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Gay daughter advice


AtlanticMike

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4 months ago my 22 year old daughter told my wife and I she was gay. And I'm looking for some church advice  but let me tell you how we got to this point and why I'm asking strangers for advice. She's a beautiful girl and has always fought the boys off, said no dozens of times when asked on dates. Personally, i've none since she was 14 she was gay. In junior and high school her excuse for not dating was she was going to wait until she graduated because she didnt want her grades to suffer. At prom she went with a all girl group that she rangled up, and that's totally normal I know. Now she's in her last semester of college and had still never dated. For years I've kinda threw out little hints to my wife, like, you know she's gay right? And she's always hit me and said you dont know what your talking about, she's just really dedicated to her school work. But inside I knew our daughter was dealing with how to tell us what she was feeling. A month before telling us, she would come upstairs, sit on the bed and pretend she was watching TV. I could tell something was bothering her and I knew exactly what it was. So 4 months ago she comes up stairs, sits down on the bed and has this serious look on her face. After about a minute of watching her on the edge of tears I ask her if I could say something first. And I take a chance and just blurt out the words, I've known your gay since you were 14. She just starts crying and you could tell she was relieved. My wife was in shock, and once my daughter left the room asked me why I didnt tell her I knew our daughter was gay🤣, even though I had been telling her for years. I love my daughter, and what I want advice on is how much is her life going to change once people find out at church she's gay? I understand and I've read everything the church has put out about the LGBT community, but what I'm asking is , how many stares will she be getting? Is it going to be uncomfortable for her? And any advice is appreciated,  thank you.

Edited by AtlanticMike
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That is, perhaps, a tough row to hoe.  I cannot even begin to understand the challenges your daughter has faced over the years.  Though I doubt s/he would mind, there is a prominent poster on the Board in the same situation as a parent (I won't name this person; though I anticipate contributions to the thread).  The only thing you can do is love her.  Above all else, you and your wife should assure her that whatever happens, you love her, and will always love her.  I don't know what your/her relationship with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is, but you might want to consider approaching some ward members in confidence to see if you can broaden that circle of love.

Best wishes.  Indeed, I wish you well.

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It will only matter to people that don't approve, and that usually entails the older generation. Her generation will have open arms for her. I'm grateful for the youth of today who will lead the older generation in how to love their neighbor. I do believe the church has changed incredibly and she hopefully won't be hurt through General Conference talks in the near future as well. But if she's listened in the past I'm pretty sure that has contributed to her being reticent to come out. 

I hope her environment will be where she can live her life and be herself. Best of luck and way to go for knowing your daughter and loving her for who you knew she was. 

We have some friends that had their son admit he was gay, when his dad asked if he was. I know this hit his parents very hard. But I hope they will handle it with love. This son was a returned missionary and I don't know how he will deal with it if he doesn't have his parents approval or love. They are very devout LDS and have another son that is no longer active, also a returned missionary, that has been attending a non LDS church in Texas with his wife and children. These friends of mine, I'm sure are crushed. But pretty sure they'll let their love for their children be paramount to beliefs. 

Edited by Tacenda
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My daughter is bisexual...though she sees it in a less defined way...I can’t remember how she phrases it, but she has severe social anxiety and hasn’t been at church pretty much for 15 years, so I don’t have experiences of hers to share.  I can only tell you of our experiences as parents   

We have had nothing but friendly support from the ward. Those who know are more concerned with her health issues and that is what they ask about. But this might be different in another ward or if she had been more active. She is a nonbeliever, so unlikely she will ever be in that situation (I suspect she would have to be cured of several of her health issues to develop any confidence that spiritual feelings are more than just biochemistry). 

Edited by Calm
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11 minutes ago, Tacenda said:

But pretty sure they'll let their love for their children be paramount to beliefs.

It is not one or the other, you don’t have to choose as long as the child doesn’t see it as a necessity to choose between them and the Gospel. 

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22 hours ago, Kenngo1969 said:

That is, perhaps, a tough row to hoe.  I cannot even begin to understand the challenges your daughter has faced over the years.  Though I doubt s/he would mind, there is a prominent poster on the Board in the same situation as a parent (I won't name this person; though I anticipate contributions to the thread).  The only thing you can do is love her.  Above all else, you and your wife should assure her that whatever happens, you love her, and will always love her.  I don't know what your/her relationship with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is, but you might want to consider approaching some ward members in confidence to see if you can broaden that circle of love.

Best wishes.  Indeed, I wish you well.

Thank you so much, I hadn't considered approaching a handful of members that might understand and see how they feel first, great idea. 

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22 hours ago, Tacenda said:

It will only matter to people that don't approve, and that usually entails the older generation. Her generation will have open arms for her. I'm grateful for the youth of today who will lead the older generation in how to love their neighbor. I do believe the church has changed incredibly and she hopefully won't be hurt through General Conference talks in the near future as well. But if she's listened in the past I'm pretty sure that has contributed to her being reticent to come out. 

I hope her environment will be where she can live her life and be herself. Best of luck and way to go for knowing your daughter and loving her for who you knew she was. 

We have some friends that had their son admit he was gay, when his dad asked if he was. I know this hit his parents very hard. But I hope they will handle it with love. This son was a returned missionary and I don't know how he will deal with it if he doesn't have his parents approval or love. They are very devout LDS and have another son that is no longer active, also a returned missionary, that has been attending a non LDS church in Texas with his wife and children. These friends of mine, I'm sure are crushed. But pretty sure they'll let their love for their children be paramount to beliefs. 

Thank you tacenda, and yes her environment will definitely be where she can be herself. My concern is I'm a protector, my wife and girls come first, everything else next. So im probably more worried than my whole family at what's going to happen. There's not alot of youth in our ward so I can only imagine. My daughter was able to keep her feelings on the down low and I mean no one even knew a little bit. So there's going to be alot of older people that are shocked and its a concern. I have a really good relationship with my bishop and stake president, know them very well and not just church, actually I know them even better outside of church and I'm very worried about those relationships. There will be no interviews over the topic of my daughters sexuality, not one, they'll have to learn how to deal with it, this is going to be a new experience for everyone involved and the haters will be left behind. 

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22 hours ago, Calm said:

My daughter is bisexual...though she sees it in a less defined way...I can’t remember how she phrases it, but she has severe social anxiety and hasn’t been at church pretty much for 15 years, so I don’t have experiences of hers to share.  I can only tell you of our experiences as parents   

We have had nothing but friendly support from the ward. Those who know are more concerned with her health issues and that is what they ask about. But this might be different in another ward or if she had been more active. She is a nonbeliever, so unlikely she will ever be in that situation (I suspect she would have to be cured of several of her health issues to develop any confidence that spiritual feelings are more than just biochemistry). 

That's great to hear about your ward supporting you Calm. I'm hoping that will be our situation as well. Thank you for responding. 

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20 hours ago, rongo said:

I think the Church (individual wards) is pretty accepting of gay youth in general now, as long as they are not "living the lifestyle." By accepting, I mean that people are kind and respectful towards gay people who want to participate in church life. Where this would change (real or perceived; it's usually a mix of both as far as what the person experiences) is if she publicly and outwardly lives the lifestyle (live with or marry another woman). 

I know gay members who are simply gay, and are trying to live the law of chastity. And, I know gay LDS who feel this is unreasonable, and they eventually leave the Church or become seriously disenchanted with it. When this happens, it's because "being true to who they are" is their higher priority than "conforming to LDS doctrine and culture." Being gay and LDS can be navigated, but it's difficult and ultimately, the success rate isn't great over time.

Aside from her orientation, how is her testimony, dedication to the gospel/the Church? Does she strongly want to remain an active, participating, contributing Church member? Did she retain and maintain activity and commitment during her college years? I think the answers to this will heavily impact the long term "prognosis" as far as she and the Church go.

As you, and hopefully your wife, both know: bottom line is that she is and will always be your daughter. Period. So, whatever she chooses in the short and long term, continue to love her as her parents. I'm sure you already know that. 

Wow, thank you so much, that was beautiful and actually made me tear  up a little bit because this is highly emotional to me. My daughters testimony is very strong, so is my family's. She's done very well in school. She's never dated, not once and school has always been her excuse,  and now I'm seeing it was just that, an excuse, she didnt want to date boys. She's told me she is lonely and has a desire to date and if she wants to date I'm going to support her 100%. Her girl friend will become my friend the moment I meet her. If there's one thing I know from watching families with internal strife, is they do it to themselves, a family has to be able to accept whatever is thrown at it emotionally, no matter the situation. 

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5 hours ago, AtlanticMike said:

Thank you so much, I hadn't considered approaching a handful of members that might understand and see how they feel first, great idea. 

Exercise extreme care when you do that.  You don't want your daughter to feel as though you have betrayed her trust.  You and your wife could always start with the Bishop.  As far as approaching members, I hope you have a circle of friends among whom you have built a reservoir of trust.  So it's not a matter so much of "seeing how they feel" as it is of taking them into your confidence and asking for their support because you know, already, that your relationship with them is such that you'll get it.

I don't think your daughter's status or relationship with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or with anyone in it will be a source of contention ... unless you make it one.  I don't think it needs to be.

 

Edited by Kenngo1969
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5 hours ago, AtlanticMike said:

Thank you tacenda, and yes her environment will definitely be where she can be herself. My concern is I'm a protector, my wife and girls come first, everything else next. So im probably more worried than my whole family at what's going to happen. There's not alot of youth in our ward so I can only imagine. My daughter was able to keep her feelings on the down low and I mean no one even knew a little bit. So there's going to be alot of older people that are shocked and its a concern. I have a really good relationship with my bishop and stake president, know them very well and not just church, actually I know them even better outside of church and I'm very worried about those relationships. There will be no interviews over the topic of my daughters sexuality, not one, they'll have to learn how to deal with it, this is going to be a new experience for everyone involved and the haters will be left behind. 

My husband and I have a close friend who's sister is gay, and we are now close to her as well. She is in her sixty's and now lives in Maine, she's a famous composer. But in her youth had to live throughout the horrific days of old, where gays were labeled all sorts of horrible things. On top of all that, she isn't close to her father because early on he couldn't accept her being gay, he is still living, hopefully this will change before his death. To this day there is no relationship, only hard feelings. 

I'm so happy your daughter has you and your family! And lives in these times! 

Edited by Tacenda
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On 12/18/2020 at 9:03 AM, Calm said:

It is not one or the other, you don’t have to choose as long as the child doesn’t see it as a necessity to choose between them and the Gospel. 

Experience taught me - do not allow myself to be forced into a choice.

While I am not-choosing, there might be some disharmony. That's okay. There are reasons to not fret about that.

Edited by Chum
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4 hours ago, Kenngo1969 said:

Exercise extreme care when you do that.  You don't want your daughter to feel as though you have betrayed her trust. 

Hopefully, Mike's daughter is fully present in his processing and can give input before he does anything.

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On 12/18/2020 at 7:41 AM, AtlanticMike said:

how much is her life going to change once people find out at church she's gay?

With this question goes "How will your life change?"  Regretfully, I can't answer either. I do have one piece of advice, though.

Do not care what other people think.

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2 hours ago, Chum said:

With this question goes "How will your life change?"  Regretfully, I can't answer either. I do have one piece of advice, though.

Do not care what other people think.

Thank you for responding Chum. One of my best personality traits is not caring what people think😁. And to answer your question, I dont know how my life will change by having a gay daughter and I really dont care. I'm a big azz 240 lbs conservative/libertarian white guy and if my daughter starts dating and brings home a blue haired progressive lesbian I'll be right there to open the front door and welcome her in my home. 

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8 hours ago, Kenngo1969 said:

Exercise extreme care when you do that.  You don't want your daughter to feel as though you have betrayed her trust.  You and your wife could always start with the Bishop.  As far as approaching members, I hope you have a circle of friends among whom you have built a reservoir of trust.  So it's not a matter so much of "seeing how they feel" as it is of taking them into your confidence and asking for their support because you know, already, that your relationship with them is such that you'll get it.

I don't think your daughter's status or relationship with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or with anyone in it will be a source of contention ... unless you make it one.  I don't think it needs to be.

 

We've kept it quiet and we're working on her timeline. Like I said we're really close with the bishop and I'm actually concerned how he'll react, not as a bishop but as a friend,  I think the friendship has a chance of taking a hit. He's not as open as I am about this kinda stuff, not because he's bishop,  I've known him forever,  I'm talking about him as my friend. He's going to be blindsided,  he's tried numerous times to get her to go out with young men. I hope I'm wrong and he as a friend can see there's no benefit in judging her and also judging me because ultimately I'm always on her side.

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15 hours ago, AtlanticMike said:

We've kept it quiet and we're working on her timeline. Like I said we're really close with the bishop and I'm actually concerned how he'll react, not as a bishop but as a friend,  I think the friendship has a chance of taking a hit. He's not as open as I am about this kinda stuff, not because he's bishop,  I've known him forever,  I'm talking about him as my friend. He's going to be blindsided,  he's tried numerous times to get her to go out with young men. I hope I'm wrong and he as a friend can see there's no benefit in judging her and also judging me because ultimately I'm always on her side.

I think you are approaching this from the wrong end. Nobody but nobody should be surprised anymore that gay people inhabit our world. The onus is on them not you. If you treat it matter of factly you don't give them options to act inappropriately. The church problems appear when she dates, we don't really have a way to incorporate that into church. 

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I thought I would do better when my daughter married another woman.  I tried and did pretty well at first, then I saw them together in person.  That was very hard.  She started the relationship weeks after her divorce from her husband was finalized.  For six years she has pretty much ignored me.  I don't see my grandson, she drinks heavy alcohol and is pretty much a mean person.  She has come to me when she needed something from me.  I supported her through a divorce despite some outlandish claims about her ex-husband.  As I wrote in another thread, her stepmom didn't handle the initial news well, especially with me.  My daughter has cut off contact with my wife.  I have sifted through my feelings quite a bit.  It isn't just about her being bisexual, but about her erratic behavior.  There doesn't seem to be anything left of the sweet girl I raised.  So, I am struggling with having a relationship with my daughter.  The being gay, is only part of a bitter pill that I have had to swallow.  

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12 hours ago, readstoomuch said:

I thought I would do better when my daughter married another woman.  I tried and did pretty well at first, then I saw them together in person.  That was very hard.  She started the relationship weeks after her divorce from her husband was finalized.  For six years she has pretty much ignored me.  I don't see my grandson, she drinks heavy alcohol and is pretty much a mean person.  She has come to me when she needed something from me.  I supported her through a divorce despite some outlandish claims about her ex-husband.  As I wrote in another thread, her stepmom didn't handle the initial news well, especially with me.  My daughter has cut off contact with my wife.  I have sifted through my feelings quite a bit.  It isn't just about her being bisexual, but about her erratic behavior.  There doesn't seem to be anything left of the sweet girl I raised.  So, I am struggling with having a relationship with my daughter.  The being gay, is only part of a bitter pill that I have had to swallow.  

I would love California Boy's perspective, maybe he could see where her feelings might be. Maybe her actions were defensive. Maybe her focus was primarily anger towards the institution you belong to or the church's teachings about those that are breaking some kind of code, such as marrying as same sex couples. All of the indoctrination from as a child and seeing everything said by the institution you belong to has affected her, and the meanness you mention, is that defensive protection for her. 

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13 hours ago, readstoomuch said:

I thought I would do better when my daughter married another woman.  I tried and did pretty well at first, then I saw them together in person.  That was very hard.  She started the relationship weeks after her divorce from her husband was finalized.  For six years she has pretty much ignored me.  I don't see my grandson, she drinks heavy alcohol and is pretty much a mean person.  She has come to me when she needed something from me.  I supported her through a divorce despite some outlandish claims about her ex-husband.  As I wrote in another thread, her stepmom didn't handle the initial news well, especially with me.  My daughter has cut off contact with my wife.  I have sifted through my feelings quite a bit.  It isn't just about her being bisexual, but about her erratic behavior.  There doesn't seem to be anything left of the sweet girl I raised.  So, I am struggling with having a relationship with my daughter.  The being gay, is only part of a bitter pill that I have had to swallow.  

Dang, I'm so sorry you have to deal with the stress and heartache of having a child that doesn't pursue a relationship with you or your wife. Thank you for sharing. 

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As parents, we all have an idea in our minds about what our children will become in life. We do this for each individual child, projecting upon them our hopes and desires for a happy life, or one filled with great joy. When our children begin growing up, we sometimes have to mourn for the loss of the child that we had dreamed would be, so that we can accept and embrace the child that we have. With any child, and certainly with my Gay daughter, that dream was for her to find a good husband, have children, and my grandchildren, but this was not to be her case. We have a very close relationship, we speak many times each week, she lives only an hour away, so my wife and I see her and her wife at least once a month. She will attend Church anytime a member of our growing family speak in Church, or have an important event. She helped pay for her little brother’s mission, and is a wonderful person, self sufficient, and very loving. 
 

However, in the beginning, it was a very difficult process, of boundaries and adjustments, for each of us, parents and siblings, finding peace with her decisions. For a while it was one failed relationship after another, depression, and heartbreaking circumstances. We knew early on that she was Gay, but she thought we did not know. There was a lot of heartache in the early years of life, our’s and her‘s, but thanks to the lesson of the Gospel, all of us learned to love one another, and we are today. In many ways, we took the long way around to arrive at home once again. Unlike other relationships of friends of ours, their Gay children, “demand” that their parents abandon their beliefs, and affiliation with the Church, and their children are very angry. My daughter will have one of that, if she sees any of us begin to stray from “the Faith”, she is quick to point it out out. If she is ever sick, or struggling with something, she will seek me out and request that I give her a Priesthood blessing. Unlike many other families, love has won out over misunderstandings, misconceptions, and missteps, “because”, of the “pure love of Christ”. I just cannot help but love her, I love her unconditionally, as I do all of my children, and just as I wish for God’s love. It will not come all at once, but it will come, both your understanding and love for your child. God bless you, you will be in my prayers! 

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14 hours ago, readstoomuch said:

I thought I would do better when my daughter married another woman.  I tried and did pretty well at first, then I saw them together in person.  That was very hard.  She started the relationship weeks after her divorce from her husband was finalized.  For six years she has pretty much ignored me.  I don't see my grandson, she drinks heavy alcohol and is pretty much a mean person.  She has come to me when she needed something from me.  I supported her through a divorce despite some outlandish claims about her ex-husband.  As I wrote in another thread, her stepmom didn't handle the initial news well, especially with me.  My daughter has cut off contact with my wife.  I have sifted through my feelings quite a bit.  It isn't just about her being bisexual, but about her erratic behavior.  There doesn't seem to be anything left of the sweet girl I raised.  So, I am struggling with having a relationship with my daughter.  The being gay, is only part of a bitter pill that I have had to swallow.  

Readstoomuch, ever since I read what you wrote a couple hours ago I've been thinking about it. I want to say something but I dont want to come across as if I'm giving you advice, because i dont know what your going through, I've never experienced that much pain so far in my life. But I would like to share an experience I had with one of my sisters. Her and I didnt talk at all for 2 years. We got in a fight over a issue that kept happening when the kids got together and both of us thought the other was at fault. Then one day I got pissed and said f,it, I'm going to call her and see if she's willing to start over and rebuild our relationship. After 2 calls and 2 text over a month period, I got no response. So instead of giving up I said to myself, what does she like, and the answer I got back was build her a doll house. For some reason she collects dolls and doll houses even though she's in her 50s. So I spent about 8 hours over a 3 week period building a doll house and when I was done I put it on her front porch with a simple note that said, love you sis. Well, I wish that's all it took but it wasn't. She didn't contact me. A month later my wife saw on facebook that my sister was looking for someone to build raised planter boxes for her garden and she was complaining that everyone she talked to wanted to build them out of pressure treated wood and she didnt want that because she thinks pressure treated wood is toxic. So I built her 3 planter boxes out of expensive cedar and delivered them to her house while she was at church, set them up and left, no note. 2 hours later she was knocking on my door in tears and to this day we still talk daily even though she gets on my nerves just as much as before we got in a fight. 

   For years, and because we're both stubborn,  we waited for the other to approach and try to make it better. And even after I took the first step she felt like it wasn't enough for some reason, I guess I hurt her more than what I originally thought. But my persistence paid off. Like I said, my story isn't anywhere near the heartbreak a father feels from losing a relationship of a daughter, but I hope it might help you a little bit. It's never to late, never. There's always an opportunity to rekindle a bruised relationship. 

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