I was ten years old when my Mom told me she was a Lesbian. It’s amazing the things you take for granted, until one day, everything changes. Who knew, things like family dinners I thought were such a hassle would be so deeply missed. I suppose its human nature to take things for granted, or even in a way despise things we should cherish. I hated having to cut my game of tag short to answer the dinner call. Setting the dinner table properly, being corrected by my Dad for chewing with my mouth open, asking permission to be excused, and (the worst of all) helping with the dishes afterwards were all things I thought I could do without. Until, that is, I had to do without them.
Our ritual of family dinners would end one afternoon, with what seemed to be a harmless drive to the park with Mom. It was there, in that pretty setting of historic ruins and lush trees, she told me “the news”. Dad and her were getting a divorce…and she was gay. Both came as a surprise and stuck in my throat like a lump I could not swallow. Everything changed that day. The days of hearing the sound of my Dad’s deep voice calling me to the family table were over.
In about one year’s time, I would say goodbye to the place I had called home most of my life and move with Mom all the way across the country to California. My brother ultimately opted to stay and live with Dad. We were truly a family split in two.
In the beginning it wasn’t easy to talk about it either. For whatever reason, I felt “the divorce” was sort of off limits to me. When I thought about it, I felt a weird type of shame, like I was somehow complicit in it or even responsible. I mostly just tried to put on a happy face and told myself everything would be alright. It wasn’t until college that my grief over my parent’s divorce found it’s first true expression.
Even more difficult to express and communicate was the other loss I felt over my Mom being gay. The culture doesn’t give this type of pain permission. While it’s pardonable for a kid to feel sad over their mom and dad splitting, it’s unpardonable for them to feel regret over their parent’s coming out as gay or lesbian. This type of pain can’t have a voice, because it’s given no permission to speak, you’re even made to feel ashamed for hurting.
In my mid twenties, I would be forced to deal with another kind of pain. I found out from a letter he wrote me and dropped off at my front door that my Dad felt like he was really a woman. The hormones and surgeries followed. Honestly, the changes were difficult to stomach. Dad always had a ruggedness and toughness about him that I loved growing up. He was a man’s man in my book, and his strength made me feel safe and secure. The “therapies” attempted to tone down some of his more masculine features and he took on new feminine ones. One of the hardest things was hearing him talk. I missed his deep golden baritone. Now he spoke in higher tones and in a more feminine way. It all felt so forced and unreal, like a cruel and distorted dream. It was both painful to hear him and painful to see him.
I longed to have my Dad back. It felt like he had been hijacked somehow. I knew he was still him though, even though he pretended (and even wished) not to be. I’ve learned, even in adulthood, a son needs his father. It’s crazy how a hundred people could encourage me and it wouldn’t weigh as much as one word of affirmation from Dad. I ache to hear his “proud of you Son”. I’m thankful for the years I had with dad as a kid. I hate that I sometimes didn’t appreciate him. I have so many beautiful memories of him growing up. I would never trade those days for anything. I just wish they didn’t have to end.
One day, when we were at a restaurant during the early weeks of his transition, he got frustrated at me for calling him “Dad” during our conversation. It was a slip. I wasn’t trying to make him feel uncomfortable, it’s just who he is to me. I realized then, Dad’s new identity was in direct conflict with his role as father to me. Masculinity and fatherhood are intricately interwoven. I had a therapist correct me once for using the wrong pronouns when talking about Dad. “Don’t you mean she?”, the therapist interrupted. I told her that if my dad were a she then I wouldn’t even exist. If Dad were a she, then he wouldn’t be my dad.
One of the harshest realities of all of this is, though I love my mom and dad, it’s not enough to accept their choices and do the best to love them where they are at. Instead, I’ve been too often scorned for not adapting to and even celebrating my parent’s new sexual identities. Acceptance isn’t enough, I have to “be good with”, even happy, about Mom identifying as a lesbian and Dad as trans. It’s like being asked to praise the knife that hurt you. When something in you revolts, when you question whether things are the way they should really be, you are shunned and silenced for your intolerance and hate.
It’s hard to admit that Mom and Dad have both hurt me in all of this. Something wants to protect myself and them from the weight of that reality. I feel like I’m betraying them by owning up to how much centering their identity and life around their sexual tastes or inward desires has hurt me. I also fear losing their love or being totally cut off. I don’t look down on Mom or Dad for what they’ve done. I know I’m made of the same stuff as them. I’m a son of the sexual revolution too and have been enticed and tempted by its attractiveness and “freedom” as well. I’ve learned sometimes the things I really want, the things that feel so natural and good to me are actually truly wrong.
Thankyou for sharing. Its brave, and leads the way for truth to show.
Thank you for your openness and candidness about your hurt over the years. I hope and pray people see your letter and realise the hurt they’re causing children all over the world. Msy God, Jesus Christ, help you to overcome the hurt.
Bravo. This needs to be shouted from the rooftops. Kudos to you.
So brave of you to speak out.
Your voice needs to be heard in defence of the growing list of children affected by similar experiences.
My heart breaks with yours for we are kindred spirits. I too, know the pain of both parents (and two siblings) in a lifestyle that has broken me and the family I once knew. And like you, I have been scorned and ridiculed for the feelings I have and not allowed to say anything that goes against what they may believe or do. I can relate to much of what you said and thank you for saying it because it needs to be said! Continue to be brave, courageous, and strong (Joshua 1:9) and know that Almighty GOD is with you in your sorrow, pain, and disappointment but he will turn your ashes into beauty and your sorrow to joy! (Isaiah 61:1-3)
Thanks for the comment MAG. I sent you an email.
When our earthly father cannot or will not fulfill his role we should depend more upon Our Father in Heaven. I pray for your peace and direction, John!
Thank you so much for articulating and giving voice to what I haven’t been able to share with anyone. My daughter graduates next week and she has shared her plan to transition after she leaves for college. She changed her name in school against our wishes. Some friends and teachers have even adjusted to using male pronouns. Other parents call her by the new name. I have to explain who she is because they don’t recognize her given name. It breaks my heart. I try so desperately to separate the person I love, the intelligent, funny, responsible, daughter from this boy she looks like. I seek to see my beautiful girl amidst the short hair and boyish clothes. Your pain is at an even deeper level, one that I’m headed for when her goals are realized. It’s good to hear we are not alone in our feelings. My only hope is in the Lord.
Everybody is entitled to express themselves and wander off to find their true identity in this age. It is the children though, who are left behind to sort out their own feelings and make sense out of the riding confusion. I’m so glad you’re speaking up and out. Though strong opposition awaits, your voice, and the voices of other children silenced during the madness of these transitions, deserves to be heard. Divorce hurts families in and of itself. Add to it the pain of watching your mother and father disappear is heart wrenching. You know what the icing on the cake of is? It’s the withdrawal of love and affection if you dare to voice your feelings over the changes. Children are forced to accept what they cannot understand or control. Peace and blessings to you on your journey.
I really feel for you in all this. You are very brave for speaking up and telling it like it is.
The father seems to have done a very responsible thing here by delaying any transition until any child(ren) are adults. I don’t exactly see what else could be expected of this person. We can’t subordinate ALL of our lives to the welfare of our children; it is, to a large degree, a duty when they are minors, but not to the grave.
It seems we somehow managed to “evolve” as a human collective to a certain state of mind or cognitive paradigm of constant self indulgence that reigns supreame above all principles formerly central to higher functioning as individuals and in fulfilling the duty as fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, etc. Today the very definitions of a father or son , husband and wife are getting blurred. So far it is evident from all these testimonies. But beside these testimonies look around. Our culture is centered around satisfaction of whims and desires. You bored ? Try a narcotic. Still bored ? Change your sexual orientation. Not enough? Change your gender. You have right to do Whatever gives you satisfaction. Those that disagree are bigots. Assuming responsibilities to children we brought to this world, overcoming external and internal challenges to be an example for them ? God forbid ! Our personal freedom and pursuits of guilty pleasures must not be infringed.
What a pitiful bunch we are becoming. We speak of human rights , discriminations and atrocities and yet we becoming atrocity ourself considering how we trim our bodies to fit our aimlessly wondering minds and worse of all how we trimm our souls and turning deaf ears to the pleas of children, suffering fruits of our selfishness and self indulgence.
100% agree. Very well articulated!
Mom and Dad don’t change because you are over 18. What you have said is devoid of what every child, 18 or not deserves, a mother and a father.
It is so short sighted to think duty ends when children turn 18. I am 64 years old. My most important duty every single day is to do right by my 5 childrem and 17 grandchildren. To live in a way that encourages them and gives them hope. There is no other purpose so profound or worthwhile.
May God Bless you and your family, Susan 🙂
Your comment is based on the false assumption that his father “truly is” a woman. No, he is a man. He obviously knew how to act and live in a way concordant with how God made him. He owed it to God even before he owed it to his son, not to indulge his fantasy about being a woman. And his mother should have honored her marriage vows to her husband. Just because she also felt attracted to women does not mean she has the right to pursue that attraction despite those vows, even leaving inside the inherent wrongness of such acts.
We have duties to God, to our spouse, to our children. We do not have any right to pursue illusions of happiness and satisfaction which conflict with those duties. In fact true happiness will come from living according to the truth of how God made men and women, and living up to the promises we have already made.
Thank you so much for sharing. Right now I’m struggling with the death of my gay brother. He shut me out of his life so there was little communication in the recent years. While there was so much that was beautiful and extraordinary about his life, it was tinged by his narcissism and narcissistic rage. Now that he has died I’m in anguish. Should I have spoken frankly to him? Would he have listened or just mocked me.? Strangely he was a very orthodox believer. That almost makes it worse. Where is he now? My souls is uneasy. If I had him back for just an hour would I dare speak the truth to him even if it would have angered him? I dread the thought his soul is in torment and I did nothing.
You have to subordinate your life to God your Creator first. Then your life will have meaning.
I disagree by blood and definition, I do not cease to be my child’s mother when she is of certain age, it is a privilege and responsibility, a reality that exists outside of time or space. You choose to become a parent you have free will and therefore we need to carefully examine our motives and commitment before we decide to become parents and start seeing the unbelievable importance of all our choices it is privilege and sacrifice
You do subordinate your lives to your children, period. If there’s any doubt that you can’t do that, then don’t have kids. Its really that simple. Your thinking here is deeply flawed. Never put your personal whims and fleeting desires ahead of children, especially your own. Worse still is when adults put their sexual desires ahead of their kids. Its the best way to tell your own children they’re worthless.
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John – I am so sorry for what you are going through. It is beyond belief to me, and I would imagine that what you are experiencing is a form of PTSD. I am so sorry for what my generation is putting our children through. I’ve been ashamed of my generation since I was 18 years old. Jesus Himself experienced profound betrayal, and in Him is our only hope,solace and safety. God bless you, sweetie, as you explore who the real Jesus is.
I’m so sorry.
Thanks for sharing this. The last two sentences are true wisdom!
John, thank you for your courage and for being honest. I know it is difficult to do, but it the way of healing and truth. As a woman who used to be a lesbian, I have spent my life trying to help men and women align with God’s good design. But my own husband left for a gay relationship and left my kids devastated in ways that words have a hard time capturing. Grief, for sure. Thank you for sharing. There is something powerful about that, brother. Best to you, Anne
The only place we can go when life falls apart like this is back to then one who is our Father when we don’t have a father and our Mother when we don’t have a mother. I know a little of what you feel – but no-where near the full extent of this pain. I do know that my Father in Heaven has reached out to me and adopted me when my father on earth told me he was ‘through’ with me. I have no solutions other than the very best one I can think of: cling to the One who loves you beyond life itself.
John, I am terribly sorry that this happened to you and your family. Please know you will now be in my prayers.
Since my Mom’s death in 2012, my brother’s family has gone beserk with my nephew transitioning:( I have not seen my niece and nephew now since about 2014…I don’t think I will ever be a part of their lives now that they have screwed up their own lives…
Take care and may God Bless!
The strength you have in explaining yourself is helpful to me. I’m sorry for your sufferings
“The culture doesn’t give this type of pain permission.”… Nah man, you’re projecting. It wasn’t the culture, it was your Mom that didn’t give you that type of “pain permission”.
Eschew the “singular ‘they.'” It’s a weapon of the gender ideology.
If my parents had done those things, they would be dead to me.
Excellent point, Mr. McGowan! I loathe the use of “they” (“them”) as singulars. I was taught to use “he or she” (“him or her”) when the gender was uncertain or, if that usage becomes unwieldy, to use simply “he / him” —- on the grammatical principle known as “masculine by preference”.
Thank you for sharing what is more painful than anyone could ever imagine! Sharing this makes you both courageous and admirable. I am moved to tears reading about your loss. While no one can understand what you feel, I do know the experience of a present but absent father whom I feared and who made growing up as a man challenging. I did what I could to make him proud of me but was unsuccessful. I cared for dad after my mom’s death and knowing his gratitude for that end of life care I gave him was a source of healing which brought about a bond that I never thought possible. Continue praying for your parents in their brokenness. I accompany you in prayer. By the way, if seeing a counselor is still something of interest, I suggest that you find a Christian counselor who has values and not swayed by a seemingly sick society and who will not further shame you for your beliefs.
I agree – see a christian counselor. I have been blessed to see one in a conservative Lutheran church, when my PTSD exploded as a young mother of two. She helped me form my identity in Christ and gave me the proper order of things that get my attention – first God, then husband, then children. Extended family comes last. At first that was painful but I have such peace now.
Thank you for speaking out and speaking truth. Even though it’s painful for you, you needed to say your words and your words need to be heard. I hope you can take comfort in the words of Psalm 27:10, “Though my father and mother forsake me, the LORD will receive me.” A never-failing parentage.
When it’s all about oneself not about the affects ones actions and choices has on their children so sad! Glad your strong enough to express how you feel, good to you mate!
I feel this way with my gay brother. Like I have to be ok with his lifestyle choices, even though those choices are destructive to him and the larger family. I also miss that close association and space to feel comfortable with family. When I do see them, I have to be guarded and on the defense. At this point it’s just easier not to associate with them.
I’m sorry to hear about the issues with your brother. What I’ve noticed is that this “lifestyle” comes before everything else. And it makes demands of other people, namely, blind and unconditional acceptance of the gay lifestyle. And what of this lifestyle? For some, it’s rather benign, but for most, it’s hedonistic and extreme hedonism to boot. There’s something fundamentally selfish about that prerogative and I take issue with it. We never asked for June to be dedicated to gays, but, they took it anyway. And what they call it too, “pride month”? Here again, we see a similar behavior above. A demand and, even worse, an expectation that everyone must honor “pride” month. We understand there are gay people and that’s fine. But, celebrating this? The progression here says a lot. First, it was tolerance. No issues at all with tolerance, but it seems that wasn’t good enough, so it escalated. Tolerance became acceptance. Acceptance became compulsory acceptance. Mandatory acceptance became a celebration and now I feel it’s moving towards literal worship. But it can get worse. If they have their way celebrating them will become compulsory and then what? Compulsory worship? How did we go from “rights” to this?
I weep with you, John.
John, you are very brave sharing your pain. It is very overwhelming thinking of us humans remaking what God did. I don’t understand how anyone will think that God made a mistake creating them who they are. Science has the proof about conception. Thank you for sharing and I hope that throwing this out there brought a sigh of relief for you. Your parents are enjoying their lives at the expense of your pain. I pray that the peace that passes all understanding will embrace you in Jesus name Amen.