What I Wish I Would Have Said When My Son Came Out…


I would love to say that if I was given a do-over for the evening when my 12-year-old son Ryan first came out, I’d tell him that the news that he was gay was wonderful and that we were rejoicing to know more about the person God had created him to be. But that wasn’t who we were – it wouldn’t have been realistic given our family’s convictions, beliefs and values. I’d like to share with you what I actually could have said, without changing or compromising our faith. I think it embodies what Christian parenting is all about – Choosing to place our focus, our efforts, and our desires toward ways that we can love our children well, as Christ loves them.

So here is my do-over: 

Ryan, I love you.

I can’t thank you enough for taking the risk to tell me more about who you are.

To be honest, I feel scared.

But please know that YOU are our priority here, not how we are feeling.

You are more important than what people at church think. If we need to find a new church, we will do that.

You are more important than what other people in our family think. When you are ready to tell them, we’ll have your back.

We have a lot of questions, and it may take some time for us to figure all this out, but what isn’t in doubt – EVER – is that Dad & I love you endlessly, and we want to continually make sure that you experience that love in a practical way.

But if you aren’t, please tell us, and we promise to listen without defending ourselves so we can learn how to better communicate love to you.

Since you’ve been keeping this heavy secret for a while, and that is too much of a burden for any 12-year-old to carry, we want to hear what this has been like for you.

I know that we need to listen way more than we speak – You have our permission to call us out if we start lecturing.

The core of our faith is the truth that God IS love and He loves us unconditionally. So we promise to actually believe that as we walk through this journey together.

We’ve been taught all of our lives that the Bible says God does not support same-sex relationships. But we want to have open hearts, listening to the Holy Spirit, admitting that it is possible that we could be wrong about this. We’ll stay humble and teachable – values that you’ve heard us talk about a million times in this family. If we forget – throw a red flag and remind us to walk the talk!

Dad and I are determined to have your back, NO MATTER WHAT.

We want to be on your team. Always.

We want to be in your corner. Permanently.

We want to be your safe people. Irrevocably.

We are reminding ourselves that nothing has really changed, Ryan, except now, Dad & I have the great honor of knowing you more deeply.


11 responses to “What I Wish I Would Have Said When My Son Came Out…”

  1. As a gay man, I say: “Great answer, show love to these family members and let God sort the rest out. Anyone who comes out has most probably been wrestling with his/ her sexuality for years. Showing disappointment or disapproval will not help. Sometimes family members feel that by being loving to a gay relative that they are somehow endorsing someone else’s choices. Love and leave the judging up to God. You probably aren’t perfect either.

  2. Linda, Starting with thanking your child for the courage to tell you is awesome! Society puts out the message that sexual preference, gender identity, and gender expression must be within norms. The few passages in the Bible give them justification. Facing this judgement constantly is terrible. This is why we need books about healthy relationships including same sex in elementary schools and sex education including same sex in 5th grade, pre puberty. Even with your full support, he might have made the same choices. Life outside the norm is hard. It shouldn’t be. It doesn’t have to be. God is love and loves us unconditionally. God wants us to have healthy relationships and be who God created us to be. God doesn’t care about the sex of your partner, how you dress, or what name you go by. He wants you to love and embrace the beauty of all his children. If someone is struggling with this message, they need to find a new church that is focused on love without judgement. May you find the peace that passes all understanding.

  3. This is beautiful Linda. You have no idea how much I respect you and how your story helped our family. You and Rob have helped so many. Thank you.

  4. I sooooo wish I could have a do-over. My son and your Ryan were same age. I have so much respect for you and Rob for telling your family’s story. Only wish I could have seen your video BEFORE my son came out. I have tried for ten very long years to repair the damage my reaction caused. It is very hard. Thank you!

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