“Dear Amy,” begins the correspondence of a woman who will never, ever be nominated for ‘Mom of the year’ to advice columnist Amy Dickinson.
“We are part of a church group,” Mom continues, “and I fear that if people in that group find out they will make fun of me for having a gay child.”
Poorly constructed syntax aside, there are already some major red flags here. But it gets worse.
“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.”
Kids can be so vindictive! Imagine this poor, hardworking woman having to deal with a gay son just because she forgot a birthday, or two, or three. Birthday’s don’t mean much to teens anyways.
“Please help him make the right choice in life by not being gay,” she writes in conclusion. “He won’t listen to me, so maybe he will listen to you.”
And then the real kicker: she signs it “Feeling Betrayed.”
It’s hard to even know where to begin, but luckily Amy handles things pretty well.
She writes in response:
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 Pflag.org. This organization was 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.