Hearing From a Straight Guy Who Grew Up With a Gay Mom


(photo originally uploaded to Flickr by giovanni_giusti)

As I interact with different people like Amy Dolan, read blogs like Andrew Marin’s and watch what is happening with culture it is apparent that the Church (especially children’s ministry) will have to directly interact with families who are part of the GLBT (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender) community. The easy thing to do would be to simply quote scriptures that speak against homosexual activities. The difficult, and I believe more Christ-like, thing to do is to listen to what those families are saying and see how we can build bridges that can bring healing and reconciliation.

About a month ago, I reposted some of a letter from a gay father wanting to be involved in church that was on Andrew Marin’s blog. Recently, Andrew had a two-part posting from someone who grew up with a gay mom. I encourage you to read the posts here and here.

Here is some of what was posted:

“…After a year passed and I began to realize I was being lied to, my friends began to realize the same. My mom was gay. And they let me know about it. It’s bad enough when your “friends” make sexual comments about your mom; but this was worse. They were stabbing at a great source of pain and confusion in my heart with every vulgar comment about her sexuality. I hated it. All of it. I was mad at my friends. Mad at my mom. Mad at her partner. Mad at the courts. Mad at the world, really. And I felt horribly alone. I didn’t understand why this was my lot in life. So I shut down. Emotionally, I just flipped a switch. I didn’t want to feel anymore because it was never anything good.

And then I started going to church…”

“So now I was a brand-new Christian teenager attending an evangelical church in the middle of Conservative Christianville, IL. And my mom was gay…”

“At one point, a friend’s mom even looked me straight in the eye and pronounced that I had been straying from the Lord because I was living in a den of evil. That was the sort of environment I had suddenly found myself in. Regardless, these were the most loving and accepting people I’d ever known, and they quickly became family. As a result, I felt free to share my story with them. Some had opinions, others didn’t. But they all loved me. And I became accustomed to the fact that the people around me were comfortable with my faith, but quite uncomfortable with my upbringing.”


5 thoughts on “Hearing From a Straight Guy Who Grew Up With a Gay Mom

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Henry Zonio, Anthony Prince. Anthony Prince said: RT @henryjz: #kidmin Hearing From a Straight Guy Who Grew Up With a Gay Mom http://twurl.nl/gccb0v #cmconnect […]

  2. amy dolan says:

    i'm really looking forward to our conversation – and i'm so grateful for your leadership on this topic. it would be much easier to ignore the topic, or go along in similar ways that we've been going – but the children and families in our communities deserve better! and it's about time to make a change..

  3. Henry Zonio says:

    Looking forward to the conversation as well.

  4. Heather says:

    I look forward to your conversation Henry and Amy, and I'm so so so glad that you're talking about a new framework for interacting with folks GLBT. And at the same time, the language of it – talking about "having to" interact with people in the GLBT community – makes me cringe. I know what you mean, and like I said, I'm so glad that your thinking and talking about these issues and what they mean in the context of Christian Education. But my heart hurts for people on the receiving end of the sentiment that language implies… "we don't want you here, but because you insist on being here, we have to figure out what to do with you." I hope and believe that as the conversation and contemplation evolve, so will the language. My best wishes and prayers are with everyone who is pondering this issue at this time.

    • Henry Zonio says:

      Heather, thanks for pointing the language out. My intent was that many churches who either bury their heads in the sand or have the "we don't want you here" mentality cannot continue to be that way… especially those churches who want to reach out to everyone.

      We have to figure out how to work with all people. We're all broken and in need of love and redemption… equally. The reason I see a need for conversations about families in the GLBT community is because these issues are emotional hot buttons for many evangelical churches. We need to step back from those buttons and stop using words and actions that alienate people regardless of their background, creed, or lifestyle. Now, that doesn't mean we water down what we believe. It does mean we have to truly figure out a way to help people belong before they believe. That is not easy to do. It is even scary to do, but I think it's what Jesus wants us to do.

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