How to Respond When Your Child “Comes Out”

Words of Wisdom from Robert Oscar Lopez

By Stephen Herreid Published on January 25, 2016

The upcoming election cycle will be a difficult time for Christian parents of young adults, especially those whose kids have fallen into the gay movement. When families are torn apart by gender ideology, mainstream media outlets only serve to turn up the heat against Christian parents. But many parents rightly care as deeply for their bewildered children as they do about their Christian faith.

Instead of turning children and parents against each other, we ought to offer sympathy and support to each Christian family as a whole.

For advice on where to begin, we turn to Dr. Robert Oscar Lopez, author of Jephthah’s Daughters: Innocent Casualties in the War for Family ‘Equality’, for an exclusive interview.

Most of us want to sympathize with young kids who come out. Since we see these kids as likely to be victimized and bullied, we think their parents should respect and defend their decision. What’s missing from that popular perspective?

A lot. The reality is that the worst bullying such a “gay” teen will experience, will take place within the gay community itself. Peer pressure, blackmail, social ostracism, and emotional bullying are so common in the LGBT community. The kind of personal turmoil and even trauma a self-questioning young person will experience after “coming out” are sure to dwarf anti-gay stigma. By encouraging young people to “come out” parents actually push their children into a world of vicious mistreatment.

No teenage boy should be engaged in homosexual intercourse at all. The partners that would be available to such a teenage boy are likely to be older men who may be exploitative [or criminal] or peers who are too young to understand all the health risks and diseases that have to be guarded against when anal sex is involved. HIV is real and still fatal, followed by a train of other STIs that are extremely harmful and unfortunately rampant in the gay community. Condoms break, especially during gay sex. Parents should not feel self-conscious or guilty about telling their newly “out” gay child that they have to wait until they’re older to become sexually active.

Could you give an example of how not to react to your kid coming out as gay?

Obviously, one shouldn’t react by throwing the kid out of the house and disowning them — but, contrary to popular gay activists’ mythology, that is an exceedingly rare reaction by parents and probably not even worth taking time to critique. A more likely mistake parents might make is to question themselves or blame themselves for the fact that [their] kid is coming out as gay.

Another bad response is overcompensating for what they might believe was a general lack of support from the [Christian] community by refusing to see any looming problems awaiting their child in the gay community. If parents think they did something wrong and they feel like they need to apologize to the kid, then the newly “out” gay child will feel entitled and empowered to intimidate the parents into supporting or financially backing unwise experiments the teen is considering.

We hear a lot of horror stories about parents who refuse to accept their gay kids. Is there another side to the story?

The child who comes out has tons of institutional options — counselors, gay associations, reporters — to turn to, to get affirmation, often blaming and demonizing their parents in the process. If the parents were generally strict and/or religious, it is a great way to blackmail the parents into financially supporting them while still having the freedom to break all those burdensome rules. The kids use the general social climate to say that if the parents aren’t pushovers they will face public shame and emotional harm, and the kid will replace them with a new community of supporters.

Is it possible for these parents to stand firm in their beliefs while avoiding conflict?

There will be a conflict because in most cases a desire for conflict is prompting the Christian youth to come out to Christian parents. Realistically speaking, there isn’t a pressing need to tell your parents as a teenager that you plan to engage in gay sex. Many straight teens keep their sex lives secret from their parents. The teen who tells Christian parents, “I am gay,” is most likely looking for a fight, and Christian parents have to deal with the deeper issue. Why did their child feel this need to start a fight?

What advice would you give to a Christian kid who is tempted to join the gay movement?

It is best to stay away from [the gay movement] entirely, even if you feel a powerful drive to be with people of the same sex. Sexual pleasure is fleeting and starts to diminish once you’ve had lots of gay sex. If you are a “Christian kid,” chances are that Biblical teaching is something that can go dormant and awaken from time to time. You’ll never be free of it. Don’t throw it away by rushing out of the closet just to get a few thrills. I think it’s fine to discuss one’s sexual struggles with parents, especially the same-sex parent if that parent is available. Get help from them. They’re your parents and they love you.

In two sentences — For Christian parents of kids who “come out,” what is the most realistic Christian response to the gay rights movement?

Don’t be naive. The gay movement is harmful and the best response is to build strong and supportive alternatives for self-questioning youths so they are not tempted to join the gay “cult” in search of affirmation.

 

The Stream‘s Anika Smith previously interviewed Dr. Robert Oscar Lopez in a four-part series here, here, here and here.

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