***Disclosure: I received complimentary samples to facilitate my post. All opinions are 100% honest and have not been influenced in any way.***
My response to him?
"I know. Want to go watch the rest of the movie?"
That was how simple it was, and how simple I wish it were for other LGBTQ kids who are confiding in their families and making the brave decision to come out. Sadly, for a lot of kids, coming out isn't easy, and it is anything but painless. Particularly for LGBTQ youth being raised in religious households.
I've said it before in posts, and I will say it again: No one chooses to be gay. No one is immune from having a gay child. You can go to church every Sunday, preach all day long, and your child might still be gay. A lot of well-meaning parents unwittingly become their child's first bully by echoing anti-gay sentiments. No wonder the suicide rate among our LGBTQ children is so horrifyingly high!
Recently, I had the pleasure of reading a book that tackles this very difficult topic. "Living Right" by Laila Ibrahim, tells the story of Jenn Henderson, a devout, church-going Christian. She thinks she is "living right" by defending traditional marriage....Until her son, Josh, tries to end his life because he just happens to be gay, and struggles with his sexuality because support at home is lacking.
About the book :
Jenn Henderson is proud of the church-centered life she’s created for her family. She prays each morning, attends worship every Sunday, and confidently takes up the struggle to defend traditional marriage when she learns marriage licenses are being issued to gays and lesbians in nearby San Francisco. But the certainty that she is living right falters after her teenage son, Josh, swallows a bottle of sleeping pills. Her fear deepens when she discovers that Josh struggles with same-sex attraction. If she's living right, how can Josh be gay?
Desperate for a cure, Jenn and her husband send Josh to a Christian conversion therapy camp recommended by their trusted pastor. Jenn is unwavering in her faith that Josh can be transformed by the grace of God. But as the story unfolds, her husband, son, and daughters seem to be questioning her deepest values, threatening irreparable damage to the tight-knit Henderson family.
Author Laila Ibrahim tackles a subject directly out of the headlines in Living Right, an intimate story about a mother’s struggle to reconcile her religious beliefs with her son's sexual orientation. Living Right strips away the politics of gay rights to reveal what’s really at stake in this ongoing conflict: family. As with her debut novel, Yellow Crocus, Ibrahim's second novel explores an intimate and sensitive topic with insight and compassion.
Anyway, I was sucked into this story, since I know first-hand the struggles the Mom of a gay teen faces. No, I am not overly religious, mainly because of the way people like Josh Henderson or my own son are often treated by the Church.
My heart literally broke for Josh. I could just imagine how he felt trying to both live authentically and please his family. The inner-conflict is a great one, and I just wanted to hug this character and reassure him that he's exactly the person God intended him to be.
I also enjoyed seeing the transformation of Jenn, Josh's mom. I admit, I didn't start this book liking her character. I was angry that she was putting conditions on her love for her son. Sending him to conversion therapy literally had me weeping....Who could DO that to their child?!
Thankfully, by the end of the story, love has won over ignorance and fear.
This book was very eye-opening. My son had it easy when he came out, because we are already major, major activists for equality. For us, Kyle's orientation has always been a non-issue. Sure, he's gay, but that doesn't define him as a human being. We have never cared about his sexuality, and he's a strong, confident, kind person because of the acceptance he's always had from his family. The book, "Living Right" reminded me that not all kids have it so easy.
If you know a young person who is struggling with their sexual orientation, or you know a parent who is having a hard time accepting their child due to antiquated, Biblical beliefs, I would definitely recommend checking out this book. It certainly offers a very emotional, very honest account of how the love of family trumps any bigotry.
You can grab your own copy of "Living Right" by Laila Ibrahim on Amazon.