Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Love Your Children (No Matter What)

I just read a comment left on a previous blog entry, and it struck me that that was the perfect message to expound upon with this being Valentine's Day.
I'm straight, I have 2 kids. I spoke to them about all aspects of sexuality at several stages in their lives. I assured them that if they were gay or straight, nothing would change my love for them, why would it?? Both of my kids are straight. My daughter had the opportunity to support a close friend of hers, who had a strict religious upbringing. He felt brave enough to come forward because of that support. He doesn't have to hide who he is, and his parents actually get to know what a great kid they have!! You owe it to your children, to let them know early on that you will respect there choices. I would do anything to protect my children, and ensuring them they are loved and accepted is the ultimate gift you can give.
Strong message.  Unfortunately, as was the case with EricJames Borges, that doesn't always happen.  Too often, parents allow their own prejudices, intolerance, and myopic views come between themselves and their teens who are struggling to be accepted just for who they are.  Just the other day, a teenager posted:
All parents should be aware that when they mock or curse gay people, they may be mocking or cursing their own child. 
That is a message I've been stating for years.  I'm afraid that, especially in the so-called Bible Belt region, this plays out far too often.  The problem with that, of course, is that there will always be emotionally wounded teens left in its wake.  They've heard, probably for as long as they can remember, mommy and daddy rant about how sick or perverted or immoral or even "disgusting" gays and lesbians are.  And, of course, mommy and daddy never once took the time to recognize the fact that their own son or daughter could be one of the very people they're ostracizing.  Meanwhile, with each word cutting through them like a dagger, the LGBT teen is slowly but surely being killed by the ones who gave them life.  The ones who are supposed to love them no matter what.  Of course, when I say "being killed", I don't necessarily mean literally.  There are certainly more cases than not where the child survives the verbal abuse handed to them by their parents.  However, emotionally, they are often good as dead.  If not completely flat-lined, they suffer multiple stab wounds by the verbal dagger swung their way by their parents and are left for dead.  In some cases, it takes years for them to recover from that.  Their self-esteem thrown to the ground and run over by a 50-car freight train.

The message in the comment left on the blog entry is about love.  Coincidentally, today, Valentine's Day, is also supposed to be about the same topic.  Take time out today to show the people closest to you that you truly love them just as they are and with no strings attached.  You won't even need a Hallmark card to do that!

12 comments:

  1. donna.shriver@ymail.comFebruary 15, 2012 at 1:09 AM

    I sent my children a message of unconditional Love every chance I get. I tell them I support their choices in which ever road they choice to take ... But also remind them of wrong turns and you are how your friends are and never become known as a liar or a thief and what who you are just standing on a corner with or even driving in a car with ... because even if you are just riding or talking with the wrong people at the right time and know nothing about if they have drugs on them or stolen property ... you will go down with them! I support my children 100 % in all they choose to be in life but also tell them when they are looking for trouble ... I Love My Boys With All My Heart and if came to it ... I would ask God to take me instead of Them ... Much Love Y'all. Our Kids Are Our Future And We Need To Raise Them With Loving Support <3

    ReplyDelete
  2. My parents are strict super Christians. I grew up being told gays will burn in hell and are evil, trying to destroy the world. They believe that AIDs is a gay disease and that gays purposely prey on straight girls to spread AIDs to kill straight people. They believe that gays are immoral sinners that need to have laws to make them turn straight. My mother believes you have to punish gay people to make them realize their sin and turn straight.

    I grew up with physical and emotion abuse. I was kicked out of my house several times in high school despite getting good grades, never doing drugs or getting in trouble with the police. They threatened to send me to Christian camps that turn gay people straight. I finished high school in a homeless shelter for youth. I was not allowed to see my younger sister for several years because I was a "bad influence."

    I knew I was gay since 3rd grade. I grew up wondering why I was hated for being myself. I'm also trans and am finally following my life long dream of being true to myself. I suffered several suicide attempts throughout my childhood and into adulthood. I'm finally able to keep those thoughts in check, but I still suffer from massive depression and low self esteem. I have constant nightmares, I often can't sleep. I have trouble keeping relationships because of my lack of trust. Because of my lack of self worth, I often end up in abusive relationships. I am 29, work two part time jobs and will finally be graduating with my first college degree this Spring. I've been homeless and below poverty level most of my life. But I am still alive because of my hope that one day I will make a better future for myself.

    Don't do to your kids what my parents did to me. A love and supportive family is worth more than a million dollars. You make the difference between your child having a happy and successful life or a life full of struggle and pain.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What a brave person you are...too many times we see people speak without thinking, never realizing the harm it can do, or not caring. Please know there are people who love you for the person you are, despite perhaps not knowing you. I wish you joy and contentment in your life, and my you find the happiness you deserve.

      Delete
    2. My heart aches for you. I wish I could be your Mom and hold you tight in my arms and close to my heart so you would know how loved you are. I am the straight sister of a gay brother who passed away 2 1/2 years ago and I'd give ANYTHING to have him back - only well! Yesterday on Valentine's Day his life partner also passed away and I'm so sad right now.

      But back to you - even if I'm not your Mom, I'm SO PROUD of you for continuing with school and trying to have a better life. Remember - IT DOES GET BETTER! There are a lot of folks out here just like me who don't care what your sexual preferences are - LOVE IS LOVE and always will be. Keep up the good work you are doing for yourself and know you are loved! ! !

      Delete
    3. It saddens me to hear of your upbringing and how it continues to haunt you to this day. However, I do believe that you are on the right track, and that you'll eventually be able to build a better and happier life for yourself. Be strong, and take care.
      Love,
      Emma

      Delete
  3. I love my three Children Unconitionally,but have to say there was/and are times that I do not like them.
    My Oldest:My Daughter who is 33: and has 3 Children of her own, left Primary School, with a report sayig what Joy, and that She was University Material: She left Maltby Comp with No Quilifacations, and a Drink Problem. The School, her Father and Myself; Did try to Corect her, to no avail;
    My Oldet Son who is 28; Who is Gay,with Health,and learning Problem's. Has a Law Degree and at the moment doing his LPC.
    My Youngest Son who is 16: Is a Rebel without a Cause: He is Lazy; Can't do, Won't do: TO MUCH LIKE HARD WORK, SO GAVE IT UP; Of corse he has, his Peer's and Mentor's. We have an ongoing Battle, as to see Who make's the Rule's: Who Obey's the Rule's: And of corse the Consequences: of not abibeing by the Rule's. Yes Unconditional Love: But also Tough Love: We can advise: But They Will make their own mind. They will make there Own Choice's: We have to stand back,like when they first walk for themself's: Stand,with Pride,always loving,all way's Surporting<:-)=+.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I had a close friend who was openly gay when we were in our early twenties. We went on a road trip to my parent's house out-of-state one weekend. There were four girls, my boyfriend and my gay friend. My parents put all the girls in one room and they two guys in another room. I remember thinking that this boyfriend is a keeper. I even said something to one of my friends about how glad I was that my boyfriend was not homophobic because, who knows, what if one day, one of our kids was gay.

    Fast forward 25 years or so. We are married with two boys. We have always spoken with our kids about the causes we believe in, including gay rights. They have heard me speak about my friend (we don't live in the same part of the country). My youngest son came out to us when he was 16. I could see how hard it was for him to tell us despite the fact that we had openly supported gay rights for years. I can't imagine how hard it must be for some other kids. Despite our love and support, the teenage years were still tough for him. We live in a part of the country where there are not a lot of openly gay people, and far too many condemning Christians. There was only one openly gay kid in his school, and that kid's life was a living hell.

    My son opted not to come out in high school and we supported him in this. My first concern is for my own child and this seemed the safest way to go. He went on to college in New York and came out publicly this summer at the age of 21.

    Parental suuport is important, but it is not everything. I worried about suicide despite our support of our son. I am so grateful that this is finally getting the publicity it needs. I hope that everyone that lives on the coasts realizes that things are not the same everywhere in this country and that these kids need us!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I am one of the ones who were brought up by parents who always mention how sick, disgusting and immoral gays are. I was even quite the homophobe when I was young because of them. Who knew I'd turn up gay myself? Their talks about it always hurt, and they still do to this day. I know that I can never ever come out to them.

    Thankfully I have an open mind and accept anyone for who they are. If I ever have any kids (though I really doubt I will), I would want to be the kind of parent mine never were. Supportive no matter what.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Loved the article....except the "let them know early on that you will respect there choices" part. Being gay is not a choice, a person 'comes that way.':)
    "All parents should be aware that when they mock or curse gay people, they may be mocking or cursing their own child." How true is that!!
    Be good to one another:)

    To ANONYMOUS: Your parents are to be pitied for their ignorance. You WILL make a better future for yourself.....sending LOVE your way!!!

    Karen

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Karen. The part "let them know early on that you will respect their choices" is part of the comment that was left, not my own writing.

      Delete
  7. If I could not love my daughter just for who she is, then I would be missing out on some very wonderful things in my life (grandchildren included)

    Love you Forever, by Robert Munsch
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6z-oBkgJ4Ow

    I don't believe I have read or heard that it only stands if a child turns out the way the parent wants.

    I do know the mother said "I'll love you forever, I'll like you for always, as long as I'm living, my baby you'll be."

    Love them forever....no matter what.

    ReplyDelete
  8. My boys grew up in a very conservative Christian home for awhile and I bashed gays, lesbians, liberals, and everybody who wasn't like me and my fellow church goers. Fast forward to second divorce, a second attempt at college, and finding out my oldest son is gay. His coming out to me changed my life for the better and made his life a bit more sane in this terrible place called the Oklahoma Panhandle. His two brothers, my folks, and a few of my other relatives accept him for who he is. Some relatives never will, but who cares. I wish I could take back all the nasty things I said, but he knows that I love him no matter what.

    ReplyDelete