Thursday, October 14, 2010

Unconditional Love

I thought very long and hard before posting about this, because I know it's controversial but I really feel like it's important...Moms, sit down-we need to talk about gay bullying.

I'll start by saying that I'm not telling you what to believe. If you believe that being gay is not okay for any reason, that is your right and I would not change your mind but I will say this-would you rather have a gay kid or a dead kid? Suicide is a serious and growing concern among LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) teens, mostly because gay and lesbian kids get bullied two to three times more often than their heterosexual classmates. Bullying can lead to depression which, for many, leads to suicide. Even if you dislike the idea of having a gay child I think we can all agree that we don't want our babies to suffer, or to commit violence on themselves.

Gay bullying starts where all bullying starts-at home. According to one study, 26% of teenagers who come out to their parents are kicked out of their homes and approximately 1 in 5 homeless youth are LGBT. Another study tells us that 62% of LGBT teens experience discrimination within their own families (as opposed to 30% of heterosexual peers) and we know that between 320,000 and 400,000 LGBT teenagers face homelessness every year. We as parents need to evaluate our own actions-What are our attitudes toward LGBT people, and how do they show up in our children? Are we examples of unconditional love for our children as well as for our neighbors, who may be different than we are? If our children were gay, could they come to us and know they would be safe?

As mothers, most of us accept that it is our privilege and duty to love our children unconditionally. When they poop on us, we love them. When they lie to us, we love them. When they dye their hair blue and listen to nothing but music which sounds like monkey death wails we love them. When they come home only to do their laundry, we love them. Through better and worse, forever and ever, we love our we need to let them know that being gay is just one of a million things they can do that we wouldn't stop loving them for, no matter what our feelings on it from a personal or religious standpoint. We need to show them that it is not something we mistreat others for, and that it is unacceptable to treat lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or questioning peers with anything less than the common decency they are expected to show everyone else.

It doesn't have to be a scary prospect. Our kids don't have to live in fear, and we don't have to change our political or religious feelings. We can make a difference in the lives of LGBT youth-all we have to do is show them our unconditional motherly love.
If you are the parent, family member, or friend of an LGBT child or teen you can visit the PFLAG website to get support and information about how you can support your loved one.

If you are a child or teen who is struggling with sexual identity issues, you can visit the YouTube channel for the It Gets Better Project to find inspirational stories from adult members of the LGBT community.

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