The LGBTQ Need Stronger Family Support

Thursday, April 19, 2018 @ 9:38 AM

Sitting on the couch, you are stunned. The news isn't exactly surprising, but your heart doesn't know that. Fear, nervousness, the concern over how someone in your Sunday School will react... all these emotions and thoughts flood your mind. Then you think, will I ever see grandkids? Who can I talk to about what to do about all this?

For many families, revealing issues with an LGBTQ family member can stress their support networks and challenge beliefs. Things that used to be outside the family or theory get up close and personal. For a christian family, situations like this can challenge their religious beliefs, and cause conflict within the family and in figuring out how to put feet to their beliefs. Finding support at church can be challenging or at least uncertain in how the family will be supported or not. What happens when struggling families don't find the support they need?

LGBTQ children comprise 46% of the homeless population*. The Durso/Gates study published in 2012 showed that service providers for these homeless children indicated 7 in 10 clients had experienced rejection by their family and 54% experienced abuse in their family. The National Alliance on Mental Health states “LGBTQ youth are 4 times more likely and questioning youth are 3 times more likely to attempt suicide, experience suicidal thoughts or engage in self-harm than straight people. Between 38-65% of transgender individuals experience suicidal ideation.”** Regardless of worldview, these children are important to our families and to our communities at large. And our society watches us to see how we care for our children. Strengthening and maintaining connections within the family provide these children with the protection, guidance and support they need.

I understand these issues in a very intimate way. My father was a pastor in a denomination that moved to ordaining openly gay pastors. He left gracefully not wanting to cause division or conflict. He lost a lot, personally and professionally for his personal beliefs. A few years later, my brother came out as being in a longterm gay relationship. Throughout the next few years, my family worked to maintain our relationships while still openly communicating about our beliefs. This process was not easy but boy is it worth it! My brother and his husband come to family gatherings, have joined a church, and he continued to see a relationship with Christ as possible and positive. He even shares his faith with their children. He has always been one of my favorite people.

Sharing my story and feelings about maintaining a relationship with a family member whose beliefs are not mine feels powerful. Helping other Christians to maintain these critical relationships by sharing the comfort I've received is a calling I can't ignore.

If you would like to learn more, go to our website. The group is for anyone over 18 who is looking for support in a situation like this. We will talk about our struggles openly and share stories that will help give you hope. And we will relate to the intense feelings you may be having about this topic. Meetings will start when 3 members join.


*Durso, L.E., & Gates, G.J. (2012). Serving Our Youth: Findings from a National Survey of Service Providers Working with Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Youth who are Homeless or At Risk of Becoming Homeless. LosAngeles: The Williams Institute with True Colors Fund and The Palette Fund.
**https://www.nami.org/find-support/lgbtq