Some wise words to moms of LGBTQ kids from Michael Bussee:
“My advice for Moms: Step back. Breathe. Go ahead and grieve. But please, step back. From your own (very real) feelings of shock, anger, disappointment, failure, fear. And just be there. For your child. This isn’t about you now. It’s about them. It’s about the courage and love they had that enabled them to tell you the truth.
Don’t blame yourself. You didn’t cause it. Don’t blame them. They didn’t choose it. Don’t tell them they could “change” if they really wanted to. They can’t. Don’t quote the Bible to them. Don’t rush them off to “reparative therapy”. Don’t tell them how much their disclosure is causing you pain.
This isn’t about you now. It’s about them. Step back. Breathe and then tell them: “Thank you for loving me and trusting me enough to tell me. Thanks for your courage. I am so proud of you. Thanks for being who you are. I love you just that way and nothing on Earth or in Heaven can ever change that.”
Then, listen. Really, really listen. Without the prejudice, shock, anger, disappointment, fear. Hug them. If they are crying, cry with them. If they are angry, don’t fight back. Don’t lecture. Don’t threaten. Don’t plead. Just be there. Listen. Love.
Then, for goodness sake, get some support. You are really going to need it — to cope with the grief and fear. To answer questions you may have. To learn to deal with those “helpful” people who think they have the answers for your child. Don’t isolate. Closets are for clothes, not people. Reach out. In this group. With a trusted friend. Maybe go to a PFLAG meeting.
In time (sometimes a long time) the shock, anger, guilt, self-blame, fear, disappointment and grief will give way — to something more deep and more genuine than either of you could have ever imagined. That’s what love does. It steps back, breathes, listens, embraces. You can do this. Stay strong. It does get better. I know. It got better for me and my Mom.” – Michael Bussee (Speaking to the “Serendipitydodah for Moms” Facebook support group in June 2014)
Michael Bussee was one of the originators of the ex-gay movement. In the mid-1970s, while working as a telephone counselor at Melodyland Christian Center in Anaheim, California, Bussee co-founded the Ex-gay Intervention Team (EXIT) and later hosted an unprecedented conference of ex-gay ministries at which a handful of ministry leaders, along with approximately 60 delegates, voted to form a loose coalition called EXODUS. However, within a few years, Bussee began to doubt the efficacy and ethics of the ex-gay message and in 1979 he left Exodus and eventually began to speak out about the tremendous damage that results from the anti-gay message. Today Bussee is a retired licensed Marriage and Family therapist, who devotes much of his time helping LGBT people heal from the trauma they faced from the Christian anti-gay message.
The private Facebook support group, Serendipitydodah for Moms, is going strong. The group is for open minded Christian moms who have LGBTQ kids and want to develop and maintain healthy, loving, authentic relationships with their LGBTQ kids. The “Be Our Guest” event series has been particularly helpful to the members. We have special guests join the group for a few days to share their insight, ideas and thoughts with us. Michael Bussee was one of our recent guests. Please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in joining the Facebook support group.