My Child Identifies as LGBTQIA+. Do I Need Support?


by Marsha Inman, Friends and Family Director

Parents who come to Living Hope for support and help often expect to learn the steps they can take to help their child (adult or minor) end their struggle with same-sex attraction or gender confusion.  It can be distressing when they realize that first, this is not something in their control, and second, that this is often a long journey with many ups and downs.

If Living Hope doesn’t offer a quick fix, why would it be helpful for parents to access the support that is offered?  There are many reasons that it is beneficial to have support in this journey.  When parents realize that this is also a difficult time for their child, it changes their perspective.  Their child has probably struggled with unwanted feelings for some time but did not share them because they knew it would not be received well.  None of us choose what things we are going to be tempted by – their child certainly did not decide to struggle with these feelings so they could rebel against their parents.  Learning why their son or daughter struggles with same-sex attraction and appreciating how difficult it can be to say no to such strong feelings helps the parent to be more sympathetic and patient with the journey.  If they get to know some of the men and women who come because they are dealing with their own struggle, it can encourage the parents that God is able to reach their child as well.

Since LHM doesn’t instruct parents on how to change their children, what do we do?  We encourage parents to maintain as close a relationship with them as possible while still holding to a biblical view of sexuality.  Love for someone doesn’t mean you agree with every decision that they make, so parents are challenged to express encouragement and love wherever they can while holding to God’s truth about sexual expression.  This can be complicated at times, so being a part of a support group, whether online or in person, can be very helpful.

Although parents can’t “make” their child step away from an LGBTQIA+ identity, there are still things they can do.  Parents are encouraged not only to love their child but to pray fervently for them.  Identity is a heart issue, coming from what we believe to be true about ourselves.  Humans can’t fully know or change a person’s heart, but God can.  We learn this from several verses, including “…for He knows the secrets of the heart…” Ps. 44:21 and “The king’s heart is like channels of water in the hands of the Lord; He turns it wherever He wishes.” Prov. 21:1. If you don’t know how or what to pray for, we have several good resources that we can recommend.

We also encourage parents to shift their focus from their child to themselves, especially if the child is not seeking to move away from an LGBTQIA+ identity.  We remind the parents that they are the ones who are at LHM and that God may be using this time to spotlight some things in their own lives that He wants to work on.  Maybe the parents’ marriage needs to be strengthened because they have focused more on their children than each other.  There could be individual issues that each parent should address – anger, passivity, control issues, communication, lack of trust in God, or any one of a variety of things.  God never wastes a struggle or the pain that comes with it.  There are things for parents in this journey, too.  Instead of the parents focusing on “why” this has come into their lives, they need to turn their attention to “what” God may want to do in their own lives.  Sometimes, when children see their parents change long-term patterns of behavior, they begin to consider that God might be able to help them make changes, too.

For most families, this is not a short journey.  How does a parent persevere and keep from getting discouraged when things are not changing, especially if the situation gets worse?  As stated above, the parents must shift their focus.  The journey away from an LGBTQ+ identity tends to be a long one, with many ups and downs along the way.  Parents cannot put their focus on their child’s actions or declarations to give them hope.  If they do, they will be on a rollercoaster of emotions and have no peace or hope until the journey ends.  God does not intend for us to live without hope and experience constantly fluctuating emotions.

Parents can cultivate and deepen their relationship with Christ.  Prayer is the highest – and best – calling a parent has.  Pray with your spouse, find trustworthy friends who will pray for your family, read more about prayer, and even consider adding fasting to your prayers.  As you draw closer to Him, you will find that the heavy weight you carry begins to lift, and joy returns, “…You will make known to me the way of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy.”  Ps. 16:11

Spend time in God’s Word; especially look for the promises God makes to His people.  Note them and realize that these promises belong to you.  Learn how to use these promises to create a personalized prayer for your child, based on God’s promises.  For example, adapt Philippians 2:13 to read, “God, be at work in (insert child’s name) to desire and to do Your good pleasure.”  There are endless other verses that can be used.  Keep a journal of your prayers and record the ways God answers.  This can be a great encouragement when it appears that nothing is changing.

If you are a parent of a son or daughter dealing with LGBTQIA+ issues, I hope you will avail yourself of the support we have to offer you – whether online or in person.  You will be encouraged that you are not alone, have added prayer support, and find strength to persevere in the journey.  Living Hope is here to offer just that – hope!

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Rom. 15:13