“Mom, I have something to tell you…I’m gay”.
“Dad…I think I am in the wrong body, I think that I am really a boy”.
One of the most difficult and life changing statements a parent can hear is that of their child coming out to them. When your daughter tells you she’s a lesbian or your son insists that God made a mistake and he is really a girl, what do you do? Like a bomb being dropped, this revelation has the potential to tear families apart. Parents often feel scared, angry, confused, hopeless, and very alone. Their hopes and dreams for their children are shaken and replaced with fears of discrimination, AIDS, and stigma. What do you do? To whom do you turn? For parents of the Christian faith, the questions may be even more complicated. What does the Bible say? How will my church react? Will my child go to hell? What does this mean for my faith? How do I respond in unconditional love?
If you are the Christian parent of a lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning child and you are looking for help, you have come to the right place! We have several types of resources for you on this page and plan to add more in the future. We would love to come alongside you on this journey. We would love to hear your story, questions, concerns, etc. and provide you with resources that fit your family and faith. Please contact our Director of Family and Youth, Laura Statesir, at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 773-572-5983.
Meet other Christian parents - Parent Conferences
In June of 2014, Unconditional Ministries Inc., The Marin Foundation, and FreedHearts partnered together to present our first ever conference for Christian parents with LGBTQ children. Titled “By Parents, For Parents” the conference brought together Christian parents from all over the country (and even Canada) who are learning to reconcile their faith and their child’s sexuality or gender identity. The weekend included speakers, praise and worship, group sharing times, and a Q & A panel discussion. The featured speakers were Gordie & Jennifer Krogh of Unconditional Ministries, Rob & Susan Cottrell of FreedHearts Ministries, and Laura Statesir from The Marin Foundation.
The conference was a powerful time of Spirit-led sharing and growth. We plan to make this conference an annual event, so check back with us in 2015! If your church or community is interested in hosting a conference please email Laura Statesir at email@example.com
Speak with other Christian parents - National Parent List
Often the most helpful resources for a Christian parent with a LGBTQ child is being able to talk to or meet with other parents who are on the same journey. Therefore we compiled a list of Christian parents with LGBTQ children who are willing to listen to, cry with, laugh with, and come alongside other parents. You can call or email parents all over the United States (Canada & even Australia) and ask for advice or simply share your story. Click HERE to see the list.
Some denominations have their own lists of parents that you can speak with. If you are Catholic you can contact a “Listening Parent”. If you are Methodist you can contact a parent from the Parents Reconciling Network.
Chat with other Christian parents - Online Support Groups
Here are a couple of online support groups for Christian parents with LGBTQ children:
Parents, Family & Friends Forum on the Gay Christian Network: This is a Community Message board where you can read about other parents’ experiences without having to share anything about your own. You can also anonymously post your questions and have them answered by other Christian parents with LGBTQ children.
Just Because They Breathe/Freed Hearts: This private Facebook group is for Christian moms who desire to continue learning how to love Jesus more, while learning how to love their LGBTQ child more fully at the same time. They welcome women at all different points in this journey, from those who JUST got the news and can’t keep their lunches down, to those who are completely comfortable with their child’s orientation and partner, and everything in between. To join, find Linda Mueller Robertson or Susan Cottrell on Facebook and send them a message letting them know that you’d like to join.
FreedHearts Father’s Group: This private Facebook group is for Christian fathers who desire to continue learning how to love Jesus more, while learning how to love their LGBTQ child more fully at the same time. To join, email Rob Cottrell at FreedHearts@gmail.com.
Serendipitydodah for Moms: This private Facebook group is for Christian moms who have LGBTQ+ kids and want to develop and maintain healthy, loving, authentic relationships with them. It is an extension of the the Serendipitydodah blog. To join, email firstname.lastname@example.org with “Facebook Group for Moms” in the subject line. From Liz: “It is my hope that moms will discover something unexpected in the group … some piece of information – a friend or two – some helpful resources – a different perspective – love and grace – a new way – something that will be helpful and hopeful in their quest to develop a healthy and loving relationship with their LGBTQ+ kids.”
Blogs for Parents
Looking for some advice? Read our posts written specifically for Christian parents on our Love is an Orientation blog.
The Parent Resource Initiative
When The Marin Foundation began to put together this page of Resources for Parents, we realized something. Existing resources for Christian parents of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) and questioning children can be difficult to find and often mirror current culture wars, providing no way for parents to keep their faith AND love their child. Yet every year, The Marin Foundation receives numerous requests for guidance and advice from the parents and families of LGBT and questioning children. Therefore, the Marin Foundation is conducting a research study called the Parent Resource Initiative in order to identify the needs of Christian parents of LGBT and questioning children and develop new resources to help them in this journey.
Phase One: Research and Development (completed)
Before we can develop new resources, we needed to hear and understand parents’ stories. Therefore we interviewed and surveyed more than 230 Christian parents of LGBT and questioning children as well as others involved in supporting families. We were looking for a representative sample of parents from all over the United States, of all ages, ethnicities and ranges of Christian beliefs. Whether their child came out to them two days ago or twenty years ago, we wanted to hear about their experience.
Participants were interviewed and asked to fill out an online survey. The interviews generally took one to two hours and were done in person (within Chicago area), over the phone, or through Skype. The survey was online and took about thirty minutes to complete. All information is kept confidential.
We wanted to provide a safe space for Christian parents to share their story without fear of condemnation or judgment. Regardless of their religious, cultural, political, or other views on this subject, we wanted to know what this experience has been like for them.
Phase Two: Data Analysis and Resource Review
Data analysis has begun! Regent University in Virginia is one of the universities analyzing the interviews.
Simultaneously, we have begun a comprehensive review of existing resources for Christian parents of LGBT children. This will help us determine what resources are helpful for parents and what resources are harmful for parents. The results of this resource review will be compiled into a webpage as a guide for parents.
Phase Three and Beyond: Curriculum Development and Trials
After the data has been analyzed we will begin developing a myriad of resources for Christian parents. We are still determining exactly what forms these resources will take but we will have a multimedia approach that most likely includes print media, video media, guide books for churches/pastors/individual parents, and web resources. We will test and refine these resources through leading pilot support groups for Christian parents of LGBT children here in Chicago.
How You Can Help:
At this point we have completed all of the interviews that we plan to conduct. However, if there is a resource that has been particularly helpful to you in your journey as a Christian parent of an LGBT or questioning child then we would love to hear from you. If you are a counselor or professional who works with Christian parents then we would love to interview you about your work. Finally, you can financially support the completion of the Parent Resource Initiative here: http://www.themarinfoundation.org/giving/ Please check “On behalf of” and enter PRI for “Tribute Name”.