A Letter to the “Just Because He Breathes” Haters

This week I’ve been deluged with messages and comments by people who are incensed and infuriated by our story. By us. I didn’t see it coming this time, since I haven’t blogged or knowingly posted our story anywhere lately.

You have called us f-king murderers, child abusers, people who should never have been parents, and self-obsessed narcissists, who demanded apologies from our son, without ever realizing that we were the ones who had wronged him. You’ve told us that we might as well have shot our son, point blank, before he came out, because that would have been more merciful than what we did do. We’ve read how idiotic and stupid we were to not learn basic parenting truths until our son was on the streets, killing himself with narcotics. You’ve called us some pretty horrible names, some that have been posted online, some not. I’ve only read a small fraction of these kind of comments, but from those I have read, I hear your message loud and clear.

And these are just from those of you who hate us from the “left” side of the conversation. There is a whole separate contingent of people who condemn us from the other side…but thankfully, they’ve been quiet lately. Nope…the religious folks don’t like us much, either.

I have cried a lot this week. I have sobbed at the threads of truth contained in these hate-filled messages. Which might be gratifying to hear, for some of you.

I have to wonder, though, about you, the people who hate us. Do you really think that we are bragging about how we parented? Do you suppose that we told our story, at the request of a small group of underground LGBTQ students, with the intent of getting attention or garnering pity? Or even worse, with the purpose of accumulating accolades?

If so, you would be wrong. Dead wrong.

Admittedly, there have been countless LGBTQ people who have written to tell us of their similar experiences, and to thank us for sharing Ryan’s. There have been parents of gay children, both young and old, who have written to tell us that our story has prevented them from doing the same thing – following the prevalent, still widely preached belief that Christian parents with gay kids must do everything possible, if they love their children, to protect them from this allegedly soul-endangering immorality.

And many of those people have been exceedingly loving and gracious toward us. We are so thankful for each one who has written to tell us that our story has changed their story.
But please, don’t for a second think that those affirming words let us off the hook.

Please don’t imagine that we revel in some newfound “fame” or that we find solace in the number of times that the Huffington Post article was shared, or the view count of the video of our testimony at Exodus’ final conference.

None of this makes the pain any less.

For those of you who want to be sure that we know how wretched we are, be comforted. We know all too well and feel the pain of that knowledge every day.

I wish you could sit down and ask our close friends, our surviving kids, our therapist and our pastors whether or not we are really aware of the severity of our mistakes, the complete wrongness of our actions. They would tell you what I tell you now:

We don’t live for a single moment without regret.

Our much loved eldest son and dear friend Ryan is dead – a fact that I daily try to get my brain wrapped around – and if you have ever had a child and lost them, you know that the pain of losing a child NEVER leaves you. NEVER. We will live with intense sorrow over his death until our own deaths, and right now that sounds like a very, very long time.

When we weep and mourn we don’t question God or wonder why He allowed our son to die. We don’t have questions for God that complicate our grief…we only have questions and accusations of ourselves. The tapestry of our grief is woven through with threads of remorse, regret and self-reproach.

Each time our Affirming Hope LifeGroup packs our living room, we die inside a little as we ask ourselves if THIS was what we were so afraid of. These amazing, loving, responsible, honest, generous children of God. Really?? We didn’t want Ryan to grow up and be like them? These people who have become some of our closest friends?

Each time we read a heartbreaking coming out letter, we hear Ryan’s voice echoing from the pages, revealing new depths of the pain he felt as a very young child, knowing that something was different…that he didn’t fit into the expected mold of our family.

Each time I sit down to work on writing a longer version of our journey through Ryan’s coming out and our responses, and in preparation, I read the things we wrote to him along with his replies and journal entries from those years, I fight utter despair at the deep, deep level of our misunderstanding. Once he wrote to me, in very large, all caps, “YOU JUST DON’T GET IT!!!” Oh, how right he was. How completely right he was, and how tragically wrong we were. WE JUST DIDN’T GET IT.

For those of you who seem determined that we know how completely and totally wrong we were, WE GET IT NOW.

We have not insulted ourselves from the hundreds of stories from LGBTQ teens and adults, both written and told to us, stories that recount the intense pain, agony, self-loathing and suicidal thoughts caused by the same teachings that we communicated to Ryan. We have not stopped reading Ryan’s own journals that record that very same suffering.

But we also know that we’ll be continuing to “get it” at a deeper level the longer that we live in community with those who have been oppressed, listening to their pain and through them, learning about our own child.

For those of you are seem determined that we suffer and are held accountable for our mistakes, we can only say that the pain of knowing how deeply we wronged Ryan and not being able to sit down across from him and ask his forgiveness (as we did during the last ten months of his life, and as we do now with our surviving kids when we wrong them) is agony beyond all attempt to describe.

We tell our story to anyone who will listen for ONE REASON ONLY. We are trying, in our own small way, to do something right. By exposing our own disastrous errors, we pray that others will learn from us, and treat their own children differently. We pray that it won’t take them six long years and losing their child to drugs and the streets in order to wake them up to the truth that every parent MUST love their children without any condition. Our children learn to love themselves through the love that we have for them. And a child who is told, “I love YOU, but I do not love your sin” does NOT hear love. He does not learn to love himself or that God loves him. Ryan did not. None of the thousands of gay children who have written to me have heard love through those words. None.

So, to those of you who have written to tell us of our utter depravity, we couldn’t agree more.

Many of you have rejected the God whose “words” were used to reject you, and we can see why. But for us, we know that we are utterly, completely broken and without hope. Our hope comes in the form of Jesus Christ, our Redeemer, the One who can take our deplorable actions and use them, somehow, to give hope to others…to speak His love to those who have been told they are unworthy of it…to give parents who have told their children they are no longer welcome at home the humility to ask their kids for forgiveness…to kneel before them and weep for their own sin. In the words of a band that Ryan loved, here is what our Hope looks like, in the face of our utter depravity:

I know one day, all our scars will disappear, like the stars at dawn
and all of our pain, will fade away when morning comes
and on that day when we look backwards we will see, that everything is changed
and all of our trials, will be as milestones on the way

and as long as we live, every scar is a bridge to someone’s broken heart
and there’s no greater love, than that one shed his blood for his friends

on that day all of the scales will swing to set all the wrongs to right
all of our tears, and all of our fears will take to flight
but until then all of our scars will still remain, but we’ve learned that if we’ll
open the wounds and share them then soon they start to heal

as long as we live, every scar is a bridge to someone’s broken heart
and there’s no greater love, than that one shed his blood for his friends

we must see that every scar is a bridge, and as long as we live
we must open up these wounds

when someone stands in your shoes and will shed his own blood
there’s no greater love. we must open up our wounds
From Thrice’s album Vheissu, released on October 17, 2005.
Listen here

And as long as God keeps using our story in to build bridges for others, we will continue to open up our wounds and share each time He prompts us to.

We don’t expect you to agree with, or even respect our faith (especially since many of you have been gravely harmed in the name of Jesus) and you don’t have to believe that our motives are good, but I hope you will see that we choose to speak out about our story ONLY because we believe that we were wrong.

There are many, many leaders and pastors out there still teaching that parents should treat their gay children just as we did, and for that reason, we cannot stay silent. This is not about us. This is about the children, the pre-teens, the teens, the young adults and adults who are still living in self-condemnation, not believing that they are worthy of God’s love, because that is what they are hearing from their church communities and from their parents. And that has to stop.

Lives are at stake.

So even if you hate us, can we please agree on this one thing? If we each do our part to stop the oppression and start saving the lives of LGBTQ kids, maybe we can actually be a world with fewer haters and a lot more lovers.


Note: To those who feel compelled to write and tell us to forgive ourselves…thank you for caring about us, and wanting to ease our pain by encouraging us to be merciful to ourselves. But if you’d simply pray for us instead, we’d greatly appreciate it.

We have a very close circle of friends and family who speak into our lives and have permission to talk with us about this, as well as a distinguished psychologist and spiritual director who we meet with regularly. And most of all, we talk to the Lord about this all the time, and He is walking this journey with us. We don’t know if He will lead us away from our journey of learning more about the pain that we caused; He might or might not. But we do know that He is faithful and good, that He has never failed to provide for us and that we can trust Him. Thank you for respecting this request.

190 thoughts on “A Letter to the “Just Because He Breathes” Haters

  1. Ryan G.

    I’m 60 now. My parents have been dead for several years, but I was dead to them a long time ago. They gave me the choice of being quiet and lying vs not going to any family function where sooner or later a relative would want to know why I’m not married. I chose not going. l chose leaving my family behind because I was tired of them trying to shame me, hide me, keep me away from my nephews and nieces. I was tired of them calling me a faggot behind my back.

    My parents refused to change. From age 14 on, I was alone in my family. Till the day they both died, neither would fully accept me. Ultimately, they preferred losing me in their lives, to having a gay son in their lives.

    I feel such sympathy and caring for you. You have changed, and I fully realize the change came too late for you, but I read your story and I know your honesty and courage will help others. By sharing your tragedy and horror, you will help others avoid it.

    Thank you so much for sharing.

    Reply
        1. momcat1128

          Darryl, I know that many religious people have caused a lot of pain in this world, but there are also many of us whose faith is very important to us, as are our gay kids. We are working from inside the churches to help eradicate the hateful messages that are being given to our kids and others. We are working to educate people and help change minds and hearts. Linda and Rob are two people who are working very hard to help make that happen.

  2. Auggie

    Hi, Linda. I just followed a link to your blog from your most recent article on Huffington Post.

    I am 47 years old, married to a woman and we have two children; this summer I came out and told them I am gay.

    As I read your story, I’m inclined to think that had I come out when I was a teen living at home, my parents might have responded in similar fashion. I hold that belief because when I was 16 years old, I was suicidal. During a conversation with my parents and our pastor (which is as close as we got to counseling), and I informed them of where I was, my mom’s response was “What would God think?” If God couldn’t deal with suicide, then I was sure that something as “horrible” as being gay. In fairness, I hadn’t even really come to terms with me being gay then, but I think that my assessment is valid.

    Now, having come out to my parents who are in their early 80’s, I realize that they were doing the best they could. And I would give you the same benefit of the doubt. I was really fearful that with this news, they would hole up in shame. They really rose to the occasion, reached out where they felt it made sense, and found a way to be understanding of it.

    I no longer identify with Christianity for many reasons, but certainly my sexual orientation is one of them. The God of my understanding is pure, radiant and unconditional love who would never reject his creation, never, ever, ever. I realize that all religions have value for those who are involved and I hope the Christianity is moving in a direction of love.

    I am certain that your son is as present in your life today as he ever has been. And it is my feeling that he holds nothing but pure love for you now. I hope that you find that for yourself as much as possible, for that is when you have the best connection with him.

    Blessings to you.

    Reply
    1. Darryl

      I think sometimes religion can be the ‘blind leading the blind’. Certainly, religion has violent roots, but does offer some salvation. I personally, have removed myself from religion as no-one agrees with each other within their denominations. If we look historically at Christianity, there is no less than re-occurent violent crimes and hate towards others who are not ‘normal’ or who do not ‘convert’. Do not make the mistake of justifying yourself to religion by another reason. He lost his life by Christian Ideologies, nothing less. Christianity as mentioned antecedent is an extremely violent religion, in contrast to what they brain washed you to belief.
      I would say God bless – but there is no God =/.
      It is a good thing, to be without hope for the afterlife, as you will focus more on what is important in this life – family, friends and lovers. (Not organisations)

      Reply
  3. Auggie

    Hi, Linda.

    I am 47 years old, married to a woman and we have two children. This summer, I came out to them and told them that I am gay.

    Had I come out as a teen or in my youth, I can imagine my parents having a similar reaction as your initial one. When I was 16 years old, we had a family meeting with our pastor because I was really struggling. During that meeting, I told them all that I was feeling suicidal; my mom’s response was “What would God think?” Even though I hadn’t really come to terms with my sexual orientation then, it certainly left an indelible mark about their perceptions of God. If God couldn’t handle thoughts and acts of suicide, there certainly couldn’t be room for being gay.

    Now, having come out to my parents in their early 80’s, I have come to realize that they were doing the best that they could. And I trust that you were doing the same. I was so pleased to see them rise to this occasion by reaching out for the support that felt right to them.

    I have long since stopped identifying with Christianity. The God of my understanding is pure, radiant and unconditional love who would never, ever, ever reject her creation. I hope that Christianity continues to find more paths of love for those of us who don’t fit some misguided idea of a mold that is “right.”

    I trust that your son’s presence, though not physical, is as real and alive as it ever has been.

    Blessings to you.

    Reply
  4. Anonymous

    I don’t ever comment on Blogs or posts but because this issue is near and dear to my heart I am. There is obviously nothing that I can tell you that you haven’t already figured out. I think what makes me so sad is that I thought so many people were past this issue at this point and time but I guess I was wrong. My uncle was gay and was disowned by his family, everyone except my father who loved his brother for who he was. My uncle in turn decided to live a lie for his family and disregard his own feelings and desires. He’s been gone now for over 20 years and I refuse to believe that he’s in hell just for who he was. So yes I’m one of those who has turned my back on the church. My father taught me one of the greatest lessons I’ve even learned. He always told me that people are people no matter what. I’m sorry that you didn’t realize that until it was too late. I’m very glad my parents taught me that long ago. My best friend is gay and he was so nervous to tell me because people had already scorned him. When he told me, I asked him if he was the same person he was five minutes ago, he said yes and I replied that five minutes ago he was my friend and nothing’s changed in that time. We’re been friends now for 20 years.

    Reply
  5. LizC

    Dear Linda,

    I am the mother of a wonderful gay son. Initially I, like you, said the wrong, supposedly Christian things. I have asked my son for forgiveness, he has granted. It is so much easier to love!

    I cannot lesson your pain, or protect you from mean-spirited people who do not know love and forgiveness. I want you to know, by your willingness to share your pain-filled story, at great cost to you, you bless and help our family.

    Here’s how:

    My husband and I now authentically love our son and know God is directing his steps (and ours). We no longer add the caveat, expected by Conservative Christians, “but we always hope God will change him.” We believe he is created by God good, just as he is. No orientation change necessary.

    We know psychotherapies will not change us or him. We educate ourselves and speak to gay people and family members of gay people. Not one has said they chose to be gay, or learned how to be gay, or were wounded and became gay, or were even initially happy to discover they were not straight like most of their, usually teenage, friends. It is Conservative Christian ignorance that says people are making a choice to be gay, or that being gay is the result of something gone wrong in one’s life. The Gospel doesn’t change, but the church must.

    We have found a new church, and it is (what we would have formerly looked down upon) liberal. It is liberal in love, acceptance, inclusion, forbearance, and, I must say, it is delightful! It is a breath of fresh air. We experience so much freedom. We have a renewed energy to serve!

    We pray for our son to return to the Lord who loves him. We encourage him to find a church. A gay church. One where he is comfortable and gets the message he is alright. This is our sadness, that he leaves God out. The root of his wounds are in us, our former Conservative Christian teaching, and the church. Our hope is our son will feel safe again with us, with God, and with a fully functioning, inclusive church.

    We are more devoted Christ-followers than ever before. Our journey with our gay son has opened us to unconditional love, acceptance, forgiveness, strength, and many new and budding friendships. We have so much hope in our future!

    Lind, you are a part of all this in our lives. I hope we encourage your heart in some small measure. Love you~

    Reply
    1. Linda Robertson Post author

      LizC, you ARE an encouragement! I hope you will find me on FaceBook and join our private group of Christian moms who love their LGBTQ children! And…one thing I am sure of, whether or not our children ever “return” to the Lord, the Lord never leaves them for even a second…never. They will ALWAYS be His beloved children. Much love to you, friend!

      Reply
  6. Lisa

    Linda – I think many bloggers who have come down on you on Huff Po can’t fathom why you don’t reject the teachings of your faith and how you allowed yourself to be so ignorant for so many years and now… even now you believe that this unthinkable tragedy is God’s will or path that he put you on – I know you need to make sense of this tragedy by trusting “God” and your spiritual leaders but for many people like myself, a parent and advocate for children and the LGTB community, asking me to pray for you is asking me to accept your belief that God had something to do with this and clearly if you are a spiritual person – that is incomprehensible. It is man’s ignorance buttressed by false teachings of MAN that led you and your family on this path.

    Reply
    1. Linda Robertson Post author

      I agree, Lisa, that it was man’s ignorance, and man’s false teachings. I don’t think. though, that any of what happened to us was “God’s will”…I don’t. And I sure hope I didn’t communicate that I expect you, or anyone else, to pray for us.
      I can understand why so many people are angry that we haven’t given up our faith (our religion, yes, but our faith, no)…but for us, it has been God’s faithfulness and love in the midst of our mistakes that has given us hope. I don’t expect others to understand or respect that, but for us, that is the truth. But truly, God forbid that my own personal beliefs would ever cause me to hurt or disrespect someone else in any way.
      I hope we can disagree, but agree to respect and be kind to each other. Thanks for listening, Lisa.

      Reply
  7. Andrew

    Hello Linda.
    I am a school principal, married for 32 wonderful years, and I have two children (a son and daughter). My daughter is 29 while my son is 26. When I came upon your article about the public responses you received, my heart broke over what you went through. My heart also goes out to you as a parent. I put myself in the place of what you faced and cannot say that I would display the courage you have. I hope I would, but our heart is too complex to fully understand ourselves. I would comfort you with this wonderful hope–Jesus is no longer imputing our trespasses against us. He does not blame, condemn, accuse, or judge. He sees us through His Blood. This is wonderful news because this means I don’t have to measure up–EVER! All I need to do is love others (all others) regardless of their circumstance, situation, consequence, decisions. I can’t change anyone, but I can love. And love is our highest purpose and aim. Therefore, I must be patient and kind. I must not be jealous, boastful, proud, or rude. I must not keep a record of wrongs done to me. I must not demand my own way. I must believe the best of all, hope all things, and endure all things. Notice I said, “I?” Love never looks to change others; love looks only to bless. As I look over my students in middle school, I view them through the lens of a parent. I love them all. Yes, they make mistakes and suffer consequences, but I always leave them with this thought–you are not a bad child; you just made a bad decision. We don’t and will not play the blame game. Their souls are most precious to me, and they have enough issues, pain, shame, and guilt in life to face. They don’t need condemnation. They and their parents just need love. I encourage you to continue to love. This will change the world when nothing else can. Continue to love those around you as though they had never done wrong. Bless those that curse you; do good to them that hate you; pray for those who despitefully use you and persecute you. Thank you for being brave and sharing your story. Andrew

    Reply
  8. Gee

    Linda,

    I hope you realize just how many of us grew up in homes similar to yours, pretending to be Christian and ignoring the teachings of Christ for the words of false prophets. A loveless home is something a lot of us can relate to, and they are almost always homes guided by false prophets pretending they know the will of God.
    Any hatred sent to you from the LGBT is no doubt from this place, and many of us (including me) have been down the road your son went. Its a well worn road. I hope you don’t feel like the only parent that made poor choices based on advice from false prophets, there are millions just like you. It isn’t even just LGBT kids, its lots of kids that aren’t quite “normal”. False prophets teach you to damn your own children for their glory. It might look horrible in hindsight, but its not that hard to see how you got there.
    Moving forward you do have the opportunity to spread the real teachings of Christ in a very real way in the present and the future. Its always amazed me how simple his teachings are, there isn’t much that needs to be done at all, but we do have to learn how to love, and do so without conditions.
    I don’t know where you live but I would suggest you find places of love. Volunteering is a great outlet for me. Its when my hands are busy that my heart is most open.

    Reply
  9. kirk

    God Bless You and God Bless This World I no longer live with hate or pain in my heart or Soul…

    Dear Robertsons –
    I ran across your blog and story today on huff post / I’am actually in tears for you and your son and your in my prayers and thoughts for your continued healing…there is nothing a person can say to you to ease the devastating loss that you’ve suffered or likewise there is nothing I could say to thank you both enough for sharing your stories and story with us / but I can breifly tell you my story is similar in many ways to your Son’s: I grew up in the 70s a punished scared gay kid my parents were not “religious” but the majority of kids and people around me were ever to remind me that God hated me and hates everyone basically: the basic idea was that when you needed God he was nowhere to be found and if you ever sinned or were Gay then God would find you and punish you with eternal damnation. Basically I got the idea that being homosexual wasn’t so much a sin but being born Gay meant that you just basically were Sin incarnate and that there was nothing that you could ever do to change that…this wasn’t about repenting or being a good person or going to church this was what you were born as to my mind so I drew the conclusions that a kid could without any other information or even gay people around to tell me or show me a different example. The Pain and confusion was truly mind bending and then to add another layer to my story I really wanted to go to church and to know the Jesus that I thought or hoped did exist apart from these vicious haters who used “their Jesus” to act out on me or the other kids who could not defend themselves…I went to a local sunday school that talked about the bible – I went to high school Christian groups that met weekly I visited many and several churches as well trying to find God and Love…Once again this was the 1970s and people didn’t use the word “Gay” except in hushed tones with pointed fingers or rumors whispered that this person or that was a Fag or something to that effect….
    My Sense of reality became really warped actually from not being able to even utter the words of the Truth that I knew around 10 years old…I knew my sexuality was fixed – I knew it wasn’t going to change and I also knew that my life was going to be a living Hell…and it was actually…
    There was a non stop string of questions from people and friends about whether I was a Fag ext…I got phsycailly beaten up I went deep into my self or the Closet as they say and began creating a whole different self and personae but alas the pain bled thru and I attempted to end my life with a cocaine overdose at 12 years old – I didn’t succeed and I never told my parents about it either….
    Ive often wondered had this aspect of my life not been such an overwhelming all encompassing source of lies pain fear frustrations and terror connected to my concepts of romance – God my family – what family means and on and on yes Ive wondered where Id be in my life if someone had told me that “hey God Loves you as a Gay person as well…you can find a guy get married and even have a family…” but that wasn’t in the cards for me.

    In everyway imaginable I went off the deep end much like your son and fell into a darkness of alcoholism sex despair depression suicidal thoughts and actions harming myself and causing chaos and pain for all I came into contact with as well…At one point I even encountered a Marnatha Preacher who performed an exorcism on me as well: I feel into a deep darkness that I felt was my destiny as a gay man…had I heard your message or the truer messages now online about God Jesus specifically and being Gay in general then my past history would be very different…but…

    My story does have a happy ending actually I never succeeded to killing myself in totality although I allowed many parts of myself to die and whither in darkness when I could have been living in a Divine God Truth of Jesus and Light – Eternal Light…
    My story now has the hope that one day I might meet the guy God wants me to be with and yeah get married and have a monogamous marriage…that all Ive ever wanted was to make and have a life partnership with another guy…

    At times I feel so so deeply scarred that I don’t know if thats still possible for me but I do have hope for myself and the younger gay kids who want that as well…
    In the last few years I returned to Church !! Attneding the sunday services on occasion but mostly just sitting in the awesome Gothic Cathedrals of God;s house alone in silence in the afternoons where I live in New York City…

    At 24 years old I had enough God had enough and I had a gosh darned awesome white Light experience — I let go and then I got clean and sober actually and have just now celebrated over 30 years clean and sober and sane…and comfortable with God Jesus and my Spirit and my body and mind…
    today I counsel people about Spiritual connection and teach them to achieve their dreams and goals thru Prayer and Meditation
    I also work and have worked with many recovering addicts and alcoholics to help them to stay clean and sober…

    In any event I read the latest huff post article today and your letter to the “haters…” who have contacted you both – for that and them I’am sorry your having to go thru this…

    People in pain more often than not act from that pain…but you choose to take your pain and give the world and myself a true healing….you will be in my prayers for this next month of my meditations and prayers for your continued healing…

    much Love in God Christ Truth and Light…
    All Blessings to you and your Son….in Heaven…

    Kirk

    Reply
  10. Liz

    This is an amazing and heartbreaking story. I have my own young family lost due to either parental ignorance or indifference.
    I can tell you from the bottom of my heart that you did what you felt was right at the time and the haters have no clue what terrible parenting looks like. As parents or adults that children look up to, we do the best we can via our beliefs. This is how you approached it and you learned from it and are doing the best you can to wave the red flags and get others to notice and not make the same mistakes. It reopens the wounds, but helps the healing if you can even make an impression and possibly save one life, one family.
    You “got it” and I thank you as parents for sharing your story, no matter ones religion, our children need our love and guidance, not possible judgement.
    I know I am rambling a bit, but I do have a question. Have you seen families or been in contact with children in similar positions and tried to warn them? Been frustrated or even angry if they don’t seem to listen?
    In my story, I warned and raised red flag and they didn’t listen and still don’t even recognize what happened.

    Reply
    1. Linda Robertson Post author

      I have, Liz. Usually once parents hear our story, they are pretty open…but those who aren’t open usually don’t become more open through talking with me. At some point, I try to remember that even if I can plant a seed, it is worth it…but I can’t change anyone’s deep convictions. Only God can.
      So many parents though, are realizing that their kids are far too important to risk, and they are instead risking the approval of their churches and friends, in order to love their kids. Those are the parents who we pray to reach…those who are still in the conservative church, but who are open to the Lord leading them to love their kids fully, trusting in Him and setting aside fear.
      Thank you for your grace and support, Liz. You are truly appreciated.

      Reply
  11. Ron Meyer

    Hi Linda,
    I wrote to you,, maybe a year ago, when I first came upon your story,, but certainly, I don’t expect you to remember! I am a 57 year old gay man. I married a woman at age 18, because that it what my church and society told me that I was supposed to do. After 7 years,, I finally ‘came out”. The results were temporarily horrible,, I was VERY alone for some time. Everyone, including my parents and family turned against me. But, God didn’t.
    Despite the treatment of my Southern Baptist family and friends,, I maintained my own personal relationship with my God. I have always been deeply spiritual,, just not conforming to many so called “Christian” beliefs. In time, my family came around,, and my wonderful sons came to live with me after they became a little older (very condensed version of that story here)
    SO,, I have just read what you have written, and I have to tell you, I broke down and sobbed. God is working through you, through your ministry…. and PERHAPS,, this is the reason for the sudden increase in the attacks on you. The darkness of this world HATES to see God’s servants doing God’s perfect will. Sometimes it seems that the closer we get to doing exactly what God intends for us,, the more intense the attacks from ‘the other side”. I hope that I am making sense here.
    I know that you know this,, but you have not really lost you son. He is alive and well,,, just hat he is not with us in this place. You will see him again,, and I hope that I get to meet him too!
    My partner and I,, Southern Baptist and Penticostal background,, have FINALLY found a spiritual home, in , of all places,, the Episcopal church. The worship services are different,, the love of God is there! IF, by some chance, that you would be in the Maryland area,, I am SURE that they would love to meet you. I KNOW that our pastor and his husband would!
    I am but one person,, but I want you to know that you inspire me. For the past few years, I have experienced health issues that have forced me to leave the corporate work world. Moe and more,, I am feeling that I am being called to some kind of a ministry. This is a mystery to me at this point,, and I am asking God to direct my path. Would you pray for me please?
    My words seem SO small,, but I hope that you can feel the love that I am doing such a poor job of sending your way.
    May God bless you and give you the courage to continue,,, your work is so VERY important to so many!
    In HIS love and Grace,
    Ron

    Reply
    1. Linda Robertson Post author

      Praying for God to give you direction and guidance, Ron…it is clear to me what a gifted, humble and beautiful servant of God you are. We would LOVE to come worship with you in Maryland! I am so thankful you have found such a Christ-filled church home.

      Reply
    2. joshua

      if you are really looking to go into ministry then try studying how Jesus only allowed for marriage between one man and one woman and said everything outside of that is sin. Now if you believe that Jesus the creator of mankind who only did what He saw the Father doing and only said what the Father said and neither of them knew about sexual orientation, thus no homosexual marriage, then how can you be sure about anything else. I mean really. If Jesus said, which He did, that all sex outside of marriage, porneia, is sin and those that commit it go to hell, yet gave no marriage for homosexuals, let alone for bisexuals with dual orientations who may want to marry both of their “loves”, then what else did he say that was worthy of hell was wrong?
      When also did male with male intercourse suddenly become not defiling as it says in Leviticus 18. This is not part of the law as it says in Leviticus 18 that God the “I am”, also known as Jesus, as He called Himself the “I am” in the New Testament (John 8:56-59), said He judged the nations without the law for this act because it defiled the very ground and the ground actually cried out to God for the judgement because it is so vile. So since it is outside of the law, when people falsely claim that christians are not under the law, it is of no consequence to the point. Yet just seems to be ignored as a great mystery or compared to eating shrimp because it is also an “abomination”, even though male to male intercourse is toevah and eating shrimp is a sheqets. Eating shrimp is a specific law for the Jewish people to separate them from other nations only, as we can see by Noah being allowed to eat them (Gen 9). So please do your own soul and others and before you go into the false ministry against Christ that you have in your heart. Seek Him first and learn His ways. Your and other people’s eternity matter.

      Reply
  12. Freckleking1

    I saw your article today on yahoo and I cant say how sorry I am to hear of your loss,but, i am extatic that you are using your live to prevent others from making the same mistake that has caused you so much grief. Dont forget People can be biggoted and sometimes wont listen at all just push through that and keep on Shinig.

    Reply
  13. Jessie Taylor

    I have been in tears reading your blog. I am praying for you. I am encouraged by you!

    I just “came out” and as a leader in the church, this news to my pastor, friends and family was not taken with kindness, but with hate. I have lived with this for my whole life and have always been afraid of what people would do/say. This has been one of the hardest times in my life. My friends tell me I need to be fixed and that I am living in sin. I am so lost. These past few weeks have been a roller coaster and I haven’t been able to any light in this tunnel. They tell me that I am in a place that is evil and that I am not standing with God. I know that one day all this will make sense, but that day doesn’t feel like it is close. I feel like I am fighting a losing battle.

    Reply
    1. Linda Robertson Post author

      Jessie…I am SO sorry. I can’t imagine what you are going through. Have you made a connection with Gay Christian Network? There are so many incredible people there who have been through the same thing; I think you’ll find a lot of support. Praying for you tonight, and praying that God will change the church through people like you who have the courage to speak the truth.

      Reply
    2. DJ

      Jesse, my heart goes out to you, brother. Please know that you are not alone. Many of us born and bred gay Christians have fought (and are fighting) the very battles that you speak of. I went through years of doing what your pastor, friends, and family want you to do: I tried to change, to be “fixed” as you say. And it nearly cost me my life. Quite literally. Many in the ex-gay ministry that I was a part of had the same story. And I’m ashamed to say that I was a leader in that ministry, and tried to make others take on the shame that I harbored for myself.

      My life is so very, very different now. I regret the many mistakes I made in my past. And I live to make sure that others do no repeat my mistakes. God made you just the way you are, Jessie. Beautiful and queer (or however you identify). I cannot make any promises about your loved ones. Some of them may come around, some may never. But pleasing them is not worth your life, and it’s not worth your mental health.

      “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.” Don’t forget that. You will get through this. Trust the God who made you. Trust that he made no mistakes with you. Trust that he will sustain you through these difficult, seemingly impossible times. And please, follow up on Linda’s suggestion. Reach out to the GCN folks. There you will find camaraderie, community, love, and acceptance.

      Love to you.

      DJ

      Reply
    3. Ron Meyer

      Hello Jessie,
      I was once in about the same place that you are today. Married, my wife and I were youth directors and held other offices within our church. When I came out,,, all of that was completely denied to me. It was as if I suddenly was a different person,, and my feelings didn’t matter anymore. The church was cruel to me, and did not feel any remorse for my ill treatment. It has been almost 30 years,,, they still are doing the same thing to people.
      You are SO right! One day, this WILL all make sense. Life, as you know it, is going to change. Those who profess to be friends will be found to be not so. It is VERY difficult when one has centered our whole life around a church, only to find that we are now unacceptable to them. I remember this well. I have never been so alone as I was back then, but, it got better! If you wish to contact me I would be more than happy to correspond with you. Am I permitted to post an email address here? I am Misterfixit044@aol.com.

      Reply
  14. Andrea

    Linda,
    I found your blog through rageagainsttheminivan. I am so thankful for your message to all, and I think your Ryan’s life is so celebrated and honored by your choice to share his story with the world. While the details of the circumstances of Ryan’s life and death have had a big impact on me, I keep focusing on something else. You see, I lost my sister a year ago this month. The story of her death was that she had a horrible illness involving her immune system that took her from us over a period of 7 years of decline. Her life and death had nothing to do with sexual orientation. I just keep thinking of Ryan’s siblings. My sister’s death has devastated me. Are Ryan’s siblings doing okay? How are they coping without him? I find that there isn’t a lot of mention or attention paid to grieving siblings, but I can say first-hand that it is a very, very difficult journey. (I blog about my journey here: http://www.andreahwilliams.blogspot.com) Thanks for letting me “know” Ryan through your blog posts. Love to you and your family, especially Ryan’s siblings.

    Reply
    1. Linda Robertson Post author

      Andrea…I am so sorry about Sue…losing a sibling is, as you said, devastating. I haven’t mentioned our other kids because they haven’t chosen to be public about their journey, as we have. I will tell you this, though…it has been much more difficult than any of us ever imagined. At the same time, they’ve become incredibly loving, compassionate adults who would make their brother very proud.

      Reply
  15. rgermain14

    So here’s the thing, you talk about “getting it” and “forgiving yourselves”, but in fact you still do not “get it” nor are you worthy of forgiveness.

    You may as well have just shot your kid in the fucking face. I mean honestly that would have been better, it would have been way less painful for him had you just blown him away.

    Instead you assholes basically water boarded your kid with hate.

    Now you want us “haters” to get over the fact that you did this to someone? Fuck you, fuck no, get the fuck out of town. That’s three fucks, you’re out.

    So in short, yes, there are a lot of us who are “incensed” by the death of your son, and hold your family responsible.

    Personally, I actually go farther and hold you and your kind responsible for the death of EVERY SINGLE LGBT PERSON who faces persecution because of your adherence to hateful religious doctrine.

    You deserve no forgiveness, and you certainly will find none for me. I have nothing for you but remorseless hate, and I do not wish you well.

    Reply
    1. Linda Robertson Post author

      I don’t expect you to get over the fact that we did this. Not at all. I certainly won’t.
      If Ryan was alive, and reading this blog, he’d be furious. Fortunately, our son was able to be far more forgiving and gracious than you are. For that, I am so very thankful.
      I wish YOU well, rgermain14.

      Reply
    2. proud lesbian

      rgermain, I can certainly understand your anger. I have been there. I have suffered due to those who wield religion as a weapon. Anger is a normal and justifiable reaction to actions that harm others.

      I hope you can let go of at least some of the hate and anger. I have learned that anger/hate consumes the person who holds it far more than it does anything to the one at whom it is directed.

      Forgiveness doesn’t mean that what the other person did is okay. It doesn’t excuse the pain, the actions, the choices of the other person, etc.. Forgiveness is a gift to yourself. It means that you choose to not allow that person/event to have control in your life. It is sometimes a choice that you need to make over and over. Ultimately, forgiveness is freeing–for you.

      I wish you the best and I hope that you are able to release some of the anger and hate.

      Reply
    3. bryannaaron

      Ouch. What happened to compassion and forgiveness? Being upset over this is honestly killing you, it has nothing to do with Linda or her son. As long as someone continues to host hate, they’ll be continually killing off a part of themselves and eventually a whole. A lot of your message seems to be psychological projection. Whatever it is that happened to you in the past, that affected you in the sort of way that would cause you to say such things…it honestly saddens me. I hope you can forgive whomever that person is or was, because they still hold a part of you and you still hold a part of them. To generalize as “your kind” I guess you’ve only encountered Christians that would cause you to think they’re bad people, there are some good ones out there. My parents disowned me and I’m entirely on my own now, yes I have weak moments. But I don’t hold anything against them, because that isn’t my job. My job is to love unconditionally and that is it, with no expectations for that love to be reciprocated.

      Reply
    4. Dale Young

      As a gay man I find your response beyond appalling. There was no malice on their part. I feel nothing but extreme sadness and empathy for these loving parents. Yes they loved there son more than anything. I can hear it and feel it so clearly. By telling their story they are doing something amazing. They are the kind of people that can make a real impact to change things. Did you not think that the very public painful admission of fear guiding their decisions instead of faith might influence others to think of things differently. What if the telling of their experience saved the lives of many. I can say it had a profound effect on me. The timing of the story was nothing short of a miracle. I have struggled with substance abuse most of my adult life but am considered high functioning and fairly successful. If I ever doubted the existence of a higher power that doubt has been removed just by hearing the love, grace and faith of these parents at just the most perfect moment. They don’t need me to defend them but I am deeply saddened by your remorseless hate so fell compelled to do so. Hate cannot drive out hate only love can do that. Dale Young

      Reply
  16. rgermain14

    So, here’s the thing, you talk about “getting it” and being told to “forgive yourselves”, but you still do not “get it”, nor are you worth forgiving.

    You should have just shot your son in the fucking head. Really, you should have. It would have been more humane, less painful.

    Instead you assholes opted to drop his life in a salad spinner of fuckery, and water board him in your hate until his unfortunate end.

    Your hands are drenched in his blood, and the blood of every single LGBT person who has died because of oppression at the hands of people like yourselves.

    Stop kidding yourselves, you deserve no reprieve, nor should you expect those of us you call “haters” because we hold you accountable for your crimes.

    I have zero room in my soul to find forgiveness for you, that is one stone I will not swallow.

    I have nothing but hatred and contempt for you and your kind. Know that I hope you never find solace, that I hope the guilt and grief consumes you.

    I do not wish you well.

    Reply
    1. Linda Robertson Post author

      What would I have to do to prove to you that we are trying to “get it”…? You do not wish me well, nor do you forgive me, which is fine. I can understand that. But what I don’t understand is, how would you like us to respond to this differently?

      Reply
      1. proud lesbian

        You are trying to “get it.” You are doing far more than many people in your situation have done. By sharing your story (and opening yourself up for personal attacks), you are trying to keep others from making the same choices.

        I am unsure what you mean entirely by “get it,” though. If you’re referring to understanding how it feels to be a gay person who is treated that way, then no, you probably won’t entirely ever “get it.” The only people who can entirely “get it” are those who live through similar experiences.

        However, you can try to put yourself in the gay person’s shoes, which you are doing and have been doing. You can reach out to others who are similarly harmed, which you have been and are doing. You are taking huge risks to try to understand as much as possible what it is like for a gay person who is attacked by and through religion. You are doing far more than most, and your words and actions speak for themselves. You are trying to “get it.” You are trying to reach out and help others. You are trying to change minds. You are choosing to do what is right. You have courage, and you have developed compassion.

        Some will never forgive you. That is their choice. They have their own scars to heal and their own battles to fight. I hope that someday, you can start the process of forgiving yourself.

        Reply
      2. rgermain14

        Linda, honestly I don’t know if there is anything that you could possibly do to change how I feel. I have spent an entire day so incredibly angry, so disgusted in you that it was almost hard to see straight.

        As you may have noticed, your son’s story strikes a particular nerve with me. Like his, my name is also Ryan. After skimming your posts I’ve found I’m just slightly younger than your son. It angers me that I’m here, that I got lucky, and he got shafted by people who couldn’t see past their bibles.

        It also angers me how common the narrative is of LGBT youth being rejected by their families really is. As an EMT its something I see too often. I cannot even begin to describe to you just how much it pisses me off both personally and professionally when that happens.

        Maybe it would have angered Ryan off to hear what I’ve had to say to you, and how I’ve said it to you. Maybe he would have gone on to change the world. Maybe he and I would have gotten along if we’d met, maybe we would have been enemies, maybe we’d be frenemies. Just like any speculation as to who he would be today, it is just that, speculation, conjecture. Why? Not because of some horrible disease, not some freak natural disaster, but because choices you and your family made.

        You come on social media and you seek some sort of absolution for what you’ve done, a measure of solace for an unforgivable crime. That is just something I do not think I could ever do, not as long as people like me have to go rushing, trying to pick up the pieces of someone’s life because its easier to stand behind a faulty interpretation of scripture, to be a selfish hateful bigot.

        Believe me Linda, I don’t hold just you in contempt, for the damage done by people like you. But this specific case is squarely on your head.

        Reply
        1. Linda Robertson Post author

          Ryan, thank you for taking the time to explain why our story has made you so very angry. I don’t want absolution from you, and that is good…because clearly I am not going to get it.
          And yes, this case is on me.

        2. DJ

          Ryan, I’m so glad you responded back. So many people on the blogosphere just do drive-by hating without ever explaining what’s behind their anger. I am perhaps reading between the proverbial lines a bit too much here, but it sounds like you not only have a great deal of anger about this, but also a great deal of hurt. I do hope you find peace. I hope you find some hope and comfort. I definitely hope you see straight again 🙂

          I know I can’t talk you out of your anger any more than I can talk Linda and Rob out of their guilt about this. But what I would really hope for all of you is that you can have a moment of human connection together.

          Too often, we take our fury and our frustration, and we don’t see the humanity in the other. It’s what fuels the ongoing Palestinian debacle. it’s what ignites the never-ceasing spiral of gang violence. It’s what keeps our politicians from ever accomplishing anything meaningful for this country.

          Maybe, just maybe, you could all share in the depth of your hurt and pain, and just maybe you can find some shred of beauty in each other. At least that’s what I want to happen, because I’d like to think there’s something worth hoping for with humanity: that we can actually achieve peace, love, joy, and harmony in this crazy, mixed up universe.

          Either way, I just want you to know that I ache reading this. I ache knowing how angry this has made you. As a gay man, I can relate with a lot of that fury. As a former ex-gay man, I can also relate to a lot of Linda’s former thinking on this matter, as well as her change of heart. I think we could all agree on this: I think we all wish that positive change, and learning how to love – REALLY love – didn’t come at the expense of Ryan’s and countless other youths’ lives. That cost is just too damn high. And I think we all weep because of it.

    2. Andrea

      rgermain14, if we want things to change then surely we should embrace change when we see it. We who support gay rights shouldn’t vilify people who are still on their own journeys of change lest we become haters ourselves. I grieve for the pain you must have experienced and am asking you to consider that change, acceptance and unconditional love happened in this story, even if it didn’t happen in yours.

      Reply
    3. Jeff

      rgermain14: Here is what I wrote to Linda and her husband on Facebook.
      —————-
      Linda and Rob, PLEASE do not stop doing what you are doing. Your story moves me to no end. Because of your story, I was able to say what I did at my sister’s same-sex wedding this summer (a statement of apology for past rejection). I have been able to make my own amends in many ways with others because of what you are doing. You are helping others to avoid your mistakes by speaking so openly and honestly about them. You give me courage to do the same.

      This paragraph especially is why I urge you, if God so leads you, to not stop what you are doing:

      “There are many, many leaders and pastors out there still teaching that parents should treat their gay children just as we did, and for that reason, we cannot stay silent. This is not about us. This is about the children, the pre-teens, the teens, the young adults and adults who are still living in self-condemnation, not believing that they are worthy of God’s love, because that is what they are hearing from their church communities and from their parents. And that has to stop.”

      People need to be able to witness that people can change, even after tragedies like Ryan’s death, and make the world a better place for others because of what you went through yourselves.

      So grateful for you and all that you do and communicate. God’s peace, love and strength be with you.
      ————-
      Linda could just stop saying anything, but because of her, many LGBT youth and young adults are being protected from what could be harsh treatment, because they are opening people’s eyes and hearts to true love they can share with their LGBT loved ones. Please don’t speak so hurtfully to Linda. She is doing much good in this world.

      Reply
  17. Cara

    Thank you for sharing your story in detail. I can’t imagine the pain you go through each moment. I hope your story impacts people who I personally know who feel it’s their right to judge someone’s sexuality. I serve a loving God and I know without a doubt he loves each of us regardless. Be at peace knowing you will see your sweet son again in heaven someday.

    Reply
  18. Andrea

    Dear Linda: I’ve watched your presentation and read every single blog entry not because I have a gay child, but because I could insert any other adjective in place of “gay” in your posts and come away with some great parenting advise. What I’ve learned from you is that our children are precious, and even when we discipline them or let them go, it should always be done in love. I left the evangelical Christian church in my early 20’s because I believe in human rights (which includes gay rights, of course) and couldn’t reconcile the doctrine with what my heart told me: It’s all about love. Our entire purpose here on earth and with our families is to show true unconditional love. That’s what Christ taught. Christ never mentioned homosexuality, He preached unconditional love. Your blog reinforced in me that belief. I live in a predominantly Mormon community and have many friends and relatives who are dealing with the “We love you but not the sin” message and it is so, so devastating. I’m sharing your words with every religious person I know in hopes that they will see the truth about unconditional love before it’s too late. I’m so, so very glad you had those last months with your son where he lived and breathed your constant, unconditional love. He was very blessed to have you as parents.

    Reply
  19. Tom DeSpain

    As a parent, I understand your original attempt to do what you thought was protecting your child based on your religious beliefs. As a gay man, I appreciate your work to help change a misguided and very detrimental system of misunderstanding about someone’s sexuality. As a human, I apologize for the hateful responses to you and your family in sharing your story. You have suffered enough and I have great empathy for you and your family.

    Reply
  20. Nathan

    Linda:

    I read your post and people loving and hating. In the end it does not matter what people think of you and your husband. There are those people who are so bitter that they lash out and probably will never be happy. I want to say that your struggles and witness are not in vain.

    We to are a conservative Christain family and we have three children. We have two boys and one girl. Our oldest son, Nick, who was 13 at the time came out to us as gay in April of this year. We had suspected this because he was doing and saying things that made us question. But was in back of our mind was your story about Ryan. We read your post about his life and death about 5 months prior to our son coming out.

    When Nick came out we knew that no matter what, we would love and accept him. It was not easy at first, but as we live our lives, we realize that we still are parents of three children and one happens to be gay. Our son has blossomed since coming out and we see such a change in him that we are very proud of him. Despite our love and support, we do not feel that we would be fully embraced by the Conservative church or the gay lobby. For us a family, that is ok with us.

    Both sides are yelling at each other and their prism is viewed towards political power at the expense of families like ours. I don’t want to be a party of that and we are teaching our son to think for himself and not go along because someone shouts louder.

    We all do make mistakes as parents. I am sure you at times blame yourself and I can’t offer you any insight because we are not in your shoes. God gave you Ryan and you were his parents. You did your job and you God entrusted you to parent him even though God knew the outcome when Ryan was born. Remember, you and your husband ultimately need to please or be accountable to a party of one-God.

    Be blessed and know that that God has not left you!

    Reply
    1. Linda Robertson Post author

      Nathan, your message is being printed out and posted on our fridge. It is EXACTLY what we needed to hear today…you are right…God has NOT left us! I was just cringing because I saw that our original blog is still being shared widely today, knowing that it would bring a lot more hate mail to wade-cry through. And then I see YOUR message. SO MUCH HOPE.

      We LOVE hearing about Nick…Wow…what a huge encouragement to hear how he is thriving. I think you’d be encouraged to hear – meet friends of ours, whose teenage son also came out recently. He is a pastor, and will be speaking in January at the Gay Christian Network Conference. Here is the sermon I think you’d like:

      [audio src="http://www.newheart.cc/audio/NH20140209_Homosexuality_DannyCortez.MP3" /]
      or

      Nathan, we’d love to connect with you and your wife…if your wife is on FaceBook, please let her know that we have a great private group of Christian moms who love their LGBTQ kids…I think she’d love it. It is full of amazing women from all over the country. She can find me – Linda Mueller Robertson – and send me a message, and I’ll tell her more about it.

      Thanking God for your family tonight!!

      Reply
      1. Nathan

        Linda:

        We have emailed back and forth recently. As for my wife she did speak about it the other day. I will mention it to her in what she said.

        I want to say two more things to try to encourage you and that is to remind you that Jesus said that many will speak against you because of His name. You are speaking on behalf of parents like us and even for my son and other gay Christian young people in the church.

        The second thing to remind you is that when God created Ryan he said that his creation in your womb was good. Even though Ryan is no longer on this earth, He still entrusted him into your hands. God has not left you nor has he forgotten you. You and your family are special. Don’t you ever forget that!

        Reply
        1. Linda Robertson Post author

          DJ! Thank you!! What a CRAZY and beautiful thing to be asked to speak at an Exodus Conference, after our journey! And a whole group of LGBTQ alum from Biola raised the money for our airfare, took the day off work, and came to support us. THEY are the heroes…without them we would have never been able to make it down to Irvine with only a week’s notice. God is so good! Love you, DJ!!

    2. proud lesbian

      You are accepting and loving your son, which is the most important thing.
      You mention the “gay lobby:” What specifically do you mean by that? Why have you already decided you won’t be accepted?
      The gay people I know (myself included) are welcoming to all of those who do not harass us, harm us, oppress us, or otherwise mistreat us. It does not sound like you would do any of those things, so please don’t pre-judge that you would not be welcome.
      As far as gay people being upset with Christians: Please understand that those who harm gay people in the U.S. the most claim they do it because they are Christian. They claim that they need need to deliberately hurt us, discriminate against us, etc., because they are Christian. Clearly, they are misusing their religion. However, when the only reason that we do not yet have the exact same rights as everyone else is because of the actions and beliefs of some Christians (who say it is their religion), then that can lead to tension and anger. When religion is used as a weapon and it causes great damage, it should be understandable that the victims will eventually fight back against their oppressors.
      Sometimes people overgeneralize and think that all Christians are the same: they are not. However, again, all of the gay people I know (including myself) welcome Christians who are not trying to harm us. There are lots of gay Christians (including myself). Please do not assume your family would not be accepted. My very conservative Catholic immediate family members are very much accepted in any and all LGBT events, groups, etc., that they attend. That’s because my immediate family members follow Jesus’s message to love your neighbor as yourself and they do not seek to harm people just for being born LGBT. They treat LGBT people with dignity, respect, and equality.
      As far as “political power” for LGBT groups: All we seek is equality. We want the exact same rights you already have: we want the rights that are unconstitutionally denied to us and that should always have been ours. We want to be treated with respect and dignity, and to be accepted: exactly like you already are. That is it.
      Please consider attending PFLAG: this amazing group is specifically for parents, friends, and families of those who are LGBT. There are chapters all over the country.

      Reply
        1. Nathan

          A few things. I read your post numerous times. Something made me think that I never said to him before until now.

          Both my of my sons and I were at the beach yesterday and we were making sand castles and enjoying the weather (we live in Florida). Anyway, Nick my teenage gay son and I talked about different things and he shared something to me that I feel that he wanted my views. I guess he has been told at school by his straight friends to stop acting “gay” and they were teaching him to “act” straight. He told me that he tried and that this was not him. He has also told me that when we go and visit my wife’s family for Thanksgiving he will try to “act” straight and lie about who he was.

          I listened and when we got home, I told my wife about our conversation and he should not have to lie. I was surprised when my wife said he is gay and that is who he is. The more I thought about this, the angrier I became.

          I could not wait and I texted Nick at school this morning and told him that we love him and are very proud of him and that he needs to be who he is and that he cannot be what someone wants him to be. I am waiting for him to come home and tell him, “Son, you are a beautiful creation of God. Being gay does not make you any less in our eyes. We do not want you to hide who you are and if people can’t handle it that is their problem. We are a gay family and we will not shy from this.”

          I am seeing that my son wants to be who he is and not allow other people dictate who he is. As his father, I hope he does not hide who he is amongst his straight “friends”. If they want him to “act” straight then maybe he needs new friends.

          As for family, that is their problem. My wife and I will step up for our gay son and we will encourage him to be who he is-a gay Christian teen.

        2. DJ

          Nathan, that was just beautiful. I wish I could have come out to my dad when I was your son’s age. And I know my dad wishes that he could have responded the way you did. But it was a different time, and things just didn’t turn out that way. But it warms my heart that we live in a world where a conservative Christian can respond with love and acceptance to his gay son. You are fantastic parents! Thanks for making me cry 🙂

  21. The UndeniableRobbert J. Bricker

    Wow.

    Just wow.

    I remember reading about your family’s tragedy quite some time ago. I’ll be honest, my initial reaction was, “Well, you don’t a have a gay son anymore.” At that time, I would have thought you all were secretly happy… That you’d soon sweep it all under the rug and move back to your little box of prepackaged christo-fascism, alas, things have really changed for your family.

    As the father of three grown sons- A ‘gay’ father- This story is just gut-wrenching from the get-go. It hits me on so many levels. I understand the anger that others have shown- You understand it as well. I really hope that folks will read this entry and see where your hearts are and all you are doing to try and save someone else from this horror story.

    Not that my opinion of you should matter, but I have grown to have a deep respect for you both. That is my take as a gay father.

    As a former Pentecostal Minister, I am truly sickened by some of the horrible things that have been said to you… In the name of Jesus, of course. Egad. How you handled this situation with your son was out of pure ignorance and you were programmed to handle the situation the way that you did. While I have little patience for these cretins who purport Christ- Yet willfully ignore his greatest commandment(s)- I must remember, ‘They too are programmed to react just as you were- Just as I was’. I hope you can remember that, as well, and not allow their words to effect you. I know… Easier said than done. 😉

    If I was still a minister… A believer… I would tell you that god can take something that is completely horrible and turn it around for the good… And from a few comments throughout your blog, it seems that is happening… And you are the catalyst. Not that we should rejoice in the demise of Ryan, but rejoice in the fact that god has taken this tragedy and use it to help so many others.

    As a father… A gay father… My heart aches for you. My heart aches so much that it has caused me to reevaluate my own parenting skills- Er- Lack thereof. We all make mistakes as parents… I have made too many to count. The trick is going back to the very thing Jesus taught, “Love your god and love others as yourself.” He goes on to say that all the law and the words of the prophets hang on these commands. It is by love that we can conquer. It is by love that we gain understanding. Love is what gives us freedom from the bondage of legalism and law. How have we missed this?

    As a human being… Just a human being… I am sorry for all your pain… I am sorry for my initial thoughts and I apologize on the behalf of those who cannot see where you are in your lives and have said some horrendous things. Remember, they too are programmed- Whether programmed by religion or programmed by pain.

    I encourage you to continue your quest and journey. Please know if I can ever be of any assistance, please do not hesitate to ask. 😉

    Peace to you and yours.

    Robbert

    Reply
    1. Linda Robertson Post author

      Robbert, can we sit down and have coffee? That’s what I’d like! Your post was a pure joy to read…so much wisdom and humility. Your kids are sure blessed to have you as their Dad, truly. Your words give me courage, and for that I can’t thank you enough.

      Reply
  22. Steven

    Linda,

    I didn’t know your story until someone posted this post and I went back and read the original letter you had written. I have to say I’m pretty emotional right now. I want to say that anyone who is coming at you with hate is missing the point entirely. You did what you thought to be the right thing at the right time. But you changed, for the better. You lost Ryan…but you had 10 months of joy with him. Don’t blame yourself for his death. Rejoice in the moments you had with him that were wonderful, and continue to learn from him. Hate is a completely useless emotion. Please don’t hate yourself for what you did. There is no handbook to being a parent. You did your best, and you cannot change what has happened. Just rejoice in the wonderful person that he was. He will always be with you.

    Reply
  23. rcapt

    Linda,
    After reading your story – and the response you’ve endured from so many hateful people – I fear I lack the words to say much of value. What I can do, however, is offer you my thanks. Thank you for your courage, your honesty, and your willingness to do whatever you can to bring some positive change from your nightmare. I can think of no better testament to the beautiful soul you will always remember than to make lives better as a result of what you have come to know. Everyone has their own reality to navigate, and I’m sorry yours has included this loss. Be gentle with yourself and at peace with knowing your son would want the same. I’m a son … trust me on this.

    Reply
  24. zoomzoomy

    Reblogged this on zoomzoomy and commented:
    I’m a name is Clayton Riley. I asked earlier how to connect to your blog. Well, I guess as you can see I have figured it out. I have a lot of reading to do i see, thank you for sure in your thoughts and life and thoughts about your life.

    Reply
  25. amybridges

    Thank you for sharing your story. I am so very sorry for your loss, and grateful that you are willing to open yourself up like this. Regardless of any of the hate mail you receive, I can’t imagine how many lives are being changed by your willingness to honestly and humbly tell this story. You have given a voice, and hopefully some comfort, to so many parents within the realms of religion that are struggling with the same thing. Parenting is a difficult journey for all of us. In the end, all we have is love. I watched the video of your speech at Exodus in Irvine and was moved by the pictures of your son. He seemed like a fun vivacious boy even in the pictures. May God bless your journey and continue to use you.

    Reply
  26. Mickey

    Dear Linda,

    I cried right along with you when I watched the video of your talk at Exodus International. Although I no longer believe in God, I was raised Presbyterian, and my father is a retired minister. I am so fortunate that my mother loves and accepts me unconditionally, despite my own strange love life, although my father struggles from time to time. I am so sorry that it took your son’s addiction and homelessness to realize that unconditional love should never be followed with “but”, and his death to realize that there are other ways to be a Christian than those you were indoctrinated with. It is a sad by-product of conservative Christianity that parents are left ill-equipped to deal with having a child who is different, and I am so sorry that your son was a casualty of the culture wars. The haters from the “left” don’t know what it’s like to have a religion that can divide you from your own children, or the pain of losing a child. This lefty weeps for what you have lost, and wishes for an America where being a Christian means loving and forgiving, not hating.

    Reply
  27. Giancarlo

    Linda I´m not a hater.
    But reading trough your whole story and this response to the haters infuriates me a whole lot.
    I am a 22 year old guy who´s still in the closet because I´m too afraid to come out to my parents, my family, anyone. I live in a very religious household (Been going to church every sunday since I can remember till I was around 20 years old) and like Ryan when I started having feelings for boys since a young age due to the fact that I have always been involved with church and religion I knew It was something condemned by it. Although I wasn´t as strong as him to come out to my mom or dad.

    I prayed and prayed for God to make these feelings go away, to make me like girls but nothing happened, it got worse actually. As years went by I saw all my friends getting girlfriends and boyfriends, and I realized I couldn´t have that. I could never be happy.

    Fast forward a few years into the future and I can´t still shake this feeling. I´ve only come out to my sister and she totally supports me but each day I feel like dying, little by little inside by not being myself.

    I´ve parted ways with religion, I still believe in God but I don´t go to church anymore, I don´t practice his religion totally because from what I´ve seen with my own eyes is that most religious people are hateful, condemning, of anything that doesn´t agree with their way, even if that something isn´t bad.

    I´m tired of living this way, i´m constantly depressed, and living right now feels more of a chore than something I would do for the sake of living. I´ve hated myself for a long while now and I´m trying to make it better.

    Struggling to just live everyday is hard and I always question why, why in a religion and a God that teaches love above everything else there´s so much hate, so much discrimination, so much damage done daily not only to LGBT people, but to many others.

    I´m truly sorry for your loss, I can´t even begin to imagine the pain that must be. And although I don´t agree at all with the hateful comments (no one should be called names) I do really, really, hate what you did to Ryan even if it wasn´t directly. Even if at the time you didn´t know that you were doing it. Even if it wasn´t your intention at all. Even if you believed that was the correct thing to do. I don´t blame you for his direct death but I can´t really forgive you, and i´m sorry for this.

    And i´m mostly angry with religion because is the basis for a lot of the hate towards the LGBT, we did not choose to be this way, we did not choose to be constantly bullied, we did not choose as no one chooses his skin color, his height, his body type, nothing, we did not choose any of this.

    I am grateful to you that you have been helping other families with this and I do believe what you´re doing is the true act of a real Christian. People need to let go of the hate and accept each other, and love each other.

    Words from an struggling gay man.
    Hope you are well and continue this amazing job of helping LGBT.

    Reply
    1. Linda Robertson Post author

      Giancarlo, I can’t begin to imagine the pain you are going through. I don’t expect you to forgive me, especially when you are living in such pain.
      I do hope that our story can change a few of the religious households like yours, who cause a wonderful man like you to needlessly die inside, rather than be free to thrive and to love.
      Praying for you today, Giancarlo.

      Reply
    2. Andy Reilly (@Bear_On_Fire)

      Giancarlo,
      I knew from my earliest of memories that I was different. Eventually I knew what that difference was, and what people called it, and that it was “bad”. I’m 47, so I grew up in the 80’s. AIDS was just being recognized, and the lack of information created a lot of fear. I was so afraid of being “that”. So I hid myself beneath the image of your average, kinda preppy, teenager. I was a bit of a wanderer in my 20’s eventually moving 2,800 miles to the other side of the country at 26. I wasn’t moving away from my family, but away from myself. My old self. It still took me another 6 years to first admit to myself I was gay. Life is never perfect, but those first few years of being out were about as perfect as they get. It was like reclaiming a chunk of my youth. I was worried about telling my parents. They weren’t overly religious, but they did go to church every Sunday. I was raised Catholic, but never really identified as religious. My parents accepted me and loved me like they always did after I came out. I think the reason I never let the outside world’s negativity towards gays in the 70’s and 80’s hurt me was because of my parents. My entire life growing up they never said a bad thing about gays, other religions, races, etc. At least never in front of me. I was raised that words like “fag” or racist names were as bad or worse than the “F” word. Something you should never say. Of course I said plenty of swear words out of earshot from my parents, but that was a kid being a kid. But I always knew they accepted all people for who they were, above all else. So while I still waited until I was 32 to admit to myself I was gay, I chalk that up more to the 80’s and the outside world’s attitudes, not my parents or family.
      I live with almost no regrets. But I do feel like something was taken from me. That I ALLOWED something to be taken from me. I let “them” take my youth. I should have been dating boys in my teens and twenties. This year the state of Washington made my partner of 10 years my husband. I never thought I’d see that in my lifetime. I look back at what the people in the 60’s and early 70’s did to help us get here, and what we did in the 80’s and 90’s to further that cause. I envy the world that people in the 20’s have available to them. But I realize that even in this modern world, people can be made to feel alone, unaccepted. You think that being in the closet is better than being out, but is it really? You fear losing your family over it, but is it better to keep them in the form of a lie? They will never really be able to enjoy you as the real person you are, with someone you truly love, if you are in the closet. And I promise you this, even if you lose your entire family because you come out, you will find more family than you could ever imagine waiting for you outside the closet. There is the family you are born into, and the family that you choose (and that chooses you back). The loneliest choice will always be the closet. Come out into the amazing, beautiful world outside. You may lose your family temporarily, but there is the chance they will see you happy, and realize that they are the ones who are wrong. And if they don’t? Then they don’t truly love you. That sucks to say, but people either love you or they don’t, you can’t make them. Love yourself and others will follow. They may or may not be the people that gave birth to you, or share your DNA, but that doesn’t matter. What matters is they love you back.
      It was easy for me to be in the closet. I was always “just one of the guys”, and in such denial I had myself convinced I couldn’t be gay. I’d been a firefighter for 5 years when, at the age of 32, I came out to myself and then my family. I was having the time of my life with my new friends but also worried about people at work finding out. Eventually my first serious boyfriend moved in with me. A coworker lived across the street, so it wasn’t long before people speculated behind my back. After a few years the lieutenant I was working for took me aside and said that someone I considered a friend was making jokes behind my back. He said that he enjoyed working with me, that he trusted me with his life and wanted me to know that there was always a place for me on his crew. I told him I already knew my coworker who lived across the street was the one saying things behind my back, and that it was true, I was gay. He thanked me for trusting him and said that he would always want me on his crew no matter what. It was a huge step out for me. He then related how, while that other coworker was making a joke speculating about my sexuality around the kitchen table at work, another friend, Nate, happen to be getting off shift that day. Nate stopped, walked back into the kitchen (we call it the beanery) and said to the other firefighters there “You don’t know that for a fact, so stop spreading rumors. And even if it is true, who cares? He’s the same guy you’ve been friends with for years, right?”. That is a HUGE thing, to stand up to such a macho group, and this was over 10 years ago. Nate was from a small town but always sought to learn more about the “outside” world rather than be closed minded. When I next got to hang out with Nate, I told him that I had talked with my lieutenant, and he had told me what Nate did. I thanked him for standing up for me, and that in the future he didn’t have to, since it was true that I was gay. I was the first gay person he ever knew personally. I told him if he had any questions I would attempt to answer them. He didn’t really have any then, but promised he would let me know if any came up. His friendship has always been there for me.
      Eventually I moved to Seattle, since I missed city life. I’d grown up just outside New York City and wanted the bustle, and the larger group of gay friends Seattle had to offer. I made it a point to be out at any new job I took. I worked in I.T. while I tested with fire departments in the area. I eventually go hired by a suburb of Seattle. From day one I have been out. It was one thing to be out to coworkers while working in a small I.T. department for a corporation like Comcast, a whole other thing to be the first out gay person in your fire department (unlike many other departments, we didn’t even have any out gay women). But I was determined to honor the people in the decades before me who risked everything, sometimes even their lives, so I could be out. I think I am lucky, in that my coworkers pretty much accept me across the board. Some are very religious, but they don’t let that get in the way of our working relationship. And the majority couldn’t care less, treating my husband like any other spouse.
      I know it seems like you are minimizing the pain, but you are only making it worse. Don’t waste your 20’s in the closet like I did. Go out and live life. The people that matter will follow. Love will follow. You are the only person denying you from being truly happy. If your parents are still supporting you, and you are afraid you will lose their financial support, then I advise you change that anyway. You will have to support yourself soon anyway, if you aren’t already. What hobbies do you have? What do you like to get out and do? Go do those things with other gay people. Date, but don’t let people take from you. Always respect yourself and those you day, and expect that respect in return, or walk away. Date until you find your best friend, who also happens to be gay. Don’t settle until you find that person who can be your best friend and THEN your boyfriend.
      Don’t let “them” steal any more of your youth. Some days I forget that there is anything different about our household, because it seems like being gay is such a non-issue in our life. We have a beautiful home, friends and family who love us, a large social circle, and jobs where we are accepted and valued. I don’t know where you are, but if you are somewhere like the bible belt where you are not accepted, then move. Come to Seattle. It’s rainy here a lot, but it’s also one of the most “gay integrated” places in the US. The gays have moved out of the “gay ghetto” and into every neighborhood and suburb. Sure, we still go back to the “gayborhood” to meet up with friends for their latest softball team fundraiser, or to see a movie at the art-house theater. But you will find friends close by no matter where you live in the Puget Sound area.
      This was long, but I hope it helps.

      Reply
      1. Linda Robertson Post author

        Andy…Just a quick note to say how glad we are to hear that you came out from day one at your new department…Rob is a fire lieutenant in an eastside department, so we very much get the macho culture. So glad you are one of our area’s firefighters.

        Reply
  28. Mike

    it is too bad you block and delete the comments that mean something. instead you grab on to empty emotional comments that draw you away from the truth of God’s Word.

    Reply
  29. KimP

    I found your blog shortly after our 17 year old son told us he was gay. While I new in my heart for many years, hearing that confirmation brought so much fear! Your story truly inspired me! I had a hard time reading it because my eyes were full of tears, I had a huge lump in my throat, and my heart felt everything you wrote being a mother of a young gay son.
    While the fear was all consuming at first, I had to think about my son. I had to think about the years he spent pretending, about the years he spent in fear and the courage it took him to tell us. The fact that he’s gay did not change that we was smart, funny, compassionate, that he loved his family and friends! He is still the same person he has always been.
    Your story helped my me and my husband realize that this was something God had entrusted us with and we had to do a good job with it. I know we have failed at times but we have learned more about grace, mercy, unconditional love and judgment through our son and your story.
    Thank you so much for sharing! I’m not sure we would have made it through his coming out – without your story!
    May God bless you and your family!

    Reply
    1. Linda Robertson Post author

      KimP, BLESS you for writing. It is letters like yours that give me courage to face the painful ones. I am SO glad that God used our story to help encourage your family…I can’t even tell you the joy that brings to Rob & I.
      Kim, if you have any interest in joining our private group of Christian moms with LGBTQ children on FaceBook, find me on FaceBook (Linda Mueller Robertson) so I can tell you more about it!

      Reply
  30. barb1120

    After I read your story and heard you and your husband speak, I couldn’t stop crying for 2 hours. My son lives with his boyfriend. And you’re right, my fear is that he will start using drugs and/or alcohol out of sheer frustration of his lifestyle. He’s told us he doesn’t want to be gay, but knows he is. I had a talk with God while I was crying and I believe He told me to just love our son and leave the transforming and/or judging to Him. The Bible says the same thing. I’m so sorry for what you’re going through and at the same time I thank you for sharing it.

    May you feel Jesus’ tender arms of grace and mercy holding you gently as you experience this chapter in your life. May He give you strength to continue this ministry that has been birthed out of such tragedy. May God bless you and give you His peace.

    Reply
    1. Linda Robertson Post author

      Barb…I wish I could just hug you! I am so glad that God connected us through this. I would love for you to join our private group of Christian moms with LGBTQ children on FaceBook…I think you would find it really encouraging. Find me on FaceBook (Linda Mueller Robertson) so I can tell you more about it!

      Reply
  31. V.W

    I would like to start out by saying that i am not in anyway connected to any LGBTQ communities, nor do I have any gay friends. With that being said I am so overwhelmingly touched by your story. After reading your instant message responses to your son, I thought, WOW she handled that so well. Being the mother of 2 young sons, I only pray that I would be able to respond with such love and grace. I DO NOT for one second feel that your actions and attempts were in any way malicious. Hind sight is always 20-20. I commend your strength and your “just because he breathes” movement. God, and Ryan know your heart and intentions. I am so moved by your story, and i pray for your strength. To read the letter your husband wrote to Ryan was so difficult. I can only imagine the amount of regret that weighs on your shoulders. Please take comfort in knowing that as parents you did what felt right!! Your learning experience will help countless families across the world. Prior to reading your story i was very black and white. I would vow to PRAY the gay out. However, your story now brings so much perspective. God would want us to show love and compassion. Being gay is no greater than the lies I’ve told. Thank you for your courage! Thank you for allowing God to use your story to teach others!!

    Reply
    1. Anonymous

      Your response was very kind.
      I do have to point something out that was likely unintentional on your part. You compared being born gay to a choice to tell lies. Please keep in mind that when you say that the way someone is born is a sin, that causes immense amounts of damage. It’s like saying that having blue eyes is a sin no greater than choosing to tell lies. The person with blue eyes cannot change his.her blue eyes, just as sexual orientation cannot be changed. Hearing day after day after day that gay people are worth less and are inherently sinning by existing (or being told that they should not exist at all) does an incredible amount of damage, as you have no doubt read. There are numerous peer-reviewed research studies that show the damage done to spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical health. I do not think for a second that you were intentionally trying to harm anyone. Please be aware that words have a lot of power ,and please stop calling people sinful for how they were born. thank you.

      Reply
  32. Karen Sanders

    If only we could all learn from our mistakes with such clarity. You cannot change your past but you are certainly doing your best to change the future of others. Thank you for sharing you story.

    Reply
  33. ehylee

    Hi Linda, I thank God for you. You facing the haters and responding to them in such humility, grace and love helps me to understand more of what God’s love looks like. Praise God for how He is working your heart, your husband’s, and family. You are a blessing.

    Reply
  34. Danny

    Linda,

    I’m so hurt for you. It’s so hard to deal with such a loss, and even harder to acknowledge the truths behind it. I read your story on Yahoo, and felt the need to visit your blog.

    I’m so sorry for the lack of compassion you have received. As a young gay man, I had such a hard time coming to terms with my existence. I had such a hard time talking to my parents about it, and in particular my sister. We clashed, to say the least.

    My natural instinct is to tell you how wrong you were, but you weren’t. You were misguided and misinformed. It’s hard to find the positives in a situation when all you can imagine are the negatives. How will me loved one face the world, how will they handle the hardships (will they be able to), and for you – how will they face god? You loved Ryan, and were looking out for him.

    I appreciate you, and your actions. I appreciate that you are spreading how your faith can be inclusive. I appreciate you for helping to reduce the stigma in the community of the faithful. You make me appreciate my parents so much more – for their patience with me, and my sister – who questioned her own faith in favor of her love for me. She has maintained her faith – but we still clash :).

    I would love to turn around and pray for you, but I myself have turned from the faith. What I can do is thank you for your courage to persevere, and for your honesty. Best wishes to you and your family on your road of healing, and thank you for allowing your blog to become a place of healing for others.

    Reply
  35. Perry Guzzi

    Linda — It pains me to read this post. Truthfully I couldn’t read the whole thing because I find it disgusting that you and your husband must suffer such dreck. I read your story and your blog years ago, and there was no mistaking your deep regret, your deep love for your son and your deep love for all other parents and children who have gone through or are going through a similar event in their lives. All I can say is that social media can be a real evil. Things are recycled and reposted out of context and to different audiences with different slants. People jump on bandwagons with closed hearts, not able to see what is there. To read your posts is to know you and your heart. And I, like so many others, do feel your heart, and do offer my arms to you in a giant gentle loving embrace. Sincerely, Perry G.

    Reply
  36. Kelley

    I support you 100%. I did exactly the same thing with my son, only as soon as I learned what true grace was and exactly what Christ did on the cross for us all, I did have the opportunity to ask my son for forgiveness. I stand behind him and against anyone who would challenge me on the subject. Even in my own family. Thank you for standing up. God bless you!

    Reply
  37. Laura Billington

    Thank you for creating this blog and thank you for caring. My husband and I came from a very different perspective. We belonged to an accepting religion (UU), had a very large family (14 kids, 10 of whom were adopted), were good friends with a lesbian couple, and did volunteer work at an AIDS hospice.

    And yet–

    And yet, our (then) 20 year old daughter struggled for months, if not years, to get the courage to come out to us.

    And all I could think of is that if it was so hard for her, how much more must it be for the kids who expect to get no such acceptance from their families.

    Our kids are all grown, but we have decided to apply to adopt a couple of teenagers. Even the best adjusted teens in foster care have a rough time finding adoptive homes–unless the foster parents adopt them, the chance of finding parents who will commit to them is very low. And gay teens are especially disadvantaged, given that the great majority of adoptive parents belong to Mormon and Evangelical churches.

    Reply
  38. Kristin

    Dear Linda,

    This is the second time I’ve come across your story. You said you didn’t want us, the readers to tell you that God forgives you, you already know, so I am honoring your request to say a prayer for you.

    I knew my son was gay when he was 10 years old, but I didn’t know how to talk to him about it. What if he wasn’t, how would I traumatize him by saying that? When he was 18 years old, we came home to find he had moved out and written us a truly horrible letter, saying how horrible we were as parents. I knew right away what this was really about, but I still gave him the time to tell us. After a week, I finally sent him an email and said, “I don’t think this is really about all the things you said in your letter, I think it’s that you know you are gay and are afraid to tell us. I’ve known since you were 10 and it doesn’t matter, we love you.”

    I’d like to tell you it was all happiness and roses after that, it wasn’t. But it opened a dialogue and our son came home a couple moths later. We love him, gay or straight. He is who he was born to be.

    We all make mistakes as parents. We don’t get a manual when they are born, and I don’t believe there has ever been a perfect parent. We do the best we can.

    Thank you Linda for sharing your story. Disregard the haters, they know not of what they speak.

    Bless you!

    Kristin

    Reply
  39. "Emma"

    I am happy that you were able to save him just for a little bit longer. You were able to get forgiveness from your son and now you are saving lives. There are a ton of LGBT Christian kids that you are kind of a parent to. It’s amazing that you changed your mind out of love for your son. Most Christian parents can’t do that. You are also protecting LGBT kids and their families by educating parents. I am so sorry it was a little too late for your son. But I am so glad that you loved him in the best way you knew how at that time and that you are helping so many people. People are horrible sometimes. They may also be projecting their anger at their parents rejection of them on you. I am sorry people are trash talking you guys. You loved your kid and I respect that you are doing for the Queer Christian Community. ❤

    Reply
  40. Jaime

    As a sister in Christ, a fellow mother, a
    Born-again believer your story has touched my heart. We are praying for you and your family up in Marquette, Mi. I am SO sorry and may God use you to help fellow Christian mommies. Oh I have cried tears for you sister!

    Reply
  41. Steven

    Hi Linda, Your story is a hot topic of conversation on queerty.com. I rarely comment on stories on that site because most of the stories are unimportant. I’m gay, but not sexually active, I was raised by Christian parents, father a baptist, mother a Jehovah’s Witness. I came out to them in my mid to late twenties there was about 2 weeks of weirdness then everything went back to normal, I have good parents. (smile). I’m going to be 50 in a few days so I’ve had time to develop my own understanding of Christianity. Your story generates a LOT of very negative and hateful comments toward you and religion in general, so I was moved to comment on your story and your family to try to help people understand that true Christianity does not teach hate and instead teaches unconditional love, but that in the year 2014 “big religion” has a different agenda than true Christianity.

    You and your husband learned and grew as Christians because of your son Ryan, and from your writings here, it is clear that you realize that he was a blessing in your lives. Your re-telling of your story about your son Ryan and your journey with him are as much a lesson in understanding the complexity of God’s blessings as it is a condemnation of “big religion”.

    Keep telling your story, your work as Christians will open the eyes of other Christian parents, and people in general, about what unconditional love really means, and why it is so important.

    With respect and love,
    Steve

    Reply
  42. Pat

    I haven’t had time to read all of the blogs and different views but to keep it simple – your story has changed our lives and given us back our relationship with our daughter. It’s opened our eyes to how Jesus would have us love her. We don’t have all the answers but because we are truly loving her now, she hears us when we tell her to just get as close to God as she can and seek the truth from Him. I can never thank you enough for being part of our reconnecting with our precious daughter, Hope.

    Reply
    1. Linda Robertson Post author

      Pat, you just made this whole year of sharing our story worth it. YOU have given me HOPE, Pat. ❤ Sending you and your family so much love and thanking God for you tonight!

      Reply
  43. Kurt

    Per your request in you blog… This is not a post to condemn nor exalt anyone for the handling of any situations involving the debate of Christianity and homosexuality.

    I am writing to encourage you to continue telling your story. When we hide our stories, they hinder us, when we share our stories, they free us. Sharing our stories of our faith and our struggles not only helps us, but it ministers to others as well.

    I am a gay man that has struggled with reconciling my faith and my sexuality, and was raised in a Christian home with the traditional beliefs regarding homosexuality. My partner and I have started going to church together a few months ago and heard about your story through some members of the church we are attending.

    Remember, no one has all the answers… Only God does. We all act upon our faith and teachings as we understand them at that present moment in time. As I read your story… there was a consistent message. No matter what you did in the situation, everything you did was out of love and your understanding at that moment. This should be an example to all of us… Regardless of our views… Our actions should be rooted in love.

    Christ loved and has asked us to love each other. We should all do the same.

    To those who find it necessary to ridicule this family in the name of Christianity and religion, please refrain as Christ would not have done so.

    Let’s be kind to one another…

    Reply
  44. butterfliesandall

    Dearest Linda,
    I wanted to express to you just how sorry I am for your tremendous loss and how dismayed I am to hear that you have been made to suffer more from unkindness directed your way. I too have a gay son who is in the beginning of the process of coming out. I related so much to your story, how it was easy to accept a gay family member and much harder to accept your son being gay, I found myself having the same reaction and it surprised me.

    It wasn’t that I didn’t accept him, it was that for twenty years I have been responsible for guiding him and that doesn’t just turn itself off overnight. I had been trained in church that you could be delivered from this and I went from being a more liberal Christian who is supportive of gay marriage to wanting to send him to a deliverance ministry. Thankfully I sought the advice of my gay Christian friend who I dearly love who stopped me in my tracks, explaining that she too had walked that trail and it became a journey accompanied by suicidal feelings and self loathing. Her parents were told to shun her, to turn her over to evil until she repented and changed her ways. For a year they didn’t even speak with her, I know her parents and I love them as well, they were just misinformed and thought they were helping guide their daughter out of harms way. Thankfully that relationship has been restored, so has she, these are not bad people, they were just afraid.

    So I made a decision to simply love my son. Life’s too short, I didn’t want a destroyed relationship, or worse yet that he would destroy himself, I say that in all humility with a heavy heart mindful of your tremendous loss, I was fortunate to be really close to someone I dearly love who could help with this before it came to that. I decided I didn’t want years of praying and hoping only to find myself and him right back where we started, intellectually I feel you are born this way it’s just as a parent you tend to feel responsible for everything. Then along came your video at the Exodus conference, I watched it nearly twenty times, I could not stop crying. Without you even knowing it you also helped to prevent me from doing the same thing. You gave me added confidence in my decision and my gratitude to you and your family for being so brave to share your story is immeasurable.

    In my case I also felt very guilty as if it was something I had done to cause this. I had allowed my children and myself to be exposed to an abusive marriage and an eventual divorce and I felt that my poor choices may have deprived him of the love he needed from a strong male figure in his life thus creating this in him. By you sharing your story it helped me see that our beautiful and wonderful gay children come from loving two parent homes as well. I was afraid for him for so many reasons, mainly that someone might harm him just for him being himself or that he might harm himself. I was not prepared for the grief that his coming out would entail. Grief for the self loathing I could see in him, grief for all the mistakes I made, grief for the wedding he might not have (thankfully that is changing also), grief for the amazing father I know he will be given the chance and for the grandchildren I long for through him that are still possible but it could be a harder road, I kept my grief to myself and found solace in PFLAG.

    I wanted to be strong for him, I felt like I was coming out with him. A friend explained that she understood how I was feeling saying from birth we as moms are so intimately acquainted with our children, we change diapers, we bathe them, we carry them inside us. It is hard to let them go and make their own decisions, we want the best for them in every way and despite ever increasing cultural acceptance it is still very hard to be gay. I don’t think anything you did wasn’t done without the best intentions. Mixed in with all this for me is pride, I am truly proud of anyone who is honest enough to be themselves, I am so proud of him, I feel like he is special and I am very fortunate to be the mom of someone so courages. My son’s coming out has increased my need for a loving God whose handiwork I see in you, a broken heart seems to make more room for Him.

    Once again I am deeply sorry for your loss, I know that one day you will see him again , until then I pray comfort over you and your family. I thank you that despite the pain that I am sure is close to unbearable most of the time you have allowed yourself to become a force of love and I have no doubt things are changing in the Christian community because of you. I believe the words of Dr. King- that love will have the final word. I am sending you a hug from afar, I love you for what you have done from this tragedy, I love you simply because you breathe and I thank you you once again for not hiding your pain and for being so honest thus allowing others to do the same.
    In Christ,
    Laura

    Reply
    1. Anonymous

      Laura, what an amazing letter you have written to Linda. It was an encouragement to myself reading it, so I’m sure it will bless Linda and any others who read it. Praying God’s blessings on you and your son.

      Reply
  45. Priscilla Postma

    Hello Linda,

    I read your blog andere watched the video of Ryan with the beautiful pictures. I see a beautiful family with much love for each other.

    I hope you can find some peace and remember him as the beautiful young man he was. Also , thank you for stepping out and informing other (religious ) parents of homosexual children about this matter.
    It is a shame really what some children have to endure just because they are what they just are.

    Wishing you the very best!

    Priscilla, 22 (from the Netherlands. Came out as a lesbian when I was 12 years old)

    Reply
  46. jonata

    Hi, I just wanna say THANK YOU !!!
    I’m a 20 year old gay boy who’s struggled a lot with that, now I just need hope to keep up with my life and you and your story gave it to me, Thanks !! I’ll pray for you tonight .

    Reply
  47. gregadamyork

    Wow – I cannot even imagine why people would feel the urge (or the freedom) to attack you! Have they not read your story? If you were heartless or evil you would just as easily have hidden the past. But you shared your own pain so that others might benefit. I am so sorry for your loss, and I sincerely thank you for your vulnerability in putting yourself out there. Peace to you.

    Reply
  48. Luanda Lima

    Dear Linda,
    By reading your story, it is clear to me how loving and caring you were (and still are) for your son, even if you made choices and said things you now consider wrong. Losing a child is a truly heartbreaking experiente for anyone. When my uncle (who was also gay) passed away, almost 20 years ago, my grandmother went though a rough depression and later recovered, but she still talks about him and misses him everyday, with infinite love. As a bissexual woman and a defender of LGBTQ rights, I felt very touched to know you were brave and generous enought to expose yourselves like that to help other families. Thank you so much for sharing you story and, please, go on. Love from Brazil, Luanda.

    Reply
  49. Peter

    This is what religion makes out of people. If what happened to you doesn’t make you abandon the futile tale of supernatural forces, then, sad to say, there could be no real hope for you. You will continue to live in ignorance, never really growing up to the simple fact the we are responsible for our own actions, not the will of some imaginary force.

    Reply

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