What should a parent do when his adult child is in a homosexual relationship?
A reader tells
Laura Wood that his 32 year old daughter has informed him that she is in a lesbian relationship. He says that while he is not happy about the situation, he accepts it, has met his daughter’s girlfriend, and is glad that she is a nice person.
Laura replies to the reader:
It is wrong for a parent to normalize the homosexual relationship of a grown child. It is not necessary to reject a child totally or sever all ties, but it is necessary to refuse to participate in a way of life that is immoral. That means refusing to engage in basic social interaction with the homosexual partner of a child….
It is common for the homosexual today to ask that society accommodate him and his inability to change. “This is the way I am,” he says. “Accept me.” To this, others must reply, “This is the way we are. Accept us.” The homosexual must demonstrate tolerance. He must not ask others to condone or participate in his way of life.
There is nothing improper with your daughter having a close friendship with a woman. Women love each other. If she feels a strong spiritual connection with this woman, they can be close friends and help each other in various ways. It is deeply wrong for the relationship to be sexual, for them to present themselves publicly as lovers or ask others to acknowledge them as lovers, or for them to raise children together.
See the rest here
How many “conservatives” would have the clarity of understanding and the firmness of purpose to say what Laura has said? Traditionalists are the counterculturalists in today’s society, and their stand against the existing order requires far more effort and courage than the original counterculture ever did.
- end of initial entry -
Rhona N. writes:
I vehemently disagree with Laura. I strongly believe that, particularly in the case of male homosexuals, there is a strong genetic component to this. I have seen this in my own family and in the family of friends. In the case of women (who form a much smaller percentage), the choice is more strongly influenced by life experiences, physical attributes, and lack of success with males. However, I believe that a parent, though very disappointed, should make an attempt to have a loving relationship with the child. That means encouraging the child to make healthy decisions, such as monogamy and choice of a good partner. The parent should show acceptance but not endorsement. I see no problem in establishing a relationship with the partner of the child, as long as that relationship is non promiscuous and life-affirming. I would not want to lose my relationship with my child as long as my child is willing to understand that I regard homosexuality as not “normal” behavior. And, if that is the path to happiness and fulfillment for the child, I would not deny that and turn away.
James P. writes:
I believe that a parent, though very disappointed, should make an attempt to have a loving relationship with the child. That means encouraging the child to make healthy decisions, such as monogamy and choice of a good partner.
If the child has a homosexual partner, then the parent has already failed catastrophically in the effort to encourage the child to make healthy decisions and to choose monogamy and a good partner. The question is what to do about it. Liberalistic “tolerance” of bad decisions is not the answer, and parental expressions of disapproval, when necessary, are not inconsistent with having a “loving relationship with the child.”
The parent should show acceptance but not endorsement. I see no problem in establishing a relationship with the partner of the child, as long as that relationship is non promiscuous and life-affirming. I would not want to lose my relationship with my child as long as my child is willing to understand that I regard homosexuality as not “normal” behavior. And, if that is the path to happiness and fulfillment for the child, I would not deny that and turn away.
If your heterosexual daughter moves in with a tattooed biker thug, do you propose to accept this “path to happiness and fulfillment” and establish a relationship with the thug? Personally, I would deny that thug access to my house and make it plain to her that I neither accepted nor endorsed such a self-destructive course of action. My love is unconditional, but my approval is not, and if my daughter chooses an inappropriate, unworthy partner, then I will make it abundantly clear to her that I disapprove and that “acceptance” of her chosen path will not be forthcoming.
You are not her friend, and you are not required to “show acceptance” as one is required to do with friends in order to sustain the friendship. She needs you to have the strength to tell her what is right, not passively accept it when she chooses what is wrong.
I don’t think that James’s analogy to a daughter moving in with a “tattooed biker thug” is germane to the discussion. Nor is it fair. The subject here is not thugs or criminals, but people who are outwardly normal, decent, and responsible, and are only different from the norm in that they are homosexual and engaged in a homosexual relationship.
Robert B. writes:
Rhona negates the fact that once upon a time pillaging, rape and plundering were seen as inherent male traits as well, but civilizing influences caused Western man to view such behavior as barbaric—i.e., Western man learned to shun and thus control such behavior. Homosexuals can control such behavior as well—indeed, anyone who cannot control his sexual urges should be properly seen as mentally ill.
Laura Wood writes:
Reply to Rhona:
I did not suggest severing a relationship with a child. It is possible to see a child in one’s own home without the homosexual partner present and to maintain a relationship this way. [LA replies: But of course others will say that the parent’s refusal to have anything to do with the child’s partner is a rejection of the child. How does Laura reply to that?]
There is a genetic component to homosexual desires for some people. There is a genetic component to alcoholism too. To say that some people are influenced by innate characteristics or upbringing does not mean they have no choice but to live openly as a homosexuals. Most did not in previous eras and went on to live healthier lives and become fathers.
Is Rhona aware that the average male homosexual’s life is remarkably shorter than the male heterosexual’s—even when discounting the possibility of HIV? The male homosexual experiences significantly higher rates of anal cancer, hepatitis, and various serious viral infections, not to mention numerous unpleasant conditions, such as incontinence. There is no way I would encourage my sons to live this way,—and normalizing the relationship is encouragement—no matter how difficult it might be for them. There is virtual silence about the organizations that are successful in helping homosexuals overcome their desires. I would help my children find others struggling with the same problems, as I would if they were alcoholics.
Laura Wood continues:
The medical conditions I cited are serious problems not just among promiscuous homosexuals but among relatively monogamous ones as well.
Debra C. writes:
I strongly endorse Laura Wood’s attitude regarding family members who are homosexual: it is the homosexual who should be tolerant of us rather than the opposite. But pressure from the world, a world antagonistic to Biblical precepts—as must always be the case, and today more than ever it is the case—would have even some “religious” people bending even their natural aversion to homosexual behavior into a wholehearted acceptance of it. These people and their fellow secularists embrace the new creed, a postmodern worldview, and along with the hordes of elite sophisticates, Hollywood producers, and university professors are happy to enthrone self in the place of God in their lives. It bears repeating that the greatest sin in their minds is the sin of intolerance which includes everything except intolerance of Biblical Christianity, and of course, its proscription against homosexuality. (Here, we are getting to the nub of the irrationality of self-worship which has no higher appeal to ethical standards than the will to power, borrowing from Nietzsche: can anything, really, be wrong or sinful?)
In reality, in this world that God has created, it is the loving thing to speak the truth in love, to show sin for what it is, to hold up the mirror for people to see their sin so they might know they need a redeemer. This message is foolishness to a dying world, a world lost in sin, rebelling against the only One who truly loves them, loves them enough to die for them even while they are sinners—but to die for them to free them from their slavery to sin. What Rhona fails to grasp is that there is something more important than bowing to current social trends by accommodating open sinful rebellion against God. This world is not all there is; it is but prologue to our eternal life, in heaven or in hell.
On a side point, I can’t help but lament the annoying lack in the English language of an appropriate word for an adult child. It’s so silly that we have to keep referring to a person’s grown or even middle aged children as his “children,” but our language provides us with no alternative.
My late sister used to complain about this repeatedly.
Jim C. writes:
Is this [the original entry] from The Onion?
Rhona N. writes:
There is neither praise nor blame for what is. I believe that in most instances homosexuality is innate. The task of wise parents wishing to help their child is to give him knowledge and foresight and enlighten him about the pitfalls of homosexual life, especially the health risks. About being the master of oneself. Parents should understand what can and cannot be changed. Is it better to refuse to deal with reality? In fact, the fastest way to encourage destructive behavior in one’s child is to cast him out and refuse to be part of his life. I am not advocating or encouraging a relationship that appears to be unhealthy. I’m not celebrating homosexuality. I am recognizing the contribution parents can make to help their child live a decent life. If a partner is otherwise responsible and normal , why not have a relationship with your child’s partner?
Matthew C. writes:
In regards to Rhona N.’s belief that in most instances there is a strong genetic component to homosexuality, I have a simple query.
How exactly has homosexuality been passed along genetically through the generations? Or, to put it more bluntly: if homosexuality were genetic, wouldn’t homosexuals be extinct by now?
Homosexuality, as a genetic trait, would be in complete opposition to its own survival, wouldn’t it?
Well, one possible answer would be that in the past, social morés and religious strictures suppressed homosexual tendencies, and so people with homosexual tendencies married and passed their homosexual tendencies to their offspring. However, it’s a far stretch to suppose that latent, suppressed homosexual tendencies survived in the gene pool for so long.
James P. writes:
I am surprised to see a number of people in this thread argue that homosexuality is not inherently harmful, abnormal, and deviant.
The claim that someone can be normal, decent, and responsible except for being homosexual fails if homosexuality is itself abnormal, indecent, and irresponsible. [LA replies: James’s response to my statement is logically flawed. To say, as I said, that there are people “who are outwardly normal, decent, and responsible, and are only different from the norm in that they are homosexual and engaged in a homosexual relationship,” is NOT to say that homosexual behavior is not harmful, abnormal, and wrong. James’s condemnation of my statement only makes sense if we understand him to mean that he wants the entire being of the homosexual to be considered harmful, abnormal, and wrong, not just his homosexual behavior. By James’s lights, homosexual persons would have to be shunned totally and in all circumstances, not just in the personal or family context (namely, how should one relate to the homosexual partner of one’s adult child) which is the subject of this thread.]
In my view, being “normal and decent except for being a sexual deviant” is a contradiction in terms. Being a sexual deviant is enough, by itself, to preclude this person from being normal and decent. [LA replies: There’s the proof of what I said in the previous paragraph.] Whether or not this condition is “innate” is beside the point. An innate tendency to sin must nevertheless be resisted, and failure to resist it is blameworthy for all that it is innate. No urge to sin is so overwhelming that it “cannot be changed” or resisted.
Frankly, if you haven’t provided your offspring with enough foresight, knowledge, and enlightenment to understand and avoid the “pitfalls of homosexual life” before they are adults, you have failed profoundly. In this, as in so many other things, the time for education is while they are children living in your house, not after they leave the house. But, if they choose as adults to behave in a manner of which they know you disapprove, then there must be consequences, not passive acceptance of the unacceptable and doomed efforts to make something normal and decent that is inherently abnormal and indecent.
Josh F. writes:
Rhona says that she believes homosexuality to be innate and then goes on to describe the destructiveness of homosexuality. Meaning, in some people, self-annihilation is innate. And that is exactly what homosexuality IS, self-annihilation. And when we tolerate homosexuality, we are tolerating the self-annihilation of the indvidual homosexual. When seen in this light, accepting our own child’s conscious self-annihilation is out of the question and allowing these same self-annnihilators a seat at the table of civilIzation is suicidal. The daughter and her “partner” are in a subconscious conspiracy (innate as Rhona asserts) to enlist a healthy- minded father into embracing self-annihilation (can anybody argue that if a child dies, so does part of the living parent(s)?). That this does not sit well with him is evidence of at minimum a sound instinct against self-annihilation as innate.
Laura Wood writes:
James P. writes:
Frankly, if you haven’t provided your offspring with enough foresight, knowledge, and enlightenment to understand and avoid the pitfalls of homosexual life before they are adults, you have failed profoundly. In this, as in so many other things, the time for education is while they are children living in your house, not after they leave the house.
I couldn’t agree more. Any parent who has not talked to his adolescent while he is still at home about all he hears in the culture at large about homosexuality, and not once or twice but on numerous occasions explained why homosexuality is wrong and dangerous, has partly failed in his parental duties and cannot reasonably expect to have any influence if an adult child adopts homosexuality as a way of life.
Regarding the innate personality traits that may predispose men and women to homosexual desires, these traits are passed on even though homosexuals do not have children. In a culture that suppresses and channels homosexual desires, these psychological characteristics less often contribute to actual homosexual behavior.
Individuals who are raised in fatherless homes are more predisposed to homosexual desires. The surge in the numbers of openly homosexual individuals is partly a reflection of family breakdown. I recommend Jeffrey Satinover’s Homosexuality and the Politics of Truth for a fuller examination of this factor, as well as of the genetic influences and the rarely discussed medical implications.
Kathlene M. writes:
Regarding whether homosexuals can leave the lifestyle behind, here’s something written by Michael Glatze, a former gay-rights leader who became Christian and left homosexuality in 2007:
Part of the homosexual agenda is getting people to stop considering that conversion is even a viable question to be asked, let alone whether or not it works.
What he’s saying is that those caught up in the homosexual lifestyle are not permitted even to ask if they can leave the lifestyle. Mr. Glatzke’s testimony at his website is powerful reading. This article is especially good. It describes his life two years later.
In my experience, “coming out” from under the influence of the homosexual mindset was the most liberating, beautiful and astonishing thing I’ve ever experienced in my entire life.
Laura Wood writes:
I understand Rhona’s sense of compassion. But the argument she makes undercuts all arguments against sexual freedom. If the homosexual’s desires must be honored and tolerated as just a part of life and as irrepressible, his voluntary sterility accepted by his family, then the desires of heterosexuals logically must be granted the same respect. Why should a married person suppress his attraction for someone not his spouse if his desires have the same natural and emotional aspects as the homosexual’s longings for specific people of the same sex?
Sexual freedom is inimical to social order and exploitive of the young. But it does give people some of what they want. It would be fatuous to say that restraint doesn’t entail suffering.
James P. writes:
James’s condemnation of my statement only makes sense if we understand him to mean that he wants the entire being of the homosexual to be considered harmful, abnormal, and wrong, not just his homosexual behavior.
I don’t see how you can separate the “entire being” from a person’s behavior. Personally, I shun people who routinely commit immoral acts, even if those acts are not conducted in my presence and do not impinge on me personally. A thief or a liar is no less a thief or a liar for all that he does not lie to me or steal from me. Can we speak of a person being “normal, decent, and responsible” except for being a habitual thief? Could you overlook this particular behavior and accept the “whole person” as 95 percent moral? Maybe—much depends on circumstances.
In this particular discussion, homosexuality is not an incidental foible, but of central importance to this person’s relationship with your daughter. To speak of this person being “fundamentally decent” except for being indecent in the one realm that defines this person’s relationship with your daughter makes no sense at all. How can you overlook the abnormal sexuality of someone who is having sex with your daughter? It might be possible to ignore this person’s homosexuality if they were not having sex with your daughter, but since they are, this person’s other positive attributes are well-nigh insignificant.
By James’s lights, homosexual persons would have to be shunned totally and in all circumstances, not just in the personal or family context (namely, how should one relate to the homosexual partner of one’s adult child) which is the subject of this thread.
Not so long ago, this was the case—decent people were expected to shun homosexuals in all circumstances. Now, of course, we are forced to associate with them in many circumstances, whether we like it or not, and refusing to do so is considered a crime and a mental disorder. In this thread, some people contend we shouldn’t even keep them out of our houses and our personal lives! What’s next, heteros aren’t allowed to refuse homosexual advances?
Well, I’m speaking of coping with the reality of contemporary life where everyone has co-workers, acquaintances, relatives, or various other types of associates who are homosexual. James’s statement of total shunning and comprehensive rejection in every respect and in all circumstances of every homosexual person with whom he may come into contact strikes me as extreme—philosophically, practically, and, if I may say so, humanly. Unless one happens to live in an isolated conservative religious community or in a mountain cabin I don’t see how one could live by James’s code.
Fred Owens writes:
I admit a failure in this regard. The topic of homosexuality made me uncomfortable when my kids were growing up. I assumed they would not be so inclined. I never warned them against it. My attitude was it’s okay in somebody else’s house because we won’t have that problem here.
Nevertheless, I do not blame myself for the bad choices of my adult children. And I can’t waste my time with regrets. I am going to do something about this now—and throwing this up for discussion on your blog and Laura Wood’s blog is my way to begin an action.
James P. replies to LA:
Unless one happens to live in an isolated conservative religious community or in a mountain cabin I don’t see how one could live by James’s code.
Obviously, I don’t live by it, either, since the reality of contemporary life is that one encounters homosexuals everywhere and is forced to deal with them. I have met homosexuals who fit the description of “normal and decent except for their sexual preference,” and interact with them smoothly enough since their sexuality is not an issue. Still, I would not invite one into my home, and one of the many reasons I do not permit TV in my home is the constant promotion of gayness previously mentioned.
This seems to be quite a step back from your previous comment.
Forta Leza writes:
So what if homosexuality is innate? We all have a lot of innate desires which must be repressed because it would be wrong to act on them. That said, I would draw a distinction between male and female homosexuality. Only the former is clearly prohibited by the Bible. Still, I believe lesbians should try to marry and submit to their husbands.
D. in Seattle writes:
Rhona said: “I strongly believe that, particularly in the case of male homosexuals, there is a strong genetic component to this.” And “I believe that in most instances homosexuality is innate.”
Seriously, why should anyone care why Rhona believes without any proof offered? Nobody has identified homosexual gene or genes yet. But there are plausible theories of (at least) male homosexuality, one being Gregory Cochran’s germ theory (nice summary here), and another being the chimerism theory (nice summary here).
Point being, rather than saying you believe something because it’s nice, without having factual basis for it, one should educate oneself first and then form opinions.
This is in response to Buck O.’s response to me.
Buck O. writes: “If he were to frequent gay bars and bring gay friends home, next door, things might change. If he doubles-up on the ear-rings and brings a gay date along to the pub, would you still be hanging out with him? Do you double date at his gay bar? If he lives his life like a man with a secret, then Elena and her husband will keep his secret.”
Buck, I apologize if what I wrote provided an incorrect view on the relationship my husband and I have with our friend, or on the way he presents himself to the world. However, in view of your response to my comments, I do need to clarify. Sam’s homosexuality is not a secret. His family is aware that he’s gay, all of his friends are aware that he’s gay. He is openly looking for a boyfriend, although he’s single now. If he chose to bring a gay date to the pub, that would be fine. Neither my husband nor I would be more uncomfortable discussing his romantic life with him than we would be discussing the romantic life of any other close friend.
I think perhaps you and I disagree on a fundamental point. Please correct me if I’ve misinterpreted your viewpoint, and I certainly don’t want to put words in your mouth, but my understanding of your comments leads me to believe that you think there are essentially two types of gay men: closeted and relatively normal-seeming, and openly, flamboyantly gay. The point that I was trying to make is that there is a middle ground: there are gay men who are openly gay, yet neither activist nor flamboyant, and whose straight friends are perfectly comfortable with them, whether or not they bring a date.
This leads me to point number two: we are perfectly comfortable with Sam because he’s not self-righteous about his sexuality. When I say that I know gay men who don’t primarily define themselves as gay, I don’t mean that they don’t admit to being gay, or that they don’t say that they’re gay, but that it’s not the first word that would come to their minds when asked to describe themselves.
And now I want to make a third point. I will say straight out that I am not a person of faith. I am a person of basically Judeo-Christian morality, but I don’t believe that the Bible is correct on all points or that there is a God; because I know this differentiates me from most VFR readers, I want to point it out, as I don’t want to seem disingenuous. Okay, that said: coming from this perspective, I don’t see any problem with Sam’s middle ground as a general middle ground for gays to inhabit ideally in our society. Homosexuality is abnormal, I won’t deny it and I don’t think most reasonable homosexuals would deny it. But, as Buck points out, it’s not necessarily something they can help; also, and I know many here will disagree with me, I don’t think it’s morally wrong (practically self-destructive in many cases, now that’s a different point). What is wrong is the general coarsening of culture to the point where sex acts, be they heterosexual or homosexual, are discussed in public in graphic detail. So, my third point in a nutshell: the real problem with gay activists is not that they want to engage in sodomy. The problem is that they want to have parades celebrating it. If straight men and women were performing sex acts on one another on a parade float, I’d be just as disgusted.
Elena’s last point represents a huge trivialization of what the homosexual rights movement and the larger sexual liberation movement are about. It all seems to come down to what personally offends her. Like what Stogie said at the beginning of this thread, Elena is tolerant of homosexuality, but she doesn’t want it shoved in her face. In fact, this is the standard liberal position: “I believe people should be able to do whatever they want, until it goes ‘too far’ and triggers my personal yuck factor.”
Jeannette V. writes:
Fifty years ago, it was easy to associate with homosexuals in the workplace, because a person’s sexual proclivities were either unknown or known but never mentioned. These days the bedroom door is wide open and we are forced to acknowledge a person’s perversions.
This is a direct result of the decriminalization of homosexuality. I have done a complete 180 on what I feel about homosexuality. My best friend in high school (this was the 1970’s) was a homosexual and I remember the horrible abuse he got from his peers. So I have lived in a time when homosexuality was illegal and now when it is celebrated.
I have seen homosexuals stalk and harass people at home, online and where they work simply because they believe marriage should be redefined. I have friends with school-aged kids who tell me about the pro-homosexual propaganda being fed to their children.
It is actually fashionable these day for woman to consider themselves lesbian. They get lots of positive feedback for “coming out.” I read that 40 percent of high school seniors now identify themselves as lesbian or bisexual. It seems the queering of our schools and entertainment has been successful.
The decriminalization of homosexuality has had some very detrimental side effects indeed.
I have previously written that the decriminalization of homosexual acts was a big mistake. Laws tell people what is right and wrong. They deeply affect people’s views of what is right and wrong. The laws banning homosexual acts were rarely enforced, but simply by existing on the books they sent an important message to society.
I would also remind readers that the Supreme Court decision that wiped out all laws in the country outlawing homosexual acts, the 2003 Lawrence v. Texas decision, was an outrage against the Constitution.
Clark Coleman writes:
“I don’t think it’s morally wrong (practically self-destructive in many cases, now that’s a different point).”
The implication is that being self-destructive is not necessarily morally wrong. I believe there is a confusion of two different issues here. One issue is what is immoral, and the other issue is what society’s response to immorality should be. One could argue that society can ignore certain kinds of private immorality. For example, if I get drunk every evening and ruin my health, it is still not necessarily the case that society should try to enforce laws against my behavior and stop me. There are various practical concerns such as the amount of power we would have to delegate to government in order to enforce such laws. But that does not require us to say that my behavior is not considered immoral. Similarly, the fact that we don’t want government trying to stop private homosexual behavior does not mean that we have to declare such behavior to be acceptable or not immoral.
Self-destructiveness is immoral if human beings have an inherent dignity, given to them by their creator. If they are just highly evolved animals, as Elena probably believes, then self-destructiveness is amoral but then all of morality is just an arbitrary social convention. Hence the early opponents of Darwinism fought vigorously against it on moral grounds above all others.
Tim W. writes:
I’m late arriving at this discussion but here’s my take. Once a nation decriminalizes homosexual acts, and sets out as a society to tolerate such acts, homosexuality will inevitably be forced into every area of society. The reason for this is that homosexuality is abnormal and homosexuals themselves know it. When law and society restrict homosexuality, homosexuals keep their perversion private. The first time I ever heard of homosexuality was overhearing family members talking about a local pharmacist, a man who was very effeminate. It was well-known in my small southern town that this man was a homosexual, and that he lived with another man. However, he was good at his job, was polite, and kept his deviancy behind closed doors. No one bothered him or bashed him, and this was about 45 years ago in a conservative small town.
Posted by Lawrence Auster at May 13, 2011 09:10 AM | Send
As long as homosexuals kept their practices away from the public, there was always a degree of tolerance for homosexuals. But that is not the same as tolerance for homosexuality. When homosexuality is closeted, homosexuals simply accept that their conduct is deviant and wrong, and they keep their behavior behind closed doors. But when law and society declare homosexuality to be okay, and the equal of heterosexuality, that changes everything. Homosexuals find themselves in a situation where they’re engaging in conduct that clearly isn’t normal, yet everyone is expected to pretend that it is. And the only way so to pretend is to suppress every argument that homosexuality isn’t normal and good. There can be no debate. There can be no exceptions. Everyone has to bow to homosexuality and defer to it, even to sacrifice their religious faith to it.
It’s like the story of the emperor’s new clothes. Everyone knew the emperor was nude, including the emperor, but to maintain the pretense that he wasn’t, the entire kingdom was expected to treat the emperor as if he were finely clothed. One child who didn’t know the rules shouted that the emperor was naked and the whole thing collapsed. This is why homosexual activists are so aggressive in shutting down dissent, in forcing their conduct into the educational system, and in passing draconian “anti-discrimination” laws. Even one dissenting voice or religious exemption risks exposing the truth, which is that homosexuality is not good, and not the equal of heterosexuality.