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Gay soldier Mike Merrill wrote a letter to a group of moms of lgbt kids who started connecting with him in 2013 after reading his story, One Gay Man’s Army, in The Wire.

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Dear Moms,

I want you to know how much you mean to me. So here’s my thoughts, a challenge, and my thanks…

Thanks for the hugs, both digital and real. Thanks for the love and support you share. Thank you most for simply “being there.”

I think the single thing most parents do not understand is how critical their response is when their child comes out to them. No matter what their age. And many LGBT individuals do not weigh out their future life opportunities when coming out. I know how much it felt as if huge ocean waves were pushing me forward. Pushing me to “come out.” Yet as you know…there is little or nothing to grab onto in the ocean to hold you in place. And eventually after inhaling so much water you feel the pressure inside too. This is so often why coming out is difficult and almost comes across disorganized or desperate in many cases.

I know numerous cases where a minor has come out to their parents because there is a deep feeling of transparency and a desperate desire for honest support.

It was these things that I found growing up in an independent, fundamental, baptist home…yet it crosses most religious labels.

I understood the threat of being thrown out of the house “with the clothes on your back and nothing more.” I understood what it meant to be psychologically and emotionally battered. I understood what it meant to be raised in a “glass house” as the child of a minister. I understood the risk of being alone completely or being alone but at least able to legally create my own future. I understood because I have walked that journey. I can tell you the mountains and valleys along that journey. I’ve walked that journey. I have soooooo many experiences to draw from and so many stories of personal connections that have chosen their destiny simply by how, when, and why they come out.

THIS is why I strongly believe the “moms support group” is a critical player.

They are the small lifeboat with an anchor for those who are still being pushed by the ocean waves.

It becomes a place of rest, security, and internal strength for LGBT children of all ages.

It is not about coddling or sympathizing or having information or answers. If this is the perception that we as LGBT individuals receive – that we are somehow needing fixed, or that we are weak, or that somehow we have to have someone hold our hand…then the mother also becomes polarizing. I refer to this problematic mentality as “Smothering Mothering.”

It IS and must be about showing the anchor we have in Christ. It then becomes a much different way to experience waves as I described earlier because it is possible to simply “weather the storm.” This builds confidence, which in turn builds trust, and provides hope which becomes a meaningful relationship both horizontally and vertically.

THIS is how we develop healthy, well-adjusted LGBT adults.

Mike

If you are the mom of an LGBTQ kid and want to join the group of moms that Mike is writing to please contact me at lizdyer55@gmail.com and put “Mom’s Facebook Group” in the subject line. 

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