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by Marinka on October 22, 2012

Today is a guest post from my IRL BFF. And no, you can’t steal her from me.

One of my daughters is a high school junior and has a friend who very recently came out to his parents as gay. Josh comes from a good family, and he’s a good kid: Well-mannered, well-dressed, nice looking, academically advanced, and just plain nice. He is truly everything a parent could hope for in a child.

He and his family are lifelong members of a large local Baptist church. A lot of kids at the high school go to that church. For that matter, so do a lot of the teachers. And the principal.

Josh’s parents love him very much. He’s been a blessing to them all his life. He’s such a great kid and all. And when he told them he was gay, they didn’t stop loving him one tiny bit. But they stopped accepting him.
[Wait! I just need to set a scene for you here. I live in extremely conservative, extremely Christian, small-town South Carolina (unofficial state motto: South Carolina – First in Fat, Last in Education). Social change comes slowly and reluctantly here in the state where you can find the famous Redneck Store, which is the go-to place for all your KKK memorabilia and Neo-Nazi bumper sticker needs.]

Back to Josh. After he told his parents, his mother cried. A lot. They arranged for him to meet with Zach, the youth pastor at their church. Zach is a young married father who also coaches the church basketball team. He’s cool! He was nice when he talked to Josh, sympathetic even. But he told Josh that being gay is a sin.
Since Josh was still gay after his talk with Zach, his parents took him to a therapist, a Christian therapist, of course. During the course of their session, the therapist used the word “pervert,” and things went downhill from there. You may not be surprised to learn that when Josh left the therapist’s office, he was still gay.

His parents’ next plan was to send him to Truth Ministry, an organization which serves North and South Carolina. Their tagline: Freedom from Homosexuality through Jesus Christ. Yes, they pray away the gay. This is where Josh drew the line, however, and refused to go. His parents’ response? They took away his car. Because as you know, lack of transportation is the best route to heterosexuality.

As Josh and his family continue their struggle to come to terms with this change in their family dynamic, I have strong optimism that they’ll work things out. And by “work things out” I definitely mean that his parents will become educated enough to realize that Josh is not broken and doesn’t need to be fixed. In the meantime, though, I’d love to offer them this deal: I’ll take your “Oh poor me, my fabulous honor student child is gay and wants nothing more than my love and acceptance” problem, and in return you can have my “She’s been sexually active since age 12, high school dropping out, cutting, overdosing, jobless, homeless, unwanted pregnancy having, $150,000 spent on therapy and treatment centers and blames-all-her-unhappiness-on-me” problem.

You don’t want to trade? Didn’t think so.

One year ago ...

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{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

suburbancorrespondent
Twitter:
October 22, 2012 at 9:14 am

You know, when everyone around you believes that homosexuality is a sin or a matter of some confusion, it is very hard to understand what is happening before your own eyes. God willing, his parents’ love for him will open their hearts and minds. Because they DO love him.

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suburbancorrespondent
Twitter:
October 22, 2012 at 9:15 am

And good luck to you, anonymous writer/Marinka’s friend! It’s a long, tough road.

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pgoodness
Twitter:
October 22, 2012 at 9:36 am

Sadly, I think they actually might trade you. Josh seems strong and wise and I’m glad. I don’t even know the kid, but I’m proud of him and sad for his parents. They may still love him, but they’re missing out on the awesomeness of him and wasting time. Thanks for sharing his story – and yours.

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Alexandra October 22, 2012 at 10:01 am

Oh, I just can’t understand.

It’s your child, right?

I mean, it’s your boy?

LOVE HIM.

You can turn the bible upside down and NOWHERE does it say to judge. It says only to love

I suggest this book for Josh’s parents: “The Cross in the Closet” How one family came to love their child and his coming out. He posed as gay for one year, and through it, his fundamentalist family went from his mother’s initial reaction of “I’d rather have cancer” to her now working for LGBT. by Timothy Kurek http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4R6qIIvYEqs

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the mama bird diaries
Twitter:
October 22, 2012 at 10:11 am

That poor child. And I even have sympathy for the parents. Who taught them to hate people for who they are? I hope Josh knows that the world will accept him, even when his parents don’t.

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tracy@sellabitmum
Twitter:
October 22, 2012 at 10:19 am

Oh my mother heart. Josh, I love and accept you and know in my heart you will teach your parents to do the same.

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Shannon October 22, 2012 at 10:32 am

I hope that someday Josh’s parents will see just how brave their son is.
Until then, Josh, know that we see it. We see the guts it takes to stand up and say, “This is me.”

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anna see October 22, 2012 at 11:11 am

this is so very sad. i hope they come around sooner rather than later. and marinka’s bff, i am so sorry for your daughter’s struggles.

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deb October 22, 2012 at 12:04 pm

wew. that is all so very upsetting. I feel so badly Josh’s whole family – trapped in such an unnecessary circle of fear and hatred. I hope the parents can learn to love Josh for who he is rather than for who they think he should be.

Also, wishing you and your daughter a speedy journey through what sounds like a terrible storm.

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joeinvegas October 22, 2012 at 1:34 pm

As long as she’s not gay

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GrandeMocha
Twitter:
October 22, 2012 at 3:05 pm

Poor Josh and all the other Joshs in the world. It sucks when people can’t accept you for you. They are only happy when you think the way they think and act the way they act.

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Nelly
Twitter:
October 22, 2012 at 4:40 pm

I still can not understand how in this country, in 2012, we can’t just accept people for who they are? Why is someone else’s way always the right way, the better way? Can’t we just be? Life’s hard enough without others telling you how to live. Best of luck and congrats on being brave enough to come out Josh!

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Jonathan October 22, 2012 at 8:34 pm

Poor Josh, good for him for standing his ground and not giving in to their scare tactics. I am sure it makes him stronger knowing he has your daughter and you for support. I hope the family comes around sooner than later before they lose him for good. Thanks for sharing his story.

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Ryan October 23, 2012 at 2:57 am

What’s the link to this amazing woman’s website?

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Marinka October 23, 2012 at 8:02 am

She doesn’t have a blog. Isn’t that outrageous?! And yet, I still love her.

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Ryan October 23, 2012 at 3:00 am

I come from California, and ironically from a school full of Mormons. Feel free to share my email with them. My family is amazing, but I had friends in the same situation with the Mormon church. No one should ever have to go through that torture!

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Jessica October 23, 2012 at 8:00 am

Oh my heart breaks for Josh, I hope he has somewhere to go to be loved and accepted.

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Becky
Twitter:
October 23, 2012 at 8:56 am

Josh has turned out to be an awesome human. In spite of his parents’ shortcomings.

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Marta
Twitter:
October 23, 2012 at 10:19 am

Honestly things like this bring me to tears. I hate it. I hate that there are people out there who despite being wonderful parents and probably even people can’t open their eyes and hearts to the possibility of difference. To the possibility that this was not a choice he made, this is who he is, who God made him. And he is just as perfect and wonderful as the day before he told his parents he was gay.

There is legislation in Minnesota that’s going to vote to define marriage as between a man and woman and every time I hear that it might pass, every time I pass a Vote Yes sign in my neighborhood I’m sickened. And terrified that there are people who truly believe that people I love are less than them. And deserve less and should be treated, by law, as less.

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Ann
Twitter:
October 23, 2012 at 10:21 am

Devastating. Your humor too.

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Wendi
Twitter:
October 23, 2012 at 4:07 pm

I want to steal your IRL BFF from you. And Josh, too.

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Deborah J October 23, 2012 at 10:05 pm

I’m in Australia, but my uncle is a retired Pentecostal Minister from South Carolina. When I visited my family there a woman introduced me to a member of the congregation, and as he walked away she said, “When he wears his suit like that I almost forget he’s black.”
Which is a long way of saying I understand communities like that.
I wish all good things for your two young people.

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Carla October 24, 2012 at 8:06 am

Is there another living situation open to Josh? He is only a junior. He has a long time to go under their roof.

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Mary Clare October 24, 2012 at 11:46 am

That kind of story is hard to read. Yet, I have hope for Josh. He knew that his parents would not be accepting of him and he still came out to them. His parents sent him through a couple misguided “cures” and he maintains his sexual identity. He does not hide his identity or bow to their beliefs. He sounds like a strong individual.

To Marinka’s BFF – I hope you and your daughter find some resolution soon.

Reply

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