Seven years ago, my daughter came out. I love her. Nothing will ever change that. Nothing. I stand with her. I defend her. I believe in her. I protect her.
And my life’s work is now to advocate for her and for all those in the LGBTQI community.
Maybe you have a gay son, or a lesbian daughter, or a bisexual, transgender or queer child. And maybe this is not what you hoped for—what you dreamed of. But regardless of the labels placed on our kids by others, they are still our children and their dreams are still very much alive!
If you are willing to take an often difficult and sometimes scary journey with me, it will impact your heart and your life in ways more wonderful than you can imagine. It will lead you into a deeper love for your child, your family and for God.
Having a gay child is an absolute blessing!
I never had a conflict between my unconditional love for my child, and my faith… until my daughter came out.
The source of that conflict could not be my love for my child. That love is pure, holy, God-given, true, right and everything good in this world. So the source of the conflict had to be somewhere in my faith beliefs.
That is the key moment.
That realization is the decision point, and probably one of the most important decisions of my life and my child’s life. How I as a parent react and respond to that will impact both of our lives forever.
Some parents abandon their child for their faith. Indefensible. Some parents abandon their faith for their child. Either decision is gut-wrenching, heartbreaking, soul-shattering—and either will have horrible, tragic consequences.
There is a better way. But to make it, you have to be willing to take a journey.
If the source of the conflict can only be somewhere in your faith, then you have to open the box you are in and honestly examine your beliefs. And when you do that, God will reveal truth to you about God’s heart and unconditional love, not only for your child, but for you too.
When you take that journey and step outside of the box of behavior-focused Christianity, it can be scary—but the freedom, peace and truth you discover along the journey is exquisite, life-giving, and deeply satisfying to your heart and soul.
I plead with you to hear my heart.
My relationship with my daughter has never been better, my relationship with God has never been deeper.
To get there, I had to step away from religion, fundamentalism, legalism, anything that is part of behavior-focused, expectation-driven Christianity. As I stepped away from that, I realized I was stepping into the very life Jesus taught and showed us.
I learned that unconditional love, affirmation and acceptance of my LGBTQ child is actually consistent with a faith that follows Jesus.
I now say that I am fully affirming of LGBTQI people BECAUSE of my faith, not in spite of it!
Your precious child holds your heart like no other. And you hold their heart in your hands like no one ever will.
What you do, how you react, the words you say, will have a greater impact—for good or bad—than you know.
I am just a dad, there is nothing special about me. All I did was refuse to abandon my child, and I refused to abandon my faith. I decided to begin a journey—a blessed beautiful journey.
One step at a time.
Will you join me?
– Rob Cottrell
p.s. If you are a Dad and need someone to talk with, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. You are loved and you are not alone.
We have pay-what-you-can video courses helping parents love, accept & affirm their LGBTQI children; helping those in the faith community be more loving & fully inclusive; and helping LGBTQI heal shame from family, church & community wounds. We also have private support groups for parents, and other resources. Please click here.