For Sons and Daughters
Advice from the straight guy..    

Hello...  This page is designed to help you, the son or daughter in coming
out to your parents.   My name is Dave.  I am a licensed minister of the
gospel in the church of the Nazarene.  I am not currently pastoring a church
right now but am following God  as he leads.  My ministry at this time is
directed to lgbt individuals and the issues they face with the church and
others.  My goal here is not to get everybody to agree but instead to create
an atmosphere of mutual respect.   This is really what the church is like now
EXCEPT when it comes to sexual orientation issues.  In order to facilitate
the coming out process I have put together a web page to help
conservative parents when their children come out to them. More on that
page later.

This page is for you, the lgbt son or daughter who is seeking to come out to
their parents.  The assumption I am making here is that your parents are
conservative Christians (or perhaps fundamentalists) and that you are a
Christian.  Even if you are not a Christian I hope you would continue
reading.

My reason for helping you is that I am a minister of the gospel who believes
that this issue should not divide families.  I also believe that the church
should be a safe harbor for lgbt individuals like yourself.  I believe that an
environment of gracious Christian fellowship  is really needed for those who
are gay to grow in Christ just as it is needed for those of us who are
straight.  My goal here is not so much mutual agreement as it is mutual
respect and understanding.  This is a reasonable goal though it may not be
an easy one.  Churches typically practice this with many issues but often
have trouble when it comes to lgbt issues.  

This goal of respect is possible for families as well.   As a  parent of
straight children I can tell you that just because they are straight does not
mean that I agree with everything they do, but I love them anyway.  
Individuals in a family do not have to agree on everything to get along.   I
say this because sometimes we set expectations of our families that are
beyond what is realistic.    Perfect agreement in any family is rare.  Mutual
respect however is achievable and can be practiced.  

Before we get started here is an encouraging video for you...




















(Above video is from this youtube address and was created by this site)

Well I really hope you found that video to be encouraging.  Our heavenly
Father does love us and want us to be part of His family through Jesus
Christ.  He has a plan and purpose for each one of us. He loves us whether
we are gay or straight and His salvation is available to all people,
regardless of their orientation.

We now get to some of the challenging issues in coming out.  This is
actually, for some, the most difficult part.  No I am not going to ask you to
change your viewpoint.  (I don’t even know what your viewpoint is.)  This is
the point where you must ask yourself if you can tolerate a viewpoint
different than your own.  For you see, you do not know how this person /
parent will respond to your news.  You cannot control how they will respond.  
The only person you have any control over is you.  So the question is:  Are
you ready to handle the various possible responses or positions that you
may encounter when you do come out..

Are YOU ready to come out?  

Do you understand your own position and the various positions on
the issue of sexual orientation and sexual expression?  Are you confident in
your identity and what you believe.  Do you respect the different positions
that people take on this issue?  This website is all about respect for other's
viewpoints.  Without that respect it is extremely difficult to talk to each
other.   So let’s take a look at some of the different views on sexual
orientation.

Gay and lesbian Christian folks just like you reconcile their orientation and  
their faith in different ways.  There are several positions that have been  
defined by the websites:
Bridges-Across the Divide and the Gay Christian
Network
GCN.  These websites have given these positions terms such as
Side A Side B etc.  

The purpose of Bridges–Across doing this was to establish neutral terms in
discussing differences of opinion concerning sexual expression and
identity.  Their purpose was and is:

A cyberspace initiative providing models and resources for building
respectful relationships among those who disagree about  moral issues
surrounding  homosexuality, bisexuality and gender variance.

The Gay Christian Network (GCN) took this terminology and molded it into
a more Christian world view in defining these different beliefs / sides.  Here
are the sides from my perspective  (adapted slightly from the GCN
position)...

Side A:  These folks believe that same sex individuals can have a sexual
relationship together but only in a committed relationship akin to
heterosexual marriage.

If this is the view of your parents you should have little trouble coming out
to them. This would be rather rare.

Side B:  These folks believe you can embrace / accept same sex
attraction and / or gay identity but do not believe that same sex sexual
relationships honor God.  Lgbt individuals who believe this either live a
celibate life or have a heterosexual marriage (sometimes called a mixed
orientation marriage). Some may have a committed same-sex relationship
but not have sex.  

If this is the view of your parents you may have some challenges here
especially if you are in a relationship.  


Side C:  These folks are either not sure what they believe about Side A or
Side B or they are unwillingly to say what they believe for whatever reasons.


Side X:  These folks do not embrace same sex attractions and thus they
seek to change their orientation.  They typically believe that their same sex
attractions are tied to an emotional disconnect with one of their parents.  
Many also report they were sexually abused at an early age sometimes by
a same-sex individual.   It should be noted that there are heterosexuals that
have experienced these same types of things but it did not create same-
sex attractions.  So this may be unique to certain people.  Note: If you are
Side X please click
here for more information.  I would most definitely
discourage you from this direction (see also
this website).

Note that unlike the other positions we have discussed thus far, this is the
only one that challenges a person’s gay identity.  You may encounter this
type of challenge to your identity.  If this is the case , this will be difficult
for you.  It is important to note that the bible does not address gay identity
but your parents may not have thought this through especially if they are
straight.  Remember you have been thinking about this for a long time.  
They may not have had any reasons to think about it.  Whether your
parents have this view and how strongly they hold to it will depend on what
teachings they have been exposed to.  Even without those teachings they
may assume that this is just a phase you are going through or they may
try to get you into counseling to try to change this.  Now professional
counselors do not typically subscribe to orientation change.   But there
are other counselors that might.  So you need to be aware of this.

In looking at these viewpoints above you will want to determine which
viewpoint most lines up with your own.  You should also ask whether you
can respect people’s viewpoints other than your own.  If you can’t then
perhaps you should question whether you are ready to ask others to do
what you cannot do yourself, ie respect a position other than your own.   I
know this is difficult.  And I know the church has blown it in this area.  But if
the idea of confronting these viewpoints is disturbing to you (and its
certainly OK if it is) you may want to take more time to become more
confident in what you believe.  

I would encourage you to spend time on the
Gay Christian Network  forum
where people who are gay Side A and gay Side B do coexist.  Though
most people there are at odds  with those who are Side X,
Side A and
Side B are able to embrace each other despite differences of biblical
viewpoint.  I am especially recommending the
Gay Christian Network  
because it is a Christian fellowship where you can find encouragement and
direction.   Here is a
link to the parents, family and friends portion of the
website.  You do not have to log in to view the conversations.  

Well we have been talking about you and your readiness.. now lets turn our
attention to your parents..

About your parents…

If your parents are conservative then they will most likely line up with Side B
or perhaps
Side X.  If they are Side X this will be more difficult because
those who are Side X typically reject same sex orientation and regard it as
sinful.

The middle ground of all of this between you (assuming you are
Side A)
and your parents (assuming they are conservative) is
Side B.  That is
where I try to get your parents to on my other web page since it is the side
with the most potential of lining up with their conservative beliefs.  If you are
Side A you would probably want to take them further than Side B and there
are resources on the Internet that could help you with this.   But this might
be too big a leap for your parents.  Please realize that if your parents can at
least come to a
Side B view they should be able to recognize you as being
a Christian (assuming you are) and hopefully be able to embrace you in the
same way that gay
Side B people embrace you.

Is this a good time ?  

Look at the current circumstances in your life and your parent’s life.  Some
questions you should be asking yourself:

  • Would coming out at this time jeopardize your current living
    relationship with them? (assuming you are living at home)  

  • Would coming out at this time bring strife in a difficult time in your
    parent’s lives  - such as …_ one of them is sick and in the hospital or
    …  there has been significant recent stress in your family such as
    divorce, loss etc.  If so  .. is coming out important enough to you at
    this time to risk a negative response in the middle of an already
    stressful situation.  Would your news be one more thing for them to
    deal with?

It is best to choose a time when things are calm and you have had time to
work through things a bit.


What is your goal in coming out to your parents?  

Expectations can really get you here.  Is what you are expecting reasonable
based on who your parents are?  I would be careful not to set my
expectations too high.   If you are like most lgbt individuals it has probably
taken many years for you to come to terms with your orientation. Therefore
to expect your parents to come to terms with it in 5 minutes is probably not
reasonable.  It would be good to keep this in mind before you approach
them.  You also may not want to give them the whole ball of wax at once.  
Finding out you are gay may be more than enough for them to process.  
Expecting them to joyfully receive your 'significant other' (if you have one)
may be over the top for them at this time.  

Based on who your parents are spiritually, psychologically,
politically etc.. what can you expect from them and are you ready for
that?

Assess who your parents are and plan accordingly.  Remember most
people who are straight have not given much thought to what it would like to
be gay.  Nor have they thought through the theology.  They are probably
operating on stereotypes.  I know I was.  The most they know about
homosexuality may come from people like Dr. Dobson who most
conservative Christians find reliable though you probably would have a
different view of Dr. Dobson.  So again, set reasonable expectations.  To
further understand what you can expect I would refer you to this
brochure by
outProud of Philadelphia.  This brochure is well written and gives you
specific stages that you can expect from you parents.

Are there people you can refer them to that can help them in this
journey of understanding your orientation.. ie a support group or a
supportive friend?

This is important. Are there people they respect that you are already ‘out’
with?  If so do these people treat you kindly and graciously?   If this is the
case you may want to have them around to help your parents receive this
news.  You may want to talk to them first about how they feel your parents
will receive the news.

Do you have a support group that will pray with you, and be there
for you during this time?

If not, I again recommend the GCN website.  These folks are just like you.  
They are Christians.  They are gay.  And many of them have come out to
their parents or friends.    Additionally there are parents on that site who
have gone there for help when their children came out to them.  They can
give you some good advice as well.

What theological resource, if any, might you refer them to?

No offense but here is where I see the biggest errors being made.  Often
there is an attempt to refer them to a very strong
Side A theological
resource. The last thing your conservative parents are going to receive is
someone who is,
to them, a radical far left  person theologically .  This
rules out Mel White and other more well known figures.  While you may
appreciate Mel White remember this is
not about who you appreciate and
respect.  It is about
who your parents can appreciate and respect.  A
Side A pastor probably would not go over well with them either, but that
would depend on the pastor. (No offense to
Side A pastors out there – the
issue here is
someone that the parents can trust)

There are several conservative resources on the net that could be
helpful...

As I said before I am a conservative Christian and I talk the language of
conservatives.  You may want to peruse my advice for conservative parents
on this
webpage yourself for information.  As I said before, I do not try to
take your parents to a
Side A viewpoint on this webpage.  Instead I speak
to conservatives as a conservative and try to bring them to a place of
mutual respect.  Be aware though that old thinking dies hard and even
getting to this place may take time.

Other resources would be those that give both a
Side A and Side B
viewpoint.  Look for these types of resources.  For example, Tony and
Peggy Campolo are an example of a Christian couple with differing views
but a common non-condemning love for lgbt individuals like yourself.  Their
lectures can be found in written transcript
here and in audio form at this
site.  This would give you several advantages.  First of all your parents
would hear both views.  Secondly they would see that two people can exist
together in the same household who have differing views.  Thirdly referring
them to both sides of the debate will at least give your parents a place to
land that they can feel comfortable.  Those on GCN who are
Side B
embrace their Christian brothers and sisters who are
Side A and vice
versa.  Thus, it is my hope that even if you and your parents do not agree
that you will still be able to embrace and accept one another.

Other Theological Resources:

I have a basic theological description of both views here.  A more in depth
theological resource would be
GCN’s Side A and Side B discussions of
theology that can be found
here and here.

Areas of theology I would avoid (in trying to talk with your parents).


  • Avoid debating your parents at all but rather refer them to other
    resources such as what I have listed.  Use your best judgment on
    what you believe they will receive.

  • Avoid the eunuch argument.  Please see this page which discusses
    the comfort that some who are gay find in this.  However, I believe it
    would be difficult to convince conservatives of this and I believe that
    there are better ways to gain understanding from conservatives.

  • Avoid the Ruth and Naomi story especially if you are by any means
    implying a lesbian relationship.  Ruth and Naomi has historically, for
    2000+ years, been a story of a daughter-in-law's faithfulness to her
    mother in law and to the God of Israel.  With most Christians using
    this would hurt your credibility

  • Avoid Jonathon and David unless you are simply seeking to show
    that men can have close caring relationships.  Any argument that
    these two were married falls outside any conservative exegesis of the
    scriptures.

Areas of theology I would embrace:

  • You love for Jesus Christ and your commitment to Him.

  • Your love for God’s word


Other Resources that you may find helpful...

Some advice on coming out to your parents from a Side A Gay
Christian man on GCN..






















Here is the Trailer for a DVD Titled: Through My Eyes

I have reviewed this movie.  It is a excellent DVD resource that tells the
story of many gay and lesbian folks in their own words.  The trailer for this is
here  and the DVD can be purchased here.  This is a perfect film to show to
straight people. Trailer is below..























Coming Out For Christians: http://www.comingout4christians.net
This is the home page for this web site.  It includes more about me and my
beliefs.  It also includes a link for the straight parent whose lgbt son or
daughter is coming out.

Daily Strength: http://dailystrength.org/c/Families-Friends-of-Gays-
Lesbians/support-group

This is a secular support group online forum where you can share your
thoughts and talk to others with like circumstances.   I visit this site on
occasion.  My screen name is: PastorDave

Family Acceptance: http://www.familyacceptance.com/home.html

This is a web site put together by Christian parents who went though all of
this just like your parents will be.  They share their pain and their loneliness
as they worked through the issues.   The main advantage of this site is the
personal stories from these parents.  I do not see a great effort to convert
your parents in terms of their theological view.  I would classify it as a gentle
Side A site.  

Gay Christian Network:  www.gaychristian.net

This is a forum for Christians who are gay Side A or Side B.  There are
also some straight people on the forum like me.  My Screen name on this
forum is: p_dave.  See this
forum in particular for coming out advice.

Bridges-Across:  www.bridges-across.org

They call their site a cyberspace initiative providing models and resources
for building respectful relationships among those who disagree about
moral issues surrounding  homosexuality, bisexuality and gender variance.
It includes journeys of various lgbt individuals.  Their web forum is a multi-
faith, mulit-world view forum that seeks ways to dialogue across the divide.  
My screen name on this forum is: DW

And You Invited Me In:  I have not read this book yet but it is written by a
gay friendly conservative.  Here is her web site.  
http://www.cherylmosstyler.
com/Home.php

Brochure on Coming out to your Parents:  This is by PFLAG of
Philadelphia.  It has some practical advice along with typical stages your
parents may go through.  
Web link:  
 http://web.archive.org/web/20071009080001/http://www.
outproud.org/brochure_coming_out.html