holidaysWith Thanksgiving just past and holidays approaching, I think a lot about LGBTQ people who don’t have family to spend the holidays with. It breaks my heart.

I can’t imagine the sadness at a young person’s first holiday without their parents, siblings and extended family. I think about the pain caused by their family’s rejection of them for simply being who they are and living their truth. And as I’ve said so many times before, I will never understand how a parent can reject their child when they find out they are LGBTQ,

I’ve known many parents who struggled mightily with their beliefs, their religious convictions and the fact that their child is LGBTQ. They struggle – they don’t reject. What is the difference. I’ve sometimes said some parents choose doctrine over their child. Other parents choose love even when it is difficult and scary. Loving your child doesn’t mean you magically give up everything you’ve been taught at home and in church. It’s not so easy and it took me a long time to understand that.

What love does is give those parents pause – just enough time to remember they love their child. Did you see the movie, “Boy Erased?” I was struck with the love the mom in the film had for her child. Yes, she agreed to send him to reparative therapy and that wasn’t the best choice. Even then, I could see and feel the love she had for her son and in the end, love won out. Today, that mom is a staunch advocate for LGBTQ youth and her son’s biggest supporter. She is an amazing mom.

Unfortunately, too many parents can’t see past their doctrine to connect to the love they have in their heart for their child. I can’t pretend to understand. I’ve never felt that way and was not raised that way. Yes, it was hard for me at first to accept my son as gay and I never lost touch with the deep, abiding love I have for him. That is what guided me.

So, as the holidays approach if you have a place at your table for an LGBTQ person whose family has rejected them, invite them to join your family. Maybe even to become a member of your family. You’ll think you’re blessing them but truly, they will be blessing you.

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