Letters from family members

Grandfather writes to his daughter about Grandson.

Dear Christine,
I’m disappointed in you as a daughter. You’re correct that we have a “shame in the family”, but mistaken about what it is. Kicking Chad out of your home simply because he told you he was gay is the real “abomination” here. A parent disowning her child is what goes “against nature.” The only intelligent thing I heard you saying in all this was that “you didn’t raise your son to be gay.” Of course you didn’t. He was born this way and didn’t choose it any more than he being left-handed. You however, have made a choice of being hurtful, narrow-minded and backward. So, while we are in the business of disowning our children, I think I’ll take this moment to say goodbye to you. I now have a fabulous (as the gays put it) grandson to raise, and I don’t have time for heart-less B-word of a daughter. If you find your heart, give us a call. – Dad.

I thought that I would share this letter which I took from The Human Rights Campaign of a grandfather’s understanding and acceptance for his grandson.
Joanne Manson

A letter from one parent to another parent following a meeting.

Dear Elisha,

I actually started this letter last Wednesday, but haven’t been feeling too well, so I apologise for the delay. I was motivated to write because I felt your desperate need to understand what is happening to you and your family. Unfortunately there are no easy answers, but I am sending a web page from the American Psychology Society which I think might help.

You are not alone in thinking that being Gay is a choice but there are also a large number of people who would cringe when they hear it said. The majority of my wife Sara’s family would agree with you, and have used the Bible to justify ostracizing and excluding our family for the past 4 years. Aside from her father, a Presbyterian Christian who affirms his grandson the rest of Sara’s family are Pentecostal Christians who advocate that we should reject our son. The rejection and estrangement of our son has undoubtedly had a negative impact on all of us. My family who are Catholics appear to be more accepting of Joshua as a person – even though Catholic dogma is hostile. So ‘acceptance’ is pitched against ‘rejection’ amongst followers of the various Christian traditions.

What we all have in common are Gay children who are living in a generally hostile world that does not accept difference. Each of us at the meeting has embarked on our own journey of understanding and acceptance of our situation i.e. having children who are Gay. Some of us have concluded that our children’s sexual orientation is something that they are born with and which cannot be changed, while others like you are still on the journey to full understanding and acceptance. I do not doubt your commitment in wanting to gain some form of understanding about the causation of sexual orientation which so many find difficult, given the over bearing weight of culture, tradition, religious beliefs etc. But I would suggest that even if it were a choice, shouldn’t we be respecting and acknowledging the persons human rights and according them the dignity and respect they deserve regardless of their ‘choice’?

Is being Gay a choice?

If you think that your son has chosen his sexual orientation, please consider the following:

  1. As Sara briefly touched on: when did you realize you were straight? Did you ever make the concrete decision to be straight? Do you wake up every day and have to make the decision to step out the door and only be attracted to the opposite sex?
  2. As Leah suggested yesterday, why if people had a choice would anybody choose homosexuality given the general hostility and antipathy towards them? Do you honestly believe that yours and my son and others would continue to “choose” to be Gay even under extreme pressure, bullying and harassment at school, the work place, in the home and generally society at large?
  3. From discussions with people who are Gay it seems that homosexuality isn’t just a switch they can flip on and off – it works just like heterosexuality. I have never felt attracted to people of the same sex, but I have met individuals who are bisexual and attracted to both sexes. It’s hard to explain, but you know that feeling you get when you are attracted to another person. You never wonder why you’re attracted to the opposite sex by instinct. You just are. It’s the same way for Gay people. There’s no explaining the attraction to the same sex. It just happens.
  4. If it were proven that there was perhaps a ‘gay gene’, would that change your attitude towards homosexuality which it seems you regard as being ‘abnormal’? Would you find it any easier to accept your son for what he is – a gay man despite society’s hostility? I’m glad a “gay gene” hasn’t been discovered because then some parents would be asking for gene tests before birth and even looking for ‘gene therapy’ after someone who is Gay is born. Some people would want to ‘cure’ homosexuality as if it were a terrible disease – I don’t think I would take kindly to someone trying to cure me of my heterosexuality or my skin colour.
  5. Gay people come in all shapes and sizes. My son for one does not fall into many popular gay stereotypes. He is not sartorially elegant or well coordinated, is not fastidious about being tidy, and is not particularly concerned about his self image – pretty much like many Straight men of his age. Yet he has stated he is Gay and that he did not choose to be Gay. I have not met a single gay or lesbian person who has stated that if they had a choice they would choose homosexuality and put the question to me – why would they when they are faced with all the moral and judgmental disapproval from various sources including their own family? Unfortunately the media sometimes perpetuates misconceptions and negative stereotypes about gay men. That’s like saying all Muslims are terrorists or all fundamentalist Christians are homophobic!!!! Why do we let a few bad examples define an entire demographic? I wonder whether your daughter thinks homosexuality is contagious like a disease and therefore her children should be kept away from your son. But there’s no evidence to suggest that homosexuality is ‘learned behavior’, besides who would our kids have learned from? Certainly not us!

I think that parents who have brought up their children with the notion that being gay is a choice are wrong and children believe most things their parents tell them. You must consider the full impact on your son. It might be jarring for you to figure out that something you believed your whole life is wrong i.e. homosexuality is a ‘lifestyle choice’, but people can and do move away from previously held views, which can be a liberating experience.

I have not intentionally meant to offend you in anyway, but I sincerely hope that you will make the transition soon to full acceptance of your son regardless of whether he has chosen his sexual orientation or born gay.

Best wishes

Joe

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