Just Because He Breathes

Just Because He Breathes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Linda Robertson – Originally posted on FaceBook on January 14, 2013

Additional Notes:

A full presentation of our story, filmed at Towne View Baptist Church in Kennesaw, GA in May 2022 can be seen on YouTube 

You can also view our story as presented as part of For They Know Not What They Do, available on Amazon & iTunes.

I am now working full-time (as a volunteer) working with parents of LGBTQ+ children whose children have just come out, or who are struggling to reconcile their faith with their love for their child. If you or someone you know has an LGBTQ child and needs support, I lead a weekly Parent Support Group that meets every Wednesday, and co-lead the Parent Team at QChristian.org – we have all kinds of resources. You can also email me at LindaDRobertson@gmail.com – I may not be fast to reply, but I will!

Much love to each person who has found their way here…

Linda

March 30, 2022

2,394 thoughts on “Just Because He Breathes

  1. Larry Friedman

    Dear Rob and Linda,
    I am not a Christian. I was brought up Jewish, but I do not belong to any religion now, and this permits me to look at all religions with a bit of objectivity. To me, organized religion can be summed up in he sentence “Do unto others and you would have them do unto you,” or simply “Love thy neighbor as thyself”. This is what religion teaches, but stand back and take a good look at modern organized religions. Catholics don’t like Protestants (and vice versa), Christians don’t like Jews, Ashkenazic Jews don’t like Sephardic Jews (and vice versa). My mother, who was a Lithuanian Jew, cordially hated Galician Jews. NO ONE likes Muslims these days, least of all Hindus. This is exactly contrary to the most basic tenets of religion. We DON’T love each other, but look at each other in suspicion and distrust.
    This is very much the case with homosexuals. I have known that I was homosexual since puberty. Yes, I fought against it but knew in my mind that this is what I am; I cannot be anything else. Up until recently, all organized religions (including the one in which I was brought up) led the chorus of disapproval against us, and I couldn’t understand this at all – I still can’t. Jesus said that we should love each other – it’s the foundation of his philosophy – yet so very many so-called “Christians” are filled to overflowing with hate. I always wondered why they couldn’t see this. It seemed so obvious! If one is a Christian, one is supposed to LOVE, not hate. Yet individuals as well as entire denominations condemn us with vileness and stupidity.
    You are beautiful people, but had to learn that through your own trials. Your religion did not teach you what you had to know. You learned it because you are good and understanding people. Your message brought tears to my eyes. I wish you the best of luck.
    -Larry Friedman

    Reply
    1. Linda Robertson Post author

      Larry, you speak a lot of truth! Thankfully, JESUS did teach us much about real love, and our church, and closest friends, are all about Jesus, not religion. And so, we are in community with people who love people of all walks and faiths…and I know of more and more churches and temples that are doing the same. Love conquers hate, right?? 🙂 Much love to you!

      Reply
  2. Stephen Plumitallo

    I am so very sorry for your loss. I am sure that sharing your story has helped many people. I applaud you sharing your story despite your own personal pain. Knowing that people’s feeligms toward LGBT people can and do change fills me with hope. Thank you

    Reply
  3. JustJohn

    i used to get uncontrollably angry from these stories. now, i simply weep a little. for the tragedy but also for love that was unintentionally twisted out of form. god blessed you greatly that you could reconcile before the goodbye. and now the world is blessed by your testimony.

    thank you.

    Reply
  4. José

    THANK YOU………………..
    I still live with my parents I”m 23 years old, I will be 24 in November, 10th, I’m from Mérida, Yucatán, México. and I would like to thank you for ur blog. I am sorry for what you have lived.

    I always think about suicide. My parents are very catholic, they “accept” what I am but they have thought that I can change. I came out when I was 13, I was in shocked, cuz I knew I had to hide that part of my life, but then They read my diary and they knew I was having a boyfriend. They took me in the Psicologist but I didnt come back there anymore. So our communication started falling down. I didn’t speak with my parents anymore. I grow up alone, and I had toooooooo many “partners” that now I could not ever remember. I started having bad grades in high school, I lost 3 years of my life without any excuse but loniless and looking for attention and acceptence. I just went away from home to México city and I meet my ex partner that I spent 3 years of my life with him, after we broke up, I decided to go back home and thinking maybe our relationship could ever be better. But it’s the same. I barely go out from my bedroom, I was going to college -I finished this in Agoust 2013- , became atheist, but now I always wanted to be part of a religious group. It’s hard to me to believe in a god who punishes you cuz you’re gay, it’s hard to believe that I am a bad person, a sodomite, a perverted guy, when I really am a kind and nice person who loves to help others who need .

    So yesterday -26-09-2013- I thought that i needed to believe in god- I went to the 24hours open shop to buy some cigarretes and I thought back about this thought. so I was checking in my facebook account, in a place “Freedom to Marry” what you have been posting in youtube and I decided to look at it. It makes me cried what you typed in the blog. but at the same time I am very sad that here in México we dont have any inclusive lgbt churches that I can go for.

    Thank you for giving me hope to find nice people and show me that I am also loved by any person who doesnt even know me.
    With love and many hugs to you
    José Gerardo Ricalde Cámara
    From the hot Yucatán México

    Reply
    1. Linda Robertson Post author

      Oh, Jose! You are the OPPOSITE of a perverted guy!! You are beautiful and precious and I would LOVE to be your friend! And more important than that, GOD created you and loves you so much more than any human could! Please find me on FaceBook, Jose, so we can continue to be friends! I am Linda Mueller Robertson there. You have been through so much…I am praying for you today, that you will know God’s love for you. XOXOXOXOXOXOX

      Reply
      1. Dana Smith

        Jose,

        God loves, loves, loves, loves, loves you so big that our teeny brains can’t even comprehend it!!!!!!! There are so many people that are struggling like you are. You have a chance at a very happy future, you just need to take those steps towards it. Fear breeds hopelessness. Don’t let fear rule you. I will do some research to see if there are any support groups in your area. I will post it back here for Mrs. Robertson. But, please Jose, know that God made you who you are for a reason. He has big plans for you! Focus your eyes on Him and your future. I can’t imagine how it feels to be rejected by your parents, but as you become stronger in who you are, perhaps their eyes will be opened. My own gay son opened my eyes to a new purpose, and that’s to help people just like you. There are many of us out here waiting to help you. God Bless you and Keep You.

        Reply
    2. Amber S.

      Jose, you don’t have to believe it God, you are perfect just the way you are. If you feel lonely try to meet other gay men and women! if you are in Mexico City again go to the Zona Rosa. (I am in California and have visted D.F. twice) Also try to meet other atheists! If you can’t find any in person, use the internet for help. I know it is hard when you feel like you are surrounded by straight religious people and you don’t fit in but keep looking and you will find others like yourself. Don’t give up. I was also raised Catholic, also lost my faith because I am lesbian. Maybe you have lost your Faith in god, but you still have Hope, and Love “and the greatest of these is Love.” Good luck!! Thank you to the creators of this blog.

      Reply
      1. dogtorbill

        Amber I respectfully disagree! Of course Jose feels the inner “need” to believe in God; the only lasting hope is through God, and that weakness in faith Jose feels is natural confusion. He’s already commented on how many previous partners he’s been with, so seeking out others for “support” is would likely lead to history repeating itself. Although I agree to not give up, he must look toward the light that, deep down, is the way the truth and the light. To seek out athiests when deep down, you know His truth is walking from the loving redemptive light and into the spiral of darkness. What you should seek is a network of Christians, probably Catholics (since that is your “home”), who have found that relationship with Jesus to lean on for the love and support they so desperately want and we all need. Many do find the love and support of a MCC type LGBT church, but if home is in the traditional Catholic Church, then that’s where you should be. As you kneel in worship and adoration, know that everyone around you is a sinner seeking love and reconciliation from our Saviour. Pray for that reconciliation, not for your inclinations, but rather any thoughts of harming yourself. Our God made us all the way he wants us. To even consider destroying what God has created in you is the ultimate blasphemy. You are a unique, beautiful man, made in the image of God. God makes no mistakes, and you are the way you are for a purpose. Seek that purpose, lean on our Lord and Savior for discernment to discover your purpose. Seek to love and serve others. It is in serving others that we find our loving reward ourselves. Please know that Jesus loves you, and as a Catholic, know that His mother does as well. Just as your loving brothers and sisters here on this blog will pray for you, you may and should as her to pray for you as well. A mother’s nurturing love is such a warm place. Christ may well not transform you immediately, You may well wake up feeling the same, with all the same inclinations and unique traits you have today. Just know you are supposed to be that way. Do not seek love in the godless world. It does not exist there. We are not called to seek self pleasure, in fact we can not make ourselves happy. Our Lord came to show us not to lose hope, and how to love. It is in loving and serving others that we love and find Him. Please know that we love you here on this support blog, as do your fellow Christians in the pew next to you, regardless of whether or not they realize it yet. Be strong. Know that we are all here for a reason, and yours may well be to gently, with strength and confidence, to show us all of God’s loving transforming grace. Seek to love and serve others in all that you do. None of us are perfect, we are not called to perfection. We are called simply to love and serve Him in all things. Only one man ever walked this earth with perfect love. None of us can love perfectly, and so, smile with compassion at the bigot who condemns you. That love and compassion will eventually melt his heart and convict him, or someone else who is watching. Love others the way you desire to be loved. Know that others initial acceptance of you is not necessary. We go to Mass, not as a social function, but rather to worship, to ask redemption, and to give thanks for all that we do have that is so were beautiful. Jose, you were made in the likeness of God. Never forget this. Much Love, Bill.

        Reply
        1. Ron

          Love is patient, love is kind.
          It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
          It does not dishonor others,
          it is not self-seeking,
          it is not easily angered, and
          it keeps no record of wrongs.
          It does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
          It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres.
          It is the most powerful energy of the universe with an infinite supply.
          It is available to everyone, if but they open their heart and mind.

          The deeply religious declare “God is Love.” Poets for centuries have compared its most intimate expression between two lovers as touching a moment of eternal joy.

        2. cindywalkerwinstead

          Jose if you find that you still want to attend church renewing your belief and faith in God please consider checking with UFMCC churches. I’ve been a member for 28 yrs and it was established as a ministry for the LGBT community and has grown globally with churches across the world. Now there are all kinds of people from various backgrounds who attend. Our church in Abilene TX ironically is named Exodus MCC and is not affiliated with Exodus Int’l in any way whatsoever. We have almost as many straight members as gay ones, we have transgender members and all are welcome. It is almost a universal experience from almost everyone I know including myself that in coming out that the inability for us to “pray the gay away” and sometimes the rejection from our families and straight friends leads us to the point of considering suicide, substance abuse, a combination of issues can lead to these wrong choices. It is so important for you to know that you are absolutely perfect the way you are as God created you. God is not finished revealing to man all the knowledge and technology that there is to know about and homosexuality is one of
          those things. People
          wrongly believe that sexual
          orientation and gender
          identity is simply black or
          white, polar opposites. The
          truth is that it’s not a polar
          issue, sexual orientation
          and gender identity fall
          along a rainbow shaped
          spectrum from 0 to 180 degrees and people can
          identify anywhere on this
          spectrum. It is so tragic
          that more people cannot see this. And fundamentalist right wing pseudo christians won’t believe anything unless it comes out of their pastors mouth. God gave us a brain and means for us to use it when searching for the truth about LGBT’s and being Christian. There are a couple of books I’d like to recommend reading. One is written by a friend of mine Rev. Dr. Cindi H. Love called Would Jesus Discriminate? Another is The Children Are Free by Rev. Jeff Miner and Rev. John Tyler Connoley. Both are excellent books and can be found on Amazon.com. And check the UFMCC website and you’re welcome to chech our local church website ExodusMCC.com. My prayers go with you on your journey for love and acceptance. Cindy.

  5. Michelle

    My name is Michelle and I was raised in a Christian home am was saved at 17. I fully devoted my life to God after I was saved. So when I figured out that I was gay I was devestated. I also sought help in the church. I prayed, I went through the steps to freedom by Neil Anderson…many times. I went to counseling, Exodus, I tried everything but my beliefs and my feelings could not reconcile. I became self distructive by drinking and cutting myself. I was depressed and I hated myself. I didn’t want to go to hell, I wanted to please God but I could not stop these feelings no matter what I tried. I was hospitalized numerous times, medicated, and suicidal. I got so bad and medicated I dropped out of college and went onto disability, I couldn’t drive a car or work I was so medicated and depressed. I attempted suicide one night in the middle of the night. I took a lot of my heart pills(beta blockers) and went to bed. I was honestly shocked when I woke up the next day. My mom read about what I had done days later in my journal and talked to my heart doctor who did not have a medical explanation as to why I was alive. Long story, I am 37 now live with my partner and we have a total of seven children. Four bioloical, two adopted, and our nephew. We are getting married in November, and it has been a big issue with my mom who is like y’all were years ago. But my brother sent her your story and he has apologized to me and says she loves and accepts me as I am and is now coming to our wedding. Thank you for sharing your story. I am so sorry for your lose and pain. But know this, your sons story, his pain, was not in vain, for he is helping heal hearts even now. Thank you so much for helping me and my mom.

    Love,
    Michelle

    Reply
    1. Michelle

      Through my struggle and rejection, self hate, loneliness and fear the only way I was able to come to terms with who i am was to change my belief system and now lean toward atheism. I never thought I’d be there but I am. I do hope though that if what I once believed was true that I don’t go to hell. I occasionally worry still…

      Reply
      1. Linda Robertson Post author

        Oh, Michelle…You are His child, and NOTHING you do or don’t do could ever change that. EVER. It always breaks my heart that we as the church have pushed people like you away from God…no wonder you lean toward atheism, my friend. 😦

        Reply
  6. nicole

    I recently visited a Catholic Blog ( i am a former catholic ) A friend told me that the host stated that gay youth are committing suicide not because they feel hated, but because of their immoral behavior that separates them from God. I commented on this statement, calling it reckless, ignorant, and unloving. I was not there to change her views just simply asking her to discontinue making those statements, even if she believed them true. A young teen maybe searching for God and find that statement, and feel even more self hatred. I then spent the better part of a day answering questions. I answered simply that I love my daughter, and she is God’s greatest blessing to her father and me. I was bullied by the host and many guests. I had a young gay man defending me, trying to help them understand that all I was saying was that I was loving my daughter all of her. How in the world could anyone feel threatened by a statement like that? I have lost friends, my children have been bullied because they have a gay sister. All of this really does suck to tell you the truth, but in some odd way I feel privileged for this struggle. I love my family, my friends, and mostly our Savior. I look at the world with a new set of eyes. I see everyone as a true child of God. I am softer. Thank you for allowing me this platform. Thank you for being such a beacon of God’s light. Your story has given me the desire to find my voice as a mother of a gay child. Love to you!

    Reply
  7. Alex Amonett

    Mrs. Robertson-

    I don’t normally read blogs and I almost never respond or post to anything, but, perhaps it was God’s intent to lead me to this story tonight. I have an ongoing struggle with reconciling my own relationship with my parents- one that consistently has me questioning my faith. I am the son of a preacher and no longer a child at 36. My parents were wonderful people and excellent role models growing up, my childhood was full of many happy memories, however, I was raised to hate homosexuality and to believe being gay was a sin.

    Like your son, I knew very early on that I was gay and unknown to my parents I struggled through various stages of depression and suicidal thoughts/attempts during my teenage years. I threw myself into the church and even considered becoming a preacher. I dated young women and prayed almost day and night for my sexuality to change. I wanted…needed… God and my family’s approval and I was trapped in a hidden nightmare of disgust with myself. I knew that moment I came out- I would lose my parents, my sisters and most of my friends. I would lose my nephews and nieces, my church and at the time I thought I would lose God.

    So I did not come out until I was 30 years old- after years of struggling and unanswered prayers- it finally hit me that God was not changing who I was- because he MADE me to be who I was. I had been taught to think of my sexuality as only a temptation and as a choice- and it wasn’t until I accepted it as my identity that I was able to finally come to peace and give my life to God. It did come at a horrible sacrifice though…because when I came out to my family, my worst fears did become real.

    I was not only disowned- but I basically lost 30 years of my life, my history, my relationships. I lost watching my nephews and nieces grow up, I lost being able to call my mother daily and get her advice, cooking tips- to share my successes and failures. I lost being able to come home on the holidays or the ability to share the stories of who I loved.

    Out of what they truly feel has been love- I have heard things come of out of my parents mouth that left huge wounds and scars. That I am an abomination in God’s eyes. That because of my “choice” I suddenly became prideful and selfish and made to feel that because I was honest with who I was…that my separation from them was my choice. They lashed out from fear and pain- and I let them- because I love them and I know they are making a decision based on their faith. I do not agree with it and I am terribly hurt by it- and I continue to pray and hope for the healing of our relationship and that I will be allowed back into their lives. But after 6 years of either silence or hurtful exchanges…I am lost at what to do anymore.

    I cannot continue to have these scars re-opened again and again- and yet I do not want to be the one that ever closes a door if they do send me something.

    Since I came out I serve publicly as a gay professional that serves as an advocate to our community. When I came out I wanted to be a role model and fight for the values that I believe in. I am blessed to have a job that allows me to do this daily and work towards the equality and healing of the gay community- and even more importantly those who have stories similar to my own.

    I share this with you…because your blog gave me inspiration…at one of those moments that I was struggling with the loss of my family. The loss of your family…when you know they are still alive and breathing…but choose to push you away…never stops hurting less. I…and others like me…put a mask of confidence and strength on…and try to fill that void through service, other relationships, work, prayer, temptations…you name it. But nothing will ever truly compensate for your family.

    So I guess I want to say thank you…because your message is a strong one…and one that needs to be heard. It needs to be heard by Christian and Non-Christian parents alike…by mothers and fathers who have gay children or straight children…it needs to be heard by anyone who works with youth. Our time on this earth is so limited and so precious…we are human and we make mistakes…but the worst thing we can do is push away each other or push each other to push away God. Thank you for making me feel not so alienated. I hope that your message continues to spread and your story touches hearts like those of my parents.

    God bless you. I know your son would be proud.

    Reply
    1. Linda Robertson Post author

      Oh, Alex…your story is literally wrecking me tonight…I cannot begin to imagine the pain of having the family you love so very much condemn you and push you out of their lives. I am in awe at your grace and ability to set healthy boundaries for yourself, in spite of all that you’ve been through. Your story needs to be told…there are WAY too many out there with similar stories. Alex, thank you for taking the time to share, and for reminding me of the importance of continuing to share ours. Praying for you tonight, and thanking God that He created you and gave you to me as my brother in Christ.

      Reply
    2. Brad in North Carolina

      Alex, I read daily updates on this blog and I haven’t responded to any of the posts in a while, but yours really ripped my heart open, I’m so sorry for your loss. Your well-stated story is so tragic because it is so unnecessary. I can only hope you are able to find some peace with the situation as you find your “adopted family” through friends. I am sure there are people who would gladly welcome you into their lives—perhaps because of the loss of a child and they are likewise filling a need, or even because they are empathetic people and just care, as I do. Do you have someone to turn to in these moments when the wounds reopen? If not, please seek some wise friend or counselor who is willing to listen. It helps so much to have such friends (or professional counselors). I would imagine you will find many souls in a similar place just by freely sharing your story, as you have done here. So please continue to share your story with others. And please keep yourself open to the possibility of others entering your life as your “adopted family.” I know it won’t erase the hurt of the loss of your bio family, but it will help fill the void while you wait for them to find their heart. I read just yesterday a widely circulated letter (it went viral) from a father to his daughter who had similarly disowned her son. It was a clever and powerful condemnation of his daughter’s actions, using the very words she used against her son and pointed out the “abomination” and “unnatural” act of disowning a child for anything. Basically the father disowned her for her cruel actions, but left open the door for her return to his good graces ‘when she found her heart.” (You can Google “father disowns daughter letter” and you will find it online.) I know you have suffered tremendous loss….I felt that way too….I lost jobs, all my friends, and my church family, and even had to declare bankruptcy after suddenly being fired from a job because my employer found out I was gay (I was promoted constantly for 10 years, then……boom!). Fortunately, my family situation turned out far differently. One last thing: it is so wonderful that you have taken your “lemon” to make “lemonade.” A trite phrase, I know, but still, I am so glad you have found a way to be an advocate for your community and have a professional situation where you are not threatened with loss of your job. I applaud you for your work. I think Linda would agree with me that even though we may start out thinking life is going to go a certain way, events and circumstances mostly choose us, not the other way around. Yes, we humans like to think we are in control, and for the most part we are, but many times things like what happened in the Robertson family, and what has happened to me are just events that find us and then lead us to a new chapter. Money can’t protect us, nor can all the best laid plans. How we adapt is the key to living a fulfilling life. (I speak with the experience of someone who is older). Keep the doors open to your family, but don’t let it continue to eat at you. If you can, put the burden on them to “find their heart” and when they do to “give you a call.” In the meantime build your own “adopted” family. I leave you with a big virtual hug. If I were in the same community as you I would have you to all the family holidays. You deserve better, and I believe if you continue to share your story you will find the “family” that will be there for you until such time as God’s light shines on your parents. Peace be with you.

      Reply
  8. Rhonda A

    Hello. I am a CoC preacher’s daughter and mother to three young men. My oldest is son is gay and I love him dearly. I recall wondering when he was young and told my church friends when he was seven that if he was gay, it came from birth. Well, when he was about to graduate from high school, he told me he was. He was scared. Scared that he would be kicked out of the family. Scared we would not love him anymore. I told him there was nothing that could make me stop loving him.
    During this time when he was sharing the truth with me, his dad and I were going through a divorce. Tonight I realized that none of us have sat down and discussed. One of my sons believes it is choice to be this way and his brother chose it. He let influences growing up make him this way. I don’t believe this but wonder if you have read anything or heard anything on how to reply. It seems he has been heavily influenced by others on what to believe and how God “made us” so there is no way it was not a choice. I appreciate any thoughts you might have. My son feels very supported by me and probably by most of my family. He does not feel that way with the rest of his family.

    P.S.
    I want to take the young men and women that have written you and hug them. I want them to be able to come to my house and call me to be there long distant mom. It makes me sad.

    Reply
    1. Linda Robertson Post author

      Rhonda…what a gift that God prepared your heart to love your son! As to whether or not he chose to be gay, there are many studies about this (I’ll include some links for your research), but what I can tell you definitively is this…we have talked to hundreds of gay and lesbian people, and have yet to find one that made a choice about their sexuality (how many straight people chose to be straight? We just ARE). And honestly, who would choose to be gay in a culture where LGBT people are oppressed and rejected?
      Here are a couple items for further research: The APA’s article on sexual orientation and an article from Scientific American that ran in Huffington Post, which includes lots of additional references.
      Your love is clearly going to lead you…what a blessing you are going to be to your son and to so many others!

      Reply
  9. Dana Smith

    Dear Mr. & Mrs. Robertson,

    I am overwhelmed my your story. Our son came out to us last summer at the age of 16. We attended a fundamentalist christian church and school (where I also worked). My son had been at the school his entire school life. This church believes that homosexuality is a choice and an abomination to God. They feel that the scriptures clearly point that out. Honestly, I wanted to believe it was a choice because we had seen some homosexual tendencies in our son from the time he was 4. If it truly was a choice, I was praying he wouldn’t choose homosexuality. I encouraged my son not to go back to this school in the fall after he came out because he would have to keep it a secret, but he was afraid of starting a new school. Alas, he was found out and expelled from the school.

    I understand completely how FEAR can control your life. I’ve lived in fear for the past year; fear he would be found out; he was; fear that my co-workers would turn their backs on us; they did; fear that we would have to find a new church; we’re patiently looking. FEAR is one of those emotions that holds you back from discovering the truth. Everything that I was afraid of came true. Yet, as each fear was realized, I became stronger. It’s been 14 months since our son came out and I’m a different person because of it. I can truly pray for what God wills for my family, not what the church says we should be doing.

    I’m so proud of my son. He is so much braver than I have ever been to this point in my life. He has made me a better, non-judgmental person. I see people as made by God, and God makes no mistakes. Maybe we’ll never find a church where I can truly feel God’s spirit moving, but my relationship with Jesus is so much stronger now than it’s ever been, and I think God used my son to bring me closer to Him. That being said, my son has turned away from God, and I patiently pray that God will lead him back. I know that we must all find our own way to God and that it can’t be beaten into us with Bible passages.

    I’m so happy that Ryan felt your love and acceptance before he died. What a wonderful gift. It is true what you said about how your prayers change. When watching my son deal with the hopelessness and self-loathing, and suicidal thoughts, I didn’t care that he was gay, I just wanted him to be well and happy. Little things didn’t seem to matter anymore, because all I cared about was seeing my with a smile on his face and hope for a happy future.

    So many strides have been made toward accepting LGBT people, but so many more have to be taken. It is only through people who speak out that changes can be made. I truly believe that this is the calling the God is leading me to. I believe the same for you two. Thank you for your story. We must always remember that love is the most important emotion.

    Reply
  10. Hayden L. Martin

    Linda
    i have found you’re story heartbreaking but there is one thing that you did wrong. The belief that being gay is a sickness that can be cured but it is not. I myself am gay and even though i found it tough for the first few years i have pushed through it and now have a boyfreind and even though i am only 14 and he is 12 i found that he gives me happiness. we have never met in person and we have only been together for a month but he has shown me what true love is. so the on thing that you did wrong was saying that you could find a way tot turn him but you cannot for the desire stays always at some level. It is just the way the human life works. I am sorry for you’re loss but i hope that you may become less devout to god as he will not always be there for you

    Reply
    1. Linda Robertson Post author

      Hayden….we realize that was wrong – we KNOW that you cannot change someone’s sexual orientation. That is something we deeply regret communicating to our son. I am glad you have found someone you love, Hayden.

      Reply
  11. Hayden L. Martin

    P.S-Here i am respectful.
    I follow god but do not preach him i watch him and see how humble he truly is.
    god does not have the power to change someones will so i ask you this
    If god has the power to change the world why does he only contemplate one question. One unanswerable question.
    I will not tell you this question for it is a simple one. One that we ask every day of our lives. One that i asked just now.
    May live the rest of your lives in peace.

    Reply
  12. Ronnie McNear

    When my eldest son (my adopted nephew) was a junior in high school, I asked him if he was gay. He began to cry and said, “I think I am”. I told him I have thought he was since he was two. Right before my eyes, I saw an incredible weight lifted off of his shoulders. I taught him about safe sex and hate. I told him that I hurt the most because I always thought he’d be a wonderful father. His answer was, “I can always adopt”. I showed him where it was “ok/safe” to be gay and where it was not. You can’t be gay in Olive Garden in our city, you might get hurt. You can be as gay as you want to be here, here, and here. I took him to places it’s ok to go on dates and not have to worry about getting to his car. He is now in grad school in Central California. He says that he has always known without a doubt that he was loved and supported.
    Fast forward six years. Last Friday, I asked my youngest son (who happens to be a junior in high school) if he is gay. He had a nervous/shy smile and said yes. I told him when he was a little boy, I wondered if he would be. Both of my gay boys were athletic. There really weren’t any signs. Just something that I thought I felt in my heart. I can’t explain it.
    My youngest son is HORRIFIED at the thought of his father and older brother (middle son) finding out. He has cried about it and thinks his dad will say mean or hateful things to him. Or worse, “go biblical” on him. His dad and I are divorced. I am planning to take his dad out for dinner or coffee next month and used your video / story as a tool, with my son’s permission, to talk to his father. He is comforted by my acceptance of my eldest son, and he knows he’s safe with me.
    I don’t have to understand being gay, I only have to understand loving my son. As a nurse, I have seen many parents lose their children to many things. I have always told my children they can come to me with anything. Aside from murder or suicide, I can help them with any problem, big or small. I think they believe it.
    Thank you so much for sharing your very painful story. I pray to God that it helps my ex-husband open his heart and love his son even more.

    Reply
  13. Abigail Kay Podany

    Dear Linda,
    I’m Abigail and I just recently came out of the closet when I was 20 and hear I am two years later sitting on the couch watching and reading about the story of your son Ryan and I found it very inspiring as well as an honor to have read about him and how ya’ll had reacted to the fact that he was gay. I’m currently having a hard time myself right now with my parents accepting the fact that I am Lesbian and have known that I have liked women since I was at least 12-13 years of age. I was terrified to tell my parents for several years that I had a liking to girls my age and so I lived my life in denial for several years. When I had finally sat down and had a talk with both my parents explaining the fact that I was gay, they didn’t exactly know what to say for they are Catholic and participate in the Catholic church events. My father is in the Knights Of Columbus and my mother is in alter society and they had raised and baptized both my sister and I into the Catholic ways and faith. Ever since I told my parents I was lesbian they’ve been acting really strangely towards me, don’t talk to me much anymore unless I contact them for whatever reason, don’t include me much into the family or any of our family functions, push me away and treat the fact that I am lesbian as if it were some terrible disease that people can catch if too close. I have a 12 year old sister who doesn’t quite understand the fact as to why I like girls in the first place and had proudly exclaimed that she chooses to like boys instead. She is very much a sissy’s girl and loves me unconditionally, if only my parents could do the same.
    The reason why I have chosen to write you is because I’m having a hard time understanding my parents. I keep wishing and praying on a daily basis that they could love me and accept me for who I am and the person I have become today. They say they love me for I am their daughter and that they won’t ever stop loving me or being proud of me, however I feel that it’s just a front towards me and like they don’t mean it. Another thing that I’m finding extremely difficult to deal with is not only have they fully accepted the fact that I am lesbian, but they refuse to let my girlfriend and our two year old daughter to come with me whenever I want to come and visit them. My mother keeps telling me that I am trying to force my girlfriend and her two year old daughter onto them when that is not the case. I just want what Ryan wanted and that is peace between them and ,I as well as become accepting of the person that I chose to be with for (crosses fingers) the rest of my days here in this wonderful world. What should I do?

    Sincerely,
    Abigail Podany

    Reply
    1. Linda Robertson Post author

      Abigail…First of all, I am so glad you found this…and that you KNOW you are loved by the God who created you. And nothing hurts more than when the people who are closer to you than anyone in this world…your parents…are unable to fully love and accept you. NOTHING.
      But I will say this..give them time. If they are open, encourage them to read my blog, and let them know that we have a group of Christian moms (both protestant and catholic) who support each other on a regular basis as we learn how to reconcile our faith with loving our gay children unconditionally. We would LOVE for your mom to join us. It can take parents from a strong faith background a while…they have heard so many things from pastors and priests that tell them they CAN’T fully love you. Give them as much time and patience as you can…you’re in this for the long haul. If God can change OUR hearts, He can change ANYONE’s heart!! Keep in touch, Abigail! I will be praying for you!

      Reply
      1. Abigail Kay Podany

        Thank-you so much Linda,
        Yes, I was planning to have my girlfriend print off the story of your son with your permission of course so my parents can read and hopefully understand the way I’ve been feeling. I’m currently taking anti-depressants which seem to help relieve some of the pain, however I feel it will never fully come to an end until the day my parents make a decision as to if they can love and accept who I am, what I stand for, love and support my choices, as well as welcome my girlfriend and her two year old daughter someday into the family. It sucks to feel rejected and unwanted by your own family and yes, I have also turned to smoking weed to cure it as well. Of course, it didn’t help that the relationship that I was in wasn’t the best one and ended horribly with her leaving and taking everything with her. When I say everything, i mean EVERYTHING. It was hard on me and I may never forget about that hard time in my life, however I am doing my best to not look to the past for answers, but planning my present as well as my future. I can’t change the past and most of the things I had done or have done: I can only plan and hope for a better present and future. I’ve been waiting patiently day after day for my parents to come to a realization that it is what it is and there’s nothing they can do to change it. I’m a lot happier than I’ve ever been now that I’ve been living my life like I have always wanted and dreamed of as a small girl. Another thing is, if my parents have known that I’ve been lesbian for approximately three years now exactly how much more time do I give them?
        Yes, I tend to be a very impatient person once I’ve been waiting for a certain amount of time. Oh, and for the record my parents tend to be set in their own ways if you can catch my drift. They’re currently raising my 12 year old sister LucyAnn and telling her that she won’t get a niece or a nephew because I have chosen to like women. Now I have dated several men in my life and it just wasn’t working out for me and my mother still continues to tell me well honey, maybe you just are going through “a phase” and you haven’t found the right man yet. My problem with that is that as a child I was abused as well as molested by boys and men within the foster care program (I’m adopted), and ever since that has happened to me in the past I have never been comfortable with a man and I couldn’t ever see myself marrying a man. If I’m going to be happy it’s best I stay comfortable wouldn’t you agree? I told both Lucy and my mother that I can always adopt for I am infertile as it is anyways due to the past relationships with men that I’ve had as well as some choices I had made in those relationships. I also mentioned AI (Artificial Insemination) not with me but with the woman I chose to be with and marry someday in the future. Adoption just seems easier than the cost of an AI. My mother didn’t like the sound of that at all and had gone “biblical” on me, to which I didn’t respond to her. Just bit my tongue and went on living life as I am currently still trying to do happily today. 🙂

        Sincerely,

        Abby Podany

        Reply
        1. Jill

          Abigail thank you for your story I had a challenging time coming out to my parents and introducing my girlfriends to them was really never an option with the exception of my last 2. The latter is now my wife. I have had quite the journey with my parents and we are still on it as they still have a ways to go. I got married in April and my folks weren’t there. If you would like to chat some more please look me up on fb I’m Jill Watson my profile pic is my dog xx

    2. Criselda

      Abigail, I was also raised Catholic and came out to my parents when I was 26. I would love to talk with you more about shared experiences. Look me up on FB. Criselda Marquez, profile pic says “Live it Out”

      Reply
  14. Scott Brewer

    Linda, I recently heard your story at Rain City which pointed me to your blog. With the many other voices I want to also say how sorry I am for your loss. Additionally, I’ve read through the blog comments and I’m amazed at the heart of compassion God has given you. Please know that I have no criticisms for you but I do have honest questions. You shared that you and your husband are Bible-believing Christians and I have Bible-based questions with which I’ve been grappling. If you don’t have answers that’s fine, I don’t either. If you do I’m interested in your understanding.

    1 Cor 5:9-13
    I believe and seek to live so that I love, accept, embrace, serve, etc. those who are gay and living the gay life. This text however seems to say that we conduct ourselves that way as long as these are outside the church and not claiming to be followers of Christ. The point being those who claim to follow Christ are expected that they will give up their former lifestyles.

    1 Cor 6:9-11
    The text seems to say that Christ followers may have had a lot of different broken lifestyles (“such were some of you”) but that coming to Christ freed them from those lifestyles. Those who continue in those lifestyles will not inherit the kingdom of God because they haven’t been “made righteous”.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    Reply
    1. Linda Robertson Post author

      Scott, first of all, I am not a theologian (you’ll have to hit up Jesse for that), but this is what I can tell you. There is no such thing as a “gay lifestyle,” anymore than there is a “straight lifestyle.” This is not something anyone chooses, but it is something that is inherent within them, just like heterosexuality is for me. Rob and I don’t see our gay friends as being broken or sinful just because they are gay. Of course, both gay and straight people can sin…but I think your question, and perhaps your disagreement with us, goes back to whether or not people choose to be gay. Thank you for your gracious questions, Scott. I would highly recommend reading Justin Lee’s book, Torn: Rescuing the Bible from the Gays-vs-Christians Debate if you are interested in really understanding this issue further. It is a fascinating and compelling read, whether at the end you agree with all of his conclusions or not. Blessings to you!

      Reply
    2. Justine

      Scott,
      I accidentally gave you a thumbs up. Please don’t sweat the details so much. God is Love. Love is God. If we have love in our hearts for LGBT people then we have God in our hearts. And even more challenging, if we can keep love in our hearts for those who judge and condem their own children…then we truly have faith that God/Love will win them over in God’s time. This lifetime or maybe in the beyond.

      Reply
  15. Robert Scott

    Linda,

    I just wanted to check back in with you and let you know I try to read most of the updates here. I also wanted to say my prayers are with you and keep up all your good work as there is so much healing go on right here that is getting out to the world and in a very good way. Like I said before Ryan is connected to all this through Love. I know in my heart you are bringing comfort to others as you brought me comfort. I just want to make absolutely clear to you how grateful I am for all this. I know it is not easy and some people are not going to “get it”. But I know you’re strong and you won’t let it get you down. One more person on here is Carolb12 who I wanted to say thank you as she wrote me a beautiful response after my initial posting. IT was also very comforting coming from a mom since I lost mine to homophobia. Thank you from the deepest part of me.

    Truth, Wisdom, Love and Sincerity, to ALL mankind.

    Rob Scott
    Chicago, IL

    Reply
    1. Linda Robertson Post author

      Wow, Rob…you are SUCH a gift. You just radiate GRACE and LOVE, and I couldn’t be more thankful. I haven’t been writing much, because I have been busy with a new LGBTQ LifeGroup through our church, with doing some interesting interviews, meeting with individuals, speaking and preparing for some additional chances to share our story. Basically, just asking God to use us as HE wills, one day at a time. TONS of love to you, Rob…again, bless you just for being YOU.

      Reply
  16. Christina

    Thank you for posting this. I know your writings are elsewhere and frankly the comments make my heart ache. I’m sorry that you have to hear people telling you all these horrible things; people that are missing the point of your writings and are only willing to attack. You are a brave soul for putting your deepest fears and struggles and greatest revelations on the internet for people to read; for people to grow from, learn from, and shamelessly, facelessly attack.

    I can’t imagine what this journey has been like. Just know that I have been blessed and encouraged by your story in more ways than I ever imagined. On one level I can certainly identify with some things; I lost my brother in a car accident three and a half years ago. Grief in some ways is the same, but I know how different it is. I know it’s different for my parents, even my own brother. But this has blessed me, stretched me, even. It gives me hope in ways I never expected, and certainly a deeper perspective on what faith and walking with Jesus truly is. So thank you.

    Reply
    1. Linda Robertson Post author

      Christina…what a gift your words are. Thank you for acknowledging the pain…and for also sharing part of your own story. I hope we can together continue to learn what walking with Jesus truly is!

      Reply
    1. Connie

      Salman..you are a simple man with a simple little brain please do not tell people on here that it’s their choice to be gay. You are misinformed unless you have directly talked with God himself. Please keep your thoughts to your yourself. They are very hurtful to all who may not accept who God made them to be. God is not testing gay people, like oh let’s see if they bite this carnal thought and punk them. Oh he fell for the same sex and so did she..then he smirks and hits the down button. You don’t wake up in the morning thinking I am going to be attracted to the opposite sex do you? It’s just the way you think! It’s how you are wired, that’s how it is for gay people too! You may think another man is handsome but there is no sexual attraction to him. But when you feel the attraction on a deep mental, physical, emotional level God is not doing this as a trick to see if you can be a good boy. You just are who you are, who God has made you. It’s the kind of human being you are in this world, if you are kind, helpful, and loving. That’s the stuff you make choices about. So make a choice to not make people feel shi**y about their natural attraction and have a nice day.

      Reply
      1. Salman Abubakr

        Which statements explicitly condemn him? Take a look at the scriptures. I just stated the facts and evidence of the scriptures. There was nothing in the comment that blatantly disrespected his humanity. However, his actions have proven shameful and the parents are justified with their action.
        Each person is bound by duty to serve their duties to each other. The only egalitarian relationships are with friends. With the rest, it is a different story.

        Islam:
        http://www.patheos.com/blogs/altmuslim/2013/03/the-gay-muslim-phenomenon-why-islam-considers-homosexuality-a-sin/
        http://infad.usim.edu.my/modules.php?op=modload&name=News&file=article&sid=4964

        Christianity:
        http://www.firstthings.com/onthesquare/2013/06/catholic-teaching-homosexuality-and-terminology
        http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/sex-after-christianity/

        Judaism:
        http://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/christians-orthodox-jews-gay-marriage/comment-page-1/
        http://www.firstthings.com/article/2009/02/the-unhappy-fate-of-optional-orthodoxy-41

        Evidential reasons not to tamper sex:
        http://www.drlwilson.com/articles/SEXUAL%20CRAVING.htm
        http://www.drlwilson.com/articles/POSSESSION.htm
        http://www.drlwilson.com/articles/SEXUAL%20ORDER.htm

        Attraction is one thing. Acting on the attraction is another. Whether we like it or not, actions define the humanity of the person.

        As one is born, they are human, in body, soul and spirit, but are rendered unable by the limitations of the body. But they also are accorded inherent honor of the family, which determines the status of the children.
        As one grows up, one gains capabilities from speech to motor actions and understanding. The growth and the definition of their honor, which is their humanity, is defined by one’s actions. The way one acts can honor or shame him.
        If someone commits a charitable act or philanthropy, they are called a philanthropist; they committed something honorable.
        If someone steals or commits theft, they are called a thief; they have done something shameful by taking what does not belong to them or what is not due of them.
        This process never stops until the last breath of one’s life. Only at the end of one’s life is one’s honor, which is their humanity, defined.

        If one limits themselves to only the emotional basis and shallow reasoning, law would not have gone far, and I was expecting more from you. You should have known better than to belittle any commenter. I was expecting slightly more philosophical and rational. Some people need to face biting realities so that they can face the truth.

        Reply
        1. Linda Robertson Post author

          Salman – thank you for so respectfully disagreeing here; I admire your honest opinions that are shared without direct attack on any of the other commenters.
          I don’t really like to use the comment section for debates, so I won’t. But suffice it to say this – those who believe that the facts and evidence of the scriptures do not condemn monogamous, committed same-sex relationships are not limiting themselves to emotions and “shallow reasoning”…please take a look at Bible, Gender, Sexuality by James V. Brownson. You will find anything but shallow reasoning here.

        2. Rob - Chicago, IL

          Perhaps Simon is having same sex attraction and being anti-gay is what he was taught and because of it he is afraid. A lot of times an objection means they are interested. I read several articles that stated the most homophobic people are the very ones harboring same sex attraction and somewhere they had a parent or religion that was militant against so they hated that part of themself and took it out on others who are gay or perceived to be gay.

          I find this interesting because somebody made the observation that the most homophobic people in my college dorm ( myself included) were later found out to be gay. Hmmm. The person who I watched ridicule anyone he suspected to be gay was also later found out to be gay.

          The Following is from an article in The Huffington Post – See link Below:

          “In a predominately heterosexual society, ‘know thyself’ can be a challenge for many gay individuals,” lead author Netta Weinstein, a lecturer at the University of Essex in the United Kingdom, said in a statement. “But in controlling and homophobic homes, embracing a minority sexual orientation can be terrifying.”[5 Ways to Foster Self-Compassion in Your Child]

          Those participants who reported their heterosexuality despite having hidden same-sex desires were also the most likely to show hostility toward gay individuals, including self-reported anti-gay attitudes, endorsement of anti-gay policies and discrimination such as supporting harsher punishments for homosexuals.

          The research may help to explain the underpinnings of anti-gay bullying and hate crimes, the researchers note. People in denial about their own sexual orientation, perhaps a denial fostered by authoritarian and homophobic parents, may feel a threat from other gay and lesbian individuals. Lashing out may ultimately be an indicator of the person’s own internal conflict with sexual orientation.

          This inner conflict can be seen in some high-profile cases in which anti-gay public figures are caught engaging in same-sex acts, the researchers say. For instance, evangelical preacher and anti-gay-marriage advocate Ted Haggard was caught in a gay sex scandal in 2006. And in 2010, prominent anti-gay activist and co-founder of conservative Family Research Council George Rekers was reportedly spotted in 2010 with a male escort rented from Rentboy.com. According to news reports, the escort confirmed Rekers is gay.

          “We laugh at or make fun of such blatant hypocrisy, but in a real way, these people may often themselves be victims of repression and experience exaggerated feelings of threat,”

          http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/09/homophobia-homosexuality-gay_n_1412846.html

  17. Rick Brentlinger

    Rob and Linda, what a wonderful blessing to hear your heart-wrenching yet glorious testimony about Ryan’s life. Only in heaven will we know how much God has used Ryan’s struggle and your pain and loss to bring lonely hurting GLBTs to saving faith in Jesus Christ. Our loving Lord turns our sorrow into joy, our broken hearts and tear-filled days into wells of salvation. So glad I could meet and hug you both and enjoy fellowship. Praying for you and your ministry.

    Reply
  18. Ashad Ismail

    I have a very sore heart after reading all that. To Ryan’s parents I take my hat of to u for the way u handled and supported ur son, The very fact that he was able to come to u with this at his early age. Some of us fear the consequences and find over selves Alone at 35. From an outside perspective ur strong loving bonds was always there, and of that love Ryan was pretty sure. The experimentation come with the struggle of finding himself. He knew what he was But did he make peace with it, embrace it or choose mind altering substances to escape the reality that we are different. Unfortunately our youth chooses the narcotics as their best means of escape. At the end of the day none of us are more powerful than God .. So if God felt that he Need Ryan in his heaven, then we have to find a way to let go. We keep all the happy memories and good times and laughter to console us. The biggest thing in Ryan’s life was not that he was gay. Somehow the fact that u where there for ur son will out weigh what u could hv done . From a 34 yr old Gay man who has never been in a relationship ever, together As a family u gave him support others can only dream off. Take pride in the unconditional love ur family shares, relief in the fact that u know hv a reAl angel thT wil guide you through ur journey. Indeed an amazing soul go to soon but which the confidence and peace of nothing I’m different ,my family loves me, maybe I can love me coz just In my heart I know I am Gods chlld.

    Reply
  19. Brittney

    Hi,
    First off, I’m terribly sorry about your loss. I could tell just by that post that you are incredibly regretful that you didn’t accept your son from the beginning for being gay. I can also tell that you had an incredibly strong love for your son. But reading this and reading how you judged him and tried to convince him and praying for him to not be gay, don’t you think that that was a tad hypocritical? Now, I’m a Christian and doesn’t the book of God say, ‘Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister.’ In this case, Ryan. You gave Ryan a choice to choose between loving someone truly, whether it be wrong in your eyes or not, or being loved by God. Why couldn’t he have done both? I know you didn’t see the outcome of this coming, but, the book does say do not judge thy brother, but while praying every night weren’t you, in return, judging your son? I am a Christian and I am for gay rights. I have a 3 month old son, and I honestly do not care how others may see me and my parenting skills, I personally, will NEVER tell my child anything like that nor give him an option like that. I respect and admire how you stood up and handled the whole situation with Ryan and I know that if you could, you would go back in time and change what you said to him that day. I am sorry if this comes off a little rude or anything, I am not meaning for it to sound that way in all honesty. I am not writing to be hateful; just to give my opinion only and tell you how deeply, deeply sorry I am for your loss, especially in a tragic way. Also, to tell you that I do admire your will power, and to send my prayers and thoughts to you. Your son will be truly missed, but I bet he is up in heaven having the time of his life. He will meet you up there at God’s pearly white gates and run to you with open arms telling you he has missed you and is happy to see you again. I was moved and brought to tears by your story, and although it hasn’t happened to me, I sympathize.

    ——Sending my Love & Prayers

    Reply
      1. Robert Scott

        I would like to add that you never know how many people were helped or saved by this blog and the sharing of Ryan’s story.

        I would ask that people focus on the good Rob and Linda are doing right now.

        I honestly believe that Love is what we take with us and the only thing real in the end. There is so much love here. Look for the love as Ryan is not separate from that love.

        Yes it came out of a tragic event. But they admitted their mistake and have learned from it.

        Perhaps some people need to learn forgiveness ???

        Truth, Wisdom, Love and Sincerity, to ALL mankind.

        Rob Scott
        Chicago, IL

        Reply
      2. Lena Gagnon Parle

        Bottom line: ONLY GOD has the power to judge. Our job is to love our children. I always told my daughter that my job was to be sure when she left home that she was able to take care of herself and be a contributing, empathetic member of society. If I had done that, I consider my parenting a success. I used to observe one of my daughter’s 5 year old classmates and it was so OBVIOUS. I remember thinking that I wouldn’t be surprised if he was gay. Sure enough about 12 years later my daughter came to and said, “Guess what? So and so is gay!” I told her I KNEW that a long time ago. She wondered why I hadn’t said anything, and I told her that at the time it was not an issue and would have just been confusing. My daughter has learned to accept each person on their own merit as a HUMAN being, not to take into consideration race, religion, ethnic origin, sex, etc. These do not clearly define WHO an individual truly is. How would Jesus truly want us to treat another human being? I am not traditionally a Christian but I believe that we all one from the same place, we come into existence in the exact same way. The moment of conception when we begin to become who we will be one day shaped by our environment. As parents we can make this environment supportive and loving or critical and unsupportable. To make a simple analogy: some people like mustard on their hot dogs, some ketchup, some onions etc. It DOES NOT make mustard or ketchup or onions, inherently better, just different. And we should celebrate these differences not condemn it. I am not advocating that ALL lifestyles (I hesitate to use that term, it is not accurate) are necessarily acceptable. For example pedophilia. (There are others, but for some reason this one appears to be used as an example): This factions actions directly infringe upon the rights and safety and innocence of young individuals. This is NOT the same thing. Again we are not qualified to judge. I cannot imagine telling someone I love that they are going to burn in he’ll. If that is not judging, what is.

        Reply
    1. Donna Brooks

      Brittney, I think you missed the whole point of this website! The Robertson’s are now taking a stand affirming LGBT people’s rights and their full inclusion in the Christian Church. Telling the story of their son and the mistakes they made, and acknowledging that they were wrong is all a part of bringing a message of acceptance to those whom religious people condemn. Their advocacy for LGBT people is made more powerful BECAUSE of the mistakes they made, and sharing that story allows other people who still think like they used to think to realize that maybe they are also wrong. So it’s important that they tell their story so that people know they haven’t always been accepting of LGBT people, and that God has changed their hearts and minds.

      Reply
      1. Linda Robertson Post author

        Donna, bless you for understanding our hearts in this, and for seeing the reason why we feel called – by God – to share the story of the mistakes we made. Your grace is a gift to us!

        Reply
    2. mischieffindskathleen

      Brittney, the condolences would have sufficed. Clearly, these grieving parents understand what you berate them for. They deserve sympathy, and for any parents of children who are gay, they are a light of hope and faith to be accepting. Remember – this is a tremendous loss. Be kind.

      Reply
  20. Joe Mendoza

    Rob and Linda, I am a 45 year old man who was raised catholic. Coming from a Latino/Catholic home I grew up very family oriented and grew up knowing nothing about Gays or homosexuality. I must’ve been 11 or 12 when I first began to hear things about gays and at that time I thought Gay meant the equivalent of (Drag Queen or Transexual) I was taught to believe they were all sick minded individuals who would be going to hell. That was mostly what I would hear from my father and his brothers at the weekly family get togethers we would have. I grew up in a very close knit family full of very macho even chauvenistic men. All my cousins were in sports where I could care less about them and when I finally did join sports it was Gymnastics and Swimming. I felt and was made to feel that I had to set a good masculine example for my little brother. Although drugs were all around me I never went there…honestly it was out of fear of my father. Instead my MASK if you will were #1 girlfriends (I was lucky enough to have had many) and #2 I joined a gang at age 13. It was my only alternative to suicide. It was a good cover up for many years. I prayed and prayed to my best friend Jesus Christ to save me… I remember at first I prayed for him to make me normal and then when that didnt work I prayed for him to let me wake up as a girl. I begged and pleaded with him. I swore that I would never live the life of a gay man and that I would rather die than let my family know the truth of my desires. I also was convinced that by living a “Straight” life and having sexual relations with women that eventually I would forget my desires for men. By age 26 I left the gang life, by age 28 the urges and desires for a romantic relationship with a man was 100 times stronger. I began to read books, I began therapy for over 2 years and still NO ANSWERS!! I finally decided I needed to talk with someone else who was gay. My therapist at that time found another patient of his who didnt have issues with being gay but in fact was gay. He got consent from both of us and introduced us. I went to visit this individual after several emails back and forth. I went to his house one afternoon with the understanding we would just talk. I arrive at his home and we began to talk. He told me to feel free to ask anything I wanted. As luck would have it we were the same age, both latino and both with the same family and religious background. 3 hours later I left his home without a doubt in my mind that I WAS GAY and OK WITH IT. I was 30 years old. The rest is history… However I did want to point out 2 things. I never did lose my faith in God. I did lose my faith in organized religion and laws made by men in Italy. I never lost my faith or friendship with my lord who continues to be my best friend and has NEVER let me down when i’ve really needed him. I only ever had to ask. I made all my sacraments, I knewe the bible back and forth and was obsessed with religious movies. I always knew that whatever I was … God knew it and it was his plan for me from the day I was born. I sent this article (your article) to my parents today via email. Although my parents have always loved me and have done all they could for me. They had a very rough time when I came out took them a couple years to come around. To this day my father still has issues with it but it’s kind of out of sight out of mind because I haven’t brought anyone around in several years. I know my father still dreads the day I find a long term partner. My mom has now become very supportive. I am hoping when they read your story they will realize that time is precious and that our love their unconditional love and acceptance is more important than what they fear and what they were taught as children. Reading your story brought so many memories back to my mind from my childhood. I wish I had known Ryan or could’ve talked to him. You see I counsel people now who have coming out issues. It’s been thee most rewarding work I have ever done, that and all my work in HIV/AIDS services. I dont want anymore of my brothers and sisters to go through what I went through… what Ryan went through.

    Reply
    1. Linda Robertson Post author

      Joe, thanks for sharing YOUR story…it is a sacred, precious gift. I am so grateful to hear how God met you and how He showed you His great love for you through the friend your therapist connected you with! What a GIFT!!

      Reply
  21. John

    I respect your courage to stand up and accept the blame. One way to make your son’s life a blessing and to help ease your guilt is to tell your story in every possible conservative religious environment. 12 years ago, my partner of 9 years ended his life for numerous reasons. Most originated with the rejection of his family for being gay. As much as one could say horrible things to you; they will never be as horrible as what you say to yourself. Please continue to “preach” your story of accepting “too late” so that others will not make the mistake you did. Your son’s memory will shine with each life saved by his tragedy.

    Reply
    1. Linda Robertson Post author

      John, my heart breaks over your loss…I can’t begin to imagine what you’ve experienced, or how angry you must be at the voices that caused your beloved to feel that life wasn’t worth living. You are right; the only way we can make sense of our regrets is to continue to tell our story, hoping and praying that other conservative parents will hear it and respond differently when their own child comes out to them.

      Reply
  22. Nathan

    I appreciate you sharing the story, in the hopes others do not do the same as you did. I don’t think you killed your son, but I do think religion did. I’m just curious why your response is that you needed “more faith” as it seems to me that less faith would have been a better solution. Hindsight is 20/20, and you did the best you could. I don’t think guilting yourself would help a single bit, and I feel nothing but sadness for you and your son. I am just curious why you continue to choose religion. If you choose not to share this on your blog, feel free to respond privately if you choose. I hope you find peace and have a good life.

    Reply
    1. Linda Robertson Post author

      Nathan – That is a good question. Our faith – and our experience of God – is what caused us to change our attitudes toward Ryan, and is also what has gotten us through the devastation of losing a child. Our trust in the redemption of all things by the love of Christ is what has given us hope in the middle of unspeakable pain. Thank you for asking so graciously, in spite of the fact that you haven’t found meaning in faith in your own life.

      Reply
      1. Nathan

        That is so interesting. As a non-religious person it is hard to fathom how you felt that God was with you from the beginning, given that religion prompted you to have such difficulty in at first accepting your son. I’m curious how you feel God speaks to you, if the initial messages were apparently so vague as to prevent the tragedy. I don’t mean to belabor the point, it’s just a bit hard to comprehend. I’m curious, have you changed religions without Christianity, and how have you chosen Christianity as the path of meaning for you?

        Reply
        1. Linda Robertson Post author

          Nathan, these are SUCH good questions. I wish I could sit down and share with you our entire story…we are going to share a small part of it next week in Chicago at the Gay Christian Network conference (hopefully the video will be online afterward), but I can tell you this. God used a million different ways…countless small miracles to continually remind us of His presence, and to speak to us words that were contrary to the way we had been raised and contrary to what we were taught by the evangelical sub-culture. Over and over, God would impress upon each of us – individually – the same message. We believe deeply in the hope that Christ has for us as our Healer and Redeemer…the God who can bring beautiful things out of the ugliness of our own mistakes.
          I certainly don’t expect you to agree…or to be convinced…but I GREATLY respect how kind, respectful and sensitive you were as you asked that question. I wish we could sit and have coffee; I would love to here YOUR story, Nathan!

        2. Nathan

          You seem like a very nice person. My experience, in a quick nutshell, is that I was raised Mormon. I was told that God speaks to each of us personally through prayer, etc. However, if you pray and do not receive an answer, or if your answer differs from the norm, you are then told that you simply were unworthy or didn’t pray correctly or something. I’ve seen that culture absolutely terrorize gay people. In the past they used to “treat” them with electrical shocks to try to “cure” them. Now days they are just as abusive psychologically, resulting in one gay Mormon suicide after another. It continually makes me sad and angry.

  23. C Wilson

    Linda and Rob: I am so deeply touched by this story. A friend posted a link on Facebook and I just “happened to” click it and read the story this morning. Wow.

    I am a year or so into a crazy, amazing, frightening journey of re-acquainting myself with God after many years of not living a life that fits my core beliefs. My sexuality, in and of itself, has not been the issue I have battled. Some of my behaviors have involved my sexuality, but at their core, my issues revolve around how I never learned healthy ways to express feelings and emotions, and to deal with life on life’s terms. Many, many times in the last year, I have been reminded that our parents did the best they could do for us – in the moment, in the life they were living, with the tools they were given as children and adolescents, and with the beliefs they had. I thank God for the fact that Ryan knew he was loved by you. Even though he felt early on that he had to “change” somehow to live into his beliefs, at least he heard you say that he was loved.

    I have a question – you mention in the story above the “tangible presence of God” in Ryan’s hospital room, and how that was a separate story — I am VERY interested in that story. Is that posted elsewhere here, or is that in the video? The troubling parts of my journey this past year have involved my inability to “experience” God’s presence in my life – to REALLY KNOW that God is there. I sincerely want to know more about that time and how you all experienced God’s presence. If that is already available somewhere, please point me in that direction.

    Peace and Love to you both!

    Reply
    1. Linda Robertson Post author

      C Wilson, what a timely question! We are getting ready to share about that experience, and other ways in which we experienced God’s presence and faithfulness, at the GCN (Gay Christian Network) conference next week in Chicago. Our presentation is being recorded, but I am not sure yet where/when it will be available. When we return home, we’ll definitely post that information here on the blog and on FaceBook. Much love to you!

      Reply
  24. Alan in GA

    I came across your blog unexpectedly from a random link that I followed on FaceBook and I must say that I am glad I did. On this random, rainy, and cold Friday night in Georgia; reading your story and watching your video allowed me to find the compassion to forgive my own parents and to actually have hope for the first time in 17 years that we can have an open and honest relationship. Growing up as an only child and only grandchild in South Georgia came with expectations and very little toleration for deviation. I understood that from an early age and it was impressed upon me that failure was not an option and that if you failed, then you didn’t prepare enough and you would learn your lesson for the next time. I’m not bitter about that lesson as it has propelled me far into my life and at 30, I am financially stable, educated, and debt free. I started to realize I was different from an early age. I wasn’t interested in teasing the girls on the playground like the other little boys and as I got older I was horrified if a little girl tried to kiss me or hold my hand on the playground or in gym while the other little boys seemed to take pride in it. I don’t quiet know why, but something in the very core of my being told me this was not something that I could discuss with my parents and just a few short year later I was proven right.

    By the age of 11 I had finally figured out that people could be gay, lesbian, or bisexual but I still had so many questions. By the age of 13 I discovered the internet and thought I had finally found a place to have all of my questions answered. It didn’t really seem strange for me to seek answers other places than my parents by this point because I had already figured out where babies came from and my parents seemed content to let me find out from friends who had older brothers and sisters. What I didn’t account for was browser history and that one night it would lead to me being called into the office in our house where I was asked to sit at the computer and there was a website pulled up that I had been looking at. Im not sure how long I sat in that chair and blankly stared at the screen, nor do I remember what my parents said.. I just remember a lot of yelling and crying on their part. I eventually was allowed to go to bed and as I was crying myself to sleep I remember my mother coming into my room and telling me that she and daddy were worried about my soul and that I would choose the wrong path in life and that as my parents it was their one job above all others to lead and guide me and to make sure that I chose that right path. Shortly thereafter we began regularly attending church services at a congregation that a lot of my friends also attended. Since we lived in a different town I initially thought that this was an attempt on their part to provide me more social interaction opportunities in a safe and wholesome environment. I was wrong and that was made clear one Saturday afternoon when a trip to the movies turned into a quick stop by the pastor’s house where I was “saved.” I had always been told that being saved was an intensely personal decision and one not to be taken lightly and when God spoke to me that it was time, then I would know. That decision was taken away from me that day and afterwards my parents acted as if the most natural thing in the world had just occurred. The finished the day out with a move and ice cream.

    I prayed to God to take away my attraction to the same sex and I was always reading my bible and attending youth group services but after awhile it just started to make me more and more angry. My attraction didn’t change and I sat in church every Sunday hearing about God’s grace and wondering why he had forsaken me. The sermons on the evil of homosexuality were almost too much to bear, especially as I had to sit beside my parents who seemed to say “Amen” after every point. Eventually I shut down for the remainder of my high school years. I was social with people and I made sure I hung out with the crowd that my parents approved of, I did the activities they wanted me to do, and above all I succeeded. When my senior year came around all I could think about was being able to go college away from my parents where I could finally have a chance to discover who I was meant to be. It wasn’t that easy though and freedom allowed me to feel like I was really going to prove a point to my parents and I would just do anything in the world that I thought they would disapprove of. This included drug abuse, alcohol abuse, and sleeping with anyone who was interested. Years of feeling like I was worthless and that I had no value had taken their toll. I had felt like I was loved, but only if I met certain conditions. Sadly I looked for love in all the wrong places and by the end of my senior year I felt a great resentment towards my parents for what I felt was a failure on their part. I felt like that everything bad in my life was their fault. Every bad relationship, every time I had been slapped or hit, every time I was verbally and emotionally abused. I felt like had they loved me for who I was then those situations wouldn’t have had the opportunity to happen because I would have grown up knowing what real love felt like and that love doesn’t come with conditions.

    I haven’t discussed my personal life with my family since that night in the computer room where very little discussion has happened. They have never met anyone I have ever dated, they don’t know about my broken engagement to someone I loved dearly, they don’t even know about the miscarriage with our surrogate that led to the eventual break up. Watching your video in a way was like watching my own parents. The family photos could have been ours if I had siblings and the family stories could have easily happened to us. Before I knew it I was in tears because everything that you were discussing about your son was like a mirror being held up to my own face. As I stated earlier, I forgave them tonight. It was not something I had thought about for years and suddenly it was like a weight that I didn’t even realize was there had been lifted. As as adult I can see that, even as misguided as it was, they were trying to give me my best chance. As an adult I also understand now that children don’t come with instruction manuals and that you will make mistakes and some of them will be minor and some of them will be major. Now that I am on the verge of having a baby myself, and the fact that I will be parenting alone, I have wondered what choices I will have to make and what situations I will be presented with. Looking at her sonogram makes me feel closer than I ever thought to my parents but it also gives me a resolve to learn from their mistakes and not blame them. At the end of the day they don’t deserve that and I am sure that the people that they are today would have handled things differently back then.

    I am sorry for how your story turned out and I was heartbroken when I realized your son was no longer with you. I am glad however that you and your husband had time with your son before his passing where you were able to come back together as a family. I apologize for my rambling post, but in short your story touched me more than you will ever know and I want to thank you for sharing it.

    Reply
    1. Linda Robertson Post author

      WOW. Alan, all I can say is I am heading to bed tonight asking God to fill my heart with as much grace and forgiveness for those who have hurt me as you have displayed here. I am inspired and encouraged by you, my friend. Thank you so much for sharing your story!

      Reply
  25. Daniel Henderson

    Linda and Rob. Thank you for sharing your story. There are so many more like it that are left untold. I grew up in an evangelical church, but no longer profess Christianity. I have a friend who has a Gay son, and they are wrestling with how to love and accept him. I encourage them when given an opportunity, but they are steadfast in their religious convictions. I certainly hope their story doesn’t end up like yours, and perhaps by you sharing, it will influence them in some positive way. Also, I started a movement called acceptance.org, which isn’t a LGBT movement, but it does appeal to the demographic, as it promotes equality and acceptance, regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation, etc. I would love to be able to share you story on our site and Facebook page.

    Reply
    1. Linda Robertson Post author

      Daniel…Please feel FREE to share our story on your site and FaceBook page! If God can use it to help others love their children, and avoid making the same mistakes we did, then we are ALL for it! We only ask that you not edit it in any way. But I know you wouldn’t.
      So thankful for your efforts to promote dignity and respect for ALL people!!

      Reply
  26. Anonymous

    …Oh Dear…well, perhaps people could respectfully disagree with your working hypothesis, namely that God is somehow involved in all this. What remains of your story if you take “god” out of the equation? Please be informed—the horror, the horror—that lots of people entertain serious doubts as to the existence of “god.”

    Reply
  27. Cody S

    Linda,

    I must start with a sincere thank you for sharing your story. Ryan’s story touched me I a place I have never let anyone in. I also grew up in the church involved in youth event, mission trips, school and city outreaches. My family was not involved in the church but I was mentored and groomed to be a man of god by the influence and love of my church family. God had spoken to me, through me and used me. My involvement in the church had consumed my every being at church, home and school. This whole time while living my life for god a depression, hurt, and lie continued to grow. I knew at 9 how I felt about other boys, I knew it was wrong and that I had to change it, so I turned to god. As I grew older I began to hate myself, this hate quickly grew to unimaginable pain. I couldn’t tell my family because they wouldn’t be ok with it, they always had horrible jokes about gays. I couldn’t tell the church because I was a man of god and my involvement in the church might be compromised, I couldn’t turn to god because he knew my truth, my thoughts, and feelings.
    From age 13 to 16, I turned on myself, not to myself, but turned on myself. I thought if I could break me down so much emotional, become so desperate not to be gay, to change, then I would. I started cutting myself, not to die but to hurt, I would remind myself that I was gay a dig the blade deeper into my thigh or wrist. I would hit myself with blunt objects, bash my head into things, anything to cause pain not only because ei was gay but because I want a reason to hurt other than the emotional and spiritual hurt. I even started to make myself numb with prescription medication I would take from friends and family. I began drinking and experimenting with drugs. All I desired was acceptance and love…. So I then began to give myself away sexually to every man that wanted it.
    For three years I hurt never telling a soul because I feared judgment, I lived my life as a lie, I was a hypocrite! I went to church, was involved in every youth event, but then got drunk, did drugs, slept with boys and more. I had two sets of friends, my Christian friends and my “worldly” friends. At 16, my heart broken, my soul lost, my body with scars, and my mind confused, I grabbed a cd (casting crowns ) and my dad’s bottle of Jack Daniels then went into the bathroom. I filled the tub with the hottest water I could, and started to cry. I lit a candle, grabbed a bottle of aspirin and razor then turned out the lights.
    When I got in the bath I remember how hot it was and telling myself “ this pain is temporary and you have dealt with worse”. As I sat in the bath I planned my next step. “Ok Cody, take a handful of aspirin swallow with Jack, do this a few times and then cut yourself. It can’t hurt that bad the aspirin and Jack will numb you then the hot water should help you bleed fast. “ I did it all just as planned, but the plan didn’t seem to work. I started to vomit, then got dizzy and started to cry again. Then someone knocked on the door. My little sister and mom got home. My sister said hurry , and I went in to a panic. I got out of the tub and started cleaning up scared that someone would find out. I ran out of the bathroom to my room and laid down crying. I told my sister to tell my mom I threw up and I was sick. No one bothered me. I threw up for the next day randomly, my body in pain, and I was still confused. After this happened I walked away from god and the church and started taking care of myself and my needs. I suppressed any memories and hurt of my childhood and just got threw one day at a time. I stopped mutilating my body and only would drink socially; I walked away from drugs and pills. When I started only caring what I thought I began to live life. Sure I didn’t ever handle the problems, the hurt, or confusion but I acted as if it never happened and moved on with life.
    Curious to know what now…..
    I came out to my family…. For the most part they are loving and supportive, they embrace my happiness and life. Honestly they still handle me being gay better than I do. There are often times I ask why. Then I remind myself that god made me in his perfect image regardless of what anyone else thinks or feels. I still do not go to church nor do I have the relationship with god that I once had. I choose not to out of fear. Fear of rejection and hurt again. There are still times that I wish I wasn’t gay, times I break down and cry praying to be “normal”. I know that there is a bigger picture to my life and every day lived is painting that picture.

    Linda I cannot tell you how much Ryan’s story means to me and to others who fight this losing battle. Thank you for your gracious heart and beautiful spirit, you have given me the strength and courage to share this story for the first time.

    With Sincere thanks,
    Cody

    Reply
    1. Linda Robertson Post author

      Oh, Cody…how I wish I could just give you a hug! But even more than that, I wish I could give you the assurance that I have that GOD loves you more than you can even BEGIN to imagine. When we speak on Friday morning in Chicago, I am going to be thinking of you…and speaking to you. I hope you will find me on FaceBook and keep in touch, dear friend! I am SOOOO glad you did not succeed in taking your life….you are a precious, beautiful man.

      Reply
  28. Doug

    Linda and Rob, I just watched you speak. It was gut wrenching. I cannot imagine your pain. I am so happy that you are sharing your story with others. If you can save someone through telling your story it will be worth the pain of reliving it. I have seen so many religious people speak in very hate filled ways. Telling us we are wrong. It is so refreshing to see those like you who have realized love really is the answer. I am a gay man who realized I was gay at 14. I spent the next 14 years fighting who I was. I prayed to make these feelings go away. Then to make them go away or let me die. Then just please let me die. On a very bad night, with a very large kitchen knife in my hand. I prayed “just help me”. It was like being hugged and someone whispering in my ear “accept it”. That night was the start of my healing. To accept myself. I am a very spiritual person but have rejected religions because of the hate speech they all like to put out. You have given me hope that some day religion will stop the hate and get back to total love which is what any true religion or belief has to be based in. Keep up the good work. You have my deepest sympathy. Your son sounds like someone I would have been proud to call friend. Hugs.

    Reply
    1. Linda Robertson Post author

      Doug…and YOU are somebody we would be incredibly proud to call friend. Thank you SO much for your kind and compassionate words. We are so very glad that God clearly told you that you are OKAY, and that you did NOT take your own life. You must give so much to everyone in your world!

      Reply
  29. Luke Vaughan

    This story made me cry. Not out of sadness for your loss, or out of the exhibition of faith, but because I’ve just become so tired of seeing religion poison the world that it actually now brings me to tears. I wish our species to rise to its full potential, but we’re consistently held back by bronze age mythology, and it deeply saddens me. I know you won’t approve this post, and that’s ok. I don’t blame you for what happened; regardless of how warped and unfounded I feel your views may be, you thought you were doing the right thing. We can only blame those who educated you, or indoctrinated you, to believe that faith is a virtue and that is has any practical benefit in our lives. You tried to protect you son which is admirable. But you did it on bad information. So sad. So very sad. I hope you manage to cope with the loss. It seems like this blog is a good start. Please consider listening to the people that tell you to look more deeply into your religion and assess whether there is anything of substance there at all. I assure you, it has no evidential basis and is simply stories told over thousands of years by people who didn’t know where lightning came from. You’ll be a happier person if you let it go.

    All the best.

    Reply
    1. Linda Robertson Post author

      Luke, thank you for sharing your perspective. Honestly, I’ve considered walking away from my relationship with God many times, and many times, His love draws me back. For me, it is my faith that gives my life great meaning, joy and hope. But I respect that it doesn’t for you. All the best to you, too!

      Reply
  30. Nicholas

    Dear Linda and Rob,

    I stumbled across yours and Ryan’s story. I watched the sermon you both had given. Which had me in tears. I’m a 20 year old man who is gay, who has always struggled with the question “does God still love me?” “Will I be allowed to stand in front of him and be accepted in His home?” My family was never religious, and I am a very free spirited, open minded person. So I took it upon myself when I was 14 to start going to church with my best friends family, who was Mormon. And in the church I felt…..ashamed. Being gay is my identity. And I felt like I couldn’t co-inside with being a Mormon and being gay. I left the church and tossed what I knew out the window. Because I wanted to be me, and not be ashamed. But I always had those questions fluttering around in my head, pestering me from time and time again. Then, tonight I stumbled upon this story, and I wept, not only for what had happened, but for I had finally found the answers I was looking for. You two and Ryan are blessings. Who, tho you may not know it, have changed my life. And I can also safely assume the lives of many others. May Ryan always be with you , in your hearts, minds, and dreams. Because he will always be in my prayers, as well you

    God bless,
    Nick

    Reply
    1. Linda Robertson Post author

      Oh, Nick…your comment has ME crying now, too. Oh, how I wish I could bring you with us to the Gay Christian Network conference in Chicago this week…where our message is ALL about how much God loves us…JUST as He created us. I have NO doubt that He DELIGHTS in you, Nick. Much love to you!

      Reply
  31. Leona Anderson

    I have a gay son. My husband just passed away Dec 16. Love and cherish our son. He is not walking with The Lord but I so very proud of him.

    Reply
    1. Linda Robertson Post author

      Leona…I am SO sorry about your husband! Dear friend…it hasn’t even been three weeks! You are in the middle of such fresh grief. I cannot imagine losing my husband…I am just so very, very sorry.
      If, in the future, you ever want to join our online, private Facebook group for Christian moms who love their LGBTQ children, please friend me on Facebook (Linda Mueller Robertson) and let me know…we’d LOVE to have you!

      Reply
  32. Adam Wilmoth

    I am really sorry for your loss. My parents did not accept me because I am gay. My mother and step father will not discuss it with me. My real father disowned me to my face because he did not want a gay son. I prayed for a way to change over for eight years and got no results. I even asked for prayers from the church that I was going to and they turned their backs on me. I did not choose this and a lot of people act like it is a choice when it is not. I am touched by your story because I know what he went through. I did not turn to drugs though I turned to having careless sex with other men as a way to rebel. I consider myself lucky that I did not catch anything. I was very touched by the story of you and your family as it had turned your lives around and helped you to see that love is the best gift that God has given us.

    Reply
    1. Linda Robertson Post author

      Oh, Adam…we pray for the day when EVERYONE will realize that being gay is NOT A CHOICE!! I am so sorry that you have endured such pain! I know that God grieves when we treat our gay children, brothers and sisters with such contempt, instead of loving them as HE does.

      Reply
  33. Michelle

    It is amazing to me as I read the posts from those who have struggled with their sexuality the commonalities amoung us. And as I read I remember and recall the pain, desperation, disparity, anger, and confusion. The self loathing, the desperate need to be loved and accepted instead of judged and made to feel dirty and sinful. I have overcome my past but still bare the scars, physically and emotionally. And the ironic thing is I’m not 100% sure I’ve completely accepted myself I just don’t give a damn anymore because I can’t change it. But too all you young people out there who are mutilating your bodies, drinking and snoring away your pain, to those who are having reckless sex just to numb the pain caused by those who are supposed to love you know this, you are not alone and there is nothing wrong with you. You are beautiful and perfect just as you are. Don’t change, and don’t let anyone make you feel bad or being who you are. You are not dirty or disgusting, you are not sinful. From someone who has been where you are there is hope. And it is okay to be who you are. Don’t give up on life, your life is worth living. There are people who care and I am one of them!

    Reply
  34. Roxee

    Hi, I presume you’ve had some awful comments from atheists and religios fundamentalists given your “note to commenters”. How awful people would say such things in light of the topic you address.
    I am an atheist and a humanist and am very sorry for your loss. Your son sounds as if he was an amazing person and humanity is worse off for no longer having him amoung us.
    I want to commend you too because, judging by your initial responses to him, you too appear to have been originally taught to believe and accept as true the paasages in your holy book that condemn the practice of homosexuality. I commend you because, as I believe, your own innate morality driven by the love of your son was able to rise above some questional morality written about in your holy book.
    I think humanists and believers such as yourself can achieve much together to end bigotry and predudice in the world and make life on Earth better for all humans who call Earth home.
    My kindest regards to you and your family.

    Reply
    1. Linda Robertson Post author

      Roxee, WOW. Your words are full of grace and love. Your comment makes me think of a movement I’ve just been made aware of – http://acceptance.org/ – where we are encouraged to respect and value each other despite all differences. Thank you for doing that…I couldn’t agree more. If people of all faiths, humanists, atheists, agnostics…all of us…can come together, we can change the world!

      Reply
  35. cindywalkerwinstead

    Dear Linda and Rob, I came across the Huffpost posting that you originally posted and watched ya’lls presentation and Ryan’s letter to Rob. I tell you I felt the still raw emotion and dispair at your precious loss. I knew when I was 3 (seriously) without having the termonology, that I was different, that things were not the way I saw them to be. I was good at sports, being from Texas, loving horses and dogs, all manner of things. My brothers and I, me being the eldest, were pretty much raised by our maternal grandparents, our mom working out of state. I was exposed and allowed to do things most little girls wouldn’t be interested in. My grandfather whom we called Pop, was a carpenter and taught us all manner of things equally. I’d often be at the construction site while Mom or Gramama ran errands and by the time I was 5 I could drive a nail straight into a 2×4. Pop taught us to hunt, fish, camp, drive, and my brothers about construction. As I grew thru the teen years I had this internal fear of being gay or someone reading me as such. My freshman yr in college I worked as an EMT/Paramedic and came in contact with other lesbians in the healthcare professions and they too were closeted but my internal self loathing prevented me from askung questions of them, so I did as my co workers did, drinking and partying eventually having sex with my male partner on the squad. I thought I was proving to myself that I could be straight. All it did was worsen my self loathing. I returned to college becoming a registered nurse and had my first gay relationship, and prior to meeting my gf, I joined the Southern Baptist Church and became heavily involved with the Baptist student ministry on campus. At graduation my relationship ended and badly at that. I moved on and worked in a large trauma center in a large W. TX town were I met this young female Dr doing her residency where I worked, from one of my college friends and we became very close. She herself had almost identical relationship in college that I had. We became close friends, and I became more aware of my feelings as I had more and more gay people enter my life as I remained closeted. I went to counseling, prayed God would take my same sex attractions away. Fervently ai prayed this yet nothing happened. I drank heavily to numb the pain and dispair, the self hate and the fear I still had. One weekend I had had all I could take. I just couldn’t live this way anymore. I had a large number of narcotics I’d saved and I had a handgun and after church I went home to take my life. Somehow my Dr friend found out and intervened. She told the Dr I worked for about my suicidal ideation as I worked for a Dr who attended our church and had a large number of church members as patients and I felt that working for him was a way I could minister to my church. It was hell. I hated it. My Dr boss was bipolar and would scream and yell in front of all the patients in the waiting room and most times it was directed at me. When my friend told him he fired me. She stashed me with my counselor that night and next day, now unemployed, I knew I could not live a lie anymore. I didn’t yet know where the answers were, but I accepted myself as being gay. I returned to the hospital I’d previously worked for and sought out all the lesbians who I knew were out. I met others and eventually my first real long term relationship began. We were together 9 yrs co raising her toddler daughter. During that time I came out to my family who didn’t take it well. They knew about my college gf from reading letters I had received on a daily basis and had hidden and they violated my privacy and read them. At that time I refused to acknowledge or discuss her in any way. My 9 yr relationship ended and I spent the next 6 yrs working and continued drinking and previously I’d attended a UFMCC church but stopped since my ex was there with her new gf she’d cheated on me with. I returned to going to church and I met unexpectedly this younger woman who was the same age as my little sister and we got together. That didn’t last long and then I waited 2 yrs and had another relationship that was doomed from the start. I’d started counseling again when I met this shy woman who was newly out and was in recovery. I however was not. She wanted a relationship immediately and I had given a verbal contract with my therapist that I wouldn’t start a new relationship for 6 mos. I was spiraling down a big dark hole that incompassed my poly substance abuse, accidently ODing on my birthday. I started attending AA/NA meetings and then my Gramama passed away suddenly and I hadn’t gone home when I could have. I lost my mind for awhile and eventually started dating this shy girl. We got together and have been together for 8yrs and Dec 3 we were married in Santa Fe NM and live happily with our 3 Boston Terriers. We posted our announcement on FB with a copy of our marriage certificate. The response of support we received from my family and our friends was shocking!! Neither of us ever imagined this would happen. And, I guess since as LGBT’s who have waited and endured and fought for the right to marry, this step was very precious to us and there’s a distinct difference in our relationship because of those vows and being pronounced legally married for the first time in our lives. I apologize for the lengthiness of this post in order to explain how universal it is that as LGBT individuals so many of us have prayed and wept and struggled often turning to substance abuse and thoughts or attempts of suicide because the fear of rejection and abandonment by our birth family and our old friends is so terrifying that death appears the only way out. I have been so saddened and angry at the number of adolescents and teens who have been bullied that took their own lives because their pain self loathing and agony were greater than the idea of death and the peace they hoped to receive by suicide. Teens being told by churches and repeated by their families that they are damaged and bound for hell all based on erroronious interpretation of the Bible and having it be used as a weapon. I pray so fervently that these tortured kids to please don’t hurt themselves. There are answers to this, there are books that explain in so much more truth what the Bible has to say about gays. Try to stay in school through high school so that when they decide to come out, it’s safe to do so. I learned from my grandparents to be strong willed in my convictions and as I came out more and more, I decided that no one was gonna disrespect me and think there won’t be consequences for it. My wife and I have a wonderful MCC
    church we attend that consists of not only LGBT persons but straight couples, kids, nothing different except the love from God for each one and the knowledge that God created each one exactly as they are and they are perfect. I pray ya’ll continue presenting Ryan’s story anywhere and in any way you can for I know lives are being saved. I had a new friend at church several yrs ago who’d just come out to us. She was a very public figure in the town we lived in. She had experienced love and acceptance from God and the wait you could see had been erased from her face. She went home a few days later at Thanksgiving and told her CofC parents that she was gay. They told her they’d rather see her dead as gay. That night she blew her brains out and her parents got their wish; no more gay child. I agonized over the loss just as I have these last few yrs. It is so unnecessary and such a waste over lies perpetuated by scripturally uneducated people, and then there’s the down right haters who call themselves Christians yet their words and actions prove them anything but Christian. And they’ve driven innocent kids away, shutting them out of churches all based on lies. God bless you both as you continue your ministry and activism. I know Ryan is spiritually near as you tell ya’lls story. Thank you for sharing it!

    Reply
    1. Linda Robertson Post author

      Cindy…and thank you for sharing YOURS! What a blessing to hear that God has not only brought you a beautiful wife, but a church where you can worship Him as one of His Body – an integral part of the community with your unique gifts! Praise Him!

      Reply
  36. Robbie

    This is a very touching story. I am so sorry you for your loss. I am sharing your testimony video and trying to spread your words. I wish everybody can watch and learn from you two. Thank you for coming out with your experience. You have changed my views about the Christians that have a hard time understanding what it’s like for us gay people living with the narrow viewpoints of most Christians. Thank you.

    Reply
    1. Linda Robertson Post author

      Bless you, Robbie! I am afraid those same Christian still have a hard time understanding that Rob and I haven’t walked away from Jesus…but we know that JESUS Himself understands, as you, clearly, do too. Much love to you!

      Reply
  37. Michael

    Dear Rob and Linda,

    Thank You. You are strong and courageous for speaking out.

    I am 33 years old and have been “out” to my family since about 14. My Mom’s brother was gay and he struggled to love himself and turned to dugs and drinking to cope with it. He killed himself in 1991. My family does not know how to speak out loud about such painful things but my coming out was a test to that. I was a real life reminder of something that my mom, three aunts and grandparents struggled to cope with in complete silence. I was close with all of them and spent significant time with my grandparents growing up. As a kid I traveled with them cross country from Michigan to Seattle several times to visit my aunt and relatives there. They inspired me to explore and love the beauty of this country. I later moved to Seattle as an adult. I will never know exactly how my grandparents handled his sexuality but I know my grandpa was mostly okay with it but my grandma did not speak to him for years and years before he left us. I would go through the old box of pictures in the closet at their home and wonder how and why we are this way and seek a way to connect our experiences.

    My mom only found out about me by accident. I had been attending a lgbt youth group and my mom was wanting me to go to counseling or some sort of Alateen meeting because of my father’s alcoholism. They had recently divorced. I told her I was going to a group I found out about through school. She of course eventually got the phone number out of me and later called like any mother would. The one youth group mentor (an employee of a HIV/AIDS resource center who sponsored the group) who always answer calls about the group promised to not “out” the real purpose of the group to my mom. The mentor was out sick the day my mom called and instead she got a simple no frills answer that the group was for lgbt youth. Thank God. I was no longer alone and my mom became my ally. She could not make me accept or love myself. I had to overcome that struggle on m own.

    I never used drugs to cope with my sexuality. I just sought affection and love desperately and in ways that were harmful and dangerous. I knew I was gay at a very young age and secretly had a boyfriend at school who I was with from the ages of 13 to 17. We were the same age and were both silently trying to deal with the same struggle without role models or parental support. I equated sex with love at young age and it damaged my ability to develop healthy loving relationships.

    I had never attended church regularly because my father’s family was pentecostal and out of shame over his drinking never attended church and my mom was Catholic and had her own issues with the church. I was lucky to have loving Christian teachers and friends through my whole life and through their tireless efforts I understood that god was not the enemy even though I was not comfortable with where I fit into that picture.

    I grew up, traveled and moved all over the country. A few years ago while living in Seattle I met an older coworker who was gay. He was an African American guy from the south and deeply religious. I was struggling with being single and looking for love from the wrong people in the wrong places. He has nearly 60 and had been HIV positive for many years. He traveled the world and found strength in his faith and that god would keep him here as long as he needed to be here. God would never give him more than he could handle. I was in a very destructive phase and one day he challenged me to love me as much as god loves me. This hit home for some reason. I knew how many unbelievable things I had been through and done in life and that I came out in one piece. I knew my friend had found peace in god by accepting his life as it was and living every day like it was is last. We lost Ed later that year. His faith and love bought many to tears.

    I found myself in Church later that year at All Pilgrims Christian Church on Broadway. The relief I felt by accepting that god loves me changed me. I let so much go and felt more at peace. I have attended church every since.

    I live in California now but hope to relocate back to Washington soon with my partner. I would like to thank you for speaking out. The work that you do can and will change lives. I would be happy to help your efforts once I get settled again in Seattle. If you only touch one family in that moment of fear and helplessness that they feel when they find out their teenager or preteen is gay it will mean a world of difference. Through faith and love families can get through this no matter how hard it is. I know your loss is painful but I am sure your son feels like the luckiest son in heaven.

    (( a giant hug for you both ))

    Michael

    Reply
    1. Linda Robertson Post author

      Michael…I am crying as I reply to you….your story touched me deeply. I have been to All Pilgrims on Broadway…oh, how I love the community on Capitol Hill. Can we please have coffee when you come back? And we would LOVE to meet your partner.

      Reply
  38. Jude

    I am 24 and came out; well more or less “forced out” a year ago. Since then, I have “caused” my parents SO much heartache and pain. My mother cried every time she saw me for months, and my father is very uncomfortable and angry with me all the time. I feel awful at the amount of prayer they fervently think will change me to be someone I never was. I know they will never accept me for who I am and it really makes me depressed knowing I cannot have a relationship with them. I have been a great son to them, I was the ‘golden child’, and had great relationships with all my aunts and uncles but now its all over. A lot of my friends believe I should abandon them but I just don’t have the heart to, I know they love me so much. What do I do? I feel like I’m being torn apart. Jesus keeps giving me his peace but continually have to come against a spirit of religiosity when I am around them…

    Reply
    1. Linda Robertson Post author

      Jude…please hear this from a mom who has done a LOT of therapy. You didn’t CAUSE any of your parents’ pain. Ryan didn’t CAUSE any of ours. Our pain was because of our own fear, baggage and lack of faith. It was OURS to own. If you have time, read the blog I posted: So I’ve Come Out to My Christian Parents…Now what?…and let me know what you think. Keep seeking Jesus, Jude…HE will never abandon you. And friend me on Facebook (Linda Mueller Robertson) so we can stay in touch!

      Reply
  39. Michael

    A friend posted a link about your son, Ryan. I read then watched both videos. I cried. I reposted it hoping the 3000 friends on my page would see it. There are so many guys and girls who battle this. And I have and still do.
    It Gets Better is what our community is telling younger people so that they have a light at the end of the tunnel. But I don’t think it’s enough. For some of us, it hasn’t. My heart breaks for your family. But your message is inspiring. God does love us all.
    And for that I thank you.

    Reply
    1. Linda Robertson Post author

      Michael…thank you for your kind words…I have learned that what you said is SO true…for so many who have written me from the south, the midwest and other countries, nothing has changed. We must all keep doing what we can to change the world so it is a safe place for ALL kids. Much love to you!

      Reply
  40. Troy

    What amazing beauty, compassion and honesty. That is truly a reflection and model of God’s love. You mentioned in the video that several miracles took place in Ryan’s hospital room and that the presence of God was tangible. Would you mind sharing some of those experiences with us? Just knowing how God was unconditionally with you, Ryan and your family during such a dark time would be so comforting. Again, thank you for your love and compassion.

    Reply
    1. Linda Robertson Post author

      Troy, thank you so much for asking, and thank you for your kind words! It is funny, because nobody has ever asked before, but you are the second person in two weeks. Actually, we will be sharing that story at the Gay Christian Network Conference this Friday in Chicago. As soon as we’re able, we will post a link to the video of that session! We are excited to share how real and faithful God was to Ryan, and to us, during that time!

      Reply
  41. Nina Carley

    Thank you for your willingness to speak and share your story. I just learned about you and your husband by looking at GCN’s website, perusing the speaker information. I learned of the conference through The Marin Foundation, and hoped to attend a session or two (we live in the Chicago suburbs). Congratulations! You are the FIRST parents that share the same Christian Church affiliation as my family that I have found who are speaking out. It’s only been in the past couple of years that I discovered evangelical Christian individuals or groups that are, and have been, speaking out against how we Christians have treated these “others”. . It took me a long time to get a voice, and use it, and I am still somewhat timid. However, the church leadership at our church might feel differently and wish I would just go away = ) (even after 25 years of serving and being part of that family of believers). People like you have given me courage to not be such a casper milque (sp.?) toast. THANK YOU for taking your pain and turning it into something that helps others like my husband and me.

    Reply
  42. Micah

    Thank you for sharing at the GCN conference this week!

    Your bravery, humility and love were absolutely beautiful to see. I felt very humbled and privileged to have been there and am sorry I did not get to thank any of you in person.

    My parents and I have just entered into a new, scary, uncomfortable but beautiful conversation about my sexuality just this past Tuesday (just days before the conference!) after nearly four years of almost complete silence on the topic. After talking with so many parents this past weekend, I worry for my own parents as plan to bring up my sexuality to their small group. I fear the reaction my parents will receive from their conservative church and friends. Sadly, I think my parents are also afraid/ashamed to reach out to other parents in similar situations. I have contact info for christian parents of a gay son nearby but they have not accepted my offers of connecting them. Do you have any recommendations on how I could help my parents more? It’s just so hard for me to see them wrestle through this completely alone outside of each other and me.

    Thanks, and may God’s never ending peace and love be with you!

    Reply
    1. Linda Robertson Post author

      Micah…thank you so much for your kind words! Would you parents be willing to read Torn? I think it is a fantastic first read for conservative Christian parents. Also, remember that their wrestling can cause them to lean on Christ, and each other, in new ways that will ultimately prove to be a great blessing, as it has been for us. Also, you might find some encouragement from my post about coming out to Christian parents…just a thought. Sure wish I could have met you, Micah!! We’ll be praying for you!

      Reply
      1. Micah

        They’ve actually read “Love is an Orientation” and my Dad is reading “Washed and Waiting” right now. We are also meeting once a month (spurred on by them) to discuss my sexuality/my life in general which has been really encouraging and helpful for all of us.

        Thanks for pointing out how the difficulty could be a blessing. I sometimes forget how that is SO TRUE in my own life. My relationship to God has grown so much as I’ve had to lean on Him and not my own understanding.

        I’ll also check out that post.

        Thanks so much for your reply!

        Reply
  43. Alan Cialdella

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

    Reply
      1. Ricardo Alexandre

        Linda,

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

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

        thanks.

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

        Reply
        1. Linda Robertson Post author

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

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