of people telling people who they should love, when it comes to consenting adults. I’m tired of people thinking that marriage equality will ruin the sanctity of their own heterosexual marriage. Honey, if someone else’s marriage is ruining your marriage you have bigger problems and it has nothing to do with two men or two women getting married.

    The truth is I have no clue how to NOT hate these teachings. I see what they do to people. I see them hurting, committing suicide, or never speaking to their families again because their families refuse to speak to them anymore. I remember going to an LGBTQ event a year ago and trying to sell bingo tickets. One of the men at the bar bought five of them and we talked for a little bit. He told me his story and how his mother no longer speaks to him after he came out. They were close, and now they weren’t anymore. He said he has accepted it, but I saw his eyes begin to glisten. All I could think was “this is someone’s child, and his own mother has turned him away”. I gave him a huge hug and kissed him on the cheek and told him he was a beautiful person and that if anything, I accept him as such and he smiled. So I ask again: how is this God’s love, and how am I not going to feel animosity towards certain Christians or religious groups who use their beliefs as a reason to hate people who do not believe as they do or who are not born the way they are? I don’t know how to do that. I’m trying, but I don’t know how to do it.

    There is one person who helped me regain a little faith in humanity and some Christians, and that is Timothy Kurek who is the author of “The Cross in the Closet”. He was raised in a conservative Christian family. An experience he had with a friend of his who had just come out as Lesbian changed him, and he decided to do something so crazy that it was wonderful. He decided to pretend to be gay for a year to experience what it was like to live that life and see what the LGBTQ community goes through. He dealt with a lot of discrimination, even from his own church. At the same time he befriended so many people and was able to see just how human and loving the LGBTQ community really was. They were more accepting towards the Christians who hated them than the Christians were to them. When I read “The Cross in the Closet” I was inspired. This is a man who did something so huge that it practically shook the earth in my opinion. He went into his own hetero closet and basically had to keep his own hetero desires down so that no one would find him out. He began to understand that the closet does, indeed, kill. I wish I could give him the biggest hug in the world just for putting himself through that for the sake of people who have suffered through the closet pretending to be something they were not for the sake of social and religious acceptance.

    Through all of this I wish I had the courage to love those who hate others because of how they were born. That really does take a lot of courage, and I have no clue how to gain that without punching some of them in the face. So for now I will probably continue to get angry, argue and debate against those who are for hating the LGBTQ community. I will continue to march in pride and rally against the conservatives who want to end marriage equality to save the “sanctity of their own marriages”. In the end I guess that is all I can really do…

    Reference
    White, D., & White, Jr., K. O. (2004). Queer Christian confessions: spiritual autobiographies of Gay Christians. Culture and Religion: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 5(2), 203-217. doi:10.1080/143830042000225439

    Reply
  17. Anonymous

    I can’t begin to tell you how pleased I am to learn of this blog. My youngest son had the courage to come out to me at 18. Although it was no surprise, I think I always knew he was gay, it still filled me with many emotions. Fear, disbelief and if I can be completely honest, maybe a bit disappointed . I am most ashamed of that emotion. Both my son’s were raised Catholic and both have no real relationship with God. This frightened me for many years and I have shared that with them. My husband, not the father of the boys, always loved and accepted my kids as his and accepted my son’s sexuality. I took great comfort in that. My husband recently discovered a new church, Southern Baptist. I understand their stance on homosexuality and it is a concern. He has become engulfed in this church and I am resistant because of my son. I attended one service in fairness and just my fortune the sermon was on judgement. The pastor preached we cannot judge because those who dont follow the word of God are already judged. I kept thinking that the God I know and love would never judge my son based on his sexuality, I just cannot and will not believe that. God loves unconditionally, doesn’t he? So now my husband is slipping away from me little by little and more and more I am resentful. I believe in Jesus with all my heart. I can only believe all of us are judged on how we led our lives and not on who we loved. I won’t turn my back on my son and I can’t be part of a church that judges him even though they preach to not judge. I am frightened, lost and very confused,. Funny thing is my husband left an article for me about you, your husband and your son. I think he is just as confused but won’t let me in on it. Thank you for listening and for sharing. God blesses us with the wonderful gifts called children, he must want us to love them regardless and unconditionally. I love my children and certainly love my gay son. His sexuality makes him who he is and for that I am blessed.

    Reply
    1. mikeinasheville

      Anonymous,

      What a lucky parent your son has in you. There is no reason for God’s existence except to create; through you, you have created your son. How can that be not exactly perfect? Some are born left-handed, some athletic, some with medical conditions, some gay. But each and every one is born perfect.

      I don’t know if you will succeed in reconciling your love for your son with your husbands new found church/beliefs. Certainly, though, you cannot succeed without telling him how you feel. Your short comment says it all “my husband is slipping away from me little by little….” As hard as it is going to be, you must share that with him; it will be ever more difficult not to.

      Southern Baptists are most peculiar — more than half have divorced and remarried and over two-thirds have adulterous affairs. The Ten Commandments, and even Jesus have much to say about that. If homosexuality was as evil as Southern Baptists preach, wouldn’t an all-knowing God have included it in His Commandments? Would Jesus address it at least once? Yet it is relegated to verses that include bans on eating shellfish, weaving multiple fibers, treatment of slaves, and cut hair. And not one comment from Jesus himself. My thought is that those who make such foolish condemnations about offenses not covered in the Commandments and not spoken of by Jesus, are hiding their own greater sins from public view. They so insult the God they claim to love that they will somehow fool Him.

      I surely hope your husband will surprise you and grow his human character to truly achieve Jesus’ calling to love another, faults and all, as you would have them love you.

      Best wishes.

      Reply
  18. Jamie

    Dear Ms. Robertson,
    Thank you for sharing Ryan’s story. I am sorry for your loss and your pain. I grew up in a strict, Christian home. I knew I was gay in high school but I could never have come out because of my fear. When I was outed to my mom, she did not speak to me for two and a half months. She no longer talks to me as often as she used to and she does not accept my partner. Recently she was visiting her brother and wanted to spend time with me. I offered her the opportunity to stay in our home. She declined, stating it would be too uncomfortable for her. If I wanted to visit her, I had to do so in her hotel room. The conditional love and loss of our once close relationship hurts my heart. But I do not hate my mom, nor do I want others to hate her and I am sorry for the hate you are receiving. I have remained true to my faith, even though it has been difficult at times. I remember Jesus’ two commandments in the New Testament and try to live by them as much as possible. And this for the people who are commenting inappropriately, as I am sure you are familiar with them, Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind, and Love your neighbor as yourself. For those who feel the need to judge you, they are treading on very dangerous ground, Matthew 7:1 “Do not judge lest you yourself be judged.” The chapter goes on to remind individuals that the measure they choose to judge others by will be the measure in which God judges them. No thank you. I will leave the judging up to God. I will pray for your healing.
    Sincerely, J.

    Reply
    1. Brad Tilford

      Jamie: I too do not want to see Mrs. Robertson suffer anymore than she already has. Your message about love is the answer. The LBGT community is constantly having to defend themselves from hatred. We have been judged to the point of feeling less than human. Don’t forget Mrs. Robertson also judged her son in the name of a “God”. It is not our nature to judge, but it is in our nature to defend our rights as human beings, and to not be treated like filthy animals.

      Reply
  19. Simone P

    I have tears in my eyes reading this page. I just want to say that you sound like absolutely amazing parents. Thank you for sharing his story. I can’t believe how hard it would be for you.

    Reply
  20. Joe35

    This is not about religion, this is about how drugs are destroying people’s lives. Instead of judging christians this should be a campaign against drugs. What killed this young man were drugs and nothing else. Those parents should understand that they did their best and is not in their hands if their son was doing right or wrong. That’s why they should forgive themselves and help others to don’t take bad choices like doing drugs cuz they can kill anybody no matter their race, sex, culture, age, etc

    Reply
    1. mikeinasheville

      Sorry Joe35, you are simply wrong. If you want to create a blog about the how drugs destroy people’s lives, do so. While it is a subject well covered, the more the better.

      But the Roberstons, in their own words, know they did NOT do their best. They now know that their best should have been the unbridled commandment of Jesus to unconditionally love their son. They, in their own words and admissions, failed their son and failed Jesus. The Robertsons are not seeking forgiveness from you, or me, or their blog followers. They are driven by an everlasting pain to embrace their God, their love of Jesus, by bringing focus to their fellow Christians to hold true to the truth of Jesus. If their actions save just one child, save just one set of parents, from the hell they suffer, what a wonderful gift they give. Clearly they suffer from the reminder of their failing, yet they march on. That is a true upholder of the light Jesus brought. I am not a Christian, yet I highly respect the Robertsons for their conversion to a higher Christian calling.

      Reply
      1. Linda Robertson Post author

        Mike…this description of our journey, and the calling we feel called to, is dead one. I just read it out loud to Rob, and we both feel deeply understood. Thank you so much for being part of the conversation here; you add richly to it every time you comment. I am grateful for you today, my friend.

        Reply
        1. mikeinasheville

          Linda,

          Your mission is one that raises so much emotion in me. My family moved from Indiana to SF Bay Area when I was in junior high. I went to Berkeley and lived there 10 years and another 16 in San Francisco. AIDS took a terrible toll on so many of my friends; kids should not be burying other kids. In none of the stories of my friends, nor any I heard about friends of friends, were stories of grace of love from a parent to their dying child. Not one.

          In my case, had it come to that, mine would have been the unique story. My dad, in particular, would have been by my side during that journey. When I met my Mike, now 29 years ago, it was my dad who made me self-aware I had met someone special. I had met my Mike on a Friday; the following Monday, during a simple chitchat, my dad looked at me, made a wry smile, and announced, “you met someone, haven’t you?” Later in the day when I was heading back to my apartment, he said “well I want to met the young man who has so obviously smitten you; he must be special.” My parents had met the few guys a had dated in college and after, but he had never said anything like this before. I remember thinking while driving home “he [my day] is right, this one is special and I am smitten.”

          With the friends I lost, I suffered and still suffer such sympathy pain of the emotional pain they suffered while enduring the physical pain of a lethal disease. And I cursed every so-called Christian parent who abandoned their child’s love, who spewed Bible verse from afar, and even worse, while attending and feeding them.

          ****
          When I came across your blog, I was hoping you were being true to your story. That brightens me, and, reading the posts of parents who have and are in the process of enlightening themselves to their higher calling, brings my happiness for the child saved from the pain of abandonment. In earlier comments, I have said I believe in a God that is greater than the religions of man; nonetheless, I respect those who hold true to the truth of their religion. What a better world we would live in if believers believed the words of love spoken by Jesus, spoken by Muhammad, and those who reminded their followers of the Golden Rule.

          I so much want you to succeed in helping those parents help themselves and lift their relationships with their children, worthy of the God they worship. That fits my belief in God in perfect harmony. Keep marching on.

        2. MARIE

          LINDA – WHEN I READ YOUR POST AND SEE THE PICTURE OF YOU WITH YOUR SON AT THE HOSPITAL I GET CHILLS ALL OVER AND TEARS IN MY EYES. I KNOW EXACTLY HOW HARD IT WAS TO ACCEPT. I TOO AT FIRST BATTLED WITH OUR FAITH BUT NEVER ONCE WAVERED FROM LOVING OUR SON UNCONDITIONALLY. I READ A BOOK TITLED “SOMEONE I LOVE IS GAY” WRITTEN BY A MOTHER. IT STATES THERE IS A FINE LINE BETWEEN APPROVAL AND ACCEPTANCE. OVER THE COURSE OF FIVE YEARS I FEEL OUR CHURCH HAS BASICALLY PURPOSELY NOT SUPPORTED US IN OUR ACCEPTANCE OF OUR SON. A FRIEND WHO LIVES NEAR OUR CHURCH CALLED ME AND SAID THREE WORDS WERE POSTED ON THE CHURCH’S SIGN NEAR THE ROAD “IT’S NOT NORMAL”———
          THIS AGAIN BRINGS ME TO THE BELIEF AS I STATED IN MY POST YESTERDAY, THAT AS OPPOSED TO JUDGING WRONGLY, CHURCHES AND THE PEOPLE OF THE CHURCH NEED TO LOVE “UNCONDITIONALLY” AND TO EMBRACE OTHERS AS THE BIBLE CALLS EVERYONE TO DO………………BE KIND TO ONE ANOTHER-DO UNTO OTHERS AS YOU WOULD HAVE THEM DO UNTO YOU-THE LIST CAN GO ON FOREVER.
          I APPLAUDE YOU IN YOUR EFFORTS TO HELP THOSE WHO ARE SO QUICK TO TAKE THE ROAD OF FAITH AND DISOWN THEIR CHILDREN OR FAMILY MEMBER.
          A YOUNG MAN I WORKED WITH IS GAY – HIS FATHER A DEACON – MOM PLAYED CHURCH PIANO – THEY DISOWNED HIM. HE WAS HOMELESS AND LIVING IN HIS CAR AND TRYING TO WORK JUST TO EAT. I CALLED HIS PARENTS AND AFTER SPEAKING TO THEM ABOUT HOW WE SHOULD LOVE UNCONDITIONALLY AND TO EMBRACE ONE ANOTHER THEY ALLOWED HIM TO COME HOME <3 THEY NOW ALLOW HIM TO BRING HIS "BOYFRIEND" OVER. I FEEL DEEPLY IF THEY HAD NOT ALLOWED HIM TO COME HOME, HE TOO MAY HAVE ENDED UP DEAD.
          AS TO "MICHAEL" WHO POSTED NOT TO TALK ABOUT RELIGION BEING THE ISSUE AND TRYING TO MAKE IT ABOUT THE DRUGS………….IT IS A MIXTURE OF BOTH. HOWEVER, HE IS MISSING THE POINT THAT YOU, OTHERS AND I ARE NOT BASHING RELIGION, WE ARE SIMPLY SAYING "CHRISTIANS, AS WELL AS NON-CHRISTIANS, SHOULD HELP SUPPORT THOSE IN THIS SITUATION. BECAUSE DOING ANYTHING OPPOSITE OF SUPPORTING CAUSES THE SITUATION TO BECOME MUCH WORSE. MY LOVE TO YOU AS A MOM WHO KNOWS YOUR HEART <3 MARIE

  21. MARIE

    I THANK YOU FOR SHARING THIS SITE WITH EVERYONE & MY PRAYER IS ALL PARENTS, RELATIVES, FRIENDS, ETC STOP AND THINK HOW HORRIBLE IT IS FOR A GAY PERSON TO COME OUT. THEY LIVE IN A WORLD OF IMMEDIATE “UN-ACCEPTANCE”, “CRITICISM” AND UN-WARRANTED CRITICISM FROM SO-CALLED “CHRISTIANS” AND NON-CHRISTIANS ALIKE WHO NEED TO KEEP THEIR OPINIONS TO THEMSELVES . WITH THAT SAID, I AM A PROUD PARENT OF A 26 YEAR OLD GAY SON!!!
    WE ARE LIKE YOUR STORY – WE WOULD RATHER HAVE A RESPECTABLE GAY SON THAN A DEAD GAY SON!! <3
    I HAVE POSTED ON FACEBOOK AND WRITTEN OTHER ARTICLES THAT IF "CHURCHES" TODAY WOULD REACH OUT TO THE GAY/LESBIAN COMMUNITY AND EMBRACE THEM AS HUMAN BEINGS AND NOT TREATED AS IF THEY HAVE A "DISEASE" AND PUT INTO THIS "OH MY GOD" CATEGORY, WE WOULD HAVE A BETTER WORLD IN WHICH FOR THEM TO LIVE IN. TAKE WHAT YOU READ IN THE BIBLE AND LEARN FROM IT TO NOT "JUDGE" AND TURN YOUR VIEWS INTO POSITIVENESS THAT YOU CAN ACTUALLY HELP MAKE LIVING IN THIS WORLD A BETTER PLACE!!!
    GAYNESS IS NOT A "DISEASE" – MY SON HAS THE SAME BEATING HEART AS ANYONE ELSE AND WAS CREATED IN MY WOMB BY A GOD WHO LOVES "UNCONDITIONALLY" A WOMAN IN MY CHURCH CAME UP TO ME AFTER I HAD GONE FORWARD ASKING FOR PRAYER/SUPPORT AND SAID "DON'T WORRY HONEY, WE HAVE ONE OF THOSE IN OUR FAMILY TOO!!" EXCUSE ME????? "ONE OF THOSE" SORRY, BUT MY SON HAS A NAME!!!!
    I PRAY THAT SOMEHOW THIS POST MAY BRING SOME SOLACE TO ANYONE WHO READS IT.
    THANK YOU AGAIN, FOR SHARING YOUR STORY AND I AM SO SORRY FOR YOUR LOSS OF A WONDERFUL SON!! <3 MARIE

    Reply
  22. Brad

    Linda, first let me say how sorry I am that you lost your son. As I read your story I identify with almost all of it. I am a professor of theology at an evangelical university. My son grew up in the church, and his story looks so much like Ryan’s. Even their ages are the same. My son was born just a few weeks after Ryan. He left the church his senior year of high school, embraced his gay identity, and moved to New York, becoming part of the drug fueled young gay community there. He entered rehab in November of 2012 after moving back to Washington, and has done pretty well staying on the path of sobriety. But, my wife and I live with the daily reality, and I know you will understand this, that he is in recovery today, but tomorrow isn’t here yet. So we live in hope. My son and I are writing a book about our journey–the journey of an evangelical Christian dad and his agnostic gay son. It’s about how to stay close without giving up your convictions. I’m hoping it will be out next fall. My wife and I often find ourselves in a quiet room with a Christian parent whose child has come out to them and they don’t know what to do. God bless you in your sorrow and for your ministry to others. Perhaps we can connect face to face sometime. My wife and I would love that. Please feel free to contact us if you would like.

    Reply
  23. gary47290

    I’m sorry for your loss. However I must ask why you are at an Exodus conference without condeming their inherently anti-CHRIST focused “ministry”. This organization was inherently evil and anyone who continues to participate in anything they do is participating in an intrinsic evil.

    Reply
    1. Linda Robertson Post author

      Gary, we understand that Exodus (and its affiliate ministries) have done great harm to countless people, however, our own interactions with their staff have been nothing but respectful and edifying.
      When we were asked to share our story at their final conference, we made the decision to go with the help of dear and trusting LGBT friends and family, who encouraged us to go (and raised the money for our airfare). Though we, obviously, do not support efforts to change any one’s sexual orientation, we were glad to get the chance to share our own experience with ex-gay ideologies at their last annual gathering.

      Reply
  24. 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
  25. 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
  26. 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

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