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.

986 thoughts on “Just Because He Breathes

  1. Alan Cialdella

    Dear Linda, Thank you. I dont know that I can ever find the words to explain to you the healing your story has ignited in my family. I am compelled to fly from NY to WA to meet you and your husband and share with you how this is impacting my family. I will friend you on FB. Thank you for your lovehonety and courage!

      1. Ricardo Alexandre


        My name is Ricardo Alexandre and I felt in love for Nei Tiardelli. We will marry next May 17th. I’d like to say thank you for sharing this history with us. My love and I will use this exemple to share our love and God’s grace. Sometimes it’s so hard to live be understood by my friends and family. I say it ’cause my parents won’t go to my wedding.

        I hope you and your family feel how your son loved you.


        Ricardo Alexandre and Nei Tiardelli (https://www.facebook.com/bsb.ricardoalexandre?ref=tn_tnmn and https://www.facebook.com/nei.tiardelli)

        1. Linda Robertson Post author

          Ricardo, congratulations to you and Nei! I am so very sorry that your parents are going to miss out on your most important day…we were all taught so wrongly. I hope you know that your Heavenly Father will be there, blessing you and loving you both!

  2. Anonymous

    My daughter and I were so moved by your story at the GCN conference! Your story will touch so many and change lives! I know it changed ours!

      1. Criselda Marquez

        Oh, Linda, you have been redeemed already! The fact that you can share your story with such vulnerability is proof enough. My prayer is that you will feel that redemption sooner than later!

      2. Lindee

        Linda – your story is so moving – and it teaches a HUGE lesson we, as parents, need to learn. This has to do with our children knowing they are loved and accepted – just as they are. Isn’t this how the Father loves each of us – just as we are. My son is not gay, but he is involved in a relationship with a woman 30 years his senior. My first reaction was similar to how your reaction was with Ryan – sharing the Word and how this is not in line with what God wants for him. I read your story about 6 months ago and it helped me tremendously. THANKFULLY – God has blanketed me in a peace and I am just trusting Him to lead and direct my son. Your boy Ryan is so precious – I pray he somehow knows, from heaven, the MANY MANY lives he is impacting. My prayers for you, sweet Linda, and your family – to abound in greater and greater peace with each passing day. This life on earth is but a fleeting moment – as much as you miss Ryan on earth, we know he is in the Arms of JESUS and that you have an eternity in front of you to spend with your precious boy! Much Love, Lindee

        1. Linda Robertson Post author

          Lindee…what a blessing it is to know that God used our story to help give you peace about your son and his journey. Isn’t it amazing how God continually reminds us that He loves our children far more than we do, and we can simply trust Him to do the “heavy lifting,” as our pastor likes to say? Much love to you, dear friend!

  3. Kelly Beane

    I found this article through the “Living Out Loud” website. So beautifully written. I want to start a support group in my area for gay Christians and allies, but just don’t know how to go about it. A few years ago I sent out this letter with a copy of a poster (I no longer have) to all my area churches. No responses, and although not surprised, I became quite discouraged and disillusioned. http://kellbell-justmythoughts.blogspot.com/2011/09/my-letter-to-churches_22.html (you may have to copy and paste that to see the letter, though I tried again in the personal details area) Anyway, I’m finally ready to give it another shot. Thank you for your example of courage, love, and faith. Any advice, encouragement, or actual help starting the group would be gratefully received.

    1. Linda Robertson Post author

      Kelly – I am so glad you commented again! Your comment went into my “spam” folder…probably because of the link. I get SO much spam that I can’t keep up with that folder…I am sorry! I loved your blog…and your passion! Two thoughts…The reason we were able to start a group successfully is that through my blog, I had a lot of connections with LGBT people in our area who no longer had a church where they felt safe, our church supports us (although our church is not technically affirming), and most of all, God has really blessed our efforts. Since you have a gay daughter, I would LOVE for you to join our online FB group for Christian moms with LGBTQ kids…please friend me (Linda Mueller Robertson) and send me a message if you’d like to join us. You’d get so much encouragement from them, and would BE such an encouragement!! I hope to hear from you soon, Kelly!

      1. Kelly Beane

        I’m just now putting two and two together and realizing your the same person who messaged me on FB. Wow; what an honor to hear from you…thank you so much. Yes, of course I’ll friend you–I have so much I want to ask you. Also, I wanted to correct my mistake and say I found this blog through the “Believe Out Loud” website, not “Live Out Loud”. I’d give a link, but then this might get lost again in spam world ;) so I’ll just say it’s an incredible ministry that deserves some attention.

  4. Elizabeth Stevens

    I am 35 year old woman, and I am a lesbian. My parents have told me my entire life that being gay is an abomination, and that AIDS is the “gay disease” because the wages of sin are death. From a young age I knew I was attracted to women, and from a young age I have been prayed over and prayed for because of these thoughts. I have spent most of my life thinking I am diseased and mentally ill because of my attraction to women. I have battled depression and suicidal ideations my entire life. I have begged God to fix me, to change me, to send me the strong Godly man my parents have always wanted me to love. I tried for years to be straight. I took it to extremes and because of my self loathing and low self esteem I was promiscuous from a very young age. When I was 19 I got pregnant and my parents kicked me out. I married the father of my child because I had no where else to go and I wasn’t willing to give my baby up for adoption. I endured a hellish 5 years married to a very sick and abusive man. All the while feeling that I was being punished for my desires as a youth. I finally left him when I was 25 and I came out to my friends and family when I was 27. There is so much more to my journey, but I will just tell you this. My ENTIRE adult life I have had a battle raging inside me, I am a deeply spiritual person I was raised to be a Christian and for a long time I felt that I couldn’t even pray because God hated me. I felt that every bad thing that has ever happened to me was because I was attracted to women. I still feel that way sometimes. I worry that my parents were right and that I might go to hell, I think that maybe my life would be easier if I could just love and marry a man. I fear that I have damaged my child by raising her in a lesbian household. I live day in and day out fearing that I am an abomination. I worry about my parents and all the pain my “lifestyle choices” as they call it have caused them. Today was different, today I felt a glimmer of hope as I watched your presentation, I felt like God was saying “I do love you, and I am OK with who you are”. I am a long way from being free from my fear and self loathing. I will probably grieve my whole life for the loss of a relationship with my parents (beyond the strained superficial one I have now). I don’t know when I will ever feel that I am worthy of good things and Gods love, but I do know that your presentation touched me, and I want to thank you for sharing it with the world. I am sitting here trying to work up the courage to send a link to your story to my parents…I cant help but think your testimony would help them through their pain. Anyway, thanks again for sharing your story and touching my life.

    1. Linda Robertson Post author

      Elizabeth…Your story moves me deeply, and serves to remind me how important it is for us to continue telling our story. It seems like a miracle to me that you are still hanging in there, with all that you’ve gone through, and all the lies you’ve been told. I sure wish you could have been at the GCN Conference with us, where you would have been DELUGED with messages of Christ’s love for you! Next year in Portland, perhaps?? Elizabeth, I KNOW that God loves you FAR MORE than you could ever imagine…He is your Father. He created you. He chose you. He delights in you. Even if your parents never know His unconditional, unfathomable love for them and for you, that won’t change the facts – God is CRAZY about you, Elizabeth!!

      1. Bill Fer

        Elizabeth, you don’t know me and I do not mean to intrude, but what you said really meant a lot to me. You said things about being a parent that resonated with me deeply. I have often feared the kind of father I am because of the father I had. I spend every minute I can with my son, and we have a very strong bond, but it still eats away at my confidence because I have all these things in my head telling me how I “ought” to be. I love you for expressing your vulnerability as a mom and I want you to know you are not alone. It is the mark of a good parent that you even think this way. Shame can be debilitating. Know, in your heart, that God is not about shame. If we were friends I could tell you about how dark my life has been, the times when I told God where he could shove his unconditional love, and it was in those times that he really showed me what was up. I tried to so hard to make Him hate me. I wanted to piss Him off, tell him what a liar and a fraud he was. But it wasn’t him. It was the church. I won’t speak for all, but I have been to many, and have yet to find a place that represents the God I have met on my own in my darkest of times. He is real, and the ONLY thing he cares about is love. Raise your child with that. Everything else is just details. Love, the zero judgment kind, is where it’s at. Thank you for sharing and please contact me if you would like to be friends or if you ever feel like you need someone to talk to.

    2. Julie

      Elizabeth your story touched me deeply and moved me to tears. I am a mom to a 20 year old gay daughter and for the first year or two after she came out I was handeling it the same as the Robertson’s did with their son. It was after I had spent several months fasting and praying that God would change my daughter that I found their story after it went viral last summer. I have been changed and rocked to the core since then. I am part of a moms group who love their gay kids. My heart hurts so deeply for you. One thing God has shown me is that he loves all of his children just as they are. You are beautiful and perfect just as he made you Elizabeth. I wish I could give you a big hug! I wish I could talk to your parents. I will pray for you and for them. Please contact me through Linda if you’d like a “virtual” mom to talk to you. I’m so very sorry for all you have been through. Love, julie

    3. cindywalkerwinstead

      Elizabeth my sister, there is so much that you can do to find yourself in a much better place in all areas of your life. It is almost 100% that people born gay, and that’s they are, born gay, not chosen, all resort to constant prayers to God begging and pleading with God to change them. To make them straight. Promising God all sorts of sacrifices if He’ll just answer this one prayer. Then we almost universally become severely depressed, self loathing, self hating because we can’t change, hard as we try, getting into straight relationships that are doomed from the start. Finally we’re so tired and afraid that we almost all of us consider or attempt suicide, tragically many succeeding. But I know God answers prayer and the reason He doesn’t change you is because there’s nothing wrong with you. God made you exactly the way you are. And He did not make you gay to suffer alone, with no loving spouse that is meantfor you. See, today, the world is obviously different from the time Christ walked this earth. The world has evolved, knowedge has been gained that was nonexistant back then. There isstillmore knowledge to begained. Unfortunately there are churches that pick and choose the scripture they want to use to condemn us but disregard the rest. It doesn’t work that way with God. People are still brainwashed inbelieving what someone else tells them to believe and never search for themselves for the answers and they are there but you have to search withtheitellect of anadult and not a 5th grader. There is irrefutable biological evidence that sexual orientation has a genetic, hormonal, and structural cause that all combine together to place us on a 180 degree spectrum from 100% straight ononeend to 100% gay on the opposite end andwe all fall somewhere on this spectrum it’s not just black or white, it’s not gay orstraight. There are many books out there that explain all aspects of sexual orientation and gender identity, I reccommend a bookwrittenbya good friend of mine Rev Dr Cindi Love, executive director of SoulForce, called Would Jesus Discriminate? Another by Rev Jeff Miner and Rev John Tyler Connoley called The Children are Free. Both give a modern approach as to what the Bible does and does not say about sexual orientation. I think they they can be found on Amazon. I think they might help and there are many others as well. But please start accepting yourself for who God made you to be. You’re here for a purpose but you have to love yourself first. The gospel of Jesus is very simple; love God, and love each other. You can do neither until you love yourself. There is so much goodness waiting for you especially for you. I’ll be praying for you and I can do that only because God loves me exactly the way He made me! I have a wonderful wife who believes with me that God lovesall His LGBTI children, even when I’m at my worst and I fail Him, He still loves me, just as I am. God bless you sister girl!

  5. Eric Schramm

    You have my profound sympathy for your loss. I was in that field once – “You can be healed by God of this” and “The only reason you have not is because you ask not or you ask amiss” putting even more pain onto those who struggle with ANYTHING. Now it becomes THEIR fault for not having enough faith or for having wrong motives. God has sinc showed me that my being gay or another person being an alcoholic, etc is not a hell sentence. God loves me as a gay man just as much as he does those who never had a struggle with sin in their lives.
    Unfortunately I do have an associate (I won’t use the term ‘friend’) from a Christian single group who is vehemently anti-gay. he is also judgmental of divorce, gun control and the government. He denies gay youth commit suicide or struggle with depression. In his favor, he is one of only three people who volunteered to pray for my dad when dad went to the hospital, so he has a heart, he’s just a jerk. How do you handle someone like him?
    Thank you for your time. And again my condolences on your terrible loss.

    1. Linda Robertson Post author

      Wow, Eric…people sure are complicated. If there is one thing I’ve learned in my almost 50 years, it is that we are ALL a mix of bad and good. I have a dear friend who lives across the street from Fred Phelps in The Equality House, and she says that he is actually kind of sweet! I think I would have wanted people to pray for me, and simply love me…and, perhaps, to ask me questions about what was scaring me so much…back when I was stuck in my thinking.
      Thanks for your kind words and sympathy!

  6. Laura

    Bless you for telling your family’s story. I am so glad your son allowed you to truly know him. He must have loved and trusted you very much! Last year, our 17 year-old told me he is gay and I am amazed how brave he is at this young age. I was so grateful he was comfortable with telling us. Although I worry about his safety at times (coming from small-town USA), I can honestly say that I am not bothered by his revelation. That’s probably because there have been people like you in this world spreading the word about acceptance and love. Please continue to do so, there are so many parents that need to hear it. My heartfelt condolences on this temporary separation from your son.

    1. Linda Robertson Post author

      Laura…bless YOU! Your son is so fortunate to have you as his mom…especially since you live in a small town, where things can be extra tough! YOU are changing the world!!

  7. Rhonda

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. I am an evangelical Christian who is seeking wisdom in how to communicate the good news of God’s love to gays. I feel that the Church has a long, shameful history of telling gays that God hates them. I have come to the conclusion that same sex attraction is not a choice; it is a natural orientation. . I feel deep compassion and protectiveness for individuals who are harassed (inside and out) for being gay. Because it would simplify things for me, I want to be convinced that the Bible does not condemn homosexuality. I’ve studied the arguments from both sides. I’m at a place where I ‘love, and let God sort out the rest’. But I am uncomfortable with the blanks in my understanding of where scripture (truth) meets the homosexual. I have a sense that their sexuality, like that of all of us, is broken as a consequence of being born into this sin broken world. I know the ground is level at the foot of the cross where all people come for forgiveness, mercy and healing. But God does not choose to heal all our brokenness by reorienting us. And I know it is impossible for many gays to hear that I love them, and God loves, but the Bible calls homosexuality sin. I desperately want to communicate love. Can you tell me how your understanding of scripture has been resolved. I don’t want to be a Pharisee, but I don’t want to deny that something is sin out of personal compassion. Please feel free to correct and admonish. Thanks.

    1. Linda Robertson Post author

      Rhonda, I have no admonishment to give you! You have described a process many of us have gone through! I would really encourage you to become familiar with the work of Matthew Vines and The Reformation Project – An organization whose goal is to help Christians defend their support for same-sex, life-long commitment while maintaining a very high view of the authority of Scripture. The Reformation Project uses James V. Brownson’s excellent book, Bible, Gender, Sexuality as the basis for much of its training….it is a must read for anyone who desires, as you do, to put theological & scriptural underpinning to the love that God has led you to stand on. Thank you for being willing to enter this discussion…people like you are desperately needed!!

    2. Edward Greene

      There is an excellent book, think I have the title right, Would Jesus Discriminate.
      You might find it interesting.

    3. P.E. Ward

      Dear Rhonda, I am certain you are a sweet and wonderful person, but if you are seeking the true wisdom of living, then you have articulated several severe flaws in your quest in just the paragraph you wrote above. First of all, you equate “scripture” with “truth.” NOTHING could be further from the real truth. Scripture was written by the best and brightest men of THEIR times (thousands of years plus ago) with all the ignorances of their times to try and make their societies a civil place in which to live (actually, that is the mechanism by which all of the religions of the world fundamentally developed). Scripture DOES contain a great many universal “truths” — good rules for living a good life — such as love one another, the Golden Rule, the Ten Commandments, etc., — as well as a bunch of utter crap. YOU as a thinking, sentient person have to determine which is which, and you don’t need the “opinions” of the preacher set to make this determination, by the way. Second, whether the Bible condemns homosexuality or not (in fact, it really doesn’t, and there are several excellent exegeses out there (including Matthew Vine’s) which explain this), is totally irrelevant. Homosexuality is part and parcel of the animal kingdom’s reproductive process, the exact mechanism of which has not yet been discovered, but which in humans results statistically in approximately 10% of the population ending up homosexual (the exact percentage is also irrelevant, but it is relatively small but significant). Third, this whole concept of “sin” and a “sinful world” and “original sin” is ridiculous; it is the product of these ancients using threats to try to keep their ignorant, primitive, superstitious minions behaving in some relatively civil manner during fairly primitive conditions (compared to our modern world.) There is simply no purpose, no reason to even consider even any NEED to reconcile homosexuality with such a religious dogma as “sin.” Nothing about homosexuality is sinful, just as there is nothing sinful about heterosexuality. Sex is sex. Sin is a concept created to control anti-social behaviors: ok-murder is a “sin”, because murders running loose create a disruptive civil order. Two guys getting it on is nobody’s business and harms no one, and certainly is NOT anti-social behavior. Third, I find your statement that “…I don’t want to deny that something is sin out of personal compassion” is a totally mindless, ridiculous, anti-intellectual, stupid statement, which means you are abandoning the thinking apparatus of your brain’s ability to reach logical, informed rational conclusions. You are juxtaposing apples with oranges. Use of the word “sin” should be relegated to the confines of levity: “the chocolate mousse was so good it was sinful” is appropriate. To invest import to some activity and call it “sin” just because some old men thousands of years ago wrote about it to make up rules for their society which ended up in the Old Testament or the New Testament just defies reason, wisdom and logic. If you want to be theological about it, God gave you a brain — use it and don’t follow the blithering idiocies of evil, hateful people (and less you not get my meaning, I am referring to the venomous churches who preach hate). Don’t be a rigid thinker; you have a mind — use it!!!

  8. Star

    I think it is so beautiful that you and your husband are spreading the word for your son. Not everyone could do that. I just recently lost a cousin and I will never get to see his beautiful face again. I mourn for his mother and father….Not everyone was ever accepting of his way of life…I know it by his posts and society in general. Most of all I miss his bubbly personality,and am so happy to see that you are helping others just love their children. The subject in itself it so very hard to talk about now days and so many children and adults are not open for discussion or acceptance. There are many missed conversations,mixed emotions,etc..and worst of all,never being able to talk to them again…much less let them know they are loved unconditional. So,for all you do…I have so much respect for you and hope this spreads like wildfire so others can read your story!

  9. gabe

    First of all. You are awesome people for accepting your son, even after all what happened first and the way it ended, I don´t think there was a way you could know what would happen, but, ten real months of being with your family and loved the way you are, are better than a lifetime of feeling alone.

    I am 22 and feel so confused right now and I don´t even know who to call, I told my mom a year ago I was gay, she said horrible things to me like saying that if I had children they would never be her grandchildren unless they were with a woman and that she´d rather kill herself than knowing she had a gay son, after a while she calmed down and said she was fine with it, then she took me to a mental hospital where I was kept for a month and was told by a psychologist that I could change. It did not work, they did their best to lower my self esteem and that did work, I found my way out of there by lying about how the conversion therapy worked. Now almost a year after, I finally tell my mother again, this time I write a letter and read it to her in which I tell her how I knew it before I was 10 and how I felt horrible of the way she made me feel and how I tortured myself for being gay and not being able to change, so she took out a gun and started yelling that she would kill herself so I could be happy, I took the gun out of her hand and yelled for help, with the help of our lifetime maid, a psychiatrist and a cardiologist she eventually calmed down, but I haven´t seen her in the last 2 hours and I am really afraid that I almost killed my mom and that she´ll try it agian, I really don´t know what to do anymore, my brain is still loading trying to understand what just happened, and no matter how much I think about it, I can´t help but feel I am selfish for telling her, I don´t wanna be gay I am not doing it intentionally I love my mom and I just feel so strange right now and my stomach hurts.

    1. Linda Robertson Post author

      Gabe…You have done NOTHING wrong. You have only done one, loving, authentic thing: you’ve been honest with your mom, because you LOVE her, and desire a relationship with her. You cannot control how she responds…Ryan was NOT at fault for how we responded, how many times I threw up, how much weight I lost, or how little sleep we got. That was OUR fault, because we weren’t trusting Jesus.
      Gabe, you need a great deal of support right now…I would LOVE to hook you up with a mentor who can help you walk through this…I will email you so that we can find someone to speak TRUTH to you in the midst of this chaos.
      You are an amazing, loving, gracious son…who has done EVERYTHING possible and more to please his mom. You can do no more…the rest is up to her. Praying for you right now, Gabe.

    2. P.E. Ward

      Dear Gabe, I hope in the last couple months things have improved for you. As Linda Robertson wrote, you have done nothing wrong. I know you love your mom, but she is wacko! She has been brain-washed by the venomous, anti-intellectual, hateful religious bigotry which exists in this country (as well as elsewhere in the world where it is even worse). To that extent her feelings can be somewhat understood, but her BEHAVIOR is manipulative, vicious emotional blackmail which you should recognize for what it is and not feel responsible for it at all. You did NOT “almost kill your mom.” That is all her OWN doing born of HER own insecurities, foibles, stupidities, ignorances, which she has chosen not to remedy in the course of HER life. In this day and age how any adult in the past 50 years could procreate and not have it occur to them that some of their children might turn out gay is utterly beyond my comprehension; I charitably chalk it up to cluelessness at best and stupidity at its worst. You need someone with a good head on their shoulders to provide some sound advice on dealing with her. SHE IS THE ONE WITH THE PROBLEM, not you. SHE has to accommodate you; not vice versa. If you want some support from people who may have dealt with similar things, you might consider looking at the website http://www.realjock.com. There are a lot of wise people on their of all ages who will respond to you, if you don’t have any other place to turn.

  10. Betty

    Thank you Linda for your wonderful blog. I wrote you yesterday and for got to mention my sorrow for you losing your son. My heart goes out to you and your family. Thank you for being so vulnerable. God bless you and your ministry.

  11. Laurie

    One thing I know for sure, is that you tried your best, and you did what you thought was right at the time. I have learned the hard way that even when we do our best, it is not good enough at times. Life and living is so hard. I am sure Ryan forgives you. He knows that you love him. We all can do better at being a compassionate human being. Parents make mistakes. We cannot see into the future. Remember the good times and the memories you have of the days you were all happy together. He lives on in your heart. You have a powerful message to share, and thank you for not allowing your emotional pain to stop you from telling his story, and your story.

    1. Linda Robertson Post author

      Laurie, thank you for reminding me of Ryan’s grace for us…many times we have to go re-read his letters to us, and remember that he DID forgive us…and that he DID know that although we made huge mistakes, we made them thinking we were loving and protecting him. Heavy sigh…I am so grateful for grace.
      Much love to you, friend!

  12. Jennifer

    Thank you so very, very much for your courageous honesty. You are taking the brokenness that we all find in this world and turning it into a tool for change, and that is something so precious and wonderful to witness.

    I am writing because I am watching someone be hurt and I want to help but don’t know how. Also because I am hurting myself, though less so. My girlfriend came out to her mother a year ago, and at the time she thought that her mother accepted her. Then she started dating me. I have never met her mother, because her mother refuses to meet with me. 6 months ago, my girlfriend’s father passed away. I came with her, because her mother refused to be at his deathbed (they were estranged). Though I never did anything disrespectful or intrusive to the family, I was eventually forced to leave her side because her family members tormented her with negative comments about her “lifestyle” and her “choices.” I was barred from attending his funeral with her, even though he gave us his blessing on his deathbed and specifically asked me to be there to support her.

    Within weeks of my girlfriend’s father passing away, her mother gave her the ultimatum that she either renounce her sexuality or be kicked out of her mother’s household, where she had lived all her life. I helped her find a place to live. Her mother sent her horrible messages, calling her an abomination and saying she is disgusting, suggesting she will die of a horrible illness, and threatening to out her to her place of employment.

    We have tried to reach out to her mother with love. Throughout all of this I have encouraged my girlfriend to return her mother’s hurtful words with patience and love, because I know that losing her relationship with her mother, especially so soon after losing her father, would be devastating to her. I think her mother wants to change. She has agreed in the past to come to have dinner with us … but then at the last minute she will cancel, leaving her daughter hurt and hopeless.

    I know that her mother is hurting. She is a woman who has been depressed for many years, who is socially very awkward. The only company she finds that she can handle, and the only solace she really has in life, is her church. Unfortunately, it is her church that is teaching her so many horrible things about her own daughter, and about me, just because of who we love. Maybe the most difficult part of all of this is the effect it is having on my girlfriend’s faith. She feels abandoned by her dad, abandoned by her mom, and abandoned by the church, which is more accepting than her mother’s church – at least they do not outright condemn her for being gay – but even her church still believes that she should have to live a celibate life because she was born gay. I could try introducing her to my more liberal faith tradition, but I know that is not home to her.

    I doubt very much that her mother would be open to something like PFLAG, and I know that only someone who speaks the language of her faith could ever get through to her. I have been tempted to write her a letter, to answer her fear with love and tell her that I will always, always be ready to accept her with open arms if she ever decides she wants to know this part of her daughter’s life. Otherwise, I don’t know how to support my girlfriend in all of this, because this version of Christianity that her mother believes and that she was raised in is so totally alien to my idea of a loving God, I do not know how to even begin relating to it. I am sure you are very busy, and if you never have time to reply, I certainly will more than understand. And it has helped me to just write it out.. But if ever you do have some few minutes to send me some thoughts or ideas or resources, I will be very appreciative.

    1. Linda Robertson Post author

      Jennifer…wow…you and your girlfriend have been through so much, and I am amazed at your grace in spite of it all. I am also in awe at the respect you show to the faith tradition of your girlfriend and her family; it is beautiful. One of the reasons we are doing what we are, and organizations like Gay Christian Network are working so hard is because of the desperate need that gay Christians with an evangelical background have for being welcomed back to church…back to Jesus. I think your girlfriend might really benefit from reading Justin Lee’s book, Torn…and then possibly sharing it with her mom, when the time is right. It is a great book for helping straight, evangelical Christians to begin understanding what the experience of being a gay Christan is like. Another “starter” book for straight Christians is Love is an Orientation by Andrew Marin.
      I will be praying, too, that in time, her mom might be open to watching our video or reading our blog, since we came from a very similar background. But truly, we need to continue to work and pray so that pastors who are teaching such harmful and erroneous things from the pulpit will stop spreading such fear and hatred…their power to divide families and to push people away from God is frightening and incredibly disturbing. Lord God, please bring change and show us how to be a part of that change!
      Much love to you, Jennifer!

      1. Jennifer

        Thank you so much for taking the time to respond to me! We will definitely check out those books. I know it will mean a lot to my girlfriend to see her own experiences shared by others, and it will help me to understand her better too. Maybe her mom will be willing to try reading.

        I had thought about sharing your video or your writing with her mom as well. It’s hard to tell when she would be ready for it. My girlfriend (her name is Claira) can be led sometimes by hope to push her mom too fast, and I don’t want to overwhelm her. But at the same time, I think it could really give her mother hope to see that it is possible to be faithful to her beliefs and still love all of her daughter, not just parts of her. I think that she is as hurt as Claira by these teachings of her church. That’s something I try to always remember, that it is not just those of us who are gay who are hurt by these teachings, it is also the family members who feel like they have to choose between their faith and their loved ones. That has to be horrible.

        I hope that things will change. I hope very much that I can be part of that change too. Thank you again for your kinds words. I take very seriously that love and respect are the only effective ways to combat ignorance, prejudice, and fear, and I’m very glad my words reflected that. I also deeply respect the evangelical Christian tradition, though it is not my own, not just for its own sake but also because it is so important to someone I love so dearly.

        1. Linda Robertson Post author

          You are one of the most gracious, loving people I have ever encountered, Jennifer…you embody the MLK quotation, “Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that.”

  13. hiren

    Wow! Am so sorry for your loss guys, little time for seperation but you guys have eternity to catch up with soon. I know this “little Tlme ” must feel like eternity for you guys .but you’ve potentially saved so many ryans and parents from making similar mistakes.
    Grace and peace to you guys .

  14. Bill Fer

    Thank you so much for sharing this story. I am so so sorry for what you have experienced. I feel I may have a similar story to relate, although it isn’t about being gay. My daughter died when she was a baby, and I spent years of my life hating who I was because many of my choices were to blame for what happened to her. She would be 11 now. When she first died I was so devastated I wanted to kill and destroy everything I felt was to blame. For whatever reason, I could not take my own life but I provoked God in every way I could to make him hate me so either He or someone else would do it for me. The years that he didn’t were spent in self- flagellation and servitude to a church that told me she died because of the sins of her parents. They were an awful, abusive bunch, and I kept ranks with them for 6 years. They hated me. See, when my daughter died I had met Jesus in a very real way. And I knew these people hadn’t, because when you know, you know. But I never said a word. I was a loyal church goer and everything I said was in the form of a question. I guess they didn’t like admitting their answers were less than godly. Anyway, I am at peace now. I am grateful for all I have learned and I know your son and my daughter are hanging out with Jesus just cheering us on for all the love they’ve given us to give others. You are tremendous!

      1. Bill Fer

        Her name was Nichole. I do miss her. The story between her mom and I is a difficult one, but it is also what made me who I am. I felt ashamed for years and lived all that time in the past wishing I could change it. I do still wish I could change it. But I don’t live in shame anymore. Her life was a second chance and I aim to make her proud of me.

  15. Babi

    I saw Ryan’s name on the back window of a car, searched the name online and found your story. I am so very sorry for your loss. I never comment on blog posts, but your family’s story is very touching. I hope you are in peace.

      1. Babi

        I live in Redmond. =)

        I appreciate that you and your family were able to turn your grief in a way to help others. Coping with your loss and the journey that preceeded it, being very open, honest, vulnerable about it… My heart goes out to you.

  16. Dave

    Dear Mrs. Robertson,

    First of all, I would like to say how truly sorry I am for your loss. I can not begin to imagine what you have been and are going through.

    Secondly, thank you so much for sharing your story. It has touched me more than you know.

    As a gay man living in a small town, I have been told my whole life I am going to Hell. My mom and my family love me, but they all say I am going to Hell. I can never discuss what is a huge part of my life with them. As a result of being surrounded by churches and people telling me I am going to Hell, I am shattered. I struggle with the fact I am going to Hell on a daily basis.

    Even though I love God, I can not go to church around here because they do not accept me the way I am. I grew up in church and prayed (begged) daily for God to change me. I love God, but I want to hate Him at the same time. Why would He make me this way? Just so he could watch me suffer and send me to Hell? I do not want to go, but no matter how hard I try I am not attracted to women.

    I just want my family to accept me the way I am. I just want to fall in love and get married, but due to how I was raised I never even try to meet anyone.I feel trapped and all alone, even with my family. I just want to leave and never look back.

    My life is a long, complicated story and I do not want to say much more on a public site. I just wanted you to know how much it must have meant to your son for you to truly accept him….. just because he breathes. From personal experience, I would give all I have for my family to accept me, especially my mom.

    Thank you so much for your time. It means more than you know.

    1. Linda Robertson Post author

      Oh, Dave…reading this just breaks my heart! It is so needless and so wrong that you have been given such a harmful, horrible message about who you are…who you were made to be. I so wish I could give you my eyes with which to see yourself…and even more so, God’s eyes, for I know that He looks on you with such great love and compassion! His heart breaks like mine for you, and He certainly is not condemning you to hell simply for BEING. A God that would do that is certainly NOT a God of love. PLEASE…order Justin Lee’s book, Torn: Rescuing the Gospel from the Gays-vs-Christians Debate, and soak up the Truth about who you are…and please let me know how you are doing, my friend. You will be on my heart and in my prayers.

      1. Dave

        Mrs. Robertson,

        Thank you so much for the kind words. They are a stepping stone that will help me on my way to finding peace with myself and God. I am slowly trying to break through what I feel is an invisible barrier between God and me. Even though my mom does love me, hopefully one day she will be able to love all of me. I will be reading the book you mentioned as I believe it will truly help with my struggle. Please continue to pray for me. I will also be praying for you and your family.
        Again, thank you so much for everything you do. I know your son is so proud of everything you do because I would be.

    2. Linda

      Dave, I have been following this blog for some time and have been touched by many responses similar to yours. However, your story touched me just a bit deeper. I would never ever suggest that I could take the place of your family. However, I would like to be there for you ~ for support ~ for a mother-figure ~ for a reminder that you are loved by God just as you are. My daughter is bi-sexual and came out to me when she was about 15 (she is now 21). I cannot say that we threw a party in celebration – it was a real process. But I do know in my heart that God made her the way she is and would not want her any other way. God is the perfect parent! As earthly parents, it does take us a bit longer to absorb everything. I never rejected her but, in truth, wondered if it was a phase (which now breaks my heart that I did not fully realize). I also have two young men that I grew to know through our church youth group that are gay. I have been lucky enough to rejoice with them as they have accepted their own sexuality ~ as they have matured into wonderful young men ~ and as they have found partners that I now consider friends. I am truly blessed. I would be honored if you could turn to me for support. If you are interested, let me know. I will try to find out how to get you my email. If you are not interested, that is perfectly fine too. Please know that you are in my prayers. Your family is also in my prayers ~ praying that their eyes and hearts and minds will be open to how blessed they are to have you for a son!

      1. Dave

        Dear Linda,

        Those words mean so much to me. It will still be a long journey for me to fully accept that God will let me into heaven without rejecting my homosexuality. Your daughter must be so happy to have you accept her the way she is. Telling my mom was the most terrifying day of my life. I was glad that she did not fully reject me but I can never talk to her about it. The last time I discussed it she told me that she was praying for God to save me. I love my mom more than life itself, I just wish she was a could accept me for who I am. I wish I could find a church to attend so that I could work through my issues, but there are not any around here that would accept me being openly gay. Not that I plan on going through the doors shouting it, I just do not want to have to hide it or feel ashamed. I would like having your support. God knows we all need it. I am just not sure how to give my email because I do not want to place it on a public site. Thank you for praying for me and my family. It would be so wonderful if just one family member accepted all of me, even the gay part. I pray one day they will. Again, thank you for every word you took the time to write. It helps to know I am not alone.

    3. Criselda Marquez

      Dave, I agree with Linda….my heart is breaking reading your post. While I have never questioned God’s love for me the way I am..a lesbian, I can appreciate your overall struggle with church and the need to acceptance. If you want to talk, please look me up on Facebook. My current profile pic is a gold P with a black ribbon. Hugs!!

  17. Dave

    Dear Miss. Marquez,

    Thank you for your response. I grew up in church and knew how I felt was wrong because it was preached against. I prayed daily for God to change me. My teenage years were the worst years of my life, trying to keep it hidden so know one would find out. Keeping it bottled up and not being able to discuss it with anyone did not help. I was so terrified to tell my family that I was in my twenties before I told my mom. I am thankful that you understand what I have been through and the struggles I am facing now. I am so glad that you know that God loves you the way he made you. I hope to be at that place one day. Thanks again for everything and the hugs!

  18. Robin Yerxa

    Linda I sent this story to my daughter she actually thought it was her story. She, like you, has learned what live really means and she has sent you an email …. I hope you get to talk you and she share so much alike her name is Kimberly Hargrove

  19. Zach

    Hi Mrs. Robertson,

    First off, let me just thank you and your husband for opening up and sharing your story. It relates to me on so many different levels (and has honestly made me a bit of an emotional mess…but in the best way possible, I assure you).

    I’ve known that I’m gay since a very young age. However, like the stories of so many others, growing up in a conservative Christian home made this element of who I was (and am) very difficult to deal with. I often thought to myself that it must just be a phase, and I would eventually grow out of it and grow up to marry a girl, start a family, and life would be just fine and dandy. I had a couple girlfriends throughout High School various attempts to try to right my feelings…but it was always the other boys who caught my eye.

    Growing up, my family was always extremely close. I guess you could say that I was a bit of a momma’s boy, actually. We bonded over lots of things, especially when it came to anything creative or related to art and design. Unfortunately, an element of this close relationship, with my mother especially, was broken when I first came out to my parents (separately) nearly three years ago.

    My dad took the news in stride, not really showing much—if any—emotion. It was something that I has assumed that he already knew, given some of our past conversation. However, he acknowledged that I was an adult, and I was free to make my own “decisions” (my quotation marks, not his) but he reminded me of his firm position on the issue and that was that.

    On the other hand, coming out to my mother hit her so hard I don’t think there’s a metaphor out there that will do it justice. I never remembering crying so much or so hard in my entire life. She told (sobbed/yelled at) me that I needed to “get on my knees and beg God for His forgiveness for letting the devil infiltrate my mind like that.” At that time, I really felt like I had hit rock bottom.

    Now, I’m a 21 year old senior in college. I am fortunate enough to be in a relationship with a great guy for the past two and a half years, who’s been a great pillar of support for me in dealing with my family.

    Over the past couple of years, things with my family now have progressed probably in the slowest ways possible. Though for the most part, as long as we don’t bring anything up about “the gay issue,” then things are fine. They love having me home during breaks from school, and its nice to see them, but things are definitely not the same as they used to be. I always feel that I’m walking on pins and needles. My mother will not even watch Modern Family because it predominately features two gay characters. I know there are several other shows that she has also stopped watching because of similar issues.

    I think she’s hoping this will all just magically disappear. I know she has told several close friends of hers at church, who I know share my parent’s opinion on the issue. Our church family was just as important to me growing up, but now I find that some people there have begun to treat me differently whenever I return home from school to visit.

    This situation has grown increasingly difficult as I will be graduating soon. I would give anything to have both my family and boyfriend there…but I feel like that may be an impossible task, as my parents really wish to have nothing to do with him. I have been repeatedly told that he is not (and will never be) welcome in their home. I feel like I’m being torn apart, with no hope of reuniting these two sides of me that I care about so deeply.

    I know people say that “it gets better,” but I’m honestly having an incredibly hard time believing that. I do have some great support from friends of all ages both in and outside the church, but its the (lack of) support from my parents that matters to me most.

    I have tried to have several conversations with them over the years about the issue, but they nearly all end up as screaming and crying matches. I feel like I’m at my wits end and done all that I can do. They refuse to look or read anything other than (their interpretation of) the Bible when it comes to homosexuality. My hope in the next few days is to share your story with them in the hopes that it will finally open up their eyes, and that that they will truly begin to love all parts of me.

    Thank you again for sharing such a personal part of your life, and for taking the time to read part of mine.

    Much love, and God Bless,

    1. Linda Robertson Post author

      Oh, Zach…thank you for sharing so honestly. I will be praying for you – if you are on FaceBook, please find me there…we have a whole group of Christian moms who will pray for you, too. And if you haven’t yet read Justin Lee’s book, Torn: Rescuing the Gospel from the Gays-vs-Christians Debate, I would HIGHLY recommend it. The bottom line is this: no matter how your parents respond, YOU are loved by Christ, and you can continue to glorify Him with your life. It seems like – for many gay Christians I know – their relationships with God only get closer and more solid, since they do not have their families to rely on for security. Praying for you right now, Zach!

      1. Edward Greene

        Zach, I have seen so many hurt over children being gay. I feel for each of you.
        There is a move titled A Fish Out of Water. I suggest you watch it. Would be great if parents like yours would watch it with an open mind. But I do think it will help you and any one else struggling with being gay and Christian.
        I will pray for you

      2. Zach

        Thank you both so much for your thoughts and prayers! It really means so much to me to have that support. I’ll be sure to check out both the book and movie, and find you on Facebook, Linda.

  20. Anonymous

    I just. Found out my grandson is gay. I’m sobbing as I write. Watching your video has helped me. I don’t want to ever lose him or make him feel unloved. Thank you.

    1. Butch

      I was moved by your desire to make sure your grandson’s knows you love him and that you want to never lose him.
      I rarely offer advice and I’m no expert. However, I had a mom who said just the right two things to me when she found out I was gay. And those simple two things solidified a bond between us that lasted throughout our lifetime together.
      #1: She told me how much she loved me and that nothing could ever change that.
      #2: She thanked me for my honesty.
      As simple as these two things are, I bet anything that your grandson would love to here these same words from you.
      Thank you for standing up for your grandson.

  21. Brian David

    Please pray for my parents… i have made it out, have been healing, delivered… but my parents still hate me and reject me for my views on God’s love. Don’t miss understand i believe personally that it is a sin… and i walk with Jesus and walk in celibacy the best i can… i will one day be married and be the father to my kids my father never was… but they are so fucked up as Christians… is now then that have the demons literary…

    1. Linda Robertson Post author

      Brian…As I fall asleep I will be praying both for you and for your parents…it sounds like a sadly false image of who are gracious God is, as displayed perfectly in the life of Christ, has been taught to them. My prayer is that ALL of you will increasingly learn how great God’s love for you truly is – far greater than we can even understand!

  22. carolb12

    Linda Robertson is a DEAR friend of mine. I have a 27 year old gay son and would love to be of help to anybody here if you ever need an understanding heart to listen. I have been where you are–I have bargained, cried, lamented, prayed, sobbed and prayed some more. Love you all unconditionally– My email is carolb12@comcast.net

  23. Nina Rhys


    I am a Unitarian Universalist living in Seattle and actually found this blog indirectly through another blog story that was on Facebook. I am so incredibly moved by your story. As a Unitarian, who grew up Methodist, I come from a spiritual community that is inclusive, what we call a Welcoming Congregation. We have everyone of every creed, color and sexual orientation that you can imagine. When I attend a Sunday morning service I am likely to be sitting next to an atheist, Buddist or Christian and of course many are gay. Often there are discussions about the intolerance of the Christian community and today, reading your story, you have broken down all those walls for me. I see a good Christian family whose experience took them on a journey of love and acceptance. I love that Ryan trusted you enough to tell you at such a young age, and although your beliefs dictated a certain response and direction, you still did it with abundant love. My heart ached when I heard of Ryan’s struggle and his substance abuse. As a mother of three grown children my heart was broken to read this. What is clear is that Ryan knew that he was loved by you and ultimately by the God he worshiped. I thank you for helping me to see the Christian side of this struggle. I think you are doing great work in the world and this is the most wonderful manifestation of Ryan’s loss. I am confident that his spirit is in everything that you do. Ultimately if you have saved just one life by sharing his/your story, then you have performed a miracle.

    Bright Blessings to you and your family.

    Nina Rhys

    1. Linda Robertson Post author

      Nina, your kind words mean the world to me. Thank you for taking the time to hear our story, and to tell me a little about your own. I truly think it is only when we really listen to each other, and see life from each other’s eyes, do we have a chance at bringing about peace in this world as God intended. Much love to you!

    2. Ronnie McNear

      Nina, I have never heard of Universalist Unitarian religion. I found a church about a half hour from my home and think it may be a good place to look into joining. I have two gay sons. One has been out of the house for 6 years for college, the other is 17 years old and has just come out in October. They both were “turned off” by our church over a service that talked about homosexuals. The thought of exploring a new church that is welcoming to all makes my heart happy.

      1. Nina Rhys


        Unitarian Universalist churches are some of the oldest churches in the USA. The creed of the church is “The inherent worth and dignity of every human being”. I would guess that if you went on the UU national website you could find the church nearest to you. The church is very focused on social justice and I think you would find that you and your children were quite welcomed and cared for. I wish you well in your quest to find a welcoming congregation. A community is so important for a family. I’m glad this new revelation is giving you some hope. I often say that our children are our greatest work. It’s our responsibility to send them out into the world with hearts full of love, compassion and acceptance. That all starts with love at home. Linda has reminded me once again what that love can look like. It was a blessing to find her blog.

        Bright Blessings.


      2. P.E. Ward

        To Ronnie McNear: The Unitarians have long been one of the choices of the best and brightest for their spiritual, intellectual, rational, life-affirming approaches to living. Not being an expert in their theology at all, but it is in roughly the same vein as people like Thomas Jefferson and several of the other intellectual founding fathers who were deists but did not follow the organized religions with their various and sundry (petty) dogmas. There are also other denominations which have traditionally catered to the intelligent classes and have life-affirming approaches, which might also speak to you, such as the Episcopal (Anglican) Church (except it is in schism now in America, so one has to make sure one has the intelligent group and not the neanderthal group); another possibility is the Christian Scientists who have reading rooms (libraries) of books on leading a good life.

  24. Vixx Thompson

    I don’t really want to put a lot of my personal life here, but I had a conversation with a deeply religious friend of mine when I came out a second time a few years ago for what is possibly one of the ultimate lifestyle changes. I was frightened that I was going to lose her friendship because of it, but she smiled and said “God wants you to be happy, because if you aren’t happy then you can’t live your best life. If you can’t live your best life then that doesn’t celebrate Him.” She told me that she could see what I needed to do, and that by making my decision I was already happier than she had seen me.

    I have to agree with that. I didn’t know you could be this happy in life just 3 short years ago. I am living my best life now (not that I wasn’t trying before).

    I just wanted to share my friend’s sentiments as I felt that they were the most representative, and they do say God Is Love.

  25. Alex W.

    I am a gay guy. I wish I could show this to my dad, and let him see the mistake he is making. He has pushed me away ever since I came out, and he has thrown me out of the house. I have many gay friends, who my parents never knew about. I admit, I am smoking cigarettes, and hookah just to deal with the stress and to get him to see me for who I am. I hate having to hide it, and have him yell at me. My mom’s birthday was recent. He said for me to go kill myself, just like my friend did. He did this in a crowded restaurant, and it went so silent, you could hear a pin drop. I said, “You want me to never come back? Fine. I will leave. You can have your perfect wife, your perfect daughter, and your perfect family. But all I see is a broken heart and a shattered family. I have not heard from him since. I walked out of the restaurant, and never looked back. I lost so many people, and have had no one to love me for who I am. I wish I did.

    1. Linda Robertson Post author

      Alex…oh my goodness…I am so very, very sorry that your dad isn’t able to love you like you deserve to be loved. I so wish I could do something to help. I will be praying that you will know, in the depths of your soul, that God loves you JUST like you are.

      1. Ron in Tyler TX

        Alex,having grown up in a similar situation and now that I have reached the age of 75; let me tell you that life will get better. Perhaps the family will come around but don’t count on that. Live your life; make it as wonderful and as comfortable for yourself as possible, take pride in yourself and your achievements and the respect and love from those around you will follow.

        1. carolb12

          I so agree with Ron, Alex!! I am 56 and have a gay son. I have done an about face change with this issue or should I say God has done it in me. My son being gay has actually turned out to be a blessing because through this I have learned how to love more like Jesus. There is always hope, but don’t allow the waiting on a change of heart to affect what you do with your life. You are worth much more than that!! In the meantime, there are sooooo many Christians out there wanting to love you EXACTLY as you are. Just as the LGBT community doesn’t like to be put under one umbrella, neither do Christians–You are LOVED–NEEDED and WANTED in my world!!

    2. P.E. Ward

      To Alex W.
      My heart goes out to you. Unfortunately, you have an idiot family. Like many other gay people, you will have to forge a new family of your choice. It can be done (just don’t ruin your health stressing with inappropriate behaviors like smoking, drugs, and other addictions). If you haven’t discovered it yet, I commend to you the website http://www.realjock.com, a remarkable website with many wonderful and wise men of all ages contributing affirming support for people in your position.

    3. Doug in NJ

      Now that the years have stopped I can type. The last 2 sentences just crushed me. I am not gay but being closer to your dad’s age than yours I can easily identify with both sides. I was raised a Christian and taught the evils of the flesh. I was very hard and inflexible in my so called faith especially when AIDs was the only news on. Through life and experience I realized that putting being right before everything else was costing me. I can’t say I truly understand homosexuality but I don’t need to. What I do know is a young man needs his dad and if you were my son I’d sit you down and hug you and kiss your head and tell you you’re still my boy I love. God bless and I know in time you will find peace.

  26. Jeanne

    A friend posted your story on facebook and I sobbed my way through it. My husband is a pastor in a very conservative protestant denomination. A few years ago, our then 17 yr old son came out to us. I literally rocked my son in a rocking chair and cried. From the time he was little, every night I told him “I love you always and forever, no matter what.” That was all I could think to say when he told us. We contacted our bishop for advice and he told us not to tell anyone in the church. We had/have no support and no one to talk to; it’s just not safe for us. Our older son has disowned his brother and his children don’t even know they have an uncle. It has split our family right down the middle and we have not had our family together for almost 10 years now. We have since retired from pastoring, but still don’t feel free to talk to anyone. Thank you for sharing your beautiful story.

    1. Linda Robertson Post author

      Jeanne…you have been the mother I wished I had been. I am so sorry you’ve had to experience such sorrow, watching your family divided and being so alone in this. Please friend me on FaceBook; we have a very private online group for Christian moms who love their LGBTQ kids – it is full of moms just like you. I am Linda Mueller Robertson there…friend me and send me a message and I will connect you. This is not a road we were meant to walk on alone…and you’ve been alone for far too long. Much love to you!!

    2. P.E. Ward

      Pardon my saying so, but your bishop is clearly an idiot who should be defrocked on grounds of gross stupidity alone. It is absolutely clear from just what you wrote that you are one hellava better Christian than he ever thought of being. It is also crystal clear that you have a brain in your head which you know how to use. Unfortunately, your older son is also an idiot, but I guess you have to love him, too, as he obviously got infected from the hateful venom your husband’s “very conservative protestant denomination” fed him over the years. At least you got one good son out of the deal; give my regards to him, and tell his older brother I think he an ass.

      1. carolb12

        Mr. Ward–I will give you the benefit of the doubt and tell myself that you do not realize how condescending and rude some of your remarks sound. To call someone’s child an idiot or an ass, reduces any point you are attempting to make. There are people here with REAL concerns and struggles, who are simply trying to find their way. PLEASE refrain from childish name calling. It seriously does nobody any good. Most of us are either the family of an LGBT person or struggling with coming to terms with an orientation. We aren’t here to hurt anybody. We are just simply wanting others not to feel so alone in their struggles. PLEASE keep that in mind before replying–These are real people, with real heartaches. Tyou!

  27. P.E. Ward

    To the Robertsons: I am most sorry to read of the loss of your son Ryan and commend you to the utmost in posting publicly the terrible odyssey you and your family…and Ryan…took.

    However, when I read “We said all the things that we thought loving Christian parents who believed the Bible – the Word of God – should say:
    … But we know what God says about this, and so you are going to have to make some really difficult choices.
    … 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…,” my reaction was how could ostensibly intelligent, educated adults in the 21st century believe and say such utterly stupid, ignorant, mindless things in the name of some religious (by definition, non-rational, non-scientific, mystical magical wishful thinking) idea. All religions of the world have evolved by the best and the brightest of that society trying to forge some general rules of behavior to make their day-to-day society in their times civil and to bring their ignorant masses into some semblance of order. A lot of the the times they’ve come up with some pretty wacky rules of “behavior.” How in the world could you, a product of Crick & Watson some sixty years ago now, not understand the implications of the DNA double helix and opt for some scribbles from over two millennia ago? Did you not learn anything from the scientific advances of the past half-century alone? THIS is what you should be emphasizing additionally to all those parents of newly discovered gay children that they should do: Throw out all that crap written thousands of years ago by ignorant men by today’s standards writing for their times. Who cares what they needed then: we need the truth of today, and the truth of today is that one is born gay. Period. The mechanism by which it is determined is not yet known, but it will surely be shown to be genetically based with epigenetic additions, probably triggered by the mother’s genetic reproductive machinery. Again, as a practical matter, who cares. The child is born homosexual, and approximately 10% of the population is so born, so go the best estimates. It also seems to run in families, and it also includes a great number of the best and brightest and most creative and talented persons of history: read a listing sometime. You should tell those parents not that THEIR CHILD has to make a choice between his sexuality and God/Jesus, but that THEY need to re-examine their own ignorances and choose to love the product of their loins even more, because obviously in today’s society they are going to need all the help and support they can get.

    I’m not knocking the central tenets of true Christianity to love, to follow the Golden Rule, and to be a good person. I am saying to think for oneself and don’t follow blindly the idiotic pronunciations of the organized religious, who are simply clueless about important things, often have financial self-interests involved, and often uncritically parrot picked-and-chosen inappropriate passages from the Bible to justify their hateful words of their sermons. There exist intelligent Christian churches out there who can be sought out; do it.

    This is what you as the parents who made–and recognize you made–such horrible mistakes over six years of your son Ryan’s life should be making crystal clear to other parents newly facing the same challenge. The parents always are going to try to salvage the feel-good Christianity of their youth and young adulthood with the fact of homosexuality, and they need to be jarred into recognition that in this juxtaposition, Christianity (as practiced by the hateful churches) is wrong and homosexuality is right, or else they are going to end up with dead children, as you did.

    Again, I commend you so strongly for baring the pain of your family saga so openly; it cannot have been or be easy for you, especially when our society as a whole with its drug culture so available is their to envelop persons emotionally hurting as was Ryan and compound the errors you made. My best wishes for you and your family, and if there is a God in Heaven, then He made Ryan in His image and loved him just as he was and Ryan will be so glad for all the good you are doing now for others, even as only his memory remains.

    1. carolb12

      P.E. Ward—PLEASE consider your tone when addressing such DEAR people as Linda and Rob Robertson. They have been to Hell and back over some of their previous choices/decisions, as MANY Christian parents of LGBT children have, but God has used their story for so much good, and to help countless others through their own extremely challenging journey’s. In the group they have started, we all hold Ryan and his mom and dad in the highest regard, and cannot imagine life without their story. Please don’t try to devalue it in ANY way. For many of us, it pulled us out of such a deep abyss that you couldn’t imagine if you tried. We truly get how some of the things being taught in the name of Christianity are so wrong now, and really do not need to be reminded of our ignorance when it comes to this issue. Many of us are continue to work on our brokenness over certain teachings, but we can’t undo our past, even though some of us would give everything within ourselves to do so–We can only do better once we know better, and that is what we try our best to do every single day. Linda and Rob work TIRELESSLY to make a change, and quite frankly, I truly believe it will take other Christians to change the face of Christianity. Ohhhh Mr. Ward, that is such a difficult job. It can be so very hurtful each and every day to be on this kind of journey. We are like David’s to Goliath in the world in which we live, but we can not walk away from our God. I am convinced that the face of Christianity grieves God’s heart as it is now. God never intended for it to become so hateful and political. For us there is no “if” there is a God in Heaven because we have experienced Him. When I first found out our son was gay, and was reeling from this news, God met me right where I was ,and every single day He showed up, and as the old hymn goes, He walked with me and talked with me and told me my son was His own. He brought many beautiful verses to mind about my son being fearfully and wonderfully made and even like what you said when you said, “If there is a God in Heaven, then he made Ryan in His image and loved him just as he was,” those were the exact whispers from God that I received while taking this journey.

      You said so many kind things Mr. Ward that make me know you have a beautiful heart, but that second paragraph brought me to my knees because no parent needs to be reminded of those types of things– Because believe me, when I tell you, that we NEVER quite forget them no matter how hard we try. This ministry that was started in memory of this amazing young man is never taken lightly. When we speak of Ryan it is with a hallowedness that is reserved for only the most inspirational souls. We NEVER take his life, and what it taught many of us Christian parents of LGBT children, for granted–never. I am so ashamed and saddened to say that I probably would’ve never realized the truth about LGBT people had this story and this family not come into my life. I know that is very difficult for you to understand, but it is the awful truth. Jesus has nothing to do with this debacle–it is the twisted teachings of men and their own interpretation of Scripture—something that I ashamedly once bought into hook, line and sinker :-(( I tell people all of the time, I wouldn’t go back to who I was BEFORE our son came out for anything in this world. It has taught me to LOVE better, it has taught me to be less judgemental, and to realize behind every life is a story, but it is also important for me to say that I can’t imagine my life without Christ in it–

      I wish you the very best Mr. Ward. I think you are a very intelligent man, and love that you support LGBT people. I just thought that second paragraph a little too harsh for two people that I have come to know and love so very much that they are like family–It was salt in wounds that are still so very tender. Believe me when I say, if you really knew this family, you could have never made such a statement.

      I wish you well–

      1. Criselda Marquez

        carolb12, thank you for replying to P.E. Ward! I wanted to reply, but just didn’t have the words.

        1. Edward

          To those of you who are so sure the Bible condems homosexual, I suggest you watch the move A Fish Out of Water. If you do and use your God given brain them your attitudes will change. Or at least might give you pause.

    2. Lindee

      P.E. Ward – I am truly astounded at your post. I do not have a gay child, neither am I gay, so what I am going to share with you has absolutely nothing to do with any personal agenda. It does however have to do with having a heart for others. When someone (such as Linda) has bared her heart and soul in the hopes of helping others, she is to be applauded for her courage and selflessness. What did you hope to accomplish by making so many heartless statements? I truly do hope you will take a serious look at what you have posted and follow it with a heartfelt apology to a brave brave mom who has lost her precious son.

      1. Criselda Marquez

        Lindee, thank you so much for your reply! I wanted to reply to P.E. Ward, but just couldn’t find the words.

        1. Lindee

          My pleasure Criselda. This blog is clearly meant to encourage and love on people. The humility and transparency shown in these posts (from the people posting and Linda’s replies) are very special indeed. As a mom, I relate to Linda with a mother’s heart. She, and Rob, have experienced a heartache that can I, and most others, can only imagine. In light of the unconditional love and acceptance that flows through this blog, I truly was astounded to read that particular post.

  28. Jose

    This story has touched my heart. I can´t explain the beautiful, nostalgic and hopeful feeling it has given me, as a gay young christian myself. This has giving me the hope that once I come out, my parents will someday come to terms with it. I´ve decided I´m going to do it soon, and if you allow me to use this story as part of my case I think it will make the argument way less complicated. Much love for you and you´re family all the way from Dominican Republic. God bless you.

    1. Linda Robertson Post author

      Jose…of COURSE you may use our story….I will be praying, dear friend! Know that no matter how your parents respond, your Heavenly Father KNOWS your heart and DELIGHTS in you!!!

  29. Hugo Schneider

    Hi Linda,
    Your story touched me as I come from a very catholic family afraid of explaining a gay son to friends.
    Parents that say they love me but they are happy because Im far away living my life in another country, a country where I can be myself away from everyone else.
    Your story touched me because I hear from my parents everyday that they will never accept me bringing a partner home.

    It is really confuse for me to understand this sort of love, a love they say is incondicional but they will never accept me, the unconditional love that does treat me different because I’m gay. A love that prefers to treat your own son in a different way so you don’t have to explain this to others.

    I am brazilian and came to Australia to study english 3 years ago, getting here when i was 22 made me realise I could be myself and be happy about it, and i could be comfortable in my own skin, and that was when I decided to come out via an email explaining myself, explaining something I’ve hidden my whole afraid afraid they would love me less or abandon me.

    I hear form my mum that I destroyed her idea of perfect family and she would not want to see me ever again and my dad threatening to kill himself because of this, and my only sister that was always on my side said to me that if something happened to my dad or mum because of this she would never forgive me.

    After a while they were saying i could have told them when i was younger and they would have paid the best doctors and churches to cure me, saying that she would rather have a son in jail or drug addicted,sSaying i did not think about them for hiding since i was a kid. They do not know how afraid we are and how it is to grow up listening that there’s nothing worse than that.

    That was when my mum said Australia was doing that to me and she wanted me to leave everything and go back and I said no. Next day they went to church and the priest said you have 2 choices, bring you son back or you go there and talk to him, a week after they had tickets and visa to come to Australia, 3 really awkward weeks where they acted as if they did not know me, their own son.

    The moment i needed my family the most they were all against me, the people i thought loved me above anything.

    I am sure my parents still pray for it to change, they do not talk about it and before telling them we were really really close.

    I grew up in a catholic church and I believe in God, but i just don’t feel good going to the church, a please where instead of loving the others, people are more worried about judging and pointing other people’s sins. I, myself believe that God loves me, and if being a homossexual is wrong, God is the only one able to judge me.

    I’m not doing nothing wrong, I’m a very hard worker, who studied, honest and I just want to be myself, happy and not to do anything bed to anyone.

    I just want my parents to love me for who I am, andI want us to be friends again, I want to be able to share my fears and insecurities with them.

    I just want to feel loved by the ones I love and they do not understand that, when I ask them to be happy because I am happier than ever, they are like, so your happiness is the only that matters, you do not care about us.

    I seriously do not know what to do anymore to have my family back and to show them I am the same person i’ve always been.

    My apologies for such a long text, I just needed to say it as not many people know how it is to be in this position.

    From the bottom of my heart God bless you and your family, and I hope that sad story with many others will lead us to better days!


    1. Linda Robertson Post author

      Oh, Hugo…your story breaks my heart. I am so sorry for the pain you’ve had to endure for so many years. It sounds like moving has been a very good thing for you…You DO have your own relationship with Christ, and He is the only one you answer to, dear friend. I am praying for you this morning…that God will fill your heart with HIS love and peace in spite of the fact that fear is keeping your parents from loving you like you – and they – really need.

  30. Anonymous

    I’m from Brazil, and I have something to say for you: congratulations! You have my respect. Ryan is looking for us. ALL WE NEED IS LOVE! beijos!

  31. Juliana

    Your story is making success in Brazil. You’re an example of what a mother does everything for her son. never feel guilty. I sent this text to several friends, especially for a friend, her name is Betania. her mother is doing EXACTLY what you did. She is already using marijuana, and doing very poorly in school. I hope deep down at heart that has the same end. It seems that her mother does not see that the happiness of his daughter is so simple. The world is the same for everyone. anyway. just wanted to share this story with you. Congratulations, again. I admire you! big hug from brazilians.

  32. Luis

    In Brazil, has many “Ryans”, and I’m one of them. As well as several my friends. Not everyone is able to understand this as you get. And I hope that neither my mother nor for anyone to go through what you went through. With my Heart Ryan, I can say I love you. Love you as a brother in Christ (even though I’m Jewish), and as someone who is happy to meet good people. I sincerely hope get to know you on some trip to the United States. As you can see, my english is horrible. But just a hug I would give you.

  33. sethdumas

    Hi Linda, my name is Seth Dumas and I actually talked with you a few months ago about my struggle as a gay Christian. I just turned 23, and am still attending college in Austin, TX. On February 28th, this year, I decided to come out to the world and to my family. Although my parents were already aware of the struggle, they didn’t know that I would actively embrace my sexuality. My extended family had no idea. Although many of my friends (Christian and non-Christian alike) have supported me, my family (for the most part) has struggled to embrace me. They’ve pushed me away in some ways, and focused so much on how I was hurting them by coming out, not on how much they (or these struggles) were hurting me. I’ve been in anguish for a decade. They’ve resorted to the same old arguments about the distant father/overbearing mother, blaming themselves for my homosexuality and blaming me for pursuing what is natural to me. They preach the same things I’ve heard all my life. Arguments against my sexuality that they are only just now discovering. Although they love me, and have expressed that, they feel they cannot accept me as I am. They believe I have a choice in how I feel – but I know in my heart of hearts that I do not. So I’m torn. I wish I had their support; I wish I could tell them about who I’m dating, about my hopes for the future, etc. I wish I could explain the other side of the Great Debate and that they would receive it with an open heart. Anyway, I just wanted to say that your blog has given me hope on numerous occasions, and that God has used it to speak to my soul. I am so thankful for the ways I see God using your story, even in my own little life. Thank you for sharing it with us.

    1. Linda Robertson Post author

      Seth…Forgive me for not seeing this and replying earlier! I am so sorry to hear that your parents haven’t responded well to your coming out…it breaks my heart – for you AND for them. Are you feeling more confident of your own relationship with Jesus Christ, Seth? I do so hope that you will find encouragement from other gay Christians who are going through the same thing…there are so many of them out there who long for their family’s unconditional love and support. We, as the church, must do a better job creating safe spaces for gay Christians AND their families, as well. Much love to you, Seth! P.S. Are we FaceBook friends? If not, please do friend me there!

    2. Criselda Marquez

      Seth, I hear so much of ‘me’ in your post. I’ve recently been writing about my coming out experience and have read old journals and even my therapist notes from the year before I accepted who I am. I had repressed how much I had written about longing for the acceptance of who I was and of my happiness. I want you to know that it is possible for their hearts/minds to change. It will just take time; and that is the hardest part…having patience. As long as you continue to stay strong in what you say to them: that you have prayed and struggled with this and that you have chosen to be open and honest with them rather than hide who you are…you will be better for it. I have learned that in my family we just do not discuss difficult subjects and this is one of those. But, I do know that my parents love me completely. I have also learned to look elsewhere for people that can and want to embracing ALL of me (like Linda here). I have a circle of friends that give me this. I still long for my parents to be comfortable enough to ask if I am dating anyone (I came out in 1997) but I am realistic and realize it likely is not going to happen.

      Seth, hang tight. You have many, many years ahead of you. Focus on what your parents ARE able to give you at this time. Where there are gaps, fill those with others who CAN give that to you. I do pray that your parents will come to some understanding with some study and praying of their own.

  34. Laelcio Melo

    My mother is also Christian , the type who believes that homosexuality is a mortal sin and that for this reason , I ‘m already damned She makes prayers that I may be rescued from darkness and I know the love that she prays for me . She knows about my sexuality , despite accepting never talk to me about it . I know she ‘ll never leave me , but as I wanted her to have the understanding you now have about sexuality Ryan and I believe that day will come. To my luck , I had people who helped me accept who I am and live without fear and above all believing that God does not abandon me for it .
    Today I live with my partner every day learning a little about life , never letting go of my family , because despite not accept my sexuality , I know they love me unconditionally .
    I thought your story deeply moving and do prayers for every day your heart have peace !
    Kardecist ‘m a Christian , I’m gay , believe in life after death , I believe in reincarnation and I’m sure that where Ryan is , he looks for you and accompanies you. I know certainly , he has already surpassed the pain of life in the flesh and live fully in the spirit hoping to find you in the spiritual realm and say : Father, Mother , I know you fought and did the best for me and never left me and who love me , I love you and am grateful for everything! Peace , like a river into our hearts !

  35. João Vianna

    Linda, thank you so much for your words. I have been almost a year since i came out to my family, it has not been that difficult but the still try to “fix” me or “hide” me, and I truly believe that what happened whit you and your family can help mine. We are all Christians here, and I hope that your words can make then understand what I couldn’t make then see, that I can’t choose between Happiness and Holiness. I truly wish I wasn’t like this, i really do, like Ryan I went to church, I got baptized, but I cant fight it. I am who I am. After reading this I guess me and my family are lucky because I don’t see my self without Jesus love, and without loving him. Thanks A LOT for sharing this, I can’t imagine how much you have suffered and what you have been trough. But if I can say something to you, is that i know you son loved you and was really thankful to you in the end. His last case with drugs was because of addiction, not because of you, or lack of belief in your love and respect. I really hope you know that.

    Thanks again for you worlds, i am sure it has been helping peoples life and it will continue doing. And I hope it helps mine!
    With love and respects
    João Pedro

    1. João Vianna

      I forgot to say, I’m from Brazil,! Just to you to know that you are touching people from all around the world!

      1. Linda Robertson Post author

        João Pedro…thank you for YOUR words…they are hugely encouraging to me today! What a joy it is for me to hear that you are so sure of Christ’s love, and clearly, are showing it to others!

  36. Adriele

    Hi Linda , I’m Adriele when I read what you wrote your son I was very sad for him at the end of which he had , my sympathy , I ‘m a lesbian I’m 17 years old and live with my girlfriend , when I was 9 years old I remember like it was yesterday I falling in love with a girl , and I always know that my desire denied to myself , why I thought God would never love me my way, not only God as my whole family when I turned 13 I thought to myself , God will not stop loving me just because I love another woman then I called my mom to talk , actually at that time when I told her we were going through a very difficult and I did not want to hurt her but anyway I told her , I thought she was going to send me to church and talk it was of the devil or something , and I had a big surprise she told me she loved me the way GOD me did, and she could not change anything in my life , it was just my mother and not my mistress , that was the happiest day of my life and I know that his son Ryan also sure of it should be there looking up to you and your whole family and thanking him so much that he was in love for all of you , if I were Ryan be proud to have you as a mother , Linda knows why ? Because you are proud of him when he most needed . I love you < 3

  37. kathleen

    GOD BLESS you and your entire family—Ryan included. Please step away from your structured religious beliefs (and ones share by others on this post). God made me—-simply—to love and be good to one another—seriously at 12 years of age, people think children are evil and have evil thoughts?? Your son died to teach alll to be tolerant and kind to one another–God will judge and he will judge on what was done with what he gave to each of us! To love someone—male or female—let it be, for God sake! Thank you for sharing your story, but more so, to Ryan who shared his life so others could BE!!! God bless. kmt

  38. Max

    It is a story with a very sad ending. It is unfortunate that your son had to die so unexpectedly, especially just after you got together and reconciled.

    Well, I guess sometimes the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

    Perhaps if your son was bisexual or straight then he could have married someone of the opposite sex without having to choose between religion and sexuality. It is good that you understand now, that sexual orientation is not a conscious choice and cannot be changed at whims notice.

    Well done. Your story is truly inspirational.

  39. Eje

    Stopped by this page again. This gives me hope when my pain is great. Being virtually invisible to my mother hurts more than anyone should have to deal with. Thanks to an awesome therapist, I am living my life authentically while building a new family support system of friends. However, the pain remains as long as she continues to avoid growth. Thank you for this post/letter, it is perfectly written.

  40. marcos vinicios

    Dear Linda, I have just read these blog entirely. I am gay, I used to go to church 2 years ago and God told me that He loved me no matter the circunstances. I cried so hard reading about your story and I thank God that He is using u to make difference in our generation. He loved ur son, u loved ur son and he knew that, he really knew and could feel that. I love you so much for being this awesome person, I love u for being a bridge between the Jesus love and people who thinks that nobody loves them. Thank u very much…

    1. Linda Robertson Post author

      Marcos…I can’t tell you how much joy it gives me to know that you heard directly from God the thing that every gay person needs to know…that no matter what people may say, their Creator delights in them, exactly as they are. YOU are a gift.

  41. Claire

    Thank you. My son just came out and I felt so lost… I didn’t know what to do or say. I just happen to find your page and it helped me so much. I am not religious but I think my feelings are pretty much the same as if I were. I am afraid for him but I’ll be there for him if he needs me.
    Thank you for making your story public. Thank you.

  42. Alisa

    Greetings! Very helpful advice within this post! It’s the
    little changes that produce the biggest changes.

    Thanks a lot for sharing!

  43. Anonymous

    Linda, thank you so much for sharing your story. Here’s me: I’m 30 years old, been a Christian basically my whole life and I’m finally accepting the fact that I’m gay. I had been spending a lot of time in the Word and I woke up one morning feeling closer to the Spirit than I ever have and knowing that it was all ok. That I was accepted. That I could investigate pursuing a relationship with this wonderful man that God seems to have put in my life. Now a little time has passed and my doubts and confusion are seeping in. At first I was excited (though very fearful) to come out to my family (I have not yet). I know it will destroy them emotionally. But my old ways of thinking, of feeling nervous that I’m angering God by sinning, is creeping in. My doubts are so painful. All I want is peace with God, and I know that my obsession (all of our obsession!) with this issue has just gotten insane–I’m more neurotic about it than anything else. I should have just come out 10 years ago and gotten a husband and spent the time I’ve spent worrying volunteering in a nursing home or doing something USEFUL. All this back and forth is not useful. Anyway, I can still be swayed back by the hardest-line interpretations of scripture on this issue but when I do then I can’t feel God anymore, I can’t feel hope, I can’t feel air. I’ve had such an amazing sense of freedom in accepting that something bigger than me and outside of me (being gay) was happening to me instead of me having to manufacture every meaningful thing in my life, and had such a happy joy that God was better than I thought he was and had done a miracle, and then was excited SO excited to preach Him to my gay friends–an enthusiasm for evangelism that I haven’t felt in years because until now my own testimony was just the story of me being stuck. I felt ten years younger. I can’t go back to the old way of thinking… partly because now it seems like God is acting in a way I’ve always wanted him to act: strong, present, perception-shattering. If I’m wrong and all of this is just brought on by my sinful nature or enthusiasm over a new crush making me crazy, then what on earth in my life, in my experience, could I ever ever trust again?? if I go back then I am twice deceived! i can’t live with that. I can’t go back to that box. So it seems like I have to ignore all the counsel I’ve had on this issue in my life, possibly lose my family, my home church, and fight my own doubts away to have a new life.
    Sorry, not trying to be dramatic but I’ve never put it all down like this and it feels so good to get it out. Bless you again Linda for sharing your story. I think I saw in a previous comment that you could get someone in touch with a mentor. I need a wise gay Christian mentor so much–can you get me in touch with someone?

    1. Linda Robertson Post author

      Yes, yes, YES. I will email you privately…but I have a couple of quick suggestions. Candice Czubernat is a WONDERFUL therapist who has a web-based practice (The Christian Closet), and each of the individuals I have referred to her (coincidentally, all gay Christians in their early 30′s, doing exactly what you are doing) have told me that she has been a literal life saver. God works powerfully through Candice…she is a wise and skilled counselor.

      I really need to create a resources page here…your comment has made me realize that my list is way out of date. You can find some at the end of the post So What Do You Really Believe?, but as I said, there are several glaring omissions…the first being Matthew Vines’ brilliant book, God and the Gay Christian.

      In my opinion, you are on the right path to reconciling your sexuality with your faith in Jesus…and YES, it can be done. The fruit of going back to the old way is obvious…while the peace that you’ve experienced by beginning to open yourself up, just as you are, to God…it is what we hear over and over from gay Christians…that they’ve never felt closer to the Lord than when they stopped fighting and started believing that God loves them unconditionally, and wants to use them to share His love with the world.

      Much love to you…we’ll be praying, friend!

  44. Sam LaMartina

    Linda- Thanks for sharing this. I can sympathize with it completely. I’m gay and mom and dad sent me to counseling when I came out to them…. I added you on Facebook to have someone to talk to. My church has basically tld me that I’m not welcome, etc.


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