Our 20 yr. old daughter told us 2 1/2 yrs. ago that she was gay. Considering she had just broken things off with a not so great relationship with boy and she has always dated boys, this was a shock. This was during a very rebellious time in our daughter’s life and she left home twice. We are LDS and have lived our faith and been very involved and active in the church her whole life. No one can believe she’s gay. We continue to support our daughter in those positive endeavors; college, sorority, she comes to dinner every Sunday and I send her little cards with positive, uplifting things written and we go to lunch, shopping etc…but for me this lifestyle is wrong and so I don’t want it in my face or around me…which means I prefer she not talk about it, partners are not allowed to come over, etc. We let her know that she gets to choose the lifestyle she wants to live – it’s her life. But we also get to decide what we will or won’t allow around us – it would be hurtful to her father and I to see her with another girl and out of respect to us we feel she should not bring them around. The church doesn’t have any clear-cut guidelines for How Parents Can Best Handle Dealing with this type of situation…and I wish they did. We really feel like we’re trying our best to keep our family together and strong in love but I see that not being enough on down the road. I fear that as each year passes and we continue to stand firm that no partners are to be brought around – our relationship will begin to deteriorate
and we don’t want that. We extend our love to our daughter always – but will not allow her to bring her partner to things – will this further alienate us from her? Are we not being fair? What about respecting our feelings and beliefs?
Thank you so much for writing. The fact that you are willing to reach out and share your story with a stranger makes it clear that you really care about your relationship with your daughter. It’s an extremely sad part of our culture that many Mormon parents of gay children feel that they must sacrifice their relationships with their own children to honor LDS beliefs.
I’m impressed by all the ways you have tried to maintain a positive relationship with your daughter even though her coming out has clearly been difficult for you. As much as we all emphasize the strong feelings young gay people experience when they come out, it’s important to acknowledge that parents have feelings too. Have you given yourself the space and support you need to work through your own feelings of disappointment, worry, and fear? Have you been able to confide in anyone? Do you have a support network? There are other parents who have been down the same path, and they could be a terrific resource for you. Let me suggest you visit the LDS Family Fellowship website, at least as a starting place for reading the perspectives of other LDS parents of gay children.
Certainly other LDS parents of gay kids can give you some perspective on the long-term consequences of asking your gay child not to bring her partner home. Let me tell you what I’ve seen: in families I know where the parents have told adult children not to bring a partner home for the holidays, I’ve seen gay children try to honor their parents’ advice, until they find they can no longer bear the impossibility of choosing between the family they came from and the family they want to create, and they stop coming home. Sometimes siblings follow, out of solidarity with the gay child. Yes, sad to say, it’s likely that you will alienate your child if you refuse to acknowledge her partner. That’s a stark outcome.
But let’s not go there for now. Let’s make sure you have the support you need to process your feelings about your daughter’s homosexuality. Maybe someday, when she starts getting serious with a particular partner, it might be possible for you to work out a middle-ground solution, like meeting in a neutral “third space” as a gesture of your desire to maintain a relationship, even if it is difficult for you. I know any gesture you make will be greatly appreciated by your daughter.
I’ve noticed that life often presents us with a choice: you can be right, you can be loved, but you don’t always get to be both at the same time. This life is short. Eternity is long. Only God has the answers. I hope you will encounter a great deal of mercy and kindness on the path that lies ahead of you.
Don’t you, readers? I would especially love to hear from LGBT AMG readers. What advice do you have for mom?
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