Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Bet that wasn't the advice they were looking for!

Don't know if you've heard about this, but in the syndicated "Ask Amy" advice column that appears in newspapers across the country, a parent recently wrote the following to columnist Amy Dickinson:
DEAR AMY: I recently discovered that my son, who is 17, is a homosexual. We are part of a church group and I fear that if people in that group find out they will make fun of me for having a gay child.

He won’t listen to reason, and he will not stop being gay. I feel as if he is doing this just to get back at me for forgetting his birthday for the past three years — I have a busy work schedule.

Please help him make the right choice in life by not being gay. He won’t listen to me, so maybe he will listen to you.
—Feeling Betrayed
(You've got to wonder if this person really is serious.)

Amy's reply was fairly straightforward, but probably not what this parent was looking for.
DEAR BETRAYED: You could teach your son an important lesson by changing your own sexuality to show him how easy it is. Try it for the next year or so: Stop being a heterosexual to demonstrate to your son that a person’s sexuality is a matter of choice — to be dictated by one’s parents, the parents’ church and social pressure.

I assume that my suggestion will evoke a reaction that your sexuality is at the core of who you are. The same is true for your son. He has a right to be accepted by his parents for being exactly who he is.

When you "forget" a child’s birthday, you are basically negating him as a person. It is as if you are saying that you have forgotten his presence in the world. How very sad for him. Pressuring your son to change his sexuality is wrong. If you cannot learn to accept him as he is, it might be safest for him to live elsewhere.

A group that could help you and your family figure out how to navigate this is This organization is founded for parents, families, friends and allies of LGBT people, and has helped countless families through this challenge. Please research and connect with a local chapter.
It makes me sad that there are parents and other adults (some of whom are lawmakers, scarily enough) who believe that your sexual orientation can be changed as a result of pressure or, God forbid, therapy. I doubt that Amy's advice will change this parent's mind, but I hope that their child has the confidence to resist whatever it is his parents try to do.

I've no doubt that one day these things will be sad little anecdotes we'll look back on with horror and disbelief, but until then, it's kind of scary. And depressing. Kudos to Amy Dickinson for an incredible response.

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